Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Review: ****Growing Up in Zion

Growing Up in Zion: True Stories of Young Pioneers Building the Kingdom.  This book was written as part of the sesquicentennial of the pioneers arriving in Salt Lake.  It was edited by Susan Arrington Madsen and published by Deseret Book in 1996.  I found it at the Book Exchange on Main Street in Manteca.
I read through it quickly, thinking I will go through it again when I want to use it as a research resource.  It presents people's stories, with the requirement that the be under 19, either from their own histories or journals.  This it does with longer essays, but also short quotes.  It generally covers the area included in the Territory of Deseret.  It has photographs from the era in question, and also has stories from children which were sent into the "Juvenile Instructor."  It covers the period from the Saints arrival in Salt Lake, until the early 1900s.  It has tales of hardship, hunger, dealing with a death, colonization, miracles, spiritual manifestations and daily life.  It has eye witness accounts of the building and dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, The miracles of the Sea Gulls and the devastation of the crickets and grasshoppers, eating roots, thistles and sego lilies.   It talks of the early homes, built with mud roofs which would leak whenever it rained.  It talks of the early relations with the Native American population.
I think I most enjoyed the stories of the Native Americans.  It seemed people were almost always scared of them, but mostly they were just looking for handouts.  In a few incidents they became church members.  And more often they were friends of the Saints.  There was on story when a couple of young men took the cattle to the Uintah Basin to feed because of drought conditions on the Wasatch Front.  The were in the Duchesne area and surrounded by Indians.  The Utes asked,  "Are you whites or are you Mormons."  It gave the impression that had they not been Mormons the Indians would have killed them. 
This book was a quick read and entertaining.  It gives a very good flavor for conditions in the earlier periods of our country.

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