A pioneer is someone who leads the way, making it easier for others to follow. We often think in the Mormon church of the pioneers that made the trek out West, fleeing persecution and searching for a safe-haven where they could make their home and worship according to the dictates of their own conscious. They tamed the wilderness in Utah and set up the headquarters of our church, making it possible for us to belong to God's true church today.But those are not the only pioneers that have impacted my life. I have recently been very impressed with the legacy that parents and grandparents leave behind. They form righteous traditions that become a lasting heritage. In my talk, I talked about some of my family members that made difficult changes in their life, making it easier for me to follow. I talked about my great-great-great-great grandfather, Moses Clawson, and the early saints following first Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young as prophet. They were pioneers, showing us that no matter whom the Lord’s mouthpiece, commandments still come from God. Because of their faithfulness, when Gordon B. Hinkley died this past year, it was natural for the members of the Mormon church to transfer our loyalty from Gordon B. Hinkley to Thomas S. Monson. I also talked about Scott’s family and how his older sister was a pioneer. She was the first person in their family to go on a mission and she got a lot of flack about it from her extended family. But she went and made it easier for Scott to follow. I also talked about my mom and how she was a pioneer in establishing a healthy and eternal family relationships and how my home today is modeled after the one she showed me how to build. I was very grateful for the topic because it helped me not to take for granted the blessings I have received from my family’s pioneers.
Scott spoke about how we are all adopted into the family of Christ when we become members of the church and how because we are all spiritual brothers and sisters, we can all take pride in each other’s heritage. He told the story of the Hmong saints and how he was proud to share in their heritage and how excited and proud they were to share in the pioneer heritage. It was really moving.
I appreciate the way our church is organized so that all its members have an opportunity to both teach and learn. As always, it's when I'm called upon to teach that I learn the most.