In honor of Pioneer Day, July 24th.

Wagon ruts

I was not born into the Mormon Church; my family joined the faith when I was a boy in Missouri, so I may not have a blood-lineage right to the legacy of those pioneers who settled so much of the West. As a matter of fact, it’s quite possible that some of my forefathers were a part of the pressures that drove these men and women into the wilderness. But I can tell you that, having visited many of the historic sites along the Mormon Trail, from Illinois to Utah, and having read of their their struggles and accomplishments, I feel a strength from that heritage even if I am only an “adopted” descendant of these amazing people. Their example can richly endow anyone who will take the time to learn of their faith-inspiring achievements.

With Pioneer Day being celebrated on July 24th, I thought I’d share with you a poem I wrote after spending a few days in the Devil’s Gate area of Wyoming:


Did you see those firm impressions
From the wheels that cut the sod;
Made by mortals pulling handcarts
Pushed by angels sent by God?

Did your hand trace those impressions
Where they carved their names in stone;
On a rock called Independence
That their story might be known?

Did you pause at those impressions
Still remaining from their graves;
Knowing tears have freely watered
Where the summer grass now waves?

Have you wondered which impression
Honors best these heroes, true?
Something tells me they would answer
“The impression made on you.”

When that solemn Spirit whispers
And confirms within your breast;
Like these valiant sons and daughters,
That you, too, can meet the test;

When you act on obligation
To these faithful gone before;
The impressions that most matter
Will be yours forevermore.

Wes Stephenson

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