Handcarts and manufactured testimonies

The catch-all forum for general topics and debates. Minimal moderation. Rated PG to PG-13.
Post Reply
Maxrep
Regional Representative
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:29 pm

Handcarts and manufactured testimonies

Post by Maxrep »

The local stake is putting on a summer handcart trek for the youth. I never quite understood these activities for several reasons, but I'll leave them out for now. What peaked my interest was the secrecy of the itinerary for the multiple day outing. The few leaders who have been given a schedule outline have their paperwork watermarked with large type "CONFIDENTIAL" across the documents. I was told that the details were tightly under wraps, because if the youth found out what was in store, they would not attend.

All youth belongings will be searched. No cell phones, mp3 players, etc. The girls will not be allowed to carry or wear makeup(ok, whatever). The bags are also being searched for food...the leaders may asked to search other leaders bags for snacks as well. The first day will comprise an 8 hour trek. The youth can eat the lunch they packed, but at the completion of the days journey they will fed a bowl of broth, nothing else. This is the reason for the food confiscation that will take place at the start of the day.

Understand too, that the parents of the youth are uninformed on the trips specifics. Not only does this trip pose a good chance of incurring liability issues, but may very well backfire the inspirational intent of those who masterminded the excursion. Todays youth are a bit like domesticated pets, not all of them are on the track team and prepared for this type of exposure and calorie restriction on an arduous march. All it takes is a bit of sunstroke out there, or a young person who has blood sugar level issues, and an elephant could fit through the legal door that has been kicked wide open.

Despite the fact that the planning has been well under way for many months, I told my wife that someone with sense will pull the plug before the scheduled event.

Does this sort of handcart event take place everywhere? I'm hoping this is just an isolated twist on the whole idea.

User avatar
Bond...James Bond
He-Who-Has-Not-Sinned (Recently)
Posts: 4627
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:49 pm

Re: Handcarts and manufactured testimonies

Post by Bond...James Bond »

Maxrep wrote:The local stake is putting on a summer handcart trek for the youth. I never quite understood these activities for several reasons, but I'll leave them out for now. What peaked my interest was the secrecy of the itinerary for the multiple day outing. The few leaders who have been given a schedule outline have their paperwork watermarked with large type "CONFIDENTIAL" across the documents. I was told that the details were tightly under wraps, because if the youth found out what was in store, they would not attend.


Odds are if you have to keep something underwraps "because if the youth found out what was in store, they would not attend" the idea is stupid to begin with.

All youth belongings will be searched. No cell phones, mp3 players, etc. The girls will not be allowed to carry or wear makeup(ok, whatever). The bags are also being searched for food...the leaders may asked to search other leaders bags for snacks as well. The first day will comprise an 8 hour trek. The youth can eat the lunch they packed, but at the completion of the days journey they will fed a bowl of broth, nothing else. This is the reason for the food confiscation that will take place at the start of the day.


And you wonder why people are leaving the church. What is this, Survivor? Why not make it fun so the kids will associate the church with fun rather than a Survival Trek into the wilderness. What's the motivation to go?

Program Director: "Kids the food is at the top of that mountain. If you get up there you eat. If you don't, you starve. Now lets have some fun!"

Understand too, that the parents of the youth are uninformed on the trips specifics. Not only does this trip pose a good chance of incurring liability issues, but may very well backfire the inspirational intent of those who masterminded the excursion. Todays youth are a bit like domesticated pets, not all of them are on the track team and prepared for this type of exposure and calorie restriction on an arduous march. All it takes is a bit of sunstroke out there, or a young person who has blood sugar level issues, and an elephant could fit through the legal door that has been kicked wide open. Despite the fact that the planning has been well under way for many months, I told my wife that someone with sense will pull the plug before the scheduled event.


They're not telling the parents? Did they declare the trip "sacred"? Are they heading for Kolob in the Bishop's Spaceship, The d__a__ I?

The whole "it's a suprise" doesn't work anymore, and it's just a tad nieve to think kids will be happy to be dragged on a Vision Quest into the middle of nowhere. Especially today's kids, who are within an inch of becoming allergic to nature and sunlight.
Last edited by Bond...James Bond on Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Whatever appears to be against the Book of Mormon is going to be overturned at some time in the future. So we can be pretty open minded."-charity 3/7/07

Yoda

Re: Handcarts and manufactured testimonies

Post by Yoda »

Maxrep wrote:The local stake is putting on a summer handcart trek for the youth. I never quite understood these activities for several reasons, but I'll leave them out for now. What peaked my interest was the secrecy of the itinerary for the multiple day outing. The few leaders who have been given a schedule outline have their paperwork watermarked with large type "CONFIDENTIAL" across the documents. I was told that the details were tightly under wraps, because if the youth found out what was in store, they would not attend.

