Saturday, July 24, 2010

Should Mormons in the Diaspora Celebrate Pioneer Day?

Posted at Mormon Matters on July 24, 2010
It has only been in recent years that I have slowly become aware that not every convert to the Church shares my deep identification with the Mormon pioneers. I have loved the epic story of the trek to the Salt Lake Valley. I appreciate its archetypal connotations. My heart thrills with the stories of the pioneer heroes and heroines, and I consider each of their stories part of my legacy as a Mormon, though my LDS heritage begins with myself.
In the last few years there has been some grumbling by members who don’t have Mormon pioneers in their genealogy that it annoys them to celebrate the July 24th holiday, a commemoration of the day the first company of pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. I think partly to appease these voices, there has been an emphasis on “modern-day pioneers”–those who lead the way for others to follow and who blaze trails in other ways than traditionally recognized. There’s a relatively new Primary song, “I Can Be a Modern-Day Pioneer,” there are more talks given by General Authorities on the subject, and there are articles such as the latest Mormon Times article “Pioneer Journeys of a Different Era.”  There is a sudden dearth of Pioneer Day activities in wards outside of Utah, and in our ward last Sunday the only talk which mentioned pioneers emphasized modern-day contributions rather than those who crossed the plains.
I just want to register a caution to those who wish to move away from the traditional veneration of these honorable forebears.
I want to remember their devotion to a faith that meant more to them than life itself. Social scientists often point to the Jewish culture and theorize that the reason it survived through so many years and the scattering of the people to so many different places was the very persecution which caused them to band together in small groups, and their longing remembrance of their homeland.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,
yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song;
and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying,
Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
(Psalm 137)
This Psalm is a poignant lyrical device for recalling the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and its arrival in the promised land. It acts as an earnest reminder both to the exiled Israelites and to later biblical readers of the importance of the promised land for the celebration of the Jewish faith. Now that we Latter-day Saints experience little real persecution, and the importance of our history and sacred places is beginning to wane, are we in danger of losing some valuable aspect of our culture? Are we losing our Psalms, our legends, our traditional customs and stories?
I’d like to hear what our readers think. Do you feel a connection to the Mormon pioneers? Or do you think the holiday is unnecessary, especially to LDS of other cultures living in many different countries of the world? Should we attempt to graft new converts in to the Utah Mormon pioneer heritage, or should we transfer our loyalties to “modern-day pioneers?”

42 Responses to “Should Mormons in the Diaspora Celebrate Pioneer Day?”

  • Stephen M (Ethesis)
    I do not feel a great connection, but I do feel a connection to the culture, which is important to me.
  • E.D.
    I do not have any Utah pioneers in my family, but feel a connection to the pioneers on the level of sacrifice for one’s beliefs. However, I think the holiday is unnecessary outside Utah. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until I was in high school, because it just wasn’t celebrated where I grew up (near Syracuse). We probably put a lot more importance on April 6th due to our proximity to Palmyra.
    We had Pioneer talks last Sunday. The first was a man from Kenya who came to the U.S. and converted. The second focused on people who were the only members in their families. The last was about the Trek, but more about the celebration it should be that such a high percentage made it to Salt Lake Valley alive and not such a focus on the deaths.
    As time passes and the church spreads, there will be more and more converts who should be included as pioneers.
  • Martin Holden
    I have lived in the British Isles all my life and am not aware of any celebration. An occasional ward or stake may have the odd pioneer activity but it is more normally regarded as an Utah or American day. In the ward I am in we did not note the day at all.
    I have a website devoted to the nineteenth century converts from my island most of whom emigrated but the church’s current history here only goes back 50 years. We are the pioneers and most of us would be uncomfortable with celebrating that. Pioneers in the church are associated with America and we are not Americans
  • Jo
    Since I think I might be the catalyst for your post today, I will definitely answer. And clarify. I love and honor our righteous pioneer heritage. As a recent convert to the Church, I was brought to tears my first trip to Salt Lake City and temple square. There, I had a chance to visit the Mormon “Mecca” and pay homage to those who had gone before and all their sacrifices. I loved the Pioneer Day celebrations we participated in, when we lived in California. Utah? Um.. not so much.
