Beyond the Horizon — Judy C. Olsen

“Beyond the Horizon” is the first novel by LDS author Judy C. Olson and is the story of the fictional family, the Madigans. We see life through the eyes of a man in the Madigan clan from the time of Joseph Smith to our current day, and catch not only a glimpse into the history of the time when they lived, but we see the importance of family and heritage. We also see the impact fathers have on sons, be it for good or for bad. The first Madigan was Jed. He was twenty-four and not yet married, lives on … Continue reading

The Fortitude of Our Pioneer Ancestors

Our mailbox is across a grassy patch and around a corner from our house. The grass is nice and soft, and in good weather, I often walk to get the mail in my bare feet. A couple of weeks ago, we had a cold rainy spell, and I went out anyway, not realizing just how cold that grass was going to be. By the time I hit the concrete in front of the mailbox, I was in serious pain. My feet were so cold, I could hardly stand it. I grabbed the mail and dashed back as quickly as I … Continue reading

Jud’s Journey – Fay Waldemar McCracken

During the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many of the church members were forced to flee their homes to escape mob persecution. They traveled across the country with handcarts or covered wagons and made their home in the Salt Lake Valley, in the region that would become the state of Utah. They faced perils along the way, many dying from accident, disease, or hunger. “Jud’s Journey,” while a fictional young adult novel, is an accurate depiction of what many of those early Saints had to face. Jud is the only son and the middle … Continue reading

Sacrifice and the Pioneers

There is a Primary song about pioneers, it is talking about everything the pioneers went through and then it says, “I would like to have been a child then.” Well I can not sing this line and feel honest. There it is out. I have absolutely no desire to walk across the plains, sleep on the ground and gather up buffalo chips for fuel every day. I do not look forward to wading in rivers, washing my clothes very occasionally, or walking and walking and walking. I have no desire to give up the comforts that I enjoy today, to … Continue reading

Teach Your Children About Their Heritage

July is a great month to focus on your heritage. It is so easy to teach your children about their heritage and family history in conjunction with the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day at church. You could focus your family home evening lessons around the founding of our country at the beginning of this month and then mid-month talk about the pioneer heritage of the church. You can share with your children the conversion stories of the first members of the church in your family. If you are the first member then you are a pioneer and you can … Continue reading

The Little House on the Prairie series — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Many of us have watched and loved “Little House on the Prairie” on television. Melissa Gilbert literally grew up before our eyes on that show, acting the role of Laura Ingalls. What is unfortunate, though, is that not everyone has had the chance to read the series that was the foundation for the show. Laura Ingalls Wilder was not just a television character; she was a real person who wrote down the experiences of her childhood. From growing up in the Big Woods to marrying Almanzo Wilder, she tells us what it was like to be a pioneer, to move … Continue reading

Broken Lance — Michele Sorensen

The first thing I do when I start a new book is to read the author page. I like to know something about the author before I read their work, to know who I’m talking to, as it were. Michele Sorensen’s author page presented a sad fact: she passed away from cancer in 1995. Her husband had this novel published after her death, a fitting tribute to his talented wife. The dedication page reads simply: In Memoriam. “Broken Lance” is the story of Callie McCracken, a refined Englishwoman who has converted to the Mormon faith and is immigrating to Utah … Continue reading

Modern Day Pioneers

It is important to remember that while we honor the sacrifice of the pioneers of the early church, that we have modern day pioneers among us now. People who join the church now are still making sacrifices when it comes to family, lifestyle and possible persecution. They are moving forward and helping the church to grow. If you do not have pioneer ancestors, it may be because you are a modern day pioneer yourself. My in-laws Eldon and Gail Caldwell are examples of modern-day pioneers. They joined the church in 1961 in North Carolina. The branch only had thirty-five members … Continue reading

“The Pioneer Story” a Great Resource

If you are interested in learning more about pioneers you need to check out “The Pioneer Story” on the church’s website. This is a great resource, which is available to you and your family. It is especially helpful as you think about Pioneer Day and any activities that you have planned. The site is interactive and includes several different spots along the trail west. The way the site works is that you click on a certain spot, such as Martin’s Cove. The site will provide a little background information regarding what happened at this point on the trail. It will … Continue reading

Family Home Evening: Pioneers

Since it is July 24 or Pioneer Day, it is ideal to have a family home evening honoring our pioneer heritage. The example of the pioneers speaks to all us. We can all learn from what they have done. Many converts or new members are pioneers in their own right. It is important to remember this as you prepare this lesson. As a family you can have a picnic or go for a hike to remind yourselves of some of the conditions that the pioneers went through. You can open the lesson by telling your children that you are going … Continue reading