Junius F. Wells Award - 2013: Robert Scott Lorimer

Robert Scott Lorimer receiving the Junius Wells Award from Richard Lambert
Robert Scott Lorimer receiving the Junius Wells Award from Richard Lambert

On November 14, 2013, the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation presented to Robert Scott Lorimer, former president of the Riverton Wyoming Stake, the Junius Wells Award in recognition for his work and accomplishment in what has become known in Mormon circles as the “Second Rescue” of the 1856 handcart pioneers.  In addition, to help give remembrance to these early pioneers President Lorimer was instrumental in the Church’s purchase of property in Wyoming at Rock Creek and the Sun Ranch adjacent to Martin’s Cove.

Scott & Dee Lorimer with Elder ans Sister Neil Andersen.
Scott & Dee Lorimer with Elder ans Sister Neil Andersen

The banquet was held at the Joseph Smith Memorial building with President Lorimer’s family and friends, historians, and Church dignitaries in attendance including Elder Neil Andersen of the quorum of the twelve, Elders Steven E. Snow and Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy and LDS Church History Department.  Also, in attendance were several emeritus members of the Seventy who had worked closely with President Lorimer.

In a video presentation and in his remarks of the evening, President Lorimer related events and the prompting he received to involve the members of his stake in the temple work for those members of the Martin/Willie handcart companies; and how he was able to acquire critical property and erect monuments and other related amenities.

The master of ceremonies for the evening was Glenn Rawson, noted filmmaker, writer, and television producer.  Representing the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation in presenting the award was Richard Lambert, Vice Chairman of the Foundation.


Articles & Resources

Robert Scott Lorimer
Robert Scott Lorimer

President Robert Scott Lorimer since childhood has had a great interest in the story of the Martin/Willie Handcart companies and their fateful journey in 1856.  As president of the Riverton Wyoming Stake he led its members in what has become affectionately and historically known as the Second Rescue. The First Rescue occurred in November 1856 when 250 relief wagons, sent by Brigham Young from Salt Lake, brought life saving supplies and comfort to the desperate and beleaguered pioneers. The Second Rescue brought spiritual blessings of temple ordinances.

Through Scott Lorimer’s efforts it was discovered that the temple work for a surprising 83 percent of those who died on the trail, and 52 percent of those who lived had not been completed. When brought to the attention of President Hinckley, his charge to President Lorimer was “don’t stop until it is done.” President Lorimer immediately called together members of his stake and assigned each member, 12 years and older, the name of a pioneer with the assignment to see if their temple work had been done. If not, they were to see that it was completed. In just over a year 4,000 ordinances were performed in behalf of the members of the two handcart companies and their rescuers.

President Lorimer’s work did not end there. The Riverton Stake raised the funds and constructed three monuments commemorating the belated handcart companies, one each at Martin’s Cove, the Willie rescue site, and Rocky Ridge. President Lorimer also negotiated the purchase by the LDS Church of the Rock Creek Hollow property in 1992, and in 1996 he helped complete the acquisition by the Church of the Sun Ranch property adjacent to Martin’s Cove. With this property, he was instrumental in the development and construction of bridges, trails, hundreds of handcarts, a visitor’s center, and the reclamation of Rock Creek Hollow.  His personal correspondence exceeds 9,000 letters written in response to those from around the world who wrote to him about the handcart pioneers. He has authored or co-authored numerous books and articles on the Martin/Willie Handcart pioneers.  He also wrote or compiled 41,000 pages of history relating to the handcart companies, had them bound into 107 volumes, and donated them to the Church History Department.

President Lorimer graduated from Brigham Young University in 1975 and later worked towards a Masters in Accountancy at the University of Nebraska. A successful business career was enjoyed for thirty-three years as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Finance of the U.S. Energy Corp. He currently serves on the board of directors.

He has a heart-warming relationship with his wife Desiree (Dee) and they are the parents of seven children, six daughters (Sarah, Jessica, Julie, Heika, Autumn, and Kelly) and one son (Luke). Scott was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Upon his return from his German mission, he and Dee met at a Family Home Evening at BYU.

For his service, Scott has received many honors. For example Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer, with a unanimous vote of the Wyoming Legislature, declared May 12, 2001 as Scott and Dee Lorimer Day for their service to the State of Wyoming and the National Emigration Trails.

'Second Rescue' of the 1856 handcart pioneers

By Jerry Wellman
Church News staff writer
Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013

A day to remember in Wyoming

Church News staff writer
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2001