A global social media campaign launched by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes the legacy of early and modern-day Mormon pioneers who have overcome challenges in their lives. The campaign is underway to inspire members and the public to consider the contributions of their ancestors and the pioneer legacy they can leave for future generations.
Participants are encouraged to join the online conversation and use the #IAmAPioneer hashtag on their social media channels. The English version of the website went live on July 12, where people can watch and share a pioneer video as well as share their own pioneer stories.
Church leaders often express their appreciation for the legacy of the Mormon pioneers. “To all of you noble pioneers who go before, showing others the way to follow, I urge, ‘Carry on,’” said Church President Thomas S. Monson in a general conference talk he gave in April 1997, the sesquicentennial year celebrating the arrival of the first pioneers in Utah.
“I claim the legacies of today’s modern-day Church pioneers who live in every nation and whose own stories of perseverance, faith, and sacrifice add glorious new verses to the great chorus of the latter-day anthem of the kingdom of God,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, during a general conference talk he gave in April 2008.
Every July 24th, the Church celebrates and honors the thousands of men, women and children who entered the Salt Lake Valley that same day in 1847. The Mormon pioneers traveled nearly 1,300 miles west by handcart and wagon on the Mormon Trail between 1847 and 1868 to flee persecution and seek religious freedom. These treks ended when the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in northern Utah in 1869.
The #IAmAPioneer campaign is a collaboration between the Church History Department and the Family History Department. The pioneer campaign will be rolled out in several phases at FamilySearch.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The online information is available in 10 languages. Other languages besides English include Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Through journals, ledgers and other documents, the Church History Department has recently discovered an estimated 1,000 additional Mormon pioneers who made the trek to the Salt Lake Valley. Their photos, stories and journals are available online by logging into the free FamilySearch website. The information was provided by the Church History Department’s Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database. Those with Mormon pioneer ancestry will see a list of their pioneer ancestors in their family tree, the company they traveled with and links to stories about them.
Beginning August 9, FamilySearch will allow individuals to access newly available stories and journals from the 500 pioneers who served in the Mormon Battalion. These pioneers were asked to fight for the United States in the Spanish-American War and belonged to the only unit recruited from a single religion in U.S. military history with a religious unit designation. Although they never went to battle they saw plenty of action. The Mormon Battalion made a grueling march of more than 2,000 miles from Iowa to the Pacific Coast and in the process opened a southern wagon route to California, built Fort Moore in Los Angeles and participated in other early development efforts in California
A handful of additional inspirational pioneer stories can be found at LDS.org.
Modern pioneers are encouraged to discover and share their stories at FamilySearch.orgfor future generations to enjoy.
Sample #IAmAPioneer memes below:
Translation: “A pioneer is someone who leaves a legacy. What is your legacy?”
Translation: “My steps will be followed”