Pioneer Mothers

“One of the more difficult hardships endured by many of the sisters was delivering their babies under harsh, extreme conditions along the trail. Eliza R. Snow wrote that as the pioneers “journeyed onward, mothers gave birth to offspring under almost every variety of circumstances imaginable, except those to which they had been accustomed; some in tents, others in wagons—in rainstorms and in snowstorms.” Sister Snow went on to record in her journal that she “heard of one birth which occurred under the rude shelter of a hut, the sides of which were formed of blankets fastened to poles stuck in the ground, with a bark roof through which the rain was dripping. Kind sisters stood holding dishes to catch the water … , thus protecting the [little one] and its mother from a shower-bath [on its entrance to] the stage of human life.” 

“What a sacrifice these good sisters made! Some mothers lost their own lives in childbirth. Many babies did not survive. My wife’s grandmother, Elizabeth Riter, was born at Winter Quarters in the back of a covered wagon during a rainstorm. Fortunately, both the mother and the newborn infant survived. With great love for the woman who gave life to her, Elizabeth often lovingly recounted how an umbrella was held over her mother throughout the ordeal to shield her from the water leaking through the wagon’s cover.”

Let us never forget the faith of our fathers and the selfless sacrifice of our mothers, those pioneering Saints who set such an inspiring example of obedience. Let us remember them as we strive to be valiant servants in our work to “invite all to come unto Christ”  and “be perfected in him.” 

Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Faith of Our Fathers,” The Ensign, May 1996, 33-34

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