I was asked to speak in church on being a "Modern Pioneer", a subject that I love. I very reluctantly took the assignment, despite the fact that speaking in front of people is the thing that strikes me with sheer terror (I am not exaggerating at all). I think I was compelled to speak because of the subject. This post is just a part of my talk, mainly written for me to remember just a few thoughts that are near and dear to me. If you don't want to read, stop here and just watch above inspiration with my favorite hymn ever. This guy is amazing! You get the sense of sheer joy watching him perform. A few thoughts from "the talk":
I have always loved any story regarding pioneers. I am continually amazed at their sacrifice and obedience, which they demonstrated. I admire the their faith and hope and inner strength. I have also felt rather inferior when it comes to these qualities and the trials, which they seemed to so bravely face. I know I would not have made a good pioneer. Here are a few personal examples so that you might understand my inferiority complex.
I have ancestors that joined the church in Sweden, the Poulson’s. Their desire was to join the saints in America. They planned to sale their home and their belongings to do this. Rumor quickly spread of their plan and neighbors refused to buy their home or belongings because they were joining a cult. They had the faith to leave their earthly goods unsold and behind to make the journey using great faith and little money. I am afraid I would have been left on the dock, crying and grumbling because I could not take more than one pair of shoes. Those of you that know me well could vividly imagine this scenario.
Another ancestor was traveling with Brigham Young to the Salt Lake Valley. As the Saints approached, my brave ancestor Thomas Karren was sent ahead to make sure that this was indeed “the right place” I am sorry to say this great navigational skill was not passed on to me, because I have no sense of direction without my GPS, and I am certain that if I were leading, we would still be looking for the right place.
As I have read many accounts of Pioneers crossing the plains under extreme difficulty and with such faith and obedience, it leaves little doubt in my mind that if I had been there, we would be reading today about the girl that whined and complained and had such little faith that they chose to leave her alone on some desolate plain!
I am so very grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that knew I would not be able to hack the demands of pioneer life and put me on earth today! I am the first to admit that I love air conditioning, modern conveniences and more than a hard biscuit to eat when pulling a handcart up a rugged mountain! I am not pioneer material! But listening to the words of Elder Ballard gave me much to think about.
Elder Ballard Oct. 2008 General Conference:
“Of course, our challenges are different today, but they are no less demanding. Instead of angry mobs, we face those who constantly try to defame. Instead of extreme exposure and hardship, we face alcohol and drug abuse, pornography, all kinds of filth, sleaze, greed, dishonesty, and spiritual apathy. Instead of families being uprooted and torn from their homes, we see the institution of the family, including the divine institution of marriage, under attack as groups and individuals seek to define away the prominent and divine role of the family in society.
This is not to suggest that our challenges today are more severe than the challenges faced by those who have gone before us. They are just different. The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life.”
(that is my talk in a nut shell)
So to you, my fellow "modern pioneers" I say, "gird up your loins, fresh courage take!" Find joy in your journey. Help others carry their burdens and I promise that it will lift your spirits as well as theirs! I hope that when I do meet my pioneer ancestors that they will be proud of me, that I can implement their examples of courage and strength and obedience into my life. I can say that life is good, despite the crazy things that life throws us!
Also, as I researched my talk, I cam across the true and incredible stories of true modern pioneer LDS women. See side bar and marvel at their stories!