June 24th is celebrated as Pioneer Day- the day that the pioneer members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley, in what is now Utah. They didn't know where they were going, they only knew they would go as far west as they had to to escape the mobs and hatred they left behind in the East. The story goes that when they rolled into the valley the current prophet, President Brigham Young was ill and laying in his ox-drawn wagon. When he saw the valley he raised up and said "This is the place." So there they stopped!
***(Yes, Joseph Smith was our first prophet. He was murdered by a mob in 1844, so President Brigham Young became the second prophet and led the early church members. Our current prophet is President Thomas Monson, the 16th prophet of the church.)***
***(Did you know that in 1846 the Governor Lilbrun Boggs of Illionois issued an extermination order against the Mormons? Kill on sight, and it wasn't repealed until someone said oopsie in 1976? True story!)**
This is a story from a woman I'm descended from, Amanda Barnes Smith. She had 11 children, so a LOT of people are descended from her! (Like Wonder Daddy. Yeah, I was pretty surprised to find THAT out! Good thing she's a good few generations back, eh?)
My dad scanned these and sent them over- enjoy! It's an amazing story. When I think about what others have gone through so that I can enjoy the freedom that I have, it just about breaks my heart open with gratitude.
Now, because I'm curious, leave a comment if you learned anything! My parents have been traveling back and forth from Utah this summer, and were surprised to find out that most of the locals who don't belong to our church have no IDEA why there are so many Mormons in Utah. I guess that part of our national history gets dropped in most classes, eh?
Below is a PDF of her story- if it's blank, wait a few minutes for it to load, it's linked to from a host site.