Monday, July 24, 2017

Pioneer Day Music Program

This summer I was asked to put on the musical/spiritual program for our Pioneer Day ward activity.  Leading up to the program I spent a lot of time searching the Internet for help writing the script and I was hardly able to find anything.  For that reason, I wanted to post my script here to help anyone that might find themselves in a similar situation.  My disclaimer, a lot of the narration is word for word from lesson manuals, talks, and articles I came across on LDS.ORG.  I apologize for not being original and for not citing my sources.

SIDE NOTE: This little dude is a lake monster.  We had a really hard time getting him out of the water so we could start the program.  Having the ward party at a lake was A++ in this kid's book.


Narrator: This weekend we are here to celebrate the church’s pioneer history, as July 24th, 1847 marks the day President Brigham Young identified the Salt Lake Valley as the long-forseen “right place” for the Nauvoo Saints.  Why, (170) years later, do we choose still to recognize this occasion?  President Gordon B. Hinckley stated:
“…We must never permit ourselves to lose sight of the great and singular achievements of those who first came to (Utah) in 1847. They came not for riches or gold, but rather to find a place where they could worship God... They were outcasts, driven and hounded, persecuted and peeled… We must never allow recognition of their trials, of their sacrifices, of their tenacity, of their faith and their prayers in establishing this great community to lapse or be forgotten.”
Today we can remember those sacrifices made by so many for this gospel of Jesus Christ.  It all began with a 14 year old boy in the spring of 1820.


Narrator: Samuel Smith, one of Joseph’s younger brothers, was the first person to be baptized after Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and one of the six original members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Soon after the Church was organized, Samuel Smith became the first full-time traveling missionary. At twenty-two years old, he took several copies of the Book of Mormon and started out on foot to preach the gospel.
Prompted by the spirit, he gave one of the book to Rhoda Greene, the wife of John P. Greene who was the minister of another faith.  After being invited to read it, they were both converted, knowing the Book of Mormon was true.  Samuel also gave a copy to Mrs. Greene’s brother, Phineas Young.  His book later fell into the hands of his younger brother, Brigham Young.  This same copy was passed on and eventually reached Heber C. Kimball. Within two years these people and their families all became members of the Church, thanks to the Book of Mormon and the missionary efforts of Samuel Smith.


Narrator: Under the inspired leadership of Brigham Young, the Saints finished building the Nauvoo Temple, where they made sacred covenants before they started their arduous journey to their new home in the Rocky Mountains.  Because of increasing persecution of the Saints and threats from the Church’s enemies, Church leaders announced on September 24, 1845, that the Saints would leave Nauvoo the following spring.


Narrator: The word pioneer can be defined as one who goes before to prepare or open up the way for others to follow, meaning that all of us can be pioneers in some ways.  Whether it’s a friendly smile or an invitation to church, we can all ponder ways to help others and prepare the way for them to enjoy the blessings of the gospel.


Narrator (With melodica or harmonica playing in background): The faith, courage, and determination of these Saints carried them through cold, hunger, and the deaths of loved ones. William Clayton was called to be in one of the first groups to leave Nauvoo and left his wife, Diantha, with her parents, only a month away from delivering her first child. Slogging through muddy roads and camping in cold tents wore his nerves thin as he worried about Diantha’s well-being. Two months later, he still did not know if she had delivered safely but finally received the joyful word that a “fine fat boy” had been born. Almost as soon as he heard the news, William sat down and wrote a song that not only had special meaning to him but would become an anthem of inspiration and gratitude to Church members for generations. The song was “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” and the famous lines expressed his faith and the faith of the thousands of Saints who sang in the midst of adversity: “All is well! All is well!”3 They, like the members who have followed them, found the joy and peace that are the rewards of sacrifice and obedience in the kingdom of God.


Closing remarks


- For the last song I had the lyrics printed and handed out to everyone so we could all sing Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel as a ward.


Grab your leftover potato salad and bribe those kiddies with ice-cream to get them out of that lake.  Because the party is over!

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