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Ode of a Convert

An old friend called today. She’d been inactive since high school and about three years ago started going back to church. Periodically she has questions about doctrine, practices, etc., and when she does, she’ll give me a call hoping I’ll have answers for her.

She’s currently serving on the activities committee in her ward which has been planning for their ward Pioneer Day celebration. She complained that every planning meeting goes on for entirely too long because someone will inevitably go off on a long filibuster about their pioneer heritage, then others join in, telling story after story about a distant relative leaving things behind and crossing the plains. She said it almost seemed like they were trying to out do each other.

My friend admitted that she’d been getting frustrated because she felt they were doing more bragging ? about their Mormon family history than actual planning for the activity. Also, she feels so out-of-the-loop and even less Mormon ? as the child of converts, with no pioneer history.

My parents are also converts. I don’t have the rich Mormon history in my family either, so I was able to somewhat understand her feelings. We talked for awhile about the difference between bragging ? versus sharing something that is important and exciting to you. Then I explained that even though her parents were converts, she still shares the pioneer heritage of the Church despite the fact that those faithful Saints are not her direct ancestry.

Just as we are adopted into the House of Israel through one of the 12 tribes and inherit the blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (later known as Israel) and their posterity, in a different yet similar way, converts without any true familial ancestry are adopted ? into the Church, complete with its proud pioneer heritage. Those amazing Saints become a part of our past because we have inherited the blessings of their labors and faithfulness. They did it and intended it not only for their own posterity, but for us as well.

I also told her that she does have pioneer heritage. Though not in the exact same way, her parents were pioneers for her family. Their trials may have been different and maybe less dramatic, but they too had their mountains to cross. They had lifelong habits of coffee and cigarettes to give up, family members who were hostile to the church to deal with, and this new concept of even though you’re already financially tight, give a tenth of your income to the church ? to learn to trust and have faith in. They had a whole new way of life to face.

All in all, it was a great conversation and I think she gained a greater understanding and appreciation.

Before we hung up though, I also had to sing (yes, over the phone) the goofy lyrics to a song I wrote after a pioneer heritage lesson in Relief Society a few years ago.

A similar discussion between true pioneer stock ? and converts had taken place during the lesson and we talked about the pros and cons of being a life-time member with pioneer heritage and being a convert. Being the joker I am, I teased that one of the pros ? to being a convert was that when I was in school and we made family trees, I didn’t have to explain to anyone why my great great grandfather had 3 wives. That got a good laugh. It also inspired a silly little ditty. And since its content is pretty much the same discussion that my friend and I were having, I just had to sing it for her.

Ode Of A Convert
(With tongue firmly planted in cheek)

No Pratt’s, no Young’s in my genealogy
No handcart pushin’ Mormons in my family history
No manuscripts or journals kept of great and glorious works
My Armenian progenitors were running from the Turks.

But I’m proud to say I’m a convert
And I’ll sing so everyone can hear
That I’m proud to be a convert
In my own right, I am a pioneer.

My great-great grandmother did not hasten to the call
To give up her precious china to build up the Temple wall
My family has no fame to claim within church history
‘Cause we never heard of Mormons until 1963.

But I’m proud to say I’m a convert
And I’ll sing so everyone can hear
That I’m proud to be a convert
In my own right, I am a pioneer.

Converts have something over other Mormon guys
Like, we don’t have to explain why great-great-grandpa had three wives
We don’t mix veggies with dessert, our jello’s never spoiled
And we don’t have 13 cousins pushing Melaleuca oil

But I’m proud to say I’m a convert
And I’ll sing so everyone can hear
That I’m proud to say I’m a convert
In my own right, I am a pioneer.

Yes, I am a pioneer!

Copyright 2003 by Tracy L. Keeney

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2007, 1:46 am

    Very cute. Is the tune familiar or was it your own creation?

