Pioneering in Today’s World

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2000 issue of Pioneer Magazine

By Dr. Ray Barton, Jr.

When the pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley after their incredible trek across mountain and valley, rivers and snows and all manners of hardship, they built a family-centered community based on the laws of God and the brotherhood of man. Since that time, incredible changes have taken place. We are no longer isolated. The world has come to us, and we have gone to the world. But one thing has not changed—the values by which we live.

However, with technical advances in communications, i.e., Internet, movies, TV, video, radio, fax, etc. (and certainly more to come), greater access and invasion into the personal lives of families has taken place. As a haven (fortress) of family life, the home is taking a beating as the world comes storming inside. Who is really in charge? The divorce rate is escalating, and “homelessness” is rampant. An estimated 67 percent of mothers are now in the workplace, compared to 6 percent when I was a kid.

As a child, my favorite thing was to have Mother read to me or tell me a story at bedtime. Some stories were her own experiences; others she simply made up. There were good books, and sometimes she read out of those. Often she fell asleep first, utterly exhausted, and I would put my arm around her and then fall asleep myself, comforted with the thought that Mother cared.

Often my dad talked to me of his experiences. He would say such things as “Your word is your bond” or “Work hard, play hard, pray hard” as he explained life’s lessons. Always involved in those lessons were moral values and decisions that helped me formulate my own set of values.

Today we are beginning to live in a world of false values. Children and adults alike are shocked by insensitive and harmful messages from the media, which derives its income by competition in shocking material. Those who are shocked continually become desensitized to callous and shocking acts. Judges and courts can’t figure out what to do with juvenile murderers, teenage pregnancy, rape, guns, gang violence and drug purveyance and users.

There are some good things, of course, but mixed in is the bad. Movies used to have the Hay’s committee to screen content; we need to bring that back. But mostly we need to be on guard with the television remote in hand for quick action, reestablishing our homes as fortresses.

Grandparents need to have their presence felt and feelings voiced in helping to preserve homes and values. We as members of SUP are in a wonderful position to first, shore up our own homes; second, strengthen our children’s and grandchildren’s homes; and third, be a friend and an influence outside of the home.

Go and visit, write a letter, make a phone call, leave a message of morality and hope and direction. Next extend your sphere of influence to your neighborhood and community. There are those who are waiting for someone to speak up. They will silently cheer when you do, and confidently move forward. Write an editorial to the paper. Write your senator or, even more powerful, write as a chapter of SUP. Take a united stand. United in the message. Send a petition in the target area and make your views known. Help those in trouble.

We can be a force for good in our homes, our community and our country as we pioneer today over obstacles just as formidable as mountains, rivers, snows and ice.Speak up for morals and values and conquer in righteousness. Stand up and speak up while we still have the time. The words to the song “Bless This House,” by Helen Taylor (see below), sum up the prayer we should all carry in our hearts.

Bless This House

Bless this house,

Oh, Lord, we pray

Make it safe by night

and day.

Bless these walls so

firm and stout

Keeping want and

trouble out.

Bless the roof and

chimneys tall

Let thy peace be over all.

Bless this door that it

may prove

Ever open to joy and love.

Bless these windows

shining bright

Letting in Gods heavenly


Bless the hearth a’blazing


With smoke ascending

like a prayer.

Bless the people here


Keep them pure and

free from sin.

Bless us all that we may


Fit, Oh, Lord, to dwell

with thee.

Bless us all that we one


May dwell, Oh, Lord,

with thee.

by Helen Taylor

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