As part of the Men and Women of Faith series sponsored by the Church History Library Dr. Bryce Fifield will be giving a presentation titled The Untold Story of Mormon Pioneers with Disabilities on June 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Church Office Building Main Floor Auditorium.
From the description:
A surprising number of physically and emotionally disabled Mormon emigrants attempted to cross the plains to Zion. Mormon emigrant companies probably had a higher percentage of disabled people than non-Mormon companies, because of the Latter-day Saints’ belief in priesthood power. The untold stories of the sick, wounded, lame, and blind who crossed the plains shed light on the broader cultural narrative of the Latter-day Saints.
Here is some more background from Bryce:
I got interested in the experiences of pioneers with disabilities while on a youth trek with kids from our Stake several years ago. We had people with us who happened to have some health issues and it was amazing to see how they responded to the challenges of the three day hike. It started me wondering how many of the 70,000 Mormon Pioneer Emigrants had disabilities, and what their experiences on the trail were like.
Several colleagues and I have been working on this line of research now for about three years. It is a complex story. Many with disabilities did not make the trip. Only a small fraction of the pioneer emigrants had disabilities. Of those that came, most made it all the way across the plains, some died along the way. A few were abandoned.
There are some heroes and some who should be ashamed of themselves. There are stories that are tragic and some that are inspiring. Some of them continue to play out today with a different cast.
Please share with anyone who might be interested and mark this event down on your calendars!