  • spitfire June 9, 2007, 5:17 am

    I love it!!! So true!! I was “born into the church” but like everyone else, am also a convert to the Gospel as it should be. I live in the East, you know that area outside of the “Wasatch Front” & land of Deseret Book Stores i.e. “the mission field” as those traveling to our very historic area call it. I had an interesting coversation with a visiting chuch authority who stopped me in the hall & ask me to introduce myself. He asked “Have you been a member a long time?”, like everyone outside of Utah is a recently baptized member & could have never had any family lineage in the Church longer than one generation (I truly believe his inquiry was sincere, but I found it somewhat amusing). My response “I was born in the church (his eyes looking stunned) & I guess you could say I come from a long line of Eastern pioneers, we stayed back in the East while everyone went West.” I further informed him that my great, great grandfather organized the church in Western Pennsylvania & when Sidney Ridgon came knocking to join his group of Rigdonites, my g.g. grandfather kicked him out. I futher elaborated about our rich family history where the women, all Mormon would typically marry non-members & have large families, single handedly populating the state of PA. All the non-member husbands eventually joined the church (this happened to several women over several generations) and literally by hand built the churchs & help spread the gospel. Please note, I rarely, if EVER, share this information with anyone, let alone in a testimony meeting or in a church class!!!

    I did not miss the point of the cute song/poem as I get SICK of hearing from the pulpit my “so & so” crossed the plains, etc. Does that enrich YOUR testimony or the testimony of the one bearing it?? I don’t think so…the greatest sacrafice we will all make is the journery we make on our knees to find our own testimony which in turns provides us the understanding of our Divine heritage & personally, I think that is all that is important.

    I’m glad you posted this poem, it should remind all of us that we each have our pioneer trek to get back to the Lord & it is a solo journey, unaccompanied by our ancestors, regardless if the are Mormon or Catholic or Luthern, etc.
    (obviously you struck a nerve with me on this topic, ergo the name spitfire!!)

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2007, 8:09 am

    Allrightee. I have got to say that I do not “get it.” I’m not addressing this specifically to Tracy or spitfire–sincerely–just to the attitude that some of their statements bring up and that I heard a lot when I lived in Florida. It went so far that some people (some leaders) would not make any acknowledgment of Pioneer Day (July 24) because it would make converts “feel bad.”

    The pioneer thing isn’t about US, it’s about THEM. It’s about what they did and what they sacrificed, and that we ALL now benefit from. You don’t have to be a direct descendant to be blessed by the great things they did. FWIW, spitfire, I think you SHOULD tell about your ancestors, because THEY deserve to be remembered and YOU know their stories!

    Look, I’ll do my history bit. My most “famous” pioneer ancestor is Joseph Knight, Sr. He’s in the D&C and he’s in church history. He’s my fourth great grandfather, on my dad’s side. On my mom’s side there is another prominent pioneer, William Adam Empey, but you’d likely only know of him if you were a serious LDS history buff.

    Sam, on the other hand…well, he’s a Smith. ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s named after Samuel Smith, Joseph Smith’s brother, who is his second great grandfather. (Our first son is also named Samuel.) Sam’s on the board of the Samuel Smith foundation and–if you happened to read about it in the church news or something–was part of the group that commissioned and funded the Samuel Smith statue that now sits in the courtyard at the MTC in Provo (he was the first missionary of the church).

    [Samuel and Joseph are mentioned together in the same verse in the D&C. Obviously a sign that Sam and I should bring these friendly families back together. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ]

    So, what does all that mean? I don’t know. If I talk about pioneers I talk more about the ones I KNOW about than the ones I don’t know about. And I happen to know more about my own ancestors and Sam’s than most others. Does that really mean I’m bragging? Or that I think having been…sheesh…adopted into this family makes me superior? Honestly, I don’t even see how that could be possible. I also have an ancestor who committed suicide after he had been found to be embezzling money or something. I don’t think that makes me criminal.

    Look, I’m sure there are people who get all on their high horses about their ancestors just like there are people who like to show you that their car is nicer than yours. But, honestly, I think…uh…well…that there’s sometimes a hypersensitivity to this issue by those who don’t have an ancestor who’s a Joseph Smith era pioneer. I could just as easily say that I’m sick of hearing people’s conversion stories or testmonies (the can sometimes FILL testimony meeting) because the convert thinks s/he is “all that” for joining on their own. But aren’t ALL pioneer stories (the historical converts and the recent ones) valid and interesting?