All youth belongings will be searched. No cell phones, mp3 players, etc. The girls will not be allowed to carry or wear makeup(ok, whatever). The bags are also being searched for food...the leaders may asked to search other leaders bags for snacks as well. The first day will comprise an 8 hour trek. The youth can eat the lunch they packed, but at the completion of the days journey they will fed a bowl of broth, nothing else. This is the reason for the food confiscation that will take place at the start of the day.

Understand too, that the parents of the youth are uninformed on the trips specifics. Not only does this trip pose a good chance of incurring liability issues, but may very well backfire the inspirational intent of those who masterminded the excursion. Todays youth are a bit like domesticated pets, not all of them are on the track team and prepared for this type of exposure and calorie restriction on an arduous march. All it takes is a bit of sunstroke out there, or a young person who has blood sugar level issues, and an elephant could fit through the legal door that has been kicked wide open.

Despite the fact that the planning has been well under way for many months, I told my wife that someone with sense will pull the plug before the scheduled event.

Does this sort of handcart event take place everywhere? I'm hoping this is just an isolated twist on the whole idea.


We had a handcart event in our stake several years ago. However, the parents were all informed about what was to take place, and if there was any kind of concern about medical issues, the youth was either not allowed to go, or they had the option of helping in a main camp area. My daughter has high blood pressure as a result of kidney reflux. Due to the intense heat, she was only allowed to participate in the main camping area, where there were more amenities available. There were also two RN's on the trek with the kids.

Bags weren't searched, but the kids were told that they could not bring MP3 players. Cell phones were actually allowed. They also had a list of food items that they were required to bring.

My daughter injured her leg during a sports activity and wasn't able to attend based on her injury. Needless to say, I was not all that disappointed that she didn't go.

Alter Idem
Apostle
Posts: 784
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:24 pm

Post by Alter Idem »

Hi Maxrep, Pioneer treks are extremely common here in Salt Lake, they've been doing them for quite a few years and they are memorable experience for those who participate. They do try to keep the kids in the dark about what is in store, but unless your stake leaders are reckless, precautions are taken to make sure all youth are safe and the experience is a positive one--at least by the end of it.

My husband and two daughters went about two years ago and they came back on cloud nine--surprising since they spent the first night and day soaking wet and cold. Another group at the same trek route the week before, decided to pack up and go home when it snowed, so from groups I'm aware of, most leaders are very careful not to endanger the safety of the youth. They also had medical teams and vans that traveled with them at all times in case of any problems.

The first day is the hardest but it is designed that way to help those involved get into the experience. All the youth and adult leaders I've talked to who've participated in these treks have said they were positive and well worth the time. Good luck!

User avatar
sailgirl7
CTR B
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:51 am

Post by sailgirl7 »

Sorry if this is too long but it reminded me of when I was 14 and I went on one of these "Pioneer Treks" It was a combined Young Men/Young Women activity.It was in Flaming Gorge. We weren't told details ahead of time- and we weren't allowed to bring snacks. When we got to the trail- we were seperated into groups. Most groups had a good balance of strong(physically) young men and a few groups had Young men leaders on their team. My team- was a group of 3 other girls and one tall, skinny boy. One of the girls was an abnormally short girl who had problems the whole time keeping up- Anyway, each team was required to pull their own handcart- which was filled with all the camp supplies and personal items. These handcarts looked like exact replicas of the real thing. They were quite heavy and cumbersome. The rules were that we were only going to get an apple for a snack during the day and some kind of mush for dinner. We were told that we could have water whenever we wanted- but the leaders had that in their carts- and were often way ahead of us on the trail. The first day was hard- because the trail was rough and there were a lot of steep hills to climb. Then it started to rain. It was a full- out thunderstorm with drenching rain and lightening and it did not stop. The trails became muddy- the mud was sticking to the wheels and it would take every ounce of strength to push and pull those things through the muddy terrain. We became soaking wet. All of our gear was wet. Everyone was complaining and getting frustrated. I was feeling very stressed out because our team was the "weakest" and it didn't seem fair that other teams had stronger people. It was after dark that we finally arrived at our camp. Everything was soaking wet- so building the fires and cooking dinner was almost impossible and it wasn't until way late into the night that we got a little something to eat. Then we rolled out our soaking wet sleeping bags and attempted to sleep. The next morning- the weather improved- and we set out again after eating some fruit. Even with the improved weather- the trail was rough and it seemed like an eternity until we came to our next camp site. At one point the little short girl was so exhausted that she could not keep going. So I told her to climb on my back and I carried her for as long as I could. The next couple of days- we did not pull the handcarts- but instead had fun camping near the lake. We got to go rock-jumping, and even did some skinny dipping with our young women's leaders (just us girls). They were very young and didn't seem too uptight about things. So overall it was an interesting experience. I'm glad I did it- but I wouldn't do it again. The next week in church all the leaders and several youth got up to bear their testimonies about how great and spiritual of an experience it was. At one point during a lull in the storm a rainbow had appeared in the sky and apparantly this had been an answer to someone's prayer. And also another "miracle" was that some teams apparently had times when their carts were easier to pull and this was because our pioneer ancestors were there in spirit helping us. Looking back I can see that hardships cause emotional unstability and in that state you can convince yourself of believing anything.

harmony
God
Posts: 18195
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:35 pm

Post by harmony »

Let me tell you a story...

