Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some Early Morning Thoughts

My brain is swimming with random thoughts, so I'm up.  Today both Ben and I will be speaking in church.  We haven't yet spoken in this ward, so it's funny that we are both doing it the week before we move to Japan.  I guess I'm the "Hello, we moved in about a year ago"-talk, and Ben is the "Goodbye, we're so sad to leave"-talk.  Mostly I just hope Eleanor does fine hanging out with her grandparents the whole time.
I'm speaking on repentance and the blessings associated with it.  And can I just say what a beautiful thing repentance is.  If I could boil down my talk to two sentences that I wanted everyone to walk away with it would be "With repentance, God's supernal gift of mercy to us through the Atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, we know we can be made clean again, new creatures in Christ.  And it is never too late, and never too early."  So there is your spiritual thought for the day.
The other thing on my mind (besides our move across the Pacific Ocean in a week), is Pioneer Day.  Apparently, for most Mormons Pioneer Day isn't a big deal, it's a "Utah" celebration.  I didn't know that until I moved out here.  And I didn't even grow up in Utah.  In Panaca, Nevada, my hometown from age 4 to 13, it was a huge celebration!  It would start with canon fire in the morning and ringing the old chapel bell, followed by a twon breakfast hosted by the Boy Scouts I believe.  Then there would be games and races afterwards where you could win a quarter!  Races like wheelbarrow races, and three legged races.
Then we'd all go home for lunch and a nap.  Then there would be a parade, only about 15 minutes long mind you, this was a town of 700+ people.  The Primary kids were always in it, dressed up like pioneers.  Then there would be a town dutch oven dinner afterwards.  Usually there was a dance either the night before or that night.  That was the first dance I ever went too.  I loved it.  I love Panaca.  I love celebrating Pioneer Day because I am always in awe of the sacrifices and triumphs of my Pioneer ancestry.
Short example story (and Mom, feel free to correct any details I get wrong).  My Mortensen ancestors came from Denmark in the Willie Handcart Company.  The father and on of the daughters were crippled and had to be pulled in the cart.  They had something like 9 kids. When they were introduced to the gospel in Denmark and baptized, they wanted to join the Saints in America.  The missionaries in Denmark asked them to leave behind the oldest son (my ancestor) to help them preach the gospel and promised them that if they would do so that all of their family would reach the Salt Lake Valley and be reunited with their son after he had finished his mission.  Being stalwart and faithful, they did so.  They had enough money to go by wagon, but choose instead to go by handcart and help furnish other families for the crossing.  For those unfamiliar with the story of the Willie and Martin Handcart companies, many people died in the terrible snowstorms they encountered in Wyoming and others suffered from frostbite.  Miraculously, none of the Mortensens died or were affected by frostbite (the father made shoes for his family while they pulled him in the handcart).  Truly they were true to the faith.  I'll forever be in awe of my pioneer ancestors. No matter what the cost, they were true to their testimonies, true to the witness they had received from the Holy Spirit about the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  And that is truly something to celebrate.


  1. Hey Summer, We enjoyed your talks on Sunday. Ben's was meant for Triston. On the nose.

    Do you have relatives from Spanish Fork? My friend Cami Mortensen Stringham has family somewhere in NV. Just wondering.

    Coming to workout in the am? When are you out of here?

  2. What great history your family has! I've never heard that story before about the Willie Handcart Co. Thank you for sharing.
    What's surprising is growing up only 40 miles away from you, and I didn't know ANYTHING about the 24th of July.... Random. I've been able to appreciate it more here in Logan.

  3. Those are the kids I remember. . . seriously! Oh, and I'm with you; Pioneer Day is NOT the same anywhere else. Panaca is special, and I live in UTAH!

  4. Well, I guess you finally are going to go. Know that you go with lots of love from us and all our gang. God Bless you cause I know he will. Keep on blogging so I know what is going on. Love, Aunt Betty