43: "O God, Where Art Thou?" (Doctrine and Covenants 121–123)"
"Prison temple." Now there are two words that don’t seem like they belong together. And while these words seem contradictory, they are exactly how Latter-day Saint historians have described the experience of Liberty Jail for Joseph Smith and his friends. As we study Doctrine and Covenants 121–123, we’ll see that while this experience was beyond harrowing, it also had moments of unspeakable sacredness. And we'll learn that we too can have sacred moments of comfort and peace during our most difficult trials.
“God’s love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are manifest.” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail” , Ensign, September 2009).
“When Caldwell County, Missouri, was created specifically for Latter-day Saint immigration, many native Missourians expected that such immigration would thereafter be limited to Caldwell County and that the Saints would not gather in significant numbers to any other Missouri county. Although Joseph Smith made some effort to keep LDS immigration centralized, by and large the Saints did not feel constrained to settle only near Far West and rightly viewed such restrictions as a violation of their constitutional rights to purchase land wherever it was for sale and to settle wherever they pleased.3 Trouble with the mobs began not in the Saints' population centers but in the smaller settlements outside Caldwell County.4
“As friction between the Saints and their non–Latter-day Saint neighbors quickly escalated, Governor Lilburn Boggs decreed on 27 October 1838 that all Mormons were to be driven from the state, or "exterminated." Three days later, apparently acting without orders, the Livingstone County militia attacked the LDS settlement of Haun's Mill, murdering seventeen men and boys and wounding fourteen others. The next day the Saints at Far West were directed by the Prophet to lay down their arms after he and other Church leaders were betrayed and arrested by the state militia there” (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 4, "Doctrine and Covenants 121," Deseret Book).
“They were then marched into the camp, where they were forced to lie all night on the cold ground in a freezing rainstorm while the guards shouted and cursed at them. When the officers decided to take the prisoners to Independence, Missouri, Joseph and his companions begged to be allowed to see their families.
“’I found my wife and children in tears,” the Prophet wrote, “who feared we had been shot by those who had sworn to take our lives, and that they would see me no more. … Who can realize the feelings which I experienced at that time, to be thus torn from my companion, and leave her surrounded with monsters in the shape of men, and my children, too, not knowing how their wants would be supplied; while I was to be taken far from them in order that my enemies might destroy me when they thought proper to do so. My partner wept, my children clung to me, until they were thrust from me by the swords of the guards.’2
“During one of the cold, tedious nights, the men lay on the floor until past midnight, unable to sleep because the guards were boasting of their recent attacks on the Saints, including acts of robbery, rape, and murder. Elder Parley P. Pratt recounted: “I had listened till I became so disgusted, shocked, horrified, and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards; but had said nothing to Joseph, or any one else, although I lay next to him and knew he was awake. On a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect, the following words:
“’SILENCE. … In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!
“’He ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible majesty. Chained, and without a weapon; calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel, he looked upon the quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the ground; whose knees smote together, and who, shrinking into a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained quiet till a change of guards.’”4 (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, “Chapter 30: Valiant in the Cause of Christ,” churchofjesuschrist.org).
“Spending more than four months in the snug jail proved a daunting experience. Four-foot-thick stone walls, a six-foot ceiling, and constant harassment by guards caused Joseph and his companions to describe the structure as ‘hell surrounded with demons.’
“The detainees were placed in the lower-level dungeon, where temperatures dropped, light dimmed, odors reeked, and time seemed to slow.
“As was the case in other 19th-century county jails, the food sickened the prisoners. Joseph and his companions described their daily meals as ‘very coarse and so filthy that we could not eat it until we were driven to it by hunger.’ When the prisoners finally ate their servings, the food caused them to vomit ‘almost to death.’ Some of the detainees suspected the guards of poisoning their food and water or even feeding them human flesh.
“Word spread of the Latter-day Saint prisoners at Liberty Jail, and ‘the place took on some aspects of a zoo.’ Locals visited the jail in droves to gape at the prisoners, and their taunts and jeers echoed through the stone walls.
