Celebrating Mormon pioneers today

The YouTube video, Bountiful Handcart Days 2012, Sons of Helaman March.

Today, Utah is celebrating the Mormon pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. While Salt Lake City celebrations will include a big Days of ’47 Parade, nothing can inspire more than the last entry in last weekend’s Bountiful Handcart Days Parade.

In the city, a few miles north of Salt Lake City, 2,060 young men dressed in tunics with ties around their heads. They carried staves and pounded them on the ground in unison as they followed their leader. That was impressive enough. However, they represented an even more impressive and inspirational army of young men defending their families.

As told in The Book of Mormon, Helaman, the prophet and soldier, led 2,000 stripling warriors he called his sons into battle. The sons took up arms to protect their families instead of having their parents break their oath to God not to shed blood ever again. The sons were valiant with faith in battle, and not one was lost.

The Book of Mormon is an essential cornerstone of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. Because of their religious beliefs, members were driven from their homes in Nauvoo, Ill., on Feb. 4, 1846. That winter was so cold, they crossed a frozen Mississippi River before heading out onto the western frontier. As the Saints trekked 1,297 miles from Illinois, through Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming before reaching the Salt Lake Valley in Utah, many died. As a result of their suffering, many also grew in their personal relationship with God.

I wish I could have seen the 2,060 “stripling warriors” in their various sizes, modern shoes and even wheelchairs. Nevertheless, I felt their strength when I watched the YouTube video. Their power and energy inspired me as does what they represented.

To read and study the Mormon Pioneer Trail Map, click on pictures at the top, locators on the map and buttons on the side to navigate here.

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