    I guess I think of this much like any other historical celebration. On Veteran’s Day and on Memorial Day I honor–and teach my children to honor–those who sacrificed and those who died to preserve my life and my freedom and my lifestyle. They did something great for all of us and, I believe, deserve our respect, honor, and REMEMBRANCE. The fact that I don’t, to my knowledge, have any soldiers in my ancestry has nothing to do with that. I still benefit from their great deeds. And I don’t get my knickers in a twist when Tracy has the nerve to talk about her grandparents who fought in WWII. Hmmph. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • facethemusic June 9, 2007, 1:10 pm

    I think you’re both right.

    it should remind all of us that we each have our pioneer trek to get back to the Lord & it is a solo journey, unaccompanied by our ancestors, regardless if the are Mormon or Catholic or Luthern, etc.

    This is absolutely true.

    But, honestly, I think…uh…well…that there’s sometimes a hypersensitivity to this issue by those who don’t have an ancestor who’s a Joseph Smith era pioneer. I could just as easily say that I’m sick of hearing people’s conversion stories or testmonies (the can sometimes FILL testimony meeting) because the convert thinks s/he is “all that” for joining on their own.

    And this is absolutely true, as well. It would be the exact same attitude in reverse.

    I think part of the hypersensitivity may come from the fact that in other faiths (and even is society in general) there’s hardly any emphasis on ancestry at all. It’s just not paid that much attention, nor is it really thought of as being important. So converts might be coming from being Catholic or Baptist, where what their ancestors were doing back in 1800 isn’t necessarily discussed or even known. They often feel no tie to their ancestry. (Of course, there are many outside of the church who are very versed in their heritage)
    Then they come to church and are immersed in a culture where ancestry, “Mormon pioneer heritage” and the sacrifice of early Saints is something that is frequently discussed and emphasized.
    So when we’re talking about early missionary work in a Sunday School class, someone in room inevitably raises their hand and says that their a descendant of Parley P. Pratt and tells a story, then someone else says their the great great grandchild of John Taylor and tells a story and how thankful they are for their rich pioneer heritage and how they feel its blessed their life
    and the convert, with no pioneer heritage starts getting a little sensitive and may feel, as my friend put it “less Mormon”.
    I think this is a cultural thing as well.
    Jews are VERY proud of their religious history, their inherited tie to the “God’s chosen people” and they speak of it often. They speak often of their family members who were driven from their homes, had all their property stolen and were sent to concentration camps. They talk very proudly of their family members who struggled to survive, then came to America. I imagine that those who convert to Judaism may sometimes be sensitive and wonder if “true Jews” think of them as “less Jewish”.
    I spent most of my life in the South, and let me tell you, there are plenty who still proudly fly the Confederate flag and proudly share the history of their family members who served in the Conferederate Army during the Civil War. (We had a ward member who refused to sing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” out of the hymnbook during church, because it was the Union Army’s war anthem, and he would actually TURN HIS BACK to the pulpit when it was being sung!)
    I know that among the Armenians, their history is extremely important to them, especially among the older generations. They’re very proud of their heritage and the struggle of their forefathers during the Armenian genocide, which was pretty similar to the Jewish genocide. They often will tell you with pride, that Armenia was the first nation to declare Christianity as its state religion.
    I think especially where there’s been oppression, persecution and sacrifice, people will often put a great emphasis and focus on their families history. And within the church, it’s the pioneers. The thing is, it exists in every family in some form. Whether it’s family members who fought during the Revolution, who survived the Great Potato Famine, who escaped the hands of Pol Pot, or who were there during Picket’s charge. It’s just a matter of how much of their history they actually know, how important it becomes to them, and how much they feel a tie to their ancestry.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2007, 1:16 pm

    Posted By: facethemusicI think especially where there’s been oppression, persecution and sacrifice, people will often put a great emphasis and focus on their families history.

    Very good point.

    P.S. I think that’s exactly why Paris Hilton is so attached to her momma…

  • Sharilee10 June 9, 2007, 2:04 pm

    Good food for thought from all of you. I particularly like the statement “In my own right, I am a pioneer.” from the little song, and hope that those who tend to feel ‘less mormon” when they hear traditional pioneer stories will remember their own pioneer stories.

    On my father’s side I am the (a few greats) granddaughter of Rhoda Young, the woman who Samuel Smith left the only Book of Mormon placed on his first mission with and went home feeling like a failure. Grandma Rhoda, wife of John P. Greene (the preacher you read about in Church History) and the sister of Brigham Young, my however many greats Uncle. That Book of Mormon (and one other Book of Mormon that came through my other great uncle Phineas Greene) played a key role in the conversion of many saints in that area, including Brigham Young and members of both the Young and the Kimball families. That heritage has helped me many times throughout my life when I was struggling and making a difficult choice. I would remember a comment my ex would make regarding some of Brigham’s ancestors who have not stayed close to the Church and I would deterine in my heart that Uncle Brigham and Grandma Rhoda (and all of my other ancestors) deserve to have a righteous posterity. It has been a help to me.