“The four-month confinement in Liberty Jail took a heavy physical toll on the prisoners. Sunlight barely crept through two small, iron-barred windows that were too high to see through, and long hours in the darkness caused the men’s eyes to strain.
“While a small fire was allowed, without a chimney to channel the smoke, the prisoners’ eyes became even more irritated. Their ears ached, their nerves trembled, and Hyrum Smith even went into shock at one point.
“Sidney Rigdon, the second-oldest member of the company next to Baldwin, was in such poor health that, lying in an inclined bed, he petitioned for an early release. His eloquent speech and severe infirmity caused the judge to discharge Rigdon ahead of schedule” (Justin R. Bray, “Within the Walls of Liberty Jail,” Revelations in Context, churchofjesuschrist.org).
“His wife Nancy came for a brief visit right before Christmas in 1838 and there is no record of further communication with her or their 10 children. Baldwin, who was the most senior of the group, struggled physically and emotionally in the dungeon level of Liberty Jail. He was a 47-year-old father of 10 who longed to be with his family during his four-month confinement” (Justin R. Bray, “Within the Walls of Liberty Jail,” Revelations in Context, churchofjesuschrist.org).
Before the Extermination Order: “The saints at this time are in a Union; and peace and love prevail throughout; in a word, heaven smiles upon the Saints in Caldwell….We have no uneasiness about the power of our enemies in this place to do us harm” ("History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838]," p. 785, The Joseph Smith Papers).
“But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” BYU Speeches, September 7, 2008).
“. . . those passages continue to provide comfort and direction to anyone mining the scriptures for meaning” (Justin R. Bray, “Within the Walls of Liberty Jail,” Revelations in Context, churchofjesuschrist.org).
Pavilion: A moveable tent like Moses’ Tabernacle.
Doctrine and Covenants 121:26;
“You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” Ensign, Sept. 2009, 28).
“’In the midst of my grief, I found consolation that surpassed all earthly comfort. I was filled with the Spirit of God, and received the following by the gift of prophecy: ‘Let your heart be comforted concerning your children, they shall not be harmed by their enemies. …’ This relieved my mind, and I was prepared to comfort my children. I told them what had been revealed to me, which greatly consoled them’” (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, ed. Preston Nibley , 291).
Section 121 Title:
“The Constitution of the Priesthood”
Section 122 Title:
Section 123 Title:
“Anti-Christ; Literature and Works”
Section 123 Background:
“The Saints suffered much evil at the hands of the mobs and the Missouri state militia who acted contrary to the laws and constitutions of both the State of Missouri and the United States. It would become the responsibility of the Saints to seek redress for all that they had suffered and lost—no matter how unlikely they might be to succeed. The law of witnesses goes back to Old Testament times (see Deuteronomy 17:6; Matthew 18:16) and has always been part of the gospel. Even when reparation or satisfaction is unlikely, it is important that a true record of wrongs, libels, and slanders against the Lord's people be kept. If the mobs, the courts, or the nations will not grant the Saints justice, then there will be at least two witnesses, the record kept on earth by the Church and the record kept in heaven (see 3 Nephi 27:23–26), to stand against them at the Day of Judgment.
Here's an unusual word pair: prison temple. Now, maybe you're thinking, "In what sense could a prison be called a temple?" Well, today's discussion of Doctrine and Covenants, sections 121-123 will teach us the answer to that question. It will also teach us about God's love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are manifest.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
All right. Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast, so follow the link that's in our description and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study, just like my friends Dale, Jen, Brooklyn, Braxton, and Brighton Johns of Pennsylvania. Hi, Johns family. Thanks for listening. We love you guys.
Now another awesome thing about our study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends, this is my favorite part. And this week is so unique, incredible, the way it all worked out. These two weren't supposed to be together and now they are and I just - oh my gosh - I'm so overwhelmed already with emotion that I've had to stop a couple times because I've been crying. So I want to introduce you to Holly Howarth, and Allison Dayton. Hi, friends.
Oh my gosh, I'm so excited for this episode and I have been for the last couple of weeks when everything finally came together. So, Allison runs the Instagram account LiftandLove.org. And that's how the two of us have met, is through that Instagram account. Allison, tell us a little bit about your Instagram account.