    In Utah, it is mixed too far in with the ubiquitous culture and is used as a way to show American patriotism. I think it is weird in Utah, and I despise the way the Native Americans are dismissed and the horror that the unrighteous acts of our ancestors rained down upon them. So I say, BAH HUMBUG on Pioneer Day in Utah.
  • Kevin Barney
    Thanks for this, BiV. When I was a boy in my northern Illinois branch, we always had some sort of Pioneer’s Day celebration. In the stake of my adult years, I can only remember a few picnics over the years; most of the time it is completely ignored. I admit that I miss the old celebrations. (But I’ve never experienced Pioneer Day in Utah.)
  • SUNNofaB.C.Rich
    So you don’t mind messing with Memorial day but don’t touch pioneer day? Yeah, sure.
  • Bored in Vernal
    lol, that’s right. I am nothing if not inconsistent!
  • ESO
    I do feel a faith-based connection with the pioneers and personally because my ancestors were pioneers. If I didn’t have that heritage, I think I would feel a connection with the people of the D&C, as I do with the Christians in the NT. That does not, however, inspire me to wear pioneer clothing or play pull the stick or sing “pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked….”
    (FWIW, I attended both my wards’ pioneer day event this AM and my parent’s stake pioneer day activity this PM here in New York, but if I were in charge, I would not have suggested we have a Pioneer Day activity).
  • Matt A.
    Well, I can honestly say that I had never heard of it until, oh, last year or so, and I really have no emotional attachment to the holiday. Although, I am not much for any non-liturgical holidays, to be perfectly honest. :)
    That being said, I am profoundly grateful for the people who built up this church with their blood, sweat, and tears. Who were willing to lay down their lives, in every sense of the term, to follow God’s will.
    I am also profoundly grateful to the Christians of the early church, who endured great persecution because of their faith, refusing to let the light die out. They too, built this church with their suffering and faithfulness.
    My connection to both groups (among many others) is based on the qualities that they share – the determination to live and die for what they believed. I honor them for it, and I am tremendously grateful for it. I think that their stories, all of them, are important and relevant and it would be foolish of us to forget them.
    However, I remain unconvinced that Pioneer Day and its attendant activities is meaningful or practical outside of Utah, particularly in areas where there are few LDS members. I think it is just too local in its meaning.
    Also, there is this:
    “Should we attempt to graft new converts in to the Utah Mormon pioneer heritage, or should we transfer our loyalties to “modern-day pioneers?” ”
    This bothers me somewhat (no offense intended, BiV :D ).
    I don’t believe that cultural artifacts have any real place in the gospel. Heritage is important, don’t get me wrong, but it shouldn’t be part of our *religious* practices. I think that any cultural grafting needs to be optional, for one, and local, for another. Joining this church should not equate to joining Utah-Mormon culture.
    Now, I don’t believe that you were saying that at all BiV. In context, I read your question as a generous invitation based on your own passion. I just wanted to offer some food for thought.
    Good post. :)
  • Jeff Spector
    I am a modern-day pioneer and I appreciate the sacrifice of the latter-day Mormon Pioneers and love to hear the stories. I have to say that back in 1997, during the Sesquicentennial, I thought there was a bit of overload on the subject that year.
    I just got back from our Annual Ward Pioneer day chicken BBQ. There was no Pioneer day activities, but there was tons of chicken!
  • James
    While I do not have Mormon pioneer blood in me, I do have pioneer blood just the same. My great great grandfather was a Kansas sod buster and pioneer. He brought his family to America on a boat from Sweden and then drove them from New York to Kansas in a wagon. He worked real hard to homestead his land and provide for his wife and ten kids.
    When I was a kid in Primary, we were talking about pioneers and the teacher asked everyone who had pioneer ancestors to raise their hands. Of course I raised my hand because I do. I was very condescendingly told by the Primary President “put your hand down, we are talking about the real pioneers”
    That kind of attitude by members burns me. I got even with her though. She just about passed peach pits when I wore a t-shirt from our old church to Primary on Wednesday. It had a cross on it. She just about went through the roof.
  • SUNNofaB.C.Rich
    When youre inconsistent, that usually means half the time youre full of… well, you know.
