Recapturing the Mormon Trail

Artists Josh Clare, John Burton, and Bryan Mark Taylor worked for years on a project called Saints at Devil’s Gate. It consists of landscapes capturing the Mormon Trail, the 1,300-mile route from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, that mid-19th century pioneers traveled on their migration west.

The artists’ intention was to pair their paintings with excerpts from historical trail journals by Mormon immigrants, which would allow them to construct a singular persona that could stand for the whole of the pioneer experience.

The paintings record the mundane trail that accompanied the pioneers’ daily wanderings. Practical activities are detailed such as washing clothes, picking wildflowers, and playing music and dancing together in the evenings.

Beyond picturesque beauty, the paintings also explore a sense of the sublime and also sometimes the horrific.

LDS Church History Museum Curator Laura Allred Hurtado discusses with Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast how researching the history for the book that accompanies the exhibit expanded her understanding of the experience of those who traveled the Mormon trail. For many, it was a rite of passage and the experience of a lifetime.

Join us as we seek a more nuanced glimpse into what the Mormon trail meant to those who traversed it and discuss what we can learn from reading their experiences.

3 thoughts on “Recapturing the Mormon Trail

  1. Once again, Laura, wonderful episode. As a newspaper columnist, I can appreciate the time and effort required to research, line up and produce a work on a regular basis. Your topics are fascinating, your guests engaging, and your questions well thought out. And as various as the topics are, you’re always very familiar with them. Your episode about the Journal of Discourses blew my mind. One insight I gained from this episode is the fact that some saints saw the journey as a great adventure. I love that.

    Btw, if I praise something I always feel obligated to offer minor critique, so here goes. Your theme music makes me feel like I’m watching a daytime soap opera, circa 1995. There, I said it.

    Keep up the great work. I’m always glad to see a new episode appear in my playlist!

  2. I think a 5-10 second acoustic guitar riff would work. Maybe a few bars of a pioneer-related hymn. Very easy to produce and record.

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