It goes back a little ways. I grew up with a gay brother who was out in the early 80s. He was just the most faithful man: he served a mission, loved God, and His life was so hard. And then, about four years ago, he ended up taking his own life. At the same time, my son Jake was coming out as gay. As I spent time with some of Jake's friends, I realized there was no support for them. They had no parent, parental support, there was nowhere for them to turn. So I ended up starting this little Instagram account. That sort of morphed into this really amazing group of people who are learning and growing together. It's basically for moms and families and the support of LGBTQ families in the Church.
Allison shares stories every week of families who have children that come out as gay, and they're trying to navigate staying members of the Church and what that looks like, and they're all in, they're solid, and they have this aspect of it that's different than they expected. And that's what I love about Allison's Instagram account as you just read these really incredible stories that lift you up and make you just love Jesus. That's how I feel when I'm on your Instagram.
I'm so lucky that I get to hear the most faithful, most amazing, and most painful stories.
Yeah, yeah. And everyone knows Holly cuz she's been on before, so hey, sis.
Hello. Glad to be here. Y'all know how much I love doin' the podcast. (laughs)
Exactly. She's like, "Tammy, I really don't have to do this." I'm like, "I know, but the Holy Ghost wants you to so, just, we're just gonna roll with it."
Boy, did the Holy Ghost want me to this time!
But my hands are sweating so bad. I haven't had THAT before. (laughter)
All right, well, here we go. So if you want to know more about my friends and read their bios, you can find their information in our show notes which are at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Okay, so before we start, we fully acknowledge that there is just way too much to cover in today's episode, and I'm not even talking about verse count. I'm just talking about content, because it's just three chapters but there's so much packed in these. And I would say, that for me, these three chapters today are some of the best, most oft-quoted verses in the Doctrine and Covenants. I mean, I don't know anyone who hasn't read these at times in their life where they're just so sad, or frustrated, or going through a trial. I mean, these are your "go-to" chapters. So please be sure to take the time to read them, or listen to them when you're driving, or working out, or anything. Just don't deprive yourself of these three sections, because there is just not a single living soul who wouldn't benefit from the wisdom taught.
So having said that, then friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in. Alright, so before we met, I asked my guests to do something specific. I thought this was kind of fun, I've never asked anyone to do this. I asked them to read sections 121, 122, and 123 and then to choose one verse or phrase that they would want framed in their home, or cross- stitched on a pillow, or vinyled. Whatever you want to do with it. So I'm so interested to see what you guys chose and for us to talk about the verses. So you guys ready to do this? Okay, hit it. What did you pick?
Mine is "endure it well", in 121, verses 7 and 8. I have to give you a little background. The first time that I remember hearing this where it struck me is about 21 years ago I was in Young Women's. This 17 year-old girl got up and said, "Well, this scripture helps me through things." So she read this. And at that time I was going through a difficult time; it always seems like there's difficult times. But my husband lost his job, I had just had a baby, it was just a really crazy time.
And I remember reading that, "endure it well" and thinking, I didn't endure it well. I didn't. I was not nice, I cried, I was mad, I was frustrated. And from that time, I always try to think, what does endure it well look like? And it's kind of changed how I think about things and how do I endure it well? So anyway, that's what I would have on cross-stitched on a pillow: Endure it Well.
I like that. I've marked it, I highlighted it. And then I put "Holly Howarth." Alright, Allison, you're up. What one did you pick?
Okay, mine surprised me because there's so many that I love in here. But in 122, verse 9, so it's the last one of 122, "hold on thy way." That has to be sort of how I've managed the last several years. "Hold on my way." Just keep going. And then if we go to the end, it says, "Fear not what man can do, for God, He'll be with you forever and ever." And that's the reminder I get every time that I think, "What am I doing? Why am I exposing myself and my family and spending my days doing this?" And then the answer is just, "Hold on thy way. God is with you." And, "Hold on thy way" would be on my mirror. And maybe on my desk, and maybe I would write it on my hand everyday, too.
