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My Son’s Ancestors

July 25, 2007

by Ann

I’m a convert, so I don’t have any pioneer ancestors. My sixth great grandparents were pioneers in western North Carolina, given land reserved for Lutherans. My great-great grandparents were pioneers, moving to Pittsburgh from Ireland during the potato famine. My great-grandparents were pioneers, moving to Dayton, Ohio from Hungary at the very beginning of the 20th century. None of these pioneers were Mormon, though. They weren’t seeking to worship in safety and to establish the kingdom of God on earth. They just wanted an adventure, a better life, opportunity.

I married a man with a nice long pioneer pedigree. One of his nth great grandfathers was baptized during Lyman Wight’s mission, the call for which is documented in the 52nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants. There is a town in Utah that bears his (my) surname. His Scandinavian ancestors, arriving in Utah in the 1860’s, were late arrivals.

I have always been rather proud of my convert-ness. Blazing the trail for my progeny, boldly going where no one has gone before. With my older two kids, I had to figure out this Mormon stuff on my own. We made it up as we went along. Now, though, I have another kid. The Kid. And thanks to his daddy, he’s got a nice long pioneer pedigree. I’m not quite sure how to maintain his maternal heritage in the face of the sheer weight of the paternal birthright. Because we have never lived in the Mormon Cultural Region, he will not be regularly engaged with the physical emblems of the sacrifice and struggle of the forebears. I hope this will give him some balance; that My People will mean as much to him as Those People.

Those People, though, are His People, and so they are also My People. Maybe they have been My People all along, and I’ve been so busy making my own way I just didn’t want to acknowledge it.

I respect their faith, their commitment, and their pursuit of happiness. As long as faith and commitment matter, so will the pioneers. All of them. His and Mine.

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