Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tribute to Utah Journey Pioneer Day Today

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tribute to Utah Journey Pioneer Day Today

Article excerpt

For some people, today is business as usual. But for Tom and Lola

Murdock, it's a day to celebrate.

The Murdocks, descendants of Mormon pioneers, along with more

than 10,000 other Mormons in North Florida and around the country

are celebrating Pioneer Day.

Mostly a Western holiday, known also as the Days of '47,

Pioneer Day is a celebration by the Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints that commemorates the historic trek to Utah by

early Mormons in 1847.

It's also a time for North Florida Mormons to pay tribute to

the first pioneers for making sacrifices in Salt Lake Valley.

Last year, the Murdocks participated in moving an original

Mormon pioneer cabin to the grounds of a Salt Lake City park in

honor of their ancestors.

They also have participated in a Mormon Battalion reenactment.

"We are very proud of our heritage and attending these

historic sites gives us an even greater appreciation for what our

ancestors did," Tom Murdock said.

In Jacksonville, Pioneer Day celebrations and services will

take place at the East and West stakes of the Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There are three stakes in the Jack-sonville area -- East and

West in Jacksonville and a third in Kingsland, Ga. Each stake is

made up of five to 12 wards or churches.

In other cities, especially Utah, Pioneer Day celebrations are

big, and businesses are usually closed for activities.

Latter-day Saints churches, called wards, take pledges and do

community service as part of the celebration. Marian Bond, a

member of the Church of Latter-day Saints in Orange Park, said

each of North Florida's Latter-day Saints stakes have about 3,500

members.

Bond and Joel Warner, East stake president, said the holiday

is also a chance to educate the public on what it means to be a

Mormon. …

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