This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb edition of Pioneer Magazine
It was Pres. George Albert Smith, valiant SUP devotee and leader who used to say:
“No son of a Mormon pioneer ought to complain of the way life has treated him; and he wouldn’t if he only paused to reflect upon the hardships endured by these illustrious forebears.”
One thing these frontiersmen had in common with all people who ever set out in the search of freedom to worship God was a schooling in hardship, persecution, and sacrifice that burned out of their souls the dross, leaving with them the pure gold of character and faith—tested and refined.
At no time has the Father ever worked out his purposes through the pampered victims of ease and luxury. Invariably he has chosen those to whom hardship, privation and persecution had molded characters and wills of iron. God refines his choice souls in the crucible of adversity, not in the hothouses of ease and idleness.
That could be one reason why Brigham Young was able to recognize the Great Salt Lake Valley as the appointed place of testing, of striving and struggling. It was the Promised Land for his travel-worn little colony but it lay before them as a barren wilderness.
Their travels ended in this uninviting place, but they screwed up their courage to the sticking point and turned out the water upon the thirsty land, and they planted, reaped, toiled, played and sang. Sometimes they mourned. But happiness and contentment ultimately came to them.
The Mormon pioneers came to these valleys with a profound but simple faith in God — his mercy, justice and love. Bronzed, hardened, stalwart, and brave, they were tempered by toil, trial and tribulation. Always by their side was industry, enthusiasm, thrift and frugality. Law and order, obedience to authority and fair play guided their steps. They lived with work and honored it.
Throughout the decades the Mormon people have been abundantly blessed. Nature has been subdued; the wilderness has been transposed into a garden; the hills have yielded up their treasures; the mountain streams have provided drink for thirsty people and the parched soil. A great inland empire has sprung forth that has produced a four-ply culture— physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual – that has been the envy of an agitated and frustrated world.
When we see what God hath wrought through our pioneer fathers, of what have we to complain?