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Sacred Music Sunday: “To Be a Pioneer”

I can’t believe I was 30 when I first heard this Primary song, but it’s fast become one of my favorites. I think it’s the best song to sing to celebrate Pioneer Day, which is coming up on July 24th.

While the sacrifices of the pioneers trekking to Salt Lake is admirable, I think this holiday is a great time to remember that pioneers aren’t just people from the 19th century traveling and sacrificing so much for our church. We have pioneers in our ward families…those who lost the acceptance of their family when the joined the Church, people of color and queer members of the church who work to make the Church a more inclusive and loving institution, those who are overcoming addictions, and those who speak out about injustice at the risk of exclusion and ostracization in our world.

“To Be a Pioneer”

1. You don’t have to push a handcart,
Leave your fam’ly dear,
Or walk a thousand miles or more
To be a pioneer!

2. You do need to have great courage,
Faith to conquer fear,
And work with might for a cause that’s right
To be a pioneer!

Words: Ruth Muir Gardner, 1927–1999. © 1980 IRI
Music: Ruth Muir Gardner, 1927–1999; arr. by Vanja Y. Watkins, b. 1938. © 1980 IRI



EmilyCC lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She currently serves as a stake Just Serve specialists, and she recently returned to school to become a nurse. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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2 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    Love this!!

  1. January 24, 2017

    […] could also have the class sing “To Be a Pioneer” as the closing hymn, but since it’s a Primary song and not in the hymnbook, you would […]

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