Today is the 24th of July, a momentous day in Mormon history. On this day, in 1848, Mormon pionners arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Many of the Latter-day Saints wept upon seeing it, some in gratitude, and, some, I'm certain, in despair. They had left their comfortable homes in Nauvoo, Illinois to travel to this desolate, barren place?
But their faith sustained them. They set about planting fields, constructing barns, and, most importantly, building churches. Worshipping the Lord came first. Always. In the Salt Lake Valley of a land that was not yet a state, the pioneers found religious freedom for the first time.
They had suffered through the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. They had watched their fields and homes burned by mobs. They had lost fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters to the hatred of these same mobs.
In Utah, in the valley that the Lord had designated a promised land, they forged new lives, new homes, new hope. My ancestors were among those who traveled west, who sacrificed everything in obedience to the Lord's command.
So, for today, I am grateful for the faith of ancestors.