When I think about pioneers: July 21, 2013 - Rebecca J (By Common Consent)
On a personal note:
My wife's fourth-great-grandfather was one of the first two native Italian converts to the Church. (The journals simply record the day and not the order.) His ancestors had been the Waldensians - "The Poor" - who had been persecuted and killed by Catholic armies for 500 years for refusing to accept Catholicism. Those people were driven out of their Italian homeland time and time again, at one point almost becoming extinct, but they vowed never to leave for good - so they kept filtering back to their valley until the killing finally stopped. It was a sacred bond they had with that land, passed on for hundreds of years through intense hardship, suffering and death. If you want to read an amazing story of dedication, faith and dogged determination, their history is stunning. (Whenever I feel like being sorry for myself because I'm not understood, I think of them and immediately realize how self-centered and blown out of proportion that self-misery is.)
John Daniel Malan walked away from that sacred homeland and his kindred dead when the saints were asked to gather to Utah, largely because he chose to believe in a modern prophet, the Book of Mormon, the principle of vicarious ordinances and the eternal vision the missionaries preached. He did it largely as a sign of his devotion to his heritage and his belief that his new religion honored them in the fullest way imaginable.
I don't want obsession and fanaticism, but, as a friend once said:
I can't resist having the profoundest respect (for him - and others like him).
Blessed, honored Pioneer, indeed!