Story: Why Remember the Pioneers?

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President Kimball teaches that one of the most important words in the Book of Mormon is “remember”—it appears some 300 times. One of many accounts which admonishes remembrance of God’s great mercy and power in our lives is in Alma 36: Alma testified, “I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.

And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever, for he has brought our fathers out of Egypt, and he has swallowed up the Egyptians in the Red Sea; and he led them by his power into the promised land; yea, and he has delivered them out of bondage and captivity from time to time.

Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity.

Book of Mormon prophets remind us of God’s mercy and power with our distant forebearers—the children of Israel. Modern day prophets remind us of God’s intervention with our recent forebearers—the pioneers. Sister Virginia H. Pearce has said, “The experiences of the pioneers are a witness to us of God’s great mercy and power in our day. Remembering the pioneers reminds us that God still lives and intervenes today. Just as He did our Egyptian and Pioneer ancestors, God will still support us in our trials, troubles, and afflictions.”

We remember, but we also look ahead. In the last days at the winding up scenes of the earth’s history, the greatest expression of God’s power will not longer be spoken of as the deliverance from Egypt or the crossing of the plains. According to scripture (Jeremiah 16:14-16), the greatest witness of God’s power will be the taking of the gospel to the far reaches of the earth and gathering the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This great occurrence is still ahead and we have a part in it.

President Hinckley declares, “The centuries have passed. The latter-day work of the Almighty, that of which the ancients spoke, that of which the prophets and apostles prophesied, is come…We stand on the summit of the ages, awed by a great and solemn sense of history. This is the last and final dispensation toward which all in the past has pointed…I pray that every one of us may sense the awesome wonder of it all as we look forward…May God bless us with a sense of our place in history, and with that sense, our need to stand tall and walk with resolution in a manner becoming the Saints of the Most High.”

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