Sunday, July 24, 2011
July 24, Pioneer Day
Pioneer Day is a uniquely LDS holiday, celebrating the arrival of Mormon Pioneers crossing the United States great plains from the Mississippi to Salt Lake on foot in 1847. The church had only 35,000 members and was only 17 years since it's restoration to the earth in 1830 in New York. It's first Prophet, Joseph Smith had been martyred in 1844 and Brigham Young was now leading the saints. The Church would more than double as annually new converts would make it from Europe, and the eastern and southern US all the way to Salt Lake. The first continental Railroad was finished with the golden spike laid north west of Salt Lake after the Civil War in 1869, and the pioneer trek would now take days instead of months as it had for the previous 22 years. In 1870 there were over 90,000 saints (that is a lot of wagons and handcarts). When the church celebrated the 150the anniversary of the July 24th, 1847 arrival in Salt Lake, there were 10 million saints in 1997. Today there are nearly 14.5 million. My son was chosen to light and fire a small (but very, very loud) antique canon in celebration today at ceremonies in Wildwood (since 1905) in Provo Canyon at the entrance to Sundance.