President’s Message: October 2021

Larry Gibson: “Teach these same qualities to the youth”


2021-22 National President

President’s Message: October 2021

Welcome to each of you as we begin the 2021-2022 year for the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. It is humbling and an honor as I begin my tenure as the President of this wonderful organization. As I look at the footsteps of those preceding me, it is easily recognizable that their shoes cannot be filled. I do commit, however, to give it all that I have for the continued success we are all seeking. An expression of special appreciation and gratitude needs to be given to Wayne Hinton who guided us through the far-reaching arms of the pandemic 2019-2020 and Brad Clayton for his masterful handling of the process as it continued and then the beginning of what is often referred to as the “new normal” during his 2020-2021 leadership. That is something we are all seeking. Brad has given tremendous vision and leadership which has blessed all of us. We also welcome John Clayton as our new President-elect and express special appreciation to John Elggren as the National Treasurer/Secretary for guiding the day-to-day operations of the organization.

These officers have not been sitting idle during this pandemic. In fact, it has been a very busy time concluding with a very successful 2021 National hosted by the Upper Snake River Valley Chapter on September 16-18. A special “Thank you!” to Martel Grover and all associated individuals and chapters who worked with him. Next year’s Encampment will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. During the recent Encampment Val Parrish both motivated and excited us on what to expect for the 2022 National Encampment, September 8-10,2022. Put the date on your calendar right now and plan on joining us for an outstanding event commemorating the 175th Anniversary of the Pioneer Saints entering the Salt Lake valley.

Two other noteworthy items are the recent publication of ’s “This is the Place” issue. I examined it today at This is the Place Pioneer Park and it is beautifully done. You will love reading it, I promise. And second, the name of the “At-Large Chapter” has been renamed the “Worldwide Chapter of Sons of Utah Pioneer“. Mike Poulos from Lehi will serve as its Chapter President. Currently there are 305 members who are not affiliated with any Chapter.

The word “Pioneer” is defined to mean someone who leads the way, to guide or originate or to take part in the development of. Our progenitors did just that; they have shown us the way. Their effort and sacrifice blessed them. Whether this blesses us depends on what we do with it. To be blessed by this heritage, we need to know and understand it, act on it, and build on it. As such, my focus as Chapter President will be on the following:

  1. Provide the tools and strategy to grow the number of Chapters and increase membership in each Chapter.
  2. Our Mission Statement articulates well our goals including the vision to “teach these same qualities [the mission and Pioneer values] to the youth who will be tomorrow’s pioneers.” We want to unitedly increase our effort to bring the next generation into the Society.
  3. Ensure long term sound financial focus and strategy. Leverage more fully utilization of the “Sustaining Heritage Membership” and “Legacy Society” to strengthen our mission.
  4. Our flagship is the published quarterly Pioneer magazine. We will implement ways to use the magazine even more effectively as an outreach to the world using all forms of technology.
  5. Society and particularly our following generations live in a technology rich world. We are doing some good things in this area but there is much more that can be done to help reach the a much larger audience.
  6. We are living in an exceedingly difficult environment at a time when our members really need and are seeking socialization. An exerted effort will focus on ways to help Chapters more fully meet the needs of members as we continue to transition to the “New Normal”.

We are all pioneers in our own way and have a rich heritage that precedes us. We hve in an ever-changing time. As evil increases in the world, there is a special gift of spiritual strength that comes as we learn and study our roots and the great tests that our pioneer ancestors faced and overcame. That scaffolding helps us, and our posterity face our trials with more courage, complete honesty, deeper integrity, and with greater and confidence. Pioneer heritage to me is a treasure and Sons of Utah Pioneers has inspired and motivated me to continue my journey of understanding my roots and those around me. I know it can do the same for all of us.

As I was reading in the Book of Mormon verse 6 in Alma chapter 5 resonated with me by changing one word. “Have you sufficiently retained a remembrance of the [lives] of your fathers?” How many of your children and grandchildren know and remember the lives and traditions of your/ their ancestors?

As I have had the privilege of sealing families together in the temple, the Spirit often reminds me that “As we remember them…they remember us!” So, to conclude my message I would like to leave you with a question and a challenge.

Challenge:

Immediately identify the names of your four grandparents and your eight great-grandparents. Starting in October and each month following take one name starting with your father’s father and learn about him identifying 2-3 stories that you would want to share with your children. Write the stories and share with your children. At the end of 12 months, you will have completed 12 brief insights into the lives of these ancestors.

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