A Pioneer hymn! Technically, so is Hymn #35. This is our small tiny pioneer section, with crossover in our tiny Utah/Mountains section. This is a fun one to sing--very upbeat and praising of our amazing forefathers in our early Church's history. I am a lover of that history, and have great admiration of the many, many stories of those who crossed their plains for freedom, unity, and the right to live their faith. Sometimes I hear of converts to the Church, with no Pioneer ancestry, say that their stories do not matter to them, since it isn't their family. But it is their church's heritage and matters just as much. It matters to every single member--and there are far more of those having no Pioneer ancestry than those of us few who do. This hymn helps to illustrate how: "Stepping stones for generations Were their deeds of ev'ry day. Building new and firm foundations." And then an example to us: "Service ever was their watchcry; Love became their guiding star; Courage.... Ev'ry day some burden lifted, Ev'ry day some heart to cheer, Ev'ry day some hope the brighter." And then that wonderful praise: "Honor, praise, and veneration.... List our song of adoration." Ah! I love it!!!
Personal history: I once named a college paper based on the title of this hymn. Not intentionally, I just loved the phrase and my paper title worked so well with it. My professor wrote "great title" by it. Glad he appreciated it. Only at BYU could I get away with that! :-)
From the history book
She mentioned the importance of our Pioneer ancestry as well, and how this hymn honors it. Yay--same page! :-) Recalls a message by President David O. MacKay when he asked the Saints to try to think what it was for those Saints to enter a desolate, desert valley--and see what they have created today! I will admit I love to drive up along the Wasatch Front at night and look down on all the lights. To see the trees and parks that they were able to grow in the valley. To see the homes and buildings that they began with. We are still booming in growth all over the state (particularly in my county and its neighbors)--and it truly is a marvel that their hard work built up not only this state, but the Gospel around the world, too.