What I’ve learned from the pioneers
Georgia’s July 24 is nothing more than 20 days after the Fourth and exactly five months and one day until Christmas.
Because of this, every year I’m floored by Utah’s Pioneer Day celebrations.
Each Utahn takes this day to celebrate the sacrifices of their forefathers. They honor and remember these brave souls with parades, floats and fireworks.
These pioneers, with their wooden handcarts, resilient faith and unshakeable devotion to the Church deserve any applause and approval they receive; however they aren’t the only ones we should celebrate.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland described my sentiments better than I can. He said the pioneers persevered “against differences of custom and traditions and faith [and] labored against all of that to carve out for us … the wonderful day and the marvelous time in which we live.”
After this he said my favorite part:
“We owe the same pioneering, persevering legacy to our children and our children’s children.”
Isn’t this true?
If we look around us, even just on BYU campus, we’ll see everyday pioneers living their lives like normal citizens.
If you need an example, take my parents.
My mom has pioneer heritage, but wasn’t a member of the Church growing up.
My dad has no pioneer heritage at all.
Instead of focusing on this lack of heritage, they became pioneers themselves.
They forced their way through tribulations, trials and tests of faith. They held on when the world told them it was better to let go.
They didn’t know it at the time, but they did all this, as Elder Holland stated, in order to carve out for me the wonderful day and the marvelous time in which I live.
You’re no different.
You may have been a member your entire life, but if you brave the prejudices and the preconceptions, if you fight against the doubts and the disbeliefs, if you move forward when the world pushes back, you are a pioneer.
This is not an easy task.
Here we are at BYU, or wherever else life has taken us, with nothing to rely on but the words of leaders and the faith we have in them.
But if we have courage, there’s little more we need.
President Thomas S. Monson asked us all a very important question: “Can we somehow muster the courage and that steadfastness of purpose which characterized the pioneers of a former generation?
“Can you and I, in actual fact, be pioneers today?”
So, I ask you the same question.
Can we have enough courage to be like the pioneers of old?
Next Pioneer Day, and even for the rest of the year, can we celebrate the actions of not only our forefathers but also our fathers, of not only our leaders but also ourselves?
All of us, with long time pioneer members or, like President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, without any at all, have a responsibility to preserve the heritage of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It’s our job, our calling and our sacred duty.
We may not pull handcarts and we may not traverse the plains, but we stand as witnesses of the Church they established.
We cannot let the work they did become naught. We must fight to preserve their legacy, to continue their Church.
Do you have enough courage?
Allie McCoy is the opinion editor for The Daily Universe. This viewpoint represents her opinion and not necessarily that of The Daily Universe, BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.