I like that, thank you so much, Allison. Mine actually is the same one! I have it marked, highlighted right here, writtin in my papers, everything. I think that has been the theme for my life, especially getting married and marrying instantly into two little kids, and everyone's grieving because their mom died. And people know the video cuz I've shared it before—it's on Mormon Stories—where I'm in my closet and I'm done. I'm out. I'm like, I'm ready to divorce my husband and you know, pack up all my stuff to go live in Alabama and work in a diner and serve apple pie to truck drivers. That's how I thought it out. Right, Holly? Holly and I always talk about that's kind of our dream.
But yeah, just, just, "Hold on thy way," like, you can do this. You got this because Jesus has it. He's got you and you're gonna make it just fine. Whatever you're going through, whatever you're struggling with, just "hold on thy way. I'll make it right." And then I love how you added though, Allison, fear not. I think for me, that's where a lot of my insecurities and things come from is a place of fear. Wondering, can I really do this? And then Satan's like, No, you can't. And I quickly downward spiral. So, that was mine, So thank you.
Oh, those were great ones, ladies. And I'm so anxious to know what stood out to YOU and what would you have cross-stitched on a pillow? What would you want framed in your home? We're gonna post that on Instagram and Facebook.
Okay, I just want to get to the history of this because Doctrine and Covenants section 121, 122, and 123, they're just three letters. There were letters that were written near the end of Joseph Smith's imprisonment in Liberty Jail. What is it about these three chapters? Why would they have been included in the Doctrine and Covenants?
This is the higher learning pattern, the master's degree, the PhD. If life is an education, then, then this is the PhD level: the suffering, the reaching to the Savior, and then the knowledge that flows forth.
I like how you put that, I had to write that down, Allison-the PhD level of suffering, and the pattern that the Lord sets out for us. So beautiful. What about you, Holl?
Well, I feel the same way. Allison said it so beautifully. The suffering that you have no control over that's just there and it just seems to get worse, like going to jail. I mean, that's bad, and the suffering, and then what happens to their families and the people they love. It's just so much. You think, how can I go on? And then there's so much hope in it.
As I was reading these, maybe we'll discuss it later, but as I was reading these, I went to, of course, the Primary lessons about these. And it says you know, take the yarn and stretch it out, have two kids on opposite ends of the classroom, and have someone pinch in the middle somewhere. And that's our life - is that little pinch - and the rest is eternity. And this helps us see that, that we can make it. This is just such a short time, and it sure doesn't feel like it when we're in the thick of it.
It doesn't. I like how you put that, Holly. Thank you so much.
And you were saying like, the pain, it's sort of a experience of pain on pain. The Saints were run out, they're being tortured, and here he is, unable to help anybody. He wants to be serving. Pain just keeps coming. And isn't that just like the life experience?
Perfectly put, Allison, perfectly put: pain upon pain upon pain. Yeah, thank you. Wow, well, when you go to Liberty Jail, if you have the opportunity in your life, I've been one time and I can remember when I went in there, and we sat down, and the cute missionary couple gave us a tour of Liberty Jail. And I remember them saying, "This is Joseph Smith's Prison Temple." I was like, Huh, well, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard. And they're quoting BH Roberts by saying that the experience Joseph had, as well as all the other men who were with him, is a prison temple. And so we're going to discuss that in the rest of these segments, how it became that for them, and how it can be that for us.
Segment 2 11:47
First things first. What we have to know before we dig into these sections is the history behind them. And there is so much, so it's storytime. It's so good. Now if I was teaching Seminary, I would hand out Blow Pops or Tootsie Pops to all my classes, and say, "Here you go, enjoy while you listen to storytime." So get some snacks, whatever you need. For reals, you have to know the history behind this, right, ladies?
So here's the first thing. Times were so good in the Spring of 1838 that Joseph Smith actually wrote this in his journal: "The Saints at this time are in a union, and peace and love prevail throughout. In a word, heaven smiles upon the saints in Caldwell; we have no uneasiness about the power of our enemies in this place to do us harm."
