While many automatically associate the Mormon or LDS church with Utah, its history runs deep in Illinois. Many members of the faith lived in western Illinois until the 1840’s when they moved west to Utah following mounting tensions with non-Mormons in the area. Today, a local church group here in Central Illinois is teaching teenagers about what their ancestors had to endure on their long journey west.
The East Central Illinois Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints embarked on a journey where high-schoolers pushed handcarts through the thick woods of Vermilion County to see what the trip to Utah might have been like. For kids like sixteen year old Evan Hobson, it was an amazing experience.
“Its been a little bit sweaty, a little bit tiring, but its been fun. It has been a unique opportunity.” says Hobson.
In addition to pulling handcarts and dressing in period clothing, kids also got a chance to play games and learn music from the era.