Pioneer Day - July 24
I was born into a Mormon family, grew up as a Mormon and pretty much always able to be surrounded by Mormons until I got married and moved to the East Coast. On the West Coast, Mormons celebrate by wearing lots of clothing and parading around in the heat and when the children complain, they are told that the pioneers suffered for days on end the same way and it isn't meant to be 'fun'- we are meant to remember. But what we are meant to remember seems to be foolish in some regards as I grow up. Suffering for a few hours like our ancestors seems to me to not teach us the lesson that is most appropriate. Yes, we learned that they suffered and times were tough. We learned that they were persecuted and treated poorly for what they believed and how they lived.
But these lessons will fade because they are not the most important lesson we should be teaching to ourselves and the next generation. Yes, we will still revere and respect our ancestors and enjoy the stories of them... but life as we age/grow will teach us suffering. We will learn that times now are tough- even if the some of the challenges we face are different. Some of us will learn that our ancestors were not perfect and some even persecuted other innocent people. Some will learn that we still do it in some places where more qualified non-members are not given jobs because they are given to less qualified 'faithful'. (If anyone wonders why there are very few people in Utah that have a neutral opinion of the Mormon church that one example might cue you in.) While the lessons that we should learn and teach our children are the lessons of strength and bravery in the face of the unknown.... the faith to follow your convictions and your heart no matter where it leads you... the confidence in each individuals great worth and the courage to fight and continue in the face of great doubt or even when you realize that you have no choice... but to continue in happiness and faith. That is the lesson that we should be teaching and we need to know for ourselves. It is not an easy or superficial lesson- but it is the most important lesson that we can learn in this life.... and as a Mormon I am grateful to have the ancestry to look back on to remember and ponder these lessons. As a historian and a human, I have thousands of years of collective history to look over and learn from... and almost all roads lead back to these basic lessons.
by defying authority. Before you accept doctrines and belief, pray and fast and get revelation that it is right to do so. For I believe, that is what your ancestors would have you do.
PS: I am aware that these thoughts will be offensive to some, but our ancestors defied authority so that they could also practice a form of marriage that is considered unacceptable to many today (including Mormons). Before you decide that you are sure that Heavenly Father hates homosexuals, their families, and their children and they should not have rights because the church tells use that homosexuality is wrong, please pray and do not take that answer solely for granted simply because the church says so. People around the world are dying because they feel unaccepted and Mormons are too. Equal rights is something our ancestors wanted -to be able to live by their beliefs. Joseph Smith said that we respect others beliefs. Please.... this is a matter of life and death. Please think on it... Please.