Music and the Spoken Word

Our Pioneering Journey - Sunday, July 19, 2015

To many, the word pioneer conjures up images of covered wagons, dusty oxen, and hearty men and women seeking a new home in the American West. Or it may remind us of someone who makes important scientific discoveries. In reality, a pioneer can be anyone who moves bravely forward into the unknown—and doesn’t that pretty well describe all of us on the journey of life?

Pondering the lessons learned by the pioneers who walked across plain and prairie in the 1800s can help us on our own pioneer trek. Describing her experience as a 17-year-old pioneer, Margaret Judd said: “Our journey was like all such journeys—it had its pleasant side, and its unpleasant side. When the sun was shining and the roads were good, we trotted along feeling that we would soon be at our destination, but when the rain poured down and the roads were so bad that we could not travel—then that was the other side.”1

We’re not crossing the barren wilderness, but we do travel through good and bad times, sunny days and rainy days. There are moments when everything seems perfect and the future is bright. There are other times when we wonder how we can go on. No one knows what the future holds, but no matter the terrain, the weather, or the distance, we can keep going—as the pioneers did—and even find some joy along the way.

Catherine Adams, who turned 12 during her pioneer trek, described it this way: “It was terribly tiring and tedious in the hot and rainy weather. . . . We had many good times, though. In the evenings after the horses were tethered the men would light a big bonfire, clear off a level piece of ground, dampen it down to pack it a bit, and have a dance. There were some fine musicians along who played the fiddle, [harmonica], and accordion, and we used to enjoy sitting around the fire listening to them or having a sing-song.”2

Yes, the journey is long and often difficult, but there are joyful moments scattered along the trail. Even if we have to clear some ground and make space for it, joy can be a daily part of our journey of life.

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. In Susan Arrington Madsen, comp., I Walked to Zion: True Stories of Young Pioneers on the Mormon Trail (1994), 142.
2. In I Walked to Zion, 122.

July 19, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,479

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Guest Artist
Laura Osnes

Clay Christiansen

Lloyd Newell

The Handcart Song
John Daniel Thompson McAllister; arr. Sam Cardon

They, the Builders of the Nation
Alfred M. Durham; arr. Mack Wilberg

There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today
John R. Sweney; arr. Mack Wilberg

The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare
Dmitri Bortniansky; arr. Mack Wilberg

Land of Rest, from Seven Folk Tune Sketches
American melody; arr. Dale Wood

Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz
Harold Arlen; arr. Michael Davis

Come, Come, Ye Saints
American folk tune; arr. Mack Wilberg