Mormons Remember Pioneering Heritage

The contemporary pioneering journey was completed in eight hours on a trans-Atlantic flight from France to Salt Lake City, a startling contrast to the months-long expeditions endured by the 80,000 pioneers who migrated to the Utah mountains from 1847 through 1869. Laura, 15, and a second-generation member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in her native France, arrived in Utah this summer as an English student but found herself involved in a youth activity, a four-day pioneer trek commemorating the tedious journeys of the early Utah settlers.

The young French woman can easily be described as a religious pioneer in her country where she is the only member of the Church in her 2,300-student high school. Yet as she joined the rugged, mountain expedition in Salt Lake City, she recognized contrasts. “I arrived here so quickly compared to the pioneers who came from my country so many years ago,” Laura observed.

During the reenactment, she hiked nearly 30 miles over rocky terrain and up steep hills. Laura donned pioneer costume, ate from a tin plate and slept on the ground. “I couldn’t have done this in France,” she explained. “We have girls’ camp every year, but on the trek we could really feel like the pioneers. We had to be strong, to work; we had food, but they had little food. I was tired, but it was a great experience.”

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