  • Jessica
    For today’s pioneer day picnic here in 75-degree southern California, I wore a corset. Underneath a period-appropriate dress, of course. Yes, it was painful. Yes, it is exactly the sort of thing my pioneer ancestors (I got nuthin’ BUT pioneer ancestry) wore, at least those of the female gender. So it wasn’t any dumber than anything else folks do to celebrate the date. But it was more fun to me to see the youth from the Cambodian language ward (first one in the chuch) doing so much socializing with the the youth of the other wards than it was to receive all the compliments on my attire.
  • brjones
    I am of pioneer lineage on both sides, and was raised in the western United States where we always celebrated Pioneer Day every year. That said, I don’t now, nor I have I ever really associated much with the mormon pioneers. I always found the focus on the pioneers to be a bit overdone in the church and I think if anything it’s gotten worse in the past several years. On one hand I can understand the focus, since we’re still relatively close to the church’s formation and the trek west. However, I think the pioneer push is, to some degree, an effort to infuse nobility and pathos into the mormon narrative and mormon culture. That has always bothered me.
    I’m sure I’ll raise a few hackles with this comment, but frankly I have never seen quite the nobility in the mormon exodus that the church presents and that many mormons feel so passionately. In a very real sense, these people didn’t make a theological decision to migrate west, they made a survival decision. I am not comfortable with the idea that the pioneers were all a bunch of people who loved god more than their lives so they embarked on a perilous journey to grow the church, etc. They were literally driven west by citizens and governments that made it their stated goal to eradicate the church and its members. I have always found it interesting that the church presents on the one hand on the fact that the saints were forcibly driven out of their homes and towns, and on the other celebrates these god-loving individuals who migrated to the Salt Lake Valley out of obedience and love for god and the church. Those are two somewhat mutually exclusive positions. Either they were forced to leave or they chose to leave. I think the former is the reality. When someone is faced with relocation or extinction, not only do I think pretty much all people, god-loving or not, would choose migration, but I find it hard to consider doing so particularly noble behavior. I’m not saying there’s any cause to criticize the pioneers, I just don’t think they’re more noble than scores of other people of their time who were seeking out a better life for themselves. In fact many people of that time DID risk death, completely voluntarily, in an effort to make a better life for their families. As I’ve gotten older and learned more about the church’s history, and particularly about the church’s accountability in some of the persecutions the early members suffered, I have found the church’s celebration of the mormon pioneers even more distasteful.
    In my opinion, if anyone deserves the lion’s share of the praise in the early church with respect to pioneering, it’s the british saints who relocated to the U.S. in obedience to the brethren. These people propped up the fledgling church and risked every bit as much, if not more, to do so. Yet these saints receive relatively little attention, compared to those involved in the mormon exodus.
    All this said, I don’t have a problem with the celebrations in Utah, as it’s part of the state’s heritage. I just don’t think it necessarily transfers to all members of the church.
  • Destine
    As a california Methodist convert I really didn’t understand or relate to Pioneer Day, but just as with the scriptures, once you read and understand the history, you appreciate and relate.So ss I am preparing my mens choir to sing COme COme Ye Saints A capella tomorrow here in California, I am also reading about how the Mormon Militia marched over 1500 miles from Winters quarters to San Diego and helped settle many california towns, I visited their graves even in Fremonts oldest cemetary….they were the first in San Francisco too (though the numbers have not grown since…there, I was there and they are the same all over the world, pioneers) Yes, we study church history just like the scriptures, it is a history of gods dealings with men, no matter, the state or country)
  • nightwalden
    I feel no connection to pioneer day. In my mind, it is a Utah state holiday, not a mormon holiday.
    I think the main reason for the push of the idea of modern day pioneers is an attempt to hold on to traditions that don’t mean much to the new generation of mormons.
  • Jay
    I respect the sacrifice made by the early Mormon pioneers. I also think celebrating Pioneer Day outside Utah is silly, especially stake-sponsored re-enactments for the youth. As I kid I got so tired of singing about how Pioneer children walked and walked and walked and walked and endlessly walked. OK, I get it. But let’s keep things proportional. Exporting Pioneer Day contributes to the perception that the Church is trying to turn every LDS congregation in the world into little outposts of Utah. That would be neither welcome nor helpful, I suspect. Let’s teach respect for the pioneers’ efforts, but leave the holiday and the adulation in Utah please.
  • Jared T.
    GRRRR…calling Mormons outside Utah “diaspora”?!?!?!