I mean, doesn't that sound sublime? Ah, like things are so good, but it didn't last. Between the months of June and November of 1838, there is this sudden and unexpected reversal of fortunes in the history of the church. Everyone's living in Caldwell County. Missouri had said this is where you can live and be safe. But several of the members were like, no, it's our constitutional right to live outside of Caldwell County, so we're gonna do that. Well, non-members were like, whoa, wait a minute. You're supposed to stay in your designated area. You're not supposed to live outside of that. And they started freaking out, thinking the Mormons are taking over.
And all of this resulted in the October 27, 1838 Extermination Order. Three days later, the Livingston County Militia attacked the LDS settlement at Haun's Mill, killing 17 men and boys, and wounding 14 others. There's also crazy stories about attacks on women and just horrific things happened at Haun's Mill.
Then on October 31, 1838, George Hinkle, who was a member of the church and a Colonel in the Missouri State militia, he betrayed Joseph Smith. He told Joseph that members of the Missouri Militia who had attacked the saints at Far West wanted to meet for an interview to settle the disagreement peacefully. Well, when Joseph and the other church members arrived for the "interview", the militia took them forcefully as prisoners of war. So Joseph and several others were arrested that day, and after this attack they were taken to Richmond jail. Now Holly, I've asked her to tell us about what happened at Richmond jail.
Okay, so before they were arrested, they camped a night, getting ready for that meeting that they were going to have. So they camped the first night, and then they were arrested. And they were taken to Independence, (Missouri) for a few days. And then they were taken to Richmond, and that's where they were chained together most of the time.
How many men were there?
Seven. But this account, I'll never forget the first time I heard this. I want to read it, is that okay? You have to read this.
Yeah, you do.
In Richmond Jail during one of the cold, tedious nights, the men lay on the floor until past midnight, unable to sleep because the guards were boasting of their recent attacks on the saints, including acts of robbery, rape, and murder.
Elder Parley P Pratt recounted: "I had listened till I became so disgusted, shocked, horrified, and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards, but I had said nothing to Joseph or anyone else, although I lay next to him, I knew he was awake.
"On a sudden he arose to his feet and spoke in a voice as thunder, or as a roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect, the following words: 'Silence! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die this instant!'
"He ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible majesty. Chained, and without a weapon, calm, unruffled, and dignified as an angel, he looked upon the quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the ground, whose knees smote together, and who, shrinking into a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained quiet until a change of guards."
I mean, my hands are sweating right now. Those poor men, what they were going through and having to hear that, that boasting. I can't even imagine the pain.
Thank you, Holly. You know, as you were telling that story, to me, it was evident how it's affected you and stayed with you all these years since you first heard it. So, great job on telling that part of history. Okay, after that incident happened then,on December 1, 1838, so kind of think about that, it is really cold in Missouri. Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney, Lyman White, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McCray were sent to jail in Liberty, Missouri. And so now Allison is going to tell us about what the conditions were like in Liberty Jail.
Spending more than four months in this one jail provided a daunting experience. Four- foot thick stone walls, a six foot ceiling. And by the way, Joseph Smith, I think was like, 6'2, right?
Um hmm; he could not stand up all the way.
And the constant harassment by guards causedJoseph and his companions to describe the structure as hell, surrounded with demons. The detainees were placed in the lower level dungeon where temperatures dropped, light dimmed, odors reaked, and time seems to slow. Then they go on to describe what the conditions were with the food. He said "It was very coarse and so filthy that we could not eat it until we were driven to it by hunger." When the prisoners finally ate their servings, the food caused them to vomit almost to death. And this part is, will stop all of us. I think that some of them felt like their food was being poisoned and that they were being fed human flesh. It's deplorable. I mean, just even to imagine how that all came about.
It makes me so, I don't know. Okay, so word spread of the Latter-Day Saint prisoners at the Liberty Jail, the place took on some aspects of a zoo. The locals visited the jail in droves to gape at the prisoners, and their taunts and jeers echoed through the stone walls. Pain on pain.