    I also share stories with my children about another Great Grandfather Levi Savage who crossed the plains with the Willie Handcart company and, although he had warned them and begged them not to go, he promised them that if they chose to go he would go with them and do all in his power to protect them, and if necessary, would die with them. I think of his example often as I volunteer in organizations where my advice is not always the course chosen to follow.

    However, I also share stories with my children of their grandfather on their father’s side who was one of the first converts in South Carolina. There are some equally remarkable stories about sacrifices he made and actions he took in building the gospel in that area. There are equalling strengthening stories of modern pioneers and the efforts and choices they make and the sacrifices they are called to make for their religion.

    As Alison said, we are all beneficiaries of the Utah pioneer heritage. We are also beneficiaries of the thousands of pioneer stories being lived out across the country and throughout the world even as we speak. And– we all ‘have our pioneer trek to get back to the Lord.’ I don’t necessarily agree with the statement that, ‘it is a solo journey, unaccompanied by our ancestors,’ because I believe we do receive a ton of help and assistance from our ancestors. However, I think I know what was meant by this statement; I understand the concept that is being put across and agree that we must each work out our own salvation and ultimately, it is a solo decision, etc.; so . . . I think we are saying the same thing with perhaps a different choice of words.

    Much gratitude to all of the pioneers who have contributed to the blessings we enjoy.

  • spitfire June 9, 2007, 3:19 pm

    My comment “it should remind all of us that we each have our pioneer trek to get back to the Lord & it is a solo journey, unaccompanied by our ancestors, regardless if the are Mormon or Catholic or Luthern, etc” speaks to the fact that we are individually responsible for our testmonies & our salvation. We can’t live off of the testimonies or efforts of those that came before us. Those of us that have had Mormon ancestors have benefitted from their efforts but when we each stand before the Lord, it will be what we did as individuals, not them. So in respect to the “converts” who “do not have pioneer heritage”, we will stand before the Lord just as they will. Having been raised in the East as well as lived most of my life in the East (except as a BYU student), I a frequently reminded my those visiting from the west about their heritage & they wear it as a badge of honor. They should, our ancestors, including theirs, regardless of religion, race, nationality or culture makes us who we are. But we are all grafted into the branch of the olive tree via baptism. It is not our ancestors who bring about our salvation, but we can be blessed by their efforts. (how many of us have patriarchal blessings that say our posterity will be blessed b/c of our faithfulness?) I am particularly sensitive to those who don’t appreciate the efforts of the many immigrants of various nationalities who paved the way for all America & believe only the pioneers did anything to contribute to their personal lives. I don’t make these comments based on a singular incident but years of a steady stream who disregard other heritage or culture. That being said, here are two examples:

    1. One of my closet friends joined the Church after being raised in the Jewish faith. She has a very rich Jewish history, both culturally & religiously. This dear sister decided to take it upon herself to create and make a beautiful Passover Feast, complete with the empty seat for Elijah. She made numerous Jewish dishes with beautiful presentation. Her efforts were to share with all of us what life was like during the time of Jesus as well as experience a true Passover Feast. I couldn’t believe the scuttle butt by those with “pioneer heritage” that “how could she do this in a Mormon chapel, did the Bishop approve this?” Puuulllleazzze?!?!!?Well, when it was done & over, they were very humbled by her testimony of the sacrafice of her ancestors as well as the beauty of their traditions, not to mention the wonderful food. (yeah, they all showed up for the food!)

    2. Another experience that I (and my entire ward & stake had). We had a family who moved into our ward who, within weeks made it know to all about their pioneer heritage not to mention their direct decendency to a very recent prophet of the church. It was oh, Granpa — said this & Grandpa —- did this, it was a constant, ongoing droan of what Grandpa had done. (this particular prophet has passed on) Now we all know the prophets and are grateful for their efforts, sacrafices & contributions. But I will honestly tell you, that not ONE of the individuals in this family I’m referring to ever bore their testimony that they didn’t mention “Grandpa —” and quite frankly, the husband/father in this situation was put in a leadership position within the stake. He NEVER once bore a testimony of his own, it was always a report of his grandfather’s experiences & how impressed or moved he was by these experiences. I can honestly say (and others have also made this observation), I NEVER heard him bear testimony of the Savior or Joseph Smith. So, even with the ancestory of a Prophet, this family couldn’t seem to find their own testimonies, it was really very sad. Interestingly enough, this individual bilked several members out of their hard earned $$ & was subsequently fled town.