  • Arnster
    Yeah, I thought the correct term was “mission field”? :)
  • Glenn Thigpen
    There are July 24th celebrations in some wards and branches here in Eastern NC but nothing concerted, i.e. stake wide, etc. It is good to have those activities because I feel it helps to draw the ward or branch together.
    I feel a connection even though I have no ancestors that participated in that trek. I know that had those people not had that great faith and made that journey, the church probably would not have survived.
  • Stephen M (Ethesis)
    ALT LAKE CITY — Departing from typical Pioneer Day themes, the LDS Church historian and recorder spoke of Utah’s 1847 American Indian population in his address Saturday at the traditional Days of ’47 Sunrise Service in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
    Elder Marlin K. Jensen borrowed a phrase from late radio newscaster Paul Harvey, saying he would give the “rest of the story” pertaining to the coming of the Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley, a story he said “is seldom given adequate prominence.”
    “When the pioneers arrived here, there was already a substantial Indian civilization and culture existing,” said Elder Jensen, a member of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    The pioneers no more “discovered” the Great Basin than Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, he said.
    Elder Jensen cited this July 31, 1847, journal entry from Mormon pioneer William Clayton: “(The Shoshone) appear to be displeased because we have traded with the Utahs, and (the Shoshone) say that they own this land and the Utahs have come over the line.”
    “Regardless of how one views the equities of Indian-Mormon relations in those times, the end result was that the land and cultural birthright Indians once possessed in the Great Basin were taken from them,” he said. “What we can do, the least we can do from a distance of 160 years, is to acknowledge and appreciate the monumental loss this represents on the part of Utah’s Indians. That loss and its 160-year aftermath are the rest of the story.”
  • Chris
    I have 14 pioneer ancestors who crossed the plains. I love, respect, and admire their great sacrifices and look forward to meeting them some day. Their trials and courage amazes me. With that said, I feel it is critical that our talks and focus during Sacrament Meeting needs to be on the Savior. If we share stories and/or personal experiences, they should draw us to Christ, not to the person we are describing, and that includes our wonderful pioneers.
  • Jo
    Thank you Stephen.
  • Coffinberry
    Pioneer day at its most annoying means no hotel rooms within 300 miles of Rexburg so you can get your kid who’s finished the semester without having to drive 20 hrs round trip straight there and back. Urgh. (Don’t worry. The irony isn’t lost on me. Much of the drive through Wyoming yesterday provoked thoughts about how grateful I was to be cruising by that wind-and-sage landscape at 80 mph in air conditioned comfort instead of plodding barefoot in the dust day after day after day.) (oh, and I volunteered for the fetching duty, just to avoid the ward Pioneer Day celebration, when they announced that the entertainment would be members of the ward telling about their own pioneer ancestors. Puh-leeze.)
    I too was born in the Church, but have no so-called “pioneer” ancestry. Pioneer day celebrations, sacrament meetings, Trek, etc. get stale and old. And you’re never allowed to tell about what your ancestors did. As James (#11) above pointed out, it seems like those of us without pioneer ancestry are forever outsiders, and our own ancestor’s sacrifices and experience have no value. I appreciate what the LDS pioneers did, but it was the same kind of thing my own ancestors did, and for similar reasons.
  • Mark Gibson
    A few years ago the Mobile Alabama Stake youth participated in a 3-day 20 mile recreation of a handcart company, complete with encountering lawmen, lamanites, and mobs. It was very meaningful and informative since we are converts. And it was very HOT.
    Today I had scheduled all music around the pioneer theme but the talks were of a general nature. I believe that there are inspirational elements for all members in the story of the mormon exodus, and new converts benefit from becoming familiar with it.
  • Micheal
    Diaspora? Really? How offensive to the majority of church members who are converts over the past forty years and have no connection to the mountain west or pioneers.
    I also think we need to minimize the celebration of a Utah state holiday and maximize the celebration of Holy Week and Easter Sunday. We have our priorities totally screwed up.
    Just my thoughts.
  • E.D.
    I agree with others who have said use of the terms “diaspora”, “mission field”, and “Mecca” are incredibly disrespectful to those of us who live outside Utah. Utah is neither holy land nor homeland for most of us. SLC is just church headquarters.
  • Rigel Hawthorne
    Re #14:
    “Either they were forced to leave or they chose to leave.”
