All these years later, Mormons are still proud of their rescue stories. Theatrical reenactments, complete with music and costume, pay homage. Youth participating in coming-of-age treks are encouraged to draw upon the strength of the Mormon pioneer.
In this space, Mormons benefited from the power of the collective. Together they strengthened bonds, experienced joy, and shared knowledge. For those too young to remember the violence and ostracism earlier pioneers faced, I wonder if they took this space for granted.
I was thrilled my bloodline included a man willing to swear and stand against religion and a corporation because his moral compass told him it was the just and right thing to do.
Why didn’t he use this same fury to fight against slavery, especially when Utah voted to make owning human beings legal within its territory? He did not call his neighbors for meetings to discuss the horrific treatment of native tribes and the stealing of their land. Nor did he create petitions asking to eradicate the ban on blackness which the church wickedly perpetuated.
“Mary Snyder Wood was more than the words ascribed to her, including faithful, beloved, devoted to her husband, mild, and modest with a sincere disposition.
Although Daniel called her Mrs. Wood or Aunt Mary, I call her Mother Mary. I hear Paul McCartney’s “Let It Be” song lyrics in my head each time I think of her.
“When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me.
Whisper words of wisdom. Let it be.”
I yearn for Mary’s whispers to fill the spaces around her so I can see the authentic, complete, and complicated woman she was.”
“Daniel planted our family in the soil of the Mormon church. He watered us with his loyalty to them. His faith in the gospel’s truthfulness was the warm sun, inviting us to sprout and bloom, taking hold of the church dogma with blind trust.
As adept as he was in finding good dirt for corn and wheat seeds, he did not spot the church’s tainted soil, which allowed racists like me to grow. Or maybe, the less tasteful truth is he did see it and planted us there anyway.”
“A group of pioneers who traveled together was called a company. Companies took their name from the man responsible for leading them. Some companies established rules to follow while traveling together. There were practical rules, like returning lost property to the Captains for safekeeping, tying dogs to wagons at night, and bringing horses and mules into camp before sundown. Other rules of not leaving camp without permission and pledging implicit obedience to the leaders were attempts to keep order in place.”
“Assassinating a leader is a powerful way to send a message.
The message sent with Prophet Joseph Smith’s murder was, “Mormons are not welcome here.”
“God’s latest revelation to Joseph Smith instructed him to gather his chosen people in a central place called Zion. Here the saints could practice their faith while waiting for Christ’s second coming. Little did he know the Mormon search for a utopia was only beginning.”