SUP & dup: Filling Our Roles
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2001 issue of Pioneer Magazine.
by Mary A. Johnson
As summer comes to a close, it’s natural to “reflect and project.” In reflecting, we ask ourselves if we are accomplishing the purpose of our organizations. Founded on April 11, 1901, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, like the Sons of Utah Pioneers, was created for the purpose of remembering and paying tribute to those who came before us.
The DUP objective, as stated in our Constitution, is “to perpetuate the names and achievements of the men, women and children who were the pioneers in founding this commonwealth by preserving old landmarks, marking historical places, collecting artifacts and histories, establishing a library of historical matter, and securing manuscripts, photographs, maps and all such data as shall aid in perfecting a record of the Utah pioneers; by commemorating their entrance into the valley of the Great Salt Lake on July 24, 1847, and such other advents and days as are important in the early history of this community; thus teaching their descendants and the citizens of our country lessons of faith, courage, fortitude, and patriotism.”
The DUP and SUP are international in scope and organized for historical, educational, and public purposes; they are also nonpolitical and nonsectarian. We surely owe a debt of gratitude to all who settled the west. The mountain men, the fur trappers, the explorers, and those seeking gold or other valuable minerals truly played an important part in western development. They too suffered hunger, cold, heat, draught, disease, and death, along with other misfortunes. It took strong men and women to conquer the desert, no matter what motivated them.
Many came in search of monetary rewards. Some came for adventure. Some came to gain more land. But those we speak of as Utah pioneers came for other reasons. They were forced from their homes and communities. They were seeking a place of refuge—simply a place where they could establish a peaceful community and raise their families according to the dictates of their own conscience.
These people came from all walks of life. Some were highly educated and successful in their chosen fields. Some were from very humble circumstances. All gave up much to come to the Great Basin where they endured heat, cold, draught, crickets, and continued opposition to their way of life. It was not just conquering the land that was important to these people, it was the establishment of a culture that would lift them to a higher plain. They established schools, theatrical groups, musical groups, hospitals, newspapers, improvement organizations, etc. They truly “set the stage” for our beautiful living today.
The pioneers set the stage, and we are to fill our roles today. In projecting our future, we must reexamine our purposes and our motives. We at the DUP and SUP have worked hard to preserve old landmarks, mark historical places, and collect artifacts, histories, photographs, and other information. Are we doing as well in teaching lessons of faith, courage, fortitude, and patriotism? We hope the information we publish recognizes these qualities in the lives of the people we focus on and encourages these qualities in the lives of the readers.
In addition, we strive individually to incorporate these principles in our lives. One of our challenges is to fi nd a way to reach the younger generation and help them inculcate these attributes into their lives as well. If we fail in this endeavor, we will have failed in our mission and objective, which is to teach the descendants of the pioneers those lessons that will sustain them in troubled times and make them better people.
If we play our roles well and reach our goals, we will have fulfilled the purposes of those Utah pioneers as well as our organizations.