Almost 150 Latter-day Saint pioneers arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley for the first time 173 years ago today, on July 24, 1847. This week, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took to social media to explain Utah's Pioneer Day holiday and to honor early and modern pioneers.
Celebrating the hand of the Lord in the pioneer story
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote in a July 22 Facebook post that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everybody: “[T]he Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior for all men and all women, all boys, all girls, all young adults.”
Celebrating Pioneer Day is really celebrating the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, he said in a video accompanying the post. “The more you learn about those who led the way [to the Salt Lake Valley] and made all of this possible, the more you realize the hand of the Lord had to be in it.”
'Each of us is a pioneer'
“Today I am reminded of the love and sacrifices of the pioneers around the world,” wrote Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a July 22 Instagram post both in Portuguese and English.
"The pioneers in Brazil mean a lot to me because they paved the way for me. I am a recipient of the blessings that they have given me through their examples," he said in a video accompanying the post.
"Dear friends, please remember that every member of the Church of Jesus Christ is a pioneer — no matter if you’re in the United States, or in Brazil, Asia or Africa," he wrote. "Each of us is a pioneer because we are paving the way for our future."
Press forward amid challenges
Primary General President Joy D. Jones marvels at the early pioneers’ ability to press forward despite day-to-day unexpected hardships.
"As we look at the way they went forward with faith and courage and did what was necessary to progress along their path, we can do the same thing today," she wrote in a July 22 Facebook post.
"Though our circumstances and our environment are different," she wrote, "we share the same faith that they had. We look to Jesus Christ."