My ward did one of these treks a few years ago (they haven't done one since, which gives an idea of how much it took out of the leaders). Lots of planning, lots of secrecy, lots of stupidity. They forced the girls to wear floor-length cotton dresses and bonnets (at least the guys got to wear regular jeans and tee shirts), so the mothers all had to sew the dresses and bonnets. The leaders got the choice to ride horses or to walk; the kids had to pull the handcarts. They allowed no cell phones or snacks. They chose to do this in the middle of the summer (110 degrees every day). They had a bunch of health issues (sunburn, dehydration, heat stroke, and one very scared guy who they thought was having a heart attack).

Dumb, dumb, dumb. Given a choice, I suspect the first handcart pioneers would have rather not done it either.

Maxrep
Regional Representative
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:29 pm

Post by Maxrep »

I'm wondering too, if there is any effort to put the handcart excursions in an accurate light? From a PBS documentary, it seems like over 20% of the participants suffered incredibly only to be met with death. It goes without saying that most had to endure the elements as well as watch their husbands and children die.

The reenactment idea seems a bit fanciful without the sobriety of the actual facts being presented to the youth, so that they can judge for themselves the gravity of the circumstances at hand, as well as the merits of the decision of pioneers/leadership to embark on such an ill fated journey. I heard somewhere that a group called "The Daughters of Zion" did a pretty good job of sanitizing pioneer journals so that a faithful remembrance of these events would emerge. Anybody have further light and knowledge here? The PBS special was only able to acquire "faithful" journal quotes from church public relations. It was odd to hear these optimistic journal entries during the television presentation, as the death toll was mounting! Not a harsh word to be retold! It just seems wrong to spin the mistakes of men into a testimony experience for the youth.

It sounds like some other stakes are not taking the expedition to the extremes planned here.

User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22018
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Post by moksha »

Max, don't worry, all is well. They will have medical supplies stashed away. They are trying to recreate the deprivations and hardships the pioneers suffered, with some degree of authenticity. One thing the youth can do to add to the authenticity and help themselves ahead of time, is to start taking walks to toughen up their feet and use some hand weights at the same time. Any strength training exercises would help as well.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

harmony
God
Posts: 18195
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:35 pm

Post by harmony »

moksha wrote:Max, don't worry, all is well. They will have medical supplies stashed away. They are trying to recreate the deprivations and hardships the pioneers suffered, with some degree of authenticity. One thing the youth can do to add to the authenticity and help themselves ahead of time, is to start taking walks to toughen up their feet and use some hand weights at the same time. Any strength training exercises would help as well.


And they'd better do some carb loading and drink lots and lots of water in the days ahead, to get all their lil cells fully hydrated. And wear comfortable shoes.

User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22018
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Post by moksha »

harmony wrote:
moksha wrote:Max, don't worry, all is well. They will have medical supplies stashed away. They are trying to recreate the deprivations and hardships the pioneers suffered, with some degree of authenticity. One thing the youth can do to add to the authenticity and help themselves ahead of time, is to start taking walks to toughen up their feet and use some hand weights at the same time. Any strength training exercises would help as well.


And they'd better do some carb loading and drink lots and lots of water in the days ahead, to get all their lil cells fully hydrated. And wear comfortable shoes.

Perhaps hollow out a spare Book of Mormon to hide some mole skin patches.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

Maxrep
Regional Representative
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:29 pm

Post by Maxrep »

moksha wrote:Max, don't worry, all is well. They will have medical supplies stashed away. They are trying to recreate the deprivations and hardships the pioneers suffered, with some degree of authenticity. One thing the youth can do to add to the authenticity and help themselves ahead of time, is to start taking walks to toughen up their feet and use some hand weights at the same time. Any strength training exercises would help as well.


The reason stated for the serving only of broth at dinner is that, "After such an exhausting trek, that is all their stomachs can handle". They are borrowing this line of thought from refugee camp survivors who's stomachs have shrunk and have atrophied intestinal tracts. Knowing a bit about sports physiology, they have completely missed the mark. Yes, I do understand what they are trying to recreate - just think they are a little over the top in the process.

The whole process seems so scripted.

Tear them down day one. They learn to work with their handcart team. They experience a strenuous activity completely outside their comfort zone.

