Early converts to the Mormon church traveled 1,300 miles via handcart and covered wagon to escape religious persecution, including mob violence, fire, imprisonment and an official“extermination order”. My ancestors were among this group. I have often thought of the fertile, established homesteads they left behind to travel into the barren deserts of Utah. Their new surroundings must have seemed as foreign as the moon! The travel came at enormous sacrifice; these pioneers carried only their most essential possessions and faced death and hardship along the way.
In a worldwide Mormon conference this year we were urged to serve refugees in need and were reminded that, “As a people, we don’t have to look back far in our history to reflect on times when we were refugees, violently driven from homes and farms over and over again. Their story is our story, not that many years ago.” — J. Beth Jepson