Saturday, July 19, 2003

Latter-day pioneers trek through state

The Associated Press

THREELINKS, Ky. - More than 150 Kentucky residents dressed in pioneer clothing and pulling two-wheeled handcarts re-enacted the early Mormon pioneers' trek that ended in Utah.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began their 14-mile hike Thursday through the Daniel Boone National Forest.

"We're going to be going over some rough terrain," group leader Glen Krebs said as his troupe passed the Jackson-Rockcastle county line southeast of Berea. "There'll probably be some bumps and bruises."

The people pulling the handcart yokes have to be especially careful.

"If you stumble and fall, you're going to get run over," said Krebs, a Lexington lawyer and one of three people making the trip on horseback.

The early Mormon pioneers faced a longer, more dangerous journey.

After Joseph Smith - the church's Prophet, Seer and Revelator - was killed by a mob in Nauvoo, Ill., church members looked for a place where they could live in peace.

They ended up settling in Salt Lake City.

Today, a century and a half after Brigham Young led the first settlers, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 5.2 million members, according to the National Council of Churches.

"Many of us who are in the church had ancestors who walked or drove (wagons) to Utah," said Rob Hymas, the church's stake president for central Kentucky. "We think it's important to help the kids understand the sacrifice that their forebears went through as they were seeking their religious freedom."

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