    Wasn’t the third option to remain where they were and not practice Mormonism? Some DID remain–or migrated back. Opposition died down if they were quiet and didn’t assemble.
    There is relevance. Every new convert who deals with the ramifications of saying, “I am an actively practicing Mormon” has a bond.
  • Jared T.
    You’re being a bit dramatic.
  • hawkgrrrl
    Pioneer Day, meh. Growing up in PA it was generally not practiced as very few had any pioneer heritage. Of course, the one family that did wanted the opportunity to extoll their pedigree and tried to institute it in the one year it happened to fall on a Saturday. I definitely have experienced it as more divisive than anything else – a cultural artifact of Utah that implies that one’s status is loftier if one has more Mormon generations under one’s belt despite being raised with relatively no persecution or discomfort. Those converts who came later are every bit as worthy of mention, IMO, but do we need to set off fireworks or hold a parade or pee in the wilderness? I think that’s all beside the point.
  • Jared T.
    hawkgrrl, at issue in your example is pride, plain and simple. It’s not about any virtues the Utah pioneers had (which, incidentally are not uniquely to be found with the Utah pioneers), those can be celebrated in many ways. But the sheer pride of that family and of comments such as Rangel’s and others and the OP for that matter, taking to task the “grumbling” members who feel ambivalence or “annoyance” toward Pioneer Day, and which seek to compel others to form some mythic and romantic “bond” which supposedly exists uniquely with that one generation coupled with the thoughtlessness of calling the majority of the Church the “diaspora” is insufferable and ultimately part of the reason people “grumble” in the first place.
  • Clark
    #14 and 28: I think the exact words of Heber J Grant were “We came west wilingly–because we had too.”
  • E.D.
    Jared T.: Say it with me — “that’s not how we do it in Utah”!!
  • Jared T.
    Right, ED. Though I haven’t heard that exact phrase so much, it’s implicit in the attitude manifested sometimes.
    I think we’re reaching a critical mass that will begin to drive local areas to learn more about the history of the Church in their areas. They will then begin to have Pioneer Days according to their local stories. I have felt that need in the last few years and so I have embarked on a wide-ranging project to recover the history of the Church in South Texas. There was a small effort undertaken in the 70s, but the text is unavailable anywhere in the ward libraries or files. You can read about some of what I’m coming up with here in a this talk that I gave in Church last Pioneer Day. You’ll notice the almost hysterical response by one Utah Pioneer descendant. Another later on says it’s messy, but he misconstrues or misunderstands or both what I did there.
  • dmac
    It becomes a little further stretched when you try to connect with the pioneer stories when living in Melbourne Australia. I’m with Jared T. I’d be more interested in the history of early members in my area as a means to better identify with those that came before and established our wards and stakes in a far flung land.
    I’m not diminishing the part of Mormon history that is connected to the trek thos pioneers made to Utah, but have a hard time finding relevance to it from this far away.
  • Jared T.
    Thanks, dmac. And with all this pushback, I think it’s critical for me to say that if doing all this is what connects you to the past and fulfills you, fantastic. There’s no desire here to diminish it for you. I do think some things are just plain overdone, but I’m not trying to say the Utah pioneers shouldn’t be celebrated. But what I am saying is that it is not the case that the whole church needs to feel compelled to celebrate them a) as some sort of unifying force for the whole church or b) as the go-to example for the whole church of certain virtues. The Gospel of Jesus Christ unites us across boundaries and we all have local heritage that embodies these virtues.
    I’m also reacting against the culture of royalty that has already been alluded to before this. I’ve been in Utah 10 years and it’s readily discerned in my experience with even Handcart descendants telling me that there is a hierarchy of pedigree with handcart descendants at the top.
    Also, as Elder Jensen recently observed and David G. over at the JI also, silence and forgetting portions of the Pioneer story is a potentially oppressive force in its own right without the presence of overt jingoism.
  • hawkgrrrl
    I do like the suggestion of sharing stories of early converts that were local to each region and others who helped settle that area. To me, that’s far more relevant to those living outside Utah. And I do think it’s valuable to honor those who converted against oppression (many of the current generation of converts). The other issue I have is that the Mormon pioneers (like all mythic heroes) don’t and can’t live up to the exaggerated stories. They also behaved badly sometimes, were rash, even selfish. A closer examination reveals foolishness along with their virtues as it does with all generations. These stories get mangled in the passing down.
