Blessed, Honored Pioneers

Caitlyn–our second daughter, age 12–gave her first talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday. The topic was, as no doubt was the case in wards and branches all across the country, the Mormon pioneers. She genuinely struggled over it, asking smart questions (like “Why did they go all the way to Utah; could they have just set up a new city once they’d escaped from Illinois?”), and wondering whether it was appropriate or not to mention our family’s pioneer heritage (Brigham Young on my father’s mother’s side; C.C.A. Christensen–and hundreds of other Scandinavian saints–on my wife’s father’s), or whether that would seem like bragging. In the end, she gave fine 7-minute talk, telling stories and expressing appreciation for the way the pioneer experience “gave us a church we have today.” Which is true, mostly. Her ancestors would have been proud. Really, it was a good sacrament meeting, all around. The only way it could have been improved is if we’d sung The Handcart Song as a congregation–you know, the real one.

Ye Saints who dwell on Europe’s shore,
Prepare yourselves for many more
To leave behind your native lands
For sure God’s judgements are at hand.

For you must cross the raging main
before the promised land you gain,
then with the faithful make a start
to cross the plains with your handcart.

For some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill.
For merrily on our way we go,
Until we reach the valley-o.

The land that boasts of so much light
We know they’re all as dark as night
Where poor men toil and want for bread
and rich men’s dogs are better fed.

The land that boasts of liberty
You ne’er again would wish to see
When you from England make a start
To cross the plains in your handcart.

For some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill.
For merrily on our way we go,
Until we reach the valley-o.

But some will say it is too bad,
the saints upon the foot to pad,
And more than that, to pull a load,
As they go marching o’er the road.

But then we say it is the plan,
To gather up the best of men,
And women too, for none but they
Will ever travel in this way.

For some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill.
For merrily on our way we go,
Until we reach the valley-o.

As o’er the road the carts were pulled,
‘Twould very much surprise the world
To see the old and feeble dame
Thus lend a hand to pull the same.

And maidens fair will dance and sing,
Young men more happy than a king,
And children too will laugh and play,
Their strength increasing day by day.

For some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill.
For merrily on our way we go,
Until we reach the valley-o.

And long before the valley’s gained,
We will be met upon the plains
With music sweet and friends so dear
And fresh supplies our hearts to cheer.

And then with music and with song
How cheerfully we’ll march along
And thank the day we made a start
To cross the plains with our handcart.

For some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill.
For merrily on our way we go,
Until we reach the valley-o.

When you get there among the rest,
Obedient be and you’ll be blessed,
and in God’s chambers be shut in
While judgements cleanse the earth from sin.

For we do know it will be so;
God’s servant spoke it long ago.
We say it is high time to start
To cross the plains with our handcart!

For some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill.
For merrily on our way we go,
Until we reach the valley-o!

Thanks to all the Danes and Swedes and Norwegians who settled Sanpete County 150 years ago–you gave us the Manti Temple, and you gave me my wife and our quarter-Danish children. A pretty good record, I’d say.

Comments

  1. Ah yes, the “Mormon Day of Irony,” the day that faithful LDS (especially in Utah) display their AMERICAN flags to celebrate the country that persecuted and drove them out of America in 1847. It’s a bitter, but humorous irony every time I see the forest of flags on the lawns of the saints.

  2. My ancestors are Danes and Swedes as well, RAF (with some Brits thrown in for good measure.) And my daughter also gave a talk on pioneers in her ward last Sunday. She talked about Jane Manning James. This was in Indiana, and indeed, hardly anyone had heard of Jane before.

  3. We didn’t have a Pioneer Day Sacrament Meeting for some reason. The talks were all centered on receiving personal revelation (also a good topic though). I wished everyone on FB a Happy Pioneer Day today and asked that while they remember those who crossed the country to flee persecution and oppression that they also be mindful if there is anyone they may be giving that same treatment to. A good day to remember that we all need to be good to each other, and what kinds of hardships can arise when we are not. You’re daughter seems like a very intelligent young woman, RAF.

  4. Ugh that should say your daughter, not you are daughter. I hate apple devices!

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