- The days of the pioneers are not past. There are modern pioneers whose achievements are an inspiration to all of us.
- In every nation, in every worthy occupation and activity, members of this church face hardships, overcome obstacles, and follow the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ as valiantly as the pioneers of any age. They pay their tithes and offerings. They serve as missionaries or as Church Service volunteers, or they support others who do so. Like the noble young mothers who postpone the pursuit of their personal goals in order to provide the needs of their children, they sacrifice immediate pleasures to keep commitments that are eternal. They accept callings and, in the service of others, they willingly give their time and sometimes their lives. They do as the Savior taught: They deny themselves; they take up their crosses daily; they follow Him.
He speaks about a wagon train and how the lead wagon is the one with the vision, the direction, the understanding of where to lead the people to safety. He says that those behind the leader are valiant and hard working, made to support the mission and to move the team forward. He speaks about those in the "last wagon" and necessary for the work to progress.
- There are hidden heroines and heroes among the Latter-day Saints—“those of the last wagon” whose fidelity to duty and devotion to righteousness go unnoticed by anyone except the One whose notice really matters.
President Oaks uses a little humor to speak about those in prominent positions in the church and how they are held to a high standard due to the responsibilities that they have.
- At a public occasion a mother introduced me to her teenage son. “Do you know who this is?” she asked him. “Sure,” the boy replied. “He’s one of those guys who hangs on the wall at seminary.” Prominent position—“hanging on the wall at seminary”—does not put anyone on a fast-track to exaltation.
He shares an experience of a discussion that President Boyd K. Packer had with a newly released Stake President.
- A member of the Church in Great Britain said it best. He had served as stake president. As that period of prominence came to an end, he told Elder Boyd K. Packer why it did not bother him to be released: “I served because I am under covenant. And I can keep my covenants quite as well as a home teacher as I can serving as stake president.”
President Oaks discusses the need to improve our lives and the role that forgiveness can play in making our lives better.
- One of the best qualities in any of the sons and daughters of God, whatever their circumstance, is a determination to become better. Since we all have a need to improve, we should always be willing to recognize goodness and encourage improvement in everyone.
- One of the most Godlike expressions of the human soul is the act of forgiveness. Everyone is wronged at some point by someone, and many suffer serious wrongs. Christians everywhere stand in awe of those pioneers who have climbed that steep slope to the spiritual summit attained by those who have heeded the Savior’s command to forgive all men. Forgiveness is mortality’s mirror image of the mercy of God.
- The path of modern pioneers is not easy. Burdens carried in the heart can be just as heavy as those pulled in a handcart. And just as some early pioneers struggled for the benefit of others, so some modern pioneers carry burdens imposed by the transgressions or thoughtlessness of others.
President Oaks reminds us that stories of modern pioneers are written in the church publications and we are encouraged to have these publications in our homes to remind us of the great modern pioneers all around us.
- Our faith and resolve are strengthened by the spiritual achievements and service of ordinary Latter-day Saints. There are thousands of such inspirational examples, but they are rarely published except on the pages of the Church News and the Church magazines--Ensign, New Era and Friend. I encourage everyone to have these unique publications in their home.
I know several people in my life that could be considered modern pioneers. I know of people who have forsaken their families to join the church because they know it to be true. I know of people who have changed their family for the better by following the Savior's direction to honor their priesthood. People that take difficult and extraordinary steps to follow the Savior at all costs are inspirations to me. These folks show what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and to follow His ways. I am grateful for these people that show me how I need to live my life so I can follow the Savior more faithfully.