How Are Leaders Role Models for Their Beliefs? The Mormon Trail—Road of the Saints
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Give examples of human interdependence and explain why group formation is one strategy for survival.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Analyze philanthropic traditions of diverse cultural groups and their contributions to civil society.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Give examples from history of how intolerance of ideas, religion, and minorities contributed to social disintegration.

To enable students to understand the contributions and sacrifices made by the Mormons and their leaders in the development of the West.

PrintTwo 50 Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • cite the three main obstacles faced by the Mormons in the society in which they lived as they followed their dream of religious freedom.
  • list three core democratic values that were essential to the travelers along the Mormon Trail and the other ways west during this time period and explain how the Mormons and other travelers took action to insure these democratic values.
  • identify three components of leadership demonstrated by "the Saints" in their journey West.
  • Video: Historic Trails With Tom Bodett: The Morman Trail and California Trails, copyright 1996 by Small World AMERICA'S Productions, Inc., PO Box 28369, Seattle WA 98118-8369 1-800-319-9909.
  • Pioneer log from general reference material or the Internet
  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask students to speculate on the amount of supplies that a family might have been able to take with them in early American history as they traveled west in a covered wagon. How does the word "sacrifice" fit in with this picture?

  2. Review the routes west taken by the pioneers and the geographical obstacles they faced. Focus on the Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Mormon Trail and obstacles such as mountains, rivers and lack of food and water.

    • Have students watch the video which will take one hour, or, as an alternative, read passages from a general reference book about the journey of the Mormons to Salt Lake.
    • While watching or reading, students should make three columns of notes:
    • Values/beliefs of Mormons
    • Material possessions of importance on their journey
    • Examples of sacrifice and human interdependence.
    • Divide the class into small groups to compare notes. Give the groups this task:
    • You've been asked to join a group that is going to colonize a new planet. List ten of your material possessions that you would most want to take with you (space is limited on the spacecraft).
    • Since it is unlikely that you'll be coming back, which values, beliefs, social customs and practices that are currently in place in America would you like to see preserved: religions, music, laws, holidays, social practices?

      Have each group put their ideas on posters and have a gallery walk to look for common themes.


Quick write: "Of all of my personal beliefs, which three do I want to make sure get passed on to future generations and why?" This will be graded on the following criteria: A general statement of why it is important to pass on beliefs; a listing of those beliefs; and a concluding statement as to why those beliefs are most important to the student.