Faith in every footstep: pioneering extends around the world

Planning is under way by the Church for the sesquicentennial in four years of the 1847 arrival of the Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley, an observance that will have a distinctly global flavor.

"It will be a glorious celebration," said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve. He is chairman of the 15-member Pioneer Sesquicentennial Committee recently commissioned by the First Presidency to plan the year-long event.Elder Ballard noted that the sesquicentennial in 1997 will come one year after Utah observes its statehood centennial. In fact, he has been appointed by the governor to serve on the centennial commission.

"It will be a wonderful two years of celebration," he remarked. "The Pioneer Sesquicentennial in 1997 will work in perfect harmony with the celebration of 100 years of statehood in 1996."

But the sesquicentennial will extend far beyond Utah and celebrate a century-and-a-half of events.

"We want to celebrate pioneering in the Church all over the world, and much of it has taken place within recent years," noted Elder Robert L. Backman, emeritus General Authority and vice chairman of the sesquicentennial committee.

"These more recent pioneers ought to be honored just as surely as we honor the 1847 pioneers. As we spread the gospel and strive to fulfill the global mission of the Church, it is absolutely essential that we keep the pioneer spirit."

"Faith in Every Footstep" is designated as the theme for the sesquicentennial.

"We want to have something that will depict the faith of our pioneer forefathers and also project our hope for the future, that if we have faith in following their footsteps, we will continue to cause the Church to grow, through today's pioneers taking the gospel to every nation on earth," Elder Backman explained. "This is the perspective we have; this is the outlook. One of our committee members expressed it this way: `From Salt Lake Valley to the world.' "

A number of options are being explored for observing the sesquicentennial, both publicly and within Church programs.

The committee also hopes to encourage local observances highlighting the pioneer legacy of individual communities, Elder Backman noted. One proposal is for a pioneer drama to be adapted for individual communities with the inclusion of a local story in the script.

In addition to Elders Ballard and Backman, 13 members serve on the committee. In the order pictured in the photograph on page 8, members are the following:

(Front row from left)

Ruth Shumway, secretary to the committee.

Jayne B. Malan, Salt Lake City, Utah; former first counselor in the Young Women general presidency.

Dwan J. Young, Salt Lake City, Utah; former Primary general president.

Elder Ballard.

Elder Backman.

Russell C. Taylor, St. George, Utah; formerly of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

Margaret Smoot, Salt Lake City, Utah; BYU public communications director.

(Back row from left)

Angus H. Belliston, Provo, Utah; president-elect of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.

Stanford O. Cazier, Logan, Utah; former president of Utah State University.

E. Lamar Buckner, Ogden, Utah; former regional representative and Ogden Temple president.

Michael J. Glauser, Salt Lake City, Utah; president of Golden Swirl Frozen Yogurt.

Gary J. Dixon, Kaysville, Utah; vice president of creative services, Bonneville Communications.

Ronald A. Rasband, Sandy, Utah; president and chief operating officer of Huntsman Chemical Corp.

Robert S. Fotheringham, Salt Lake City, Utah; chairman of Fotheringham and Associates, an advertising and public relations company.

Clinton R. Gurney, controller in the Church Finance and Records Department.

Since the dawn of the Restoration, pioneering has always been and continues to be an integral part of Church activities, as illustrated by the time line on pages 8 and 9 showing when the Church spread to various countries in the world.

"We're hoping by celebrating the sesquicentennial to kindle, renew or strengthen the faith of our members by highlighting the characteristics, spirit and dedication of our pioneers," Elder Backman said.

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