Yesterday was Pioneer Day, a state holiday in Utah, to honor the pioneers who settled in Utah in the 1840s and later. So I’m sharing some pioneer stories to celebrate, even though I’m a day late.
Here’s the basic story of the pioneers who were early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
My own 3rd-great-grandmother was a pioneer. Her name was Mica Martine Pedersen. She heard the missionaries of the above-named church preach in her native Denmark. After studying the gospel literature she prayed to God to know if this literature was true. She received a witness from the Holy Spirit that it was true and got baptized. This witness of the Spirit never failed her even though she suffered trials and hardship for 50 more years. She was baptized in April of 1851. It was still so cold that the missionaries had to break the ice on the river before she and her husband could be baptized. They also had to be baptized in the middle of the night to avoid disturbances by people who didn’t like this event.
Even though she was disowned by her unbelieving relatives and persecuted by her neighbors throwing rocks and eggs at her, as she walked down the streets of her village, she stayed true to her baptismal covenant. When she heard the invitation from the missionaries to gather in Zion, she prepared to emigrate. Her husband was not willing to go. Believing that gathering to Zion as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was more important than her marriage, she left her husband and took her 2-year-old daughter on a ship bound to America. She landed in Philadelphia. There she took a train to Iowa City and then traveled by handcart to Utah Territory. This was in 1857. She arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 13 1857.
She ended up living in various places in Utah, mostly southern Utah, and had three husbands (one at a time) and ten children. She was a great housekeeper, homemaker, farmer, talented weaver, soapmaker, midwife and family builder. I am so grateful for her testimony!
We can each be pioneers today! I am inspired by pioneers from all countries and all honorable industries. Recently I found this inspiring story of a young woman from Finland was is a modern-day pioneer for being baptized in her native Finland in the 1960s. Here is her story. It’s a beautiful story of courage, faith, and trusting in the Holy Spirit. She stood up to her classmates and teacher at public school, so much so that she inspired her teacher to read the Book of Mormon.
May we all be pioneers who blaze trails in following God. May we make it easier for those who come after us to follow.
If you want more pioneer stories, please check out the “July” section of my Celestial Family Devotionals ebook here for free.