    So, I do believe we are all talking about the same thing, perhaps as I indicated in my earlier post, this topic struck a nerve, especially given the 2 recent events I mentioned above. The bottom line as I stated before, is we all need to be “converts” to the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is only with His intercession that we can have Eternal Life.

    If I have offended anyone, I’m sorry. I live in a very “high traffic” ward with a minimum of 30-50 visitors a week, mainly from the West. We love their insights & encourage their participation in meetings. But I would love to have one meeting that I wasn’t reminded by them about their pioneer heritage & how we are “missing out on so much” living in “the mission field”. Last time I checked, missionary work began in your own home & in your neighborhood. I believe there are now 3 separate missions in Utah (my 1st husband opened the 1st mission), so I guess even Utah can be considered the mission field?? Obviously I recognize that I’m dealing with “cultural/people issues” & not gosepl issues. Trust me, my testimony has not been shaken by these experiences, it just gets to be an old tune, week in & week out. Again, I’m sorry if I have offended anyone.

  • agardner June 9, 2007, 4:13 pm


    I appreciate your experiences. It’s funny you should mention the Passover Feast, because in one of my wards in Utah this was a major thing they did with the youth every year. Our bishop was a BYU professor (Andrew Skinner) who was well-versed on it, and put it together for the kids every year. It was a really special experience for them.

    I do think people can go overboard – especially if/when they think their heritage somehow makes them more worthy than others. On the other hand, their experiences can also be very faith promoting and strengthening to us. In my family, I have ancestors who were in the early church, ancestors who were converts from Europe in the late 1800’s, and fairly recent converts as well. I think all of their experiences can and should be valued, as well as our “own” convert experiences.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2007, 4:20 pm

    First, spitfire (I’m always tempted to shorten that to “spitty” or something!), I don’t think you’ve offended anyone. Please, please, speak your mind with all the fire you have in you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted By: spitfireI couldn’t believe the scuttle butt by those with “pioneer heritage”

    I’ve got to think there’s a REASON for such a reaction. Perhaps they thought celebrating Passover amounted to participating in a Jewish religious ceremony of some kind? Maybe your friend happened to have a bunch of gossips in her ward? Maybe they are historically clueless?

    A year ago my choir sang at a Passover feast held in an LDS building in Orem. BYU hosts a huge, always sold-out Passover feast every year. Right hear in the heart of Happy Valley many think it’s a wonderful thing. My point being that maybe the response was NOT because a bunch of people with pioneer ancestors couldn’t tolerate anyone without them. And even if that were true, perhaps it can’t reasonably be generalized to all or even MOST people with pioneer ancestors. People with pioneer ancestors can be jerks, too, but I think generally you’ll find that people who are jerky about their ancestors are jerky about other stuff as well. So it has nothing to do with having pioneer ancestors, but everything to do with being a jerk.

    We have to give allowance (as I said above) for those who simply are weird. In fact in #2, I probably know not just which prophet but the name of the person (if it’s the same, it was the wife who was the daughter (granddaughter?) of the prophet, not the son) because she’s known far and wide for her name-dropping and use of her maiden name prominently. That’s just life, isn’t it? Prophets have goofy kids, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    spitfire, as I said, my last name is Smith. When we travel (as when we were in Hawaii) and go to church, invariably someone asks our names and then says, “Oh, Smith! Well, that’s a good Mormon name.” :::chuckles at their own clever wit::: “Any relation to THE Smith?” We even get that in the temple about 30% of the time when the look at our recommends. If they ask, we tell them. If people are discussing something relevant, I don’t see a need to pretend I don’t know them anymore than I should pretend my dad isn’t a math teacher. It’s just a fact.