The four-month confinement in Liberty Jail took a heavy toll on the prisoners. Sunlight barely crept through two small iron-barred windows that were too high to see through. And long hours in the darkness caused the men's eyes to strain. While a small wood fire was allowed, without a chimney to channel the smoke, the prisoners' eyes became even more irritated. Their ears ached, their nerves trembled, and Hyrum Smith even went into shock at one point.
I don't think I've ever heard that.
No, that surprised me because Hyrum always seems to be this level,
Sidney Rigdon, the second oldest member of the company next to Baldwin was in such poor health, that, lying in an inclined bed, he petitioned for an early release. His eloquent speech and severe infirmity caused the judge to discharge Rigdon ahead of schedule. Horrible, even for that day, just deplorable.
And one of the things that as I was studying this, I had heard that story about Joseph - I've been in the Liberty Jail - but I've never seen it from the perspective of all the men who were there at the same time, and how difficult it was for every one of them. And one of the names that we've mentioned is Caleb Baldwin. He's 47 years old, he is a father of 10 children who longed to be with their father during this time of merriment and holidays. It's December. Christmas is here, it's past, and here they are confined in this dungeon. And there is so much sadness to Caleb Baldwin's story, whose wife comes to visit him before Christmas, and then there's no other record of communication from her or their 10 children. And so he is just so sad and so lonely.
I guess I always just assumed that these verses were for Joseph. And studying this, I realized, no, they were for all of the men, because Caleb and the men were so sad. They petitioned Joseph: Does the Lord have any word for us? What are we doing here? It would have been so easy for them to turn tail and just say to the jailers, Just kidding, I don't believe any of this like, Joseph's a fraud, get me out of here, right? Like, it would have been so easy, and they didn't. And so it's beautiful to imagine now, and if you can, Joseph confirms that there is something that needs to be said. And Joseph starts to write and he dictates a letter to Caleb Baldwin, who acted as scribe, and wrote these sections 121, 122, and 123.
So now I'm just picturing Joseph, speaking,and Caleb hearing this, not a prophet of the Lord, not savvy with revelation and knowing that things will work out. But Joseph is speaking on behalf of all of us. And so that's what I want us to remember as we're reading these verses - and these sections - is that they are for us in our trials, in our sadness, in our sorrow. There's a great quote by Elder Holland, it's one of my favorite talks called "Lessons From Liberty Jail." And this is what he has to say about this experience in Liberty. And Holly, will you read this.
"But the lessons of the winter of 1838-39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it. These difficult lessons teach us that man's extremity is God's opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples - or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace."
Thank you. Did knowing the history impact your opinion on these sections? And then I want to know your thoughts on this quote.
Well, I think absolutely knowing the history, and thinking about how long it went on. From my calculations, it started October 31 and this revelation is March 20th, 1839. So that's a long time if you're thinking, Oh, trick or treating. And then you've missed Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and Valentine's Day, you know. You just think of all of these things. And now it's March 20th, and they're still in those conditions. It blows me away to think of. I don't know, there's so much in that quote, Tam.
I don't necessarily curse God for my problems, but sometimes I do get mad. I've been mad at God before. I will tell you that I've, you know, been going through a really difficult time the last few weeks. And my sweet, sweet little missionary who's leaving tomorrow, he was doing a home MTC. So I said, "Can you give me a blessing?" And it was his first blessing he's ever given. And this sweet little 18 year-old, and he puts his hands on my head, and it was very short. Basically, the only thing he said to me is, your faith is sufficient. It kind of reminds me of this right now. I've just got to keep the faith, that my faith is sufficient at these very difficult times. And small as it might be right now, that it is sufficient.
Okay, Holly, I just have to say this like, I am so shocked by that blessing that you got. This is crazy! When I was in Liberty jail all those years ago, here's the senior couple missionaries, and they're telling us the story about Liberty Jail, and how bad were the conditions and everything, and I'm just dying how bad it is. And then this sweet Sister Missionary, I will never forget this moment. She said, "Joseph's faith was proof sufficient." I have never forgotten that moment. And here you are receiving the exact same promise. I believe it, I do. I believe that, in that promise and I also believe it for all of us, our faith will prove sufficient. So, thanks so much for sharing that.
