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Who Were the Mormon Pioneers?

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Mormon Pioneers Crossing the Plains of Nebraska

Pioneers Crossing the Plains of Nebraska

Carl Christian Anton Christensen; Public Domain
A huge part of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involves the Mormon pioneers, but who were they? Find out where the Mormon pioneers came from and how they were persecuted for their beliefs.

The First Mormon Pioneer:

The first Mormon pioneer was Joseph Smith who saw a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. Joseph, and those who supported him, were persecuted for their beliefs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized on April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York. Those who converted and joined the Church were called Mormons because of The Book of Mormon.

Mormon Pioneers Persecuted for Their Religion:

Persecutions of the Mormons increased and believers were chased by angry mobs from town to town and state to state. The Mormon pioneers located in Missouri were eventually forced out of the state when an extermination order was signed by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs.1 Some of the Saints were killed by mobs while others were tar and feathered. Among the many persecutions of the Mormon pioneers some of their homes and farms were pillaged and burned, livestock stolen, and women raped.

Martyrdom of the Prophet:

With their exile from Missouri the Saints gathered in Nauvoo, Illinois where they built an industrious city and a beautiful temple of God. Over time persecution of the Mormons in Illinois increased until in 1844 Joseph Smith, along with three other men, were held prisoner in a jail in Carthage under false charges. While there a mob of 150-200 men attacked the jail; Joseph and his older brother Hyrum were martyred.

New Prophet of the Mormon Pioneers:

As one of Christ's Latter-day apostles, Brigham Young was called of God to lead the Church after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Brigham Young became the second latter-day prophet and leader of the Mormon pioneers.

Mormon Pioneers Travel West:

In 1847, due to increased persecution and under the direction of the Lord, President Brigham Young led the Mormon pioneers on a great exodus west. Beginning in February- the middle of winter- many Mormons fled the city of Nauvoo leaving behind their homes, city, and recently completed temple.2 The Mormon Pioneers traveled about 1,300 miles west until they reached the Great Salt Lake Valley located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in Salt Lake City, Utah and remains there to this day.


Learn about the Mormon Pioneer Trail and how the pioneers fled religious persecution by traveling to the west.

Remembering the Mormon Pioneers:

On July 24th members of the Church remember those pioneers who paved the way for them by celebrating Pioneer Day. The Mormon pioneers were a dedicated people who put their trust in the Lord and left behind them a great legacy of faith.
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