    Honestly, I think sometimes people really do confuse the statement of a fact with bragging, because I just don’t think MOST Mormons are stupid enough to really think that having a particular ancestor elevates them. Yea, some people might, but what basis would they have for that thought? Would this REALLY be a reasonable person? I’ve had tons of people tell me they were descended from some world leader, politician, war hero, or royalty. (My husband is a descendant of Charlemagne.) I think it’s just fun and cool. I don’t think it’s offensive. Heck, I think my husband’s ancestry is fun and cool. And it’s not MY ancestry.

    Right now we are doing a unit study about Mormon pioneers in our homeschool. The younger kids haven’t really heard any of the stories. But, so far at least, we haven’t even mentioned our own ancestors and they won’t play a prominent role in the study since much of their written history is before the trek west. Now that you’ve reminded me, I’ll throw in my Grandpa Empey, who built a ferry to help everyone cross.

    So, maybe we can agree that it would be really dumb to feel superior for having pioneer ancestors, but that it’s OK to honor and revere those ancestors who did great things? I guess I’m just asking that we give the benefit of the doubt to those with pioneer ancestors and not just assume that the mere mention of it really means the worst possible thing it can.

    I have a similar argument defending Utah Mormons, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sharilee10 June 9, 2007, 4:30 pm

    Agreed, and as I said before, I understood what you were saying and agree with the point you were trying to make. I was just emphasizing the point that I do believe we receive help from ancestors, etc. We are saying the same thing.

    As for missing out on so much from living in the mission field— I lived in the mission field for 5 years and there are definitely some advantages that I frankly miss now that I am back in Utah. Of course, if these were Utah Mormons who have lived their whole lives in Utah then maybe they aren’t aware of the advantages of living in the mission field and are unintentionally offending by expressing gratitude for the blessings and advantages of living in Utah– which there are those, too. Then again– maybe they are just focusing on expressing gratitude for the blessings they have been given (which would be the blessings of living in Utah rather than the blessings of living in the mission field), which is a normal part of bearing testimonies.

    I don’t believe you have said anything offensive, Spitfire, and I hope that you will be able to look past the unintentional foibles of Utah saints who unintentionally say things that could be taken as offensive. If there are those who are intentionally being offensive– since it is impossible to know who they are I guess we would all just be wise to give them the benefit of the doubt and leave judgement to the Lord.

  • spitfire June 9, 2007, 7:26 pm

    Ok ladies, I cried all the way through the PBS special about Mormons crossing the plains, I cry everytime I think of what they endured, so I give homage & honor to those who did what they did for themselves & indirectly for all of us. I’ve sat through many a conference session listening to the sacrafices of the early Saints both in Utah as they created a safe enviroment to worship as well as those who paid with their lives, so I don’t have an issues with ANYONE who regards their ancestors with great esteem & respect. I guess I’ve just had a overdose of that looking down one’s nose at those of us that live outside of “happy valley” and think b/c they have this wonderful heritage that they are a notch above the rest of us. I realize that the individuals (specificaly, not everyone from Utah!!) who have demonstrated this behavior had led fairly sheltered lives & are unaware of the world outside of their little hamlet. And as stated, some people are just jerks and are probably that way about a lot of things, I just get to see the special side @ church. Oh, and btw, it’s not a daughter or g-daughter of the prophet it is a grandson of the prophet…another individual who thinks they are “church royalty” ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I think you get the drift of what I’m saying. I’m really having a rough time right now in general, so I’m a little more sensitive than usual. I really don’t give much of this a tremendous amount of thought. The incident of the “royal prince” bilking the local ward members left a lasting impression and has sent ripples through the stake. Fortunately, my recently converted husband had the wear with all to say “no” when he was asked to invest in his little scheme. So, it’s a mix of a lot of things. We have travel to Utah & had a wonderful time & we have enjoyed many of the couples that have come to visit in our area, meeting them for dinner & dh has played golf with the husbands. We have made life long friends through many of the visitors & realize that what I have verbalized is unique to probably a small, select few. So, I do believe we are on the same way length & think we have just had different experiences that have formed our conclusions.

    oh, btw, spitty is fine, but fire is better :devil:

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2007, 10:18 am

    OK, Fire. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted By: spitfireI guess I’ve just had a overdose of that looking down one’s nose at those of us that live outside of “happy valley” and think b/c they have this wonderful heritage that they are a notch above the rest of us.