What I love about it is my son just got his Patriarchal Blessing. And the Patriarch said that what makes the scriptures so unique is they're living and every time you read them, something comes alive to you at that moment. That's why we're constantly told to read them. And these verses, every time you read them, something else stands out to you.
Um hmm. Did you have that experience reading these? We've read them before, was it different this time with your life?
Oh, oh, absolutely, absolutely. Different, different things stuck out to me. Every time I read a scripture I'm like, well I've never heard that one before. Sometimes I feel like it's the first time I've ever read the scriptures.
Yeah, when did God put that in?
Yeah, when did that happen?
And that's where, that's where the confidence comes in. That's where our confidence that like, 'I the LORD, I'm teaching you this in the Scriptures.'
You're ready to learn, now. You're ready to learn this aspect that you weren't ready a week ago or a day ago. You know, there's a cool quote about everything we're going to study now. We know the history and now we're going to jump into these sections. And an author Justin R. Bray, and he wrote a great article called <Within the Walls of Liberty>. And this is what he had to say about these three sections. He says,
"Those passages continue to provide comfort and direction to anyone mining the scriptures for meaning". And this idea of mining the scriptures is so powerful. You're the student, the student's ready to learn, and so let's dig in and mine. So we're going to do that I'm so excited. We'll start that in the next segment.
Segment 3 26:06
I want you to imagine that you're outside and it starts to lightly rain. You feel some drops on your skin, and you're like, Oh, I think it's gonna start to rain. No biggie. You can handle this. Then the drops get bigger, and it starts to come down heavier. And then thunder cracks and lightning follows. And now it turns into this full-blown torrential storm with lightning dancing all around you. You look around and you see a pavilion. What do you do?
Yes, run to the pavilion.
Okay, what is a pavilion?
Just a covering for the sky, doesn't have walls generally.
Yeah, I think at a park, when you're at the park, right? And they have those pavilions, they cover.
A permanent pop-up tent.
Yes, absolutely. Perfect. Okay, I wanted you to imagine that because Doctrine and Covenants section 121, verse - let's see what a pavilion has to do with the heartfelt prayers of Joseph and the men in Liberty Jail. Allison, will you read verse 1.
Yes, if I can get through it without crying.
1 "Oh, God, where art thou? And where is thy pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?"
Thank you. Why does that make you emotional?
How often do we feel like that? Like, where are you? In my, in my pain? Where are you in my family? Like, save us. Like that is just the most lonely cry like, where are you? I'm alone and I'm afraid. I have written after there. "Oh, God, where art thou for our LGBTQ friends and families? Where are you for them? And I know where they, where He is for them, but it's just hard. It seems covered.
It was interesting to me with this word pavilion because I thought of the tent, too. I was just in St. Louis in this beautiful park called Forest Park and they have pavilions that are the most artistic, ornate, incredible pavilions that people rent to have parties at. They're so cute, they're not just like a nice wooden or metal pavilion. I mean, someone went to a lot of work to make this beautiful.
And I thought of that, and then I looked up what this word pavilion also means and it was interesting, because it means like a moveable tent, like Moses's tabernacle, which gave the meaning of the word pavilion more power, for me. Like a place where covenants are made. And when he's saying, 'Where is thy pavilion, where is thy tabernacle that covereth thy hiding place?,' meaning the Holy of Holies. 'I have kept my covenants, I have done what you asked me to do. Now, where are the promises?' Doesn't that change that verse for you? Like, Holly, what are you thinking?
So many times, we feel like we're doing everything You've asked. I'm trying so hard to be faithful and magnify my calling and do my scripture study and go to the temple when I can. And yet, we're still bombarded with things. And no one's singled out.
Well look at verses 1-6, because I just want to talk about these verses. And what do you think it tells us about the mental and emotional state of Joseph and these men?
Oh, well, they were at the end of their rope. I mean, he's crying out. It's just so heartbreaking. 'Where are you? and How long shall we suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions before thine heart shall be softened toward them?' It's just heart-wrenching the mental state, the physical state, thinking of their families, and what's going on not knowing what's going on with their families.
