Mormon Battalion legacy honored in new production

Jul 23, 2022, 10:28 AM | Updated: 2:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A different kind of July 24th Celebration has been planned for Latter-day Saints who are remembering the 175th anniversary of the Mormon Battalion.The battalion was a group of 500 men who volunteered to join the U.S. Army and marched more than 2,100 miles to help fight in the war against Mexico.Grammy award-winning composer Marden Pond has put together a musical celebration with narration and images scheduled for Sunday, July 24at the Tabernacle on Temple Square. He called it “The Mormon Battalion: A Symphonic Saga”.“You’ll understand their trials, their joys, their heartaches, and that coupled with the music, hopefully will give a moving representation of that entire saga,” said Pond to KSL.

The story of these early pioneers captivated him because of their sacrifice, courage, and faith during a very difficult time in Church history.“They gave a great example of courage, and dedication, and obedience,” Pond said.Elder D. Todd Christofferson, an apostle for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who will be speaking at the event said the story of the Mormon Battalion is one of critical importance in the Church.“It’s a tremendous manifestation of faith,” said Elder Christofferson to KSL.His brother, Greg is the president of the Mormon Battalion Association.“The Mormon Battalion was only enlisted for one year, and yet here we are today, still talking about them. They had such an outsized influence on church history, Western history, and the United States history,” said Greg Christofferson. “Brigham Young relied on the battalion for many decades, those veterans, to be part of the great colonizing efforts of the Great Basin and to be leaders.”The soldiers were each paid just $42 for their six-month march from Iowa to Southern California.  Not much at all, but enough to make a huge impact on the Church’s own migration West and established the first wagon route to the Pacific Coast.“For the church. It was a kind of a financial Godsent at a critical moment,” said Elder Christofferson.It was Brigham Young who told the men to sign up despite their resentment towards the U.S. government.“The government had been primarily a big disappointment. They had not enforced the laws, they had not protected the people in their rights. They had not protected them in their property,” said Elder Christofferson. He says their willingness to serve helped build relationships.“It’s a good example of the way government and civil society, especially faith based civil organizations, can work together to benefit all of society,” he said.That’s why the Christoffersons and Pond are all hoping people will come and hear and see the legacy of the Mormon Battalion.“I would hope people would take away a fresh appreciation for what was accomplished by this small group that had such an outsized influence, both in the church and in the country,” said Elder Christofferson.The free concert starts at 7 o’clock at the Tabernacle on Temple Square on the 24th.The Mormon Battalion Association also created an app you can download on your phone for a Mormon Battalion guided tour complete with podcast, journal entries and videos.People can do this by finding and downloading the Map-N-Tour app in the app store and then select and download the Mormon Battalion Trail Tour.


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Mormon Battalion legacy honored in new production