Sunday, January 11, 2009

Today's Spiritual Message: Learning Through Trials

In today's elders quorum, we touched a little bit on the travails of the early saints and in particular, the brethren who went through intense adversity in their journey known as Zion's Camp. For a most likely LDS-biased synopsis, see the following:

For these men, they were eager to go to Missouri to take back the lands which had been wrongfully taken from them and to avenge themselves of other injustices. Surprisingly, the Lord declared that the time was not right and that the political end which they sought was not to be. “I have heard their prayers, and will accept their offering; and it is expedient in me that they should be brought thus far for a trial of their faith” (D&C 105:19).

A trial of their faith! Many Saints had been mobbed, tortured, and killed. Homes had been ravaged, pillaged, and left desolate. As this is an incredible understatement, I can see why these men would have been eager to take back what was rightfully theirs.

Yet, in their journey, many of them faced hunger, disease, starvation, and even disenfranchisement. These many trials notwithstanding, later President of the Church Wilford Woodruf had the following to say:
We gained an experience that we never could have gained in any other way. We had the privilege of beholding the face of the Prophet, and we had the privilege of traveling a thousand miles with him, and seeing the workings of the Spirit of God with him, and the revelations of Jesus Christ unto him and the fulfillment of those revelations.
In the face of extreme adversity, we often feel to ask, as did the Prophet Joseph, "O God, awhere art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy bhiding place?" The Lord's response?
My son, apeace be unto thy soul; thine badversity and thine afflictions shall be but a csmall moment; And then, if thou aendure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy bfoes.
In the next section, the Lord, after describing a long list of hypothetical ailments says the following:
. . . if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
To conclude, I know that Joseph Smith and the other brethren were given incredible adversity as a means of making them better. Nine out of the first twelve Apostles in this dispensation were members of Zion's Camp along with each of the initial Seventy.

As the Savior says, He has descended through all things, for our good. I know and testify that as we put our faith, trust, and hope in Him, we will be able to overcome all things. I testify that he was the Man that He said He was. I declare Him to be the Son of God and our only source of salvation from pain, sin, and fear.
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
For more see this web page.

1 comment:

Fletch said...

It sounds like your Q knew about Zions Camp. Kudos.