On Monday morning, July 24, under the direction of the Salt Lake Pioneer Chapter, the seats in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square were filled for our annual sunrise service. It was a remarkably moving and spiritual experience. The speaker was Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who related touching stories of his family’s pioneer heritage. Marvelous music was presented by the West Valley combined Institute choirs, which stirred our souls. Maurine Smith, of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, introduced the Days of 47 Royalty, who sang so beautifully, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Our entry in the days of 47 parade again this year was 11 handcarts accompanied by 35 of our members, family and friends, and represented each of the pioneer handcart companies that came into Utah. It was a pleasant overcast day for the parade, and we were cheered on by a numerous and enthusiastic crowd.
For the first time in many years the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers was invited to participate in the Bountiful Handcart Days Parade on July 21st. As president of our association, I was provided with a sleek Mercedes convertible and driver, and was well received by a friendly crowd, which included President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, who was enjoying the parade as a spectator. What a thrill and a privilege.




On Monday, July 17, we held our annual pioneer days celebration at the This Is The Place park.  Held in conjunction with the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, it was truly a SUPer DUPer day.
The day started out with a bit of stormy weather, but cleared up to a beautifully mild evening.  We enjoyed all of the venues of the park, then gathered in the bowery, much as our pioneer ancestors did.  There we were entertained by the Days of 47 Royalty singing and then listened to Elder Jeffrey R Holland speak.  
The use of the Bowery proved a wonderful idea, being centrally located and spacious.  The Bowery was full and many sat on the grass to hear the events.
Elder Holland told of his ancestry.  “First, a comment about my Holland family, who clearly were not Utah pioneers,” he said. “They were a rowdy, but loveable, bunch of Roman Catholic miners born in Ireland who made their way to Montana and Colorado, ending up in Park City at the turn of the 20th century.”
Widowed at the age of 26 with two little boys, Elder Holland’s father being the youngest, his grandmother eventually made her way to Salt Lake City, where she was blessed by the friendship of John Fetzer, the kindly bishop of the old Salt Lake City 8th Ward.
“The rest, as they say, is history,” Elder Holland said. “My grandmother and my father, he by then a 14-year-old boy, joined the Church in 1924.”
Stricken by smallpox, he was taken out of school by his stepfather, “a loss of opportunity and a blow to his self-esteem that he never fully overcame,” Elder Holland related.
“But heaven had its hand on him when, as a Civilian Conservation Corps recruit, he found himself in southern Utah in the early 1930s during the Depression, where he met and married my mother.
“What a union! A gleeful, Irish dance hall piano-playing convert from Roman Catholicism who went through life with a smile on his face and a shine on his shoes marrying a very proper, stay-at-home, quilting and canning, canning and cooking, genuine and thoroughly domestic daughter of Utah pioneers. What a marriage!
“I am the product of that union!"


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Dr. Orson D. Wright, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend passed away on July 5 th , 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the most rewarding was his service over 52 years as a member of the National Society of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers wherein he served as the National President in 1972-1973 and as President of the Past National Presidents for eleven years. As the Director of the SUP Pioneer Village in Salt Lake he managed the sale of the Village and its transfer to Lagoon in 1976. With the proceeds he was able to promote the building of the SUP headquarters office and Building at the mouth of Parleys canyon. He directed the placement of the Pioneer Memorial Monument (“All is Well”) at the Brigham Young grave site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was very active in Scouting. He served as high council member over scouting, district scouting leader, and vice president of GSL scout council. He attended Philmont ranch, received the Silver Beaver award, and served as president of the Silver Beavers. Being very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he has served in many capacities as teacher, quorum leader, branch president, member of district presidency, bishopric member, bishop, high councilor, missionary, stake missions, mission president, SL temple ordinance worker, and temple square tour guide for 20 years. He shares his testimony of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its restoration.



Our annual   History   Symposium   which   was   developed   and   conducted under the creative experience of our 2018 President-elect, Keith Van Roosendaal.  We all were educated and entertained by five very special and well-known presenters. Beginning with Susan Easton Black and her husband, George Durrant, who informed us of many lesser known facts and engaging anecdotes in the lives of Joseph and Emma Smith. They were followed by Mary Ellen Elggren and her presentation on Brigham Young, her great-great-grandfather, and his Human and Humorous side.  Thomas Alexander, our past President, gave insight into Wilford Woodruff’s Spiritual gifts and his experiences as St George Temple President. Our final presenter was Ronald L. Anderson, who shared a remarkable view of the relationship between Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Smith, and the Latter-day Saints. 

The evening dinner session gave the special opportunity to hear from our keynote speaker, President Cecil O. Samuelson, former president of BYU and currently President of the Salt Lake Temple. Once again, we gained new insight into the history and function of the temple. We enjoyed the event in the comfortable setting of our National Headquarters.

A special note: Dr. William H Tanner, who is currently the Publisher of our “Pioneer Magazine,” was presented with the Presidential Meritorious Service Award in recognition for his dedication and fantastic service over the years to the Sons of Utah Pioneers and the Pioneer Magazine, which is often referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of The Sons of Utah Pioneers. Dr. Tanner’s work rises far beyond all expectation. Congratulations Bill, you deserve it.