News Release

Adelaide Youth Honour Mormon Pioneers

Young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Adelaide recently took part in an activity that transported them back in time to the Western United States in the mid 1800’s. 

150 teenagers and youth leaders from the faith’s Adelaide Australia Marion Stake (a stake is a group of congregations) participated in the history-themed activity. The youth dressed in 19th Century-style clothing and pulled handcarts through rough terrain, getting a glimpse into the lives and experiences of Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains of the United States to the Salt Lake Valley.

The 19th century Mormon migration began in 1846 in Illinois, then travelled through Iowa and Nebraska and eventually to a place of refuge in the Rocky Mountains.  It was one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the United States’ great western migration.

Unlike the thousands of pioneers streaming west to California and Oregon, looking for a better life, the Mormon pioneers migrated involuntarily – the result of expulsion from Illinois and Missouri by hostile neighbours and government officials. Later, the Mormon pioneer trail would be filled with Latter-day Saint converts coming from Europe.

Many Mormon pioneers died on the trail. Loved ones including children were often buried in shallow graves that would never be visited again.

Some Australian Latter-day Saints in the 1800’s were also involved in the migration to Utah.  One of the groups of Mormon pioneers that went by ship from the east coast of Australia to the west coast of the United States foundered off Tahiti and survivors were saved under miraculous circumstances.

An estimated 70,000 Latter-day Saints from various parts of the world made the difficult journey to Utah. The collective experience of the pioneers has cut deep into Mormon self-identity.

Pioneers who made the trek are honoured and often spoken of in meetings of Church members, who see the pioneers’ example of courage and sacrifice as inspirational.

Kira, one of the teenagers who participated in the recent history-themed activity in Adelaide, said, “Remembering the saints who trekked through snow storms and harsh terrain for months on end, humbled our hearts.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.