The Mormon pioneers crossing the plains to Utah was a critical event in Mormon history. Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ inception in 1830, the Latter-day Saints had experienced tremendous persecution. They had been driven from their land and homes multiple times by angry mobs.
How many pioneers were there?
Brigham Young, then President of the Church, decided that the Latter-day Saints were going to head west to avoid such persecution. In April 1847, the first company of Latter-day Saints, consisting of roughly 150 people, left on the journey west. After a few difficult months, the group reached the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. On July 24, President Brigham Young saw the valley and expressed “This is the right place, drive on.”
After that time, approximately 70,000 Latter-day Saints traveled to the Salt Lake Valley between 1847 and 1869 when the Transcontinental Railroad was finished. Today, members of the Mormon Church look back to the pioneers as tremendous examples of faith and fortitude. This brief video describes just one of the many trying events that the early pioneers overcame in their journey to find a place where they could worship freely.
What about Mormon pioneers today?
In addition to the pioneers in the mid-1800s, there are thousands and thousands of pioneers today. For example, there are often members of the Mormon Church today who have to sacrifice their employment, or are disowned by family or friends, or experience similar challenges in order to follow their convictions. This video highlights some of these modern-day pioneers.