Mormons as the Most Successful Pioneers

So there are more than theological reasons for remembering the Mormon pioneers. They were the most systematic, organized, disciplined, and successful pioneers in our history; and their advantage over the random individualists who preceded them and paralleled them and followed them up the valley of the Platte came directly from their “un-American” social and religious organization. Where Oregon emigrants and argonauts bound for the gold fields lost practically all their social cohesion en route, the Mormons moved like the Host of Israel they thought themselves. Far from loosening their social organization, the trail perfected it. As communities on the march they proved extraordinarily adaptable. When driven out of Nauvoo, they converted their fixed property, insofar as they could, into the instruments of mobility, especially livestock, and became for the time herders and shepherds, teamsters and frontiersmen, instead of artisans and townsmen and farmers. When their villages on wheels reached the valley of their destination, the Saints were able to revert at once, because they were town-and-temple builders and because they had their families with them, to the stable agrarian life in which most of them had grown up.