    Honestly, I know lots of serious pioneer descendants and, obviously, lots of people in Happy Valley (because I’ve spend 29 years of my life here) and I don’t think I’ve met anyone personally who seemed to feel that way. I know people who love Utah and love living by lots of Mormons–I do, that is the whole, entire reason we moved back–but that’s not the same as feeling superior to those who don’t. I’m not sure how my preference would be arrogance. As Sharilee said, there are good things and bad things about living ANYwhere. Personally, I found the most positives in Utah, yes, even in Happy Valley for my family. That doesn’t mean there are no negatives, that it would be right for everyone, or that it makes me better. But if someone tells me that Utah Valley is stupid and sheltered and that only clueless people live here and that we’re all slacker Mormons, I’m all over them. Not because I think WE are BETTER, but because I think it’s wrong.

    That said, I’d just have to chalk this up the same thing that I chalk up other arrogant behavior. It’s just dumb. If people think they are better because they have pioneer ancestors, high-ranking relatives, more money, bigger houses, faster cars, skinnier waistlines, bigger muscles, or because they hob-nob with movie starts…well, whatever.

    FWIW, there is plenty of “Utah Mormons are so faithless compared to US” sentiment as well. I was shocked at the Utah Mormon bashing when we moved to Florida BECAUSE I’d NEVER heard “mission field bashing” when I lived in Utah. If anything, I’d hear the OPPOSITE almost ad naseum. So, I just chalk this up to people who have their own problems.

  • CamBendy June 10, 2007, 5:37 pm

    I admit that I picked to read this because there weren’t a million responses, but I’m glad I did. Funny, Tracy. You are talented.

    I have heard both things people are talking about, but I haven’t heard Utah people say, “Mission field people don’t have strong testimonies” and I hear that about Utah people all the time here (I’m in CA). Like the mission field is so rightous or something. I think people are good and bad no matter where they live, i just think in other places you don’t as much know they are mormons.

  • Sharilee10 June 10, 2007, 5:48 pm

    ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with you both.

    One of the advantages of this blog is that we have the chance to ‘hang out’ together– Utah mormon mommas, mission field mormon mommas, half and half mormon mommas– and I have seen, again, that there are wonderful people and wonderful mormon mommas all over the world (I’ve lived abroad, also, and yes— there are even wonderful mormon mommas across the big blue ocean!)

    You guys are all great– so many thoughts to think about. I’m glad we all have different strengths and weaknesses and points of view to share. I think it will help each one of in reaching our ultimate quest– which, in spite of us all, is the same!! Hope to meet you all there many, many moons in the future— so I’d better get busy making sure I’ll be there with ya!

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2007, 7:42 pm

    Posted By: Sharilee10I’ve lived abroad, also, and yes— there are even wonderful mormon mommas across the big blue ocean!

    No WAY!

  • SilverRain June 10, 2007, 8:09 pm

    Can I just mention that a pet peeve of mine is that there is “Utah” and surrounding areas, and then there is the “mission field?” From observation, I’d conclude that Utah is more in need of missionary work than any other place I’ve lived! (With the arguable exception of Vegas. Yikes.)

  • east-of-eden June 11, 2007, 8:39 am

    As for celebrating pioneer heritage. I served my mission in Bulgaria. Most of the members there (when I was there) had been members of the Church less than 2-3 years, maybe 4 at the most. They had no connection to the pioneers who crossed the plains. But they loved Pioneer Day for the fact that it was a celebration of the Restored Gospel and the sacrifices it took to get it to them in Bulgaria. Honestly, their celebration rivaled any I’d ever seen in Utah, Arizona or the US. The Bulgarian saints often compared their own history of struggle against the Turks, Communists and so on to the struggles the pioneers had. And when the “Faith in Every Footstep” celebraion was had they celebrated the crossing of the plains
    (people dressed up and re-enacted the crossing), but also the fact that they were pioneers in their own country (by celebrating their own cultrual heritiage). So, I think it’s good to celebrate the history of the pioneers, but also our own pioneer history as well whatever that may be.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 11, 2007, 10:18 am

    What a wonderful story!

  • Sharilee10 June 12, 2007, 9:09 am

    Yes! THAT is the way to view Pioneer Day. What a wonderful example the Bulgarian Saints have set for all us, no matter where we live.

    I haven’t been able to keep up very well, but I’m headed to the airport to send off one child, the other is going to Grandma’s and I’m thinking I will finally have time to get caught up on some of those threads that have left me in the dust!

    Everyone have a GREAT day!

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