Build them back up after a couple days of hunger. Once their tummies are full, sit them around a campfire for a testimony meeting(which also gets repeated the first Sunday upon their return).

Just like "Impact Training " seminars.

I think the lesson with the handcart companies is that sometimes both leaders and members make big mistakes. I don't think trying to tie a spiritual experience to such a catastrophe is appropriate.

User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22018
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Post by moksha »

Maxrep wrote: The reason stated for the serving only of broth at dinner is that, "After such an exhausting trek, that is all their stomachs can handle". They are borrowing this line of thought from refugee camp survivors who's stomachs have shrunk and have atrophied intestinal tracts. Knowing a bit about sports physiology, they have completely missed the mark. Yes, I do understand what they are trying to recreate - just think they are a little over the top in the process.

The whole process seems so scripted.

Tear them down day one. They learn to work with their handcart team. They experience a strenuous activity completely outside their comfort zone.

Build them back up after a couple days of hunger. Once their tummies are full, sit them around a campfire for a testimony meeting(which also gets repeated the first Sunday upon their return).

Just like "Impact Training " seminars.

I think the lesson with the handcart companies is that sometimes both leaders and members make big mistakes. I don't think trying to tie a spiritual experience to such a catastrophe is appropriate.

Perhaps you can write the final report months before the event happens.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

Maxrep
Regional Representative
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:29 pm

Post by Maxrep »

moksha wrote:Perhaps you can write the final report months before the event happens.


I may not have been clear with the last sentence; "I think the lesson with the handcart companies is that sometimes both leaders and members make big mistakes. I don't think trying to tie a spiritual experience to such a catastrophe is appropriate."

My point was that the early pioneer handcart companies(1800's) were ill fated due to short sidedness and lack of inspiration. I wasn't refering to modern day reenactments. I don't know exactly how the stakes plans will turn out, but feel pretty confident about the testimony bearing to follow!

User avatar
Runtu
God
Posts: 16721
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:06 pm

Post by Runtu »

Our stake did that a couple of years ago in the summer heat in Oklahoma. My daughter got heat exhaustion, and several kids and leaders ended up in the ER from heatstroke. Both my son and daughter came home badly sunburned and covered with ticks. I vividly recall my daughter staying in bed for several days, too sunburned and exhausted to get up. My son's leader got heatstroke and ended up in the hospital. The funny thing was that after it was all over, the stake presidency recounted the leader's miraculous healing when he was given a blessing and was immediately able to get up and walk to a car to take him to the hospital. My son, who was holding the man's hand at the time, turned to me and said, "That is completely untrue. We had to carry him, and he was in really bad shape. Why would they make up a story like that?" He came home very disillusioned about the church. I was still a believer at the time, and I didn't know what to tell him.
Runtu's Rincón

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

harmony
God
Posts: 18195
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:35 pm

Post by harmony »

I agree with Maxrep. That the church encourages this type of folly (in the wake of the real folly when it actually was happening) is so lame. Many many of those people died; we don't need to subject our youth (or their leaders) to the same conditions in order to prove a point (and the point is: the members were stupid and their leaders were completely asinine. They deliberately risked those people's lives, with no thought for their safety and welfare. Any other church would have hung them; we put them up on pedestals as examples of heroic attributes.). Parents should be smart, and refuse to allow their children to participate. But... wait a minute. This is the same mindset that handed over teenage girls to a 30-something "prophet" in payment for him granting them eternal exaltation. ARGH! Blind stupidity is alive and well in the LDS church. Why don't we just nail our children up on crosses? Surely that's the ultimate example to follow?

User avatar
Sethbag
God
Posts: 6855
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:52 am

Post by Sethbag »

A great many human beings have suffered deprivation, hardship, sickness, and death. Doing so does not imply that God is revealing truth to anyone. As the title of this thread implies, this is trying to manufacture a testimony. If they can appreciate that our pioneer ancestors waded through lots of crap, they'll believe that the Book of Abraham really was true after all, and that Joseph Smith's boinking of Fanny Alger really was approved by God, not to mention the dozens of other women? Huh?

So what if they reenacted the Trail of Tears forced mass migration of Indians at the hands of the US Government. What testimony will that strengthen?

What if they organize a recreation of the Bataan Death March. Will that help the kids realize the church was true?

User avatar
Gazelam
Lightbearer
Posts: 5659
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:06 pm

Post by Gazelam »

Seth:
So what if they reenacted the Trail of Tears forced mass migration of Indians at the hands of the US Government. What testimony will that strengthen?


Manifest Destiny
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato

harmony
God
Posts: 18195
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:35 pm

Post by harmony »

Gazelam wrote:Seth:
So what if they reenacted the Trail of Tears forced mass migration of Indians at the hands of the US Government. What testimony will that strengthen?


Manifest Destiny


Your ignorance is showing.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 16 guests