Interestingly enough, years ago, 30 years ago, I went to this class at BYU Education Week, and it was these child educators. And they were talking about this five year long study, and what causes stress in children. What they had concluded was that when something happens to one of the siblings, it's actually harder on the other sibling than it is on the person going through it.
So, I think about that when they're here in prison and they're thinking about their families. Who's taking care of them?, how are they eating? The mobs?, what are they doing to them? And how hard that must be for them. Harder for them that are going through it on the other side, their families living without them. The pain and anguish they must feel 24 hours a day of not knowing what's going on with their families would make you go mad.
Definitely. Thank you, Holly, for sharing that. Allison, what stood out to you with these 6 verses?
Oh, so much. I hate to say this, because I feel like what he was describing here is so much worse than anything I've ever been through, but yet the feelings are so familiar to me. Having a child who's gay and kind of reconciling and working through that, I had some really dark times. And I've done the study, been asked kind of randomly to do a three-month study of the Book of Mormon with a topic. And then we were going to have a retreat at the end and talk about it and teach each other. I chose to study the Book of Mormon on 'The Condition of the Heart', because I find it so interesting that the heart is mentioned so many times. I mean, in the Book of Mormon, that is mentioned 452 times.
I know. In all of Scripture, it's like 1,654. And for the most part, it's the condition of the heart. So I have hearts, on every word of 'heart'. And in those first six, there are four different hearts. Joseph used "let thine heart be softened", "the fury of thine heart". In my deepest, darkest, I'm outta here moments, I just would pray to the Lord. And sometimes I couldn't even really pray and was so sad and mad.
I would just say, "Please don't let my heart harden." Because I knew that if it hardened, I would leave, or I would let go. I always felt like it wasn't a leaving, but a let go, and I never wanted to let go of Him. Hold onto my heart, Lord, because I am falling. That feeling is so real to me. Not that I've ever had to lay in one place, or sit in one place for so along with my thoughts, which, I don't know that I could have done it. But just this constant reminder that the Lord is here, and just keep my heart soft so that I can absorb what You want me to know from this, has been my plea many, many, many times.
Alison, I love what you said when you this, your prayer was, 'Don't let my heart get hard.' That was powerful. Because that is where things start to turn is when your heart gets hardened. I've never considered praying that my heart would be softened. Holly, with what Alison said, did any part of that resonate with you?
Oh, yeah. I wrote down "Don't let my heart harden" because a week ago I was praying for that. My sweet, precious, oh, incredible, daughter that you all heard from last week, Ellery, she came out to us as gay. The hardest part is knowing how she suffered for nine years alone with this, not telling a soul. Her poor aching heart, trying to be so good. Trying to be better, trying to live exactly how she should. She thought that if she did everything right, if she kept all the commandments, if she went to church, if she served a mission, if she did everything, that God would take this from her. And she said one of the hardest days of her life was when she came home from her mission after serving so valiantly and loving it. But she came home and she realized she was still gay. She said, "You know, I just want to be normal." That is so heartbreaking for me.
So when we we found out, that's where our heart was. So my husband said, "I feel like I know less now than I did at 22." My prayer that night, and I did not want to pray and I didn't really, it was not worded quite like that and as beautifully. "Don't let my heart harden." Because I'm a believer. And I'm a lifer, right? I believe this. And the hard part is, is so does Elle. She's a believer. She's wondering where her place is. Where is the pavilion for her? Where is that for her? And where is that for us? We're just trying to figure that out. Thank goodness that God doesn't leave us, that we learned from later on. And He didn't leave me and He won't leave me. It's me leaving him. And there's my story.
Well. Thank you. First of all, thank you for sharing that. And being willing to be vulnerable, because I know that that was not easy. And I'm just looking here at my scriptures with verse 7 marked and your name right by it.
7 "My son" (or my daughter), "peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 "And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." And I love this:
9 "Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." The comfort that verses 7-9 give, and 10. I mean, all of it is so beautiful, but it's so powerful. And I just thank both of you for sharing your experience and what these verses have meant for you, personally. So thank you. You are beautiful women, