Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry

July 24th: Pioneer Day in Utah

July 24th is a state holiday in Utah, designated Pioneer Day. It commemorates the entry of the first wagon train of Mormons into the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1847. They came down Emigration Canyon, somewhat north of the present I-80 corridor which comes down Parley’s Canyon. Brigham Young was part of that first company to enter the valley. Due to sickness, he was a couple of days behind the lead group of wagons. By the time he entered the valley, crops were already being planted and water diverted for irrigation.

The LDS Newsroom just issued a statement reviewing the significance of the day: “Mormons Celebrate Their Pioneer Heritage.” For some background on some of the sites along the Mormon Trail in Wyoming (which, along this stretch, was shared with the Oregon Trail and the California Trail), see my earlier post “Reflections on the Mormon Trail.”


There are plenty of books on the Mormon pioneer experience. The one I would recommend is Wallace Stegner’s The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail. It tells the story from a sympathic but objective non-LDS perspective, with all the flair and insight one would expect of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
Andrew Hunt

posted July 25, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I’m thrilled to see you’re recommending Wallace Stegner. He is a brilliant author who wrote a lot of wonderful books and essays. Some of his most insightful material is on the LDS Church. I agree that he is very sympathetic, without actually being LDS. And his writing is absolutely beautiful. He lived in many places, but he often said that he considered Salt Lake City to be his hometown.

report abuse

bill kilpatrick

posted July 29, 2009 at 9:58 am

Good job on the informative blog, which was timely and on target.

report abuse

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Mormon Inquiry. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Most Recent Mormon Story on Beliefnet Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent ...

posted 2:21:45pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

The meanings of Zion
This is the third post on Richard L. Bushman's Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2008). [See Part 1 and Part 2.] In Chapter Three, Bushman reviews the several meanings of the term "Zion" in LDS doctrine and thinking. The Mormon ...

posted 11:00:37pm Jul. 29, 2009 | read full post »

A statistical portrait of Mormons
The Pew Forum recently issued a detailed summary of survey information about Mormons gathered as part of a much larger survey of religious life in the United States. It is a very readable summary, noting that Mormons comprise 1.7% of adults in ...

posted 12:33:08pm Jul. 29, 2009 | read full post »

Finding heretics in strange places
A very interesting post at Mormon Matters, reviewing a 1989 book titled "Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up?" The book was written by an attorney who grew up a Jehovah's Witness, then became an Evangelical Christian. That lasted until he ...

posted 6:27:09pm Jul. 22, 2009 | read full post »

Reason and revelation in Mormonism
This is a second piece on Bushman's Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2008). [See Part 1.] Every faith and denomination has an approach for balancing faith and reason. In Chapter Two of the book, Bushman briefly outlines the LDS ...

posted 12:46:47am Jul. 17, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.