SOURCE: “Pioneers and Recapitulation in Mormon Popular Historical Expression,” in Usable Pasts: Traditions and Group Expressions in North America, edited by Tad Tuleja, Utah State University Press, 1997, pp. 175-211.
[In the following excerpt, Eliason examines the role of the “pioneer myth” in Mormon history, recounting the events leading to the emergence of the religion and detailing the vast exodus across the American West made by early members of the church.]
Few events serve better than a duress-induced migration to forge a people's identity and provide a defining historical touchstone for a nation. Through its representation in art and public historical...
(The entire section is 7614 words.)