Thursday, July 21, 2011


I couple of weeks ago I was reading an article about recent law-making in NY, and was surprised to notice that the new law making gay marriage legal takes affect on July 24, which happens to be a big day here in Utah because it is the day that we celebrate the main group of Mormon pioneers arriving in the salt lake valley in the year 1847.

I found the date rather ironic. The LDS church began in the state of New York when a 14-year-old boy from Palmyra by the name of Joseph Smith prayed to know which church he should join. There are obviously significant Mormon pioneers who came from New York.

Now New York is producing new pioneers that are not afraid to stand up for freedom, lawmakers that are leading the way, along with a few other states, in the gay marriage battle. Pioneer day this year gives us a whole new reason to celebrate pioneers of freedom, of the battles and pressures they face, their strength and determination to stand up for what they know is right!

This past Sunday in my church meetings, the high council speaker in Sacrament meeting described the first Pioneer day celebration, which I summarize:

The pioneers celebrated first in 1849. The theme of the celebration was patriotism. So even as the saints were pushed away by a governor, and denied help from the president, with soldiers marching their direction, they celebrated patriotism and loyalty to their country. They raised a huge flag on a tall pole and celebrated their freedom.

The description of the event reminded me of the gay pride celebration here in SLC, the same city that celebrates pioneer day every year. In early June each year, thousands of people come to celebrate who they are, celebrate the authenticity of their loved ones, even in the midst of the religious headquarters of a church that seeks to thwart and deny their freedoms, (a church who ironically knows first hand about fighting for freedom.) And yet they celebrate, undaunted by the protestors, and every year the numbers increase and those who attend and participate are overcome by the feelings of unity and community and hope and pride by a very diverse group of people.

Pioneer day this year gives me many more reasons to celebrate the pioneers amongst us, and I look forward to celebrating it with Scott and the kids. :)

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