  • Leslie
    Let me preface my comments with my pedigree as a disclaimer: my ancestors were: 1)American Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains 2) emmigrant Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains 3)emmigrants who were not Mormon, but still migrated to the frontier, and finally 4) descended from early American colonists, not Mormon. I am either a first generation member of the church, or any number of generations.
    SO- as a child, I loved the whole pioneer parade with costumes (celebrated in northern California). Now, I’m not a costume lover, but I am a lover of understanding history, whether political, religious, family or otherwise. If some have thrown pioneer celebrations that made those who are not pioneer descendents feel marginalized, shame on them (both). Part of why the early members of the Church were persecuted was their own bad behavior, and remembering the past helps us to not repeat it, right? I’m not suggesting that we read stories about the early members faults on July 24th, but rather that we celebrate where we are today, and acknowledge that we are benefitting from those who came before. And at the same time, acknowledge that there will be no future for the Church if we don’t make the sacrifices required in our day.
  • LDS Scot
    I have no pioneer heritage whatsoever.
    The church here has shallow roots, because a lot of the Scottish members emigrated, and never came back.
    We do have a dual problem here though – as Scots our own national heritage is more or less ignored a lot of the time, and we have Britishness (i.e. Englishness most of the time) and American stuff rammed down our throats. All fine and well, but we are neither of these, we are just Scots.
    The Pioneer stories are inspiring, but the stories of Mormonism in Scotland, past and present tend to be ignored.
  • Jared T.
    LDS Scot,
    I’d imagine there are some phenomenal stories of Mormonism in Scotland. I hope someone out there is working to recover and preserve the stories of LDS there. If not, please consider starting something or contact the European Mormon Studies Association (euromormonstudies [dot] com] and pick their brain about what might be done. It has to start somewhere. Best of luck.
  • Mai Li
    This doesn’t directly address the Op, but you might find this bit interesting from The National Park Service’s Mormon Pioneer: Historic Resource Study. “Contrary to myth and popular belief, this 1847 trek of approximately 1,032 miles and 111 days was not one long, unending trail of tears or trial by fire. Over the decades, Mormons have emphasized the tragedies of the trail, and tragedies there were. Between 1847 and the building of the railroad in 1869, at least 6,000 died along the trail from exhaustion, exposure, disease and lack of food. Few were killed by Indians. At least seven people were bitten by rattlesnakes, none of whom died. To the vast majority, however, the experience was positive — a difficult and rewarding struggle.
    Following are some pioneer myths:
    1) Death was a common occurrence on all pioneer treks. Not true, as most who started for Utah arrived. For example, no one died in the original 1847 pioneer company to Salt Lake. The average death rate in all Mormon companies was less than 3 percent; a third of the companies (more than 80) did not have any deaths at all; only 18 of the more than 250 companies experienced more than 20 deaths en route (7 percent of the companies accounted for 43 percent of the deaths).
  • LDS Scot
    Yes Jared T, there are. But they’re little known. Because they’re often told from an American perspective, or submerged into a British context, they can lose something.
    The founder of LDS Sunday School was a Scot. The first major Mormon writer was also a Scot. Sadly though, he is forgotten, although his descendants, the Lyons seem to be well known in Utah. Pres. McKay served his mission here, and had a great love for the country of his ancestors. However, most of this has been lost and forgotten in Scotland amongst the LDS themselves, let alone the wider Scottish population.
    Some mining villages in Scotland became heavily Mormon, particularly in Midlothian. But again, this is forgotten.
    BYU Studies did a volume on British Mormon history, but that’s the problem. Scottish stuff often gets lost in any British context. There needs to be some kind of work done specifically on Scotland (not to mention Ireland, Switzerland, Holland etc etc)* It can be written by Americans, I’ve no problem with that, but it needs input from this end, if only in the editing. There were some factual mistakes and spelling errors in the volume… all of which could have been remedied with some local knowledge.
    Anyway, the long and the short of this is that we don’t feel anything for the stars and stripes here, or at least we don’t have a completely rosy image of it, if we do. The union jack is accepted by some of us, and hated by others of us, but that’s how the LDS sees the British Isles, even the Republic of Ireland. I hope one day we have our own temple.
    * The only place which has had some significant work done is Wales, mostly by Welsh language scholars.

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