Trek by Mormon pioneers helped create identity

The "Mormon migration" from Nauvoo to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, along with the other pioneering experiences associated with it, was essential to making The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints what it is today.

And not merely in the sense that, by escaping from their persecutors, the Mormons survived.

No, by giving them a heroic epic, a founding myth, to celebrate, the trek westward helped to forge a people. ("Myth," here, doesn't mean "fiction," but, rather, refers to a story whose meaning is larger than itself.) Furthermore, the decades of relative isolation in the distant Great Basin, their sheer separateness, granted Latter-day Saints time to create a unique identity that continues to mark them today, even though very many of them have no actual biological connection with the original Mormon pioneers.

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