Video: Why President Ballard, President Jones, Elder Soares want to honor pioneers past and present

Pioneer Day is “a wonderful time for all of us to think about who made it possible for us to have what we have,” said President M. Russell Ballard in the weeks before July 24 — the state holiday in which Utahns honor the pioneers.

Brigham Young knew what the Salt Lake Valley would become before the pioneers settled the desert valley. “And here it is — a beautiful city,” he said.

President Ballard is joined by Primary General President Joy D. Jones and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a new video, titled “Crossroads of the World,” which honors past and present pioneers.

“I first started learning about the pioneers’ legacy when I was a seminary student in Brazil many years ago,” said Elder Soares. “I was really inspired by their courage, their stories, their experiences, the trials they faced in their lives, to help us understand what we can do in our lives today.”

President Jones said she marvels that the majority of the pioneers were children. “Those precious children of all ages, the hardships and the challenges that they faced,” she said. “And our children can look to those children and realize it was hard for them; they did hard things. What a legacy that is — following their parents’ example, doing what they were asked to do and keeping their faith strong in Jesus Christ.”

President Ballard said those looking to pioneers — past and present — are really celebrating “the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fact that He inspired early pioneer leaders to find this great valley and settle it for us to live in.”

And in the crossroads of the West — which is now, thanks to the Church’s missionary effort, called the crossroads of the world — the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is carried “to the four corners of the earth.”

Read more from the interviews with President Ballard, Sister Jones and Elder Soares: