Enough with the Pioneers already

I realize that I should be okay with this. The backlash and subsequent nightmares from the 1997 Pioneer Sesquecentennial have finally died down, and I'm sleeping again at night. I should have been able to take it.

But today is Pioneer Day, and I just can't stand all the dead frozen baby stories.

Could there be a worse thing to keep telling stories about? "So this one time there was a dead frozen pioneer baby and the wolves ate it." "And this other time there was a dead frozen pioneer baby, and everyone was so sad that they froze and died too. Also they didn't have arms anymore, because they froze off. So you need to be nice about the pioneers." Seriously, how is this helpful?

Maybe my problem is that I don't have any dead frozen babies in my ancestry. My parents are converts to the LDS Church. So while I am very grateful to the pioneers in general for keeping the Church going long enough to produce the missionary who taught my parents, I don't have specific handcart/wolves/amputation stories to feel especially proud about.

Also, I think the whole concept of the handcart trek reenactment is a funny one. "Hey, they had to go walking around in dresses across the desert because no one had thought of cars and sunscreen yet. Let's do it too, so we'll know how much it sucked!"

People talk about how our challenges are much greater than the pioneers, so what will people do 150 years from now to commemorate us?

  • Pioneers 2150: Attend a rave and avoid the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol, and STDs! Extra points if you call your parents to come get you--ice-cream party afterwards if you get your friends to leave too!
  • EFY Activity 2153: Spend 3 hours on a 2005 Internet simulation while resisting pornography, online gambling, and sexual predators! Remember to Crash and Tell!
  • High School 2005 (as reimagined in 2160): Enjoy a day of high school! Experience education the way your pioneers ancestors did--complete with emotional torture, ostracism, anti-Mormon teachers, and early-morning seminary!
It'll be big. I can feel it.


Cicada said... [reply]

I love it, Nemesis. I do feel like such a pioneer now.

I thought that I was going to get it, too---the pioneer thing. I thought that it was unavoidable.

Instead, we had a *surprise!* sacrament meeting. It was my new ward and my first time attending. The surprise was that there were no assigned speakers and so the speakers were just chosen at random--ahem--I mean, *by the spirit*--during the meeting and asked to come up and bear their testimonies.

I have to say that my favorite moment in church was when the Japanese kid was telling his conversion story and said that he was living with a host family in SLC. His first night there, his host brother asked him if he wanted to *pray*. But the Japanese boy didn't know the difference between Ls and Rs yet, so he thought he was being invited to *play*. When he went to the living room and found the family kneeling in a circle, he thought that there were some pretty weird games in the USA.

Kelly said... [reply]

I'm so glad you wrote this so I can come out of the closet. I am so over the pioneer stories. I am grateful that they kept the church going and all, but not having any pioneers in my ancestry, it's all a little distant for me.

I love your futuristic Pioneer Days!

daltongirl said... [reply]

Y'all need to go on one o' them trek things. That's what turned me around, and now I know with every fiber of my being that Pioneer Day is an inspired holiday.

But seriously, that trek was a good thing, and I did come to appreciate the pioneers more, even though I'm not related to any of them. And I'm really glad that on our trek we didn't have to do any dead baby stuff, like burying dolls or whatever. The youth of my ward would have completely checked out at that point.

Savvymom said... [reply]

Pioneer day at our ward was bad. This guy started talking about how some kid's head was run over by several tires on some huge truck and his skull was totally smashed and his eyes were hanging out of his skull and it just went downhill from there.

My favorite part was when one of the Young Women leaders told about how her great great grandmother caught the catfish that had the money for the ferry in it etc. And after church my husband was like "how did you like the mormon folklore today" and I was like, uh, that was a true story. And he still doesn't believe me

daltongirl said... [reply]

Our sacrament meeting wasn't too overdone or depressing, actually. Six people gave short talks, and we sang a bunch of songs in between each speaker. Our bishop loves to do that, and I like it, too.

This morning at the pool, this old woman in my ward said to me (almost before she said hello), "Can you even believe Brother Walker?" I just stared at her with a blank face, so she elaborated. "Well, he said he knew his three minutes were up, and then he kept going for another ten. I couldn't even listen to him after that, because I knew he was going overtime."

Me: Well, it does get a little stressful when you know people are taking too long, but he said some really great things.

Her: Well, I'm sure he did, but I couldn't listen.

Old people are so hilarious. I can't wait to get there.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

I'm baaack! And I'm sick of the pioneers...even having pioneer ancestry. Seriously. The sacrament meeting in my parents' ward was...interesting...

The youth speaker gave a talk about preparing for motherhood. Only she spent most of the time telling us how she had written two talks before, but they were both stupid. And then she also talked about how if you don't WANT to be a mother, you shouldn't feel pressured. hmmm.... I'm guessing that's not what the bishop had in mind.

Oh yeah, and that was before the Sacrament was actually passed because there was no bread. Who forgets bread for the Sacrament? Men, that's who.

Anyway, I agree that the pioneer thing is getting old. Let's talk about something else. M'kay?

Kiki said... [reply]

That was A+! I'm surprised there are no dead, frozen baby stories in your ancestry and you're from Alaska. Or did I make that up?

Kiki said... [reply]

OH MAN! If my bishop asked me to give a talk on preparing for motherhood...blood. on. the. walls! I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I am saying that that is not a topic I ever want to research.

ambrosia ananas said... [reply]

You know, I was dreading the pioneer talks, despite my heritage. That makes me feel guilty because they accomplished a lot and I should be appreciative that Real Live People went through Really Hard Trials. Anyway, my sacrament had some of the traditional Hooray for the Pioneers. But we also had a really neat talk where a girl got up and told us about her non-handcart heritage--her family was converted in Germany. She told us how her grandfather escaped from Eastern Germany to come to America.

I like hearing things like that because it's not like the Utah Mormons had the monopoly on Difficult Trials and Sacrificing for the Church.

I think I'd better stop now. All this random capitalization is making me feel a little German myself.

Kelly said... [reply]

Maria, your youth speaker reminds me of one of my closest friends during those awful years of going to church during high school. She SHOCKED our Laurel teacher (Mrs. Molly Mormon herself) by stating she did not want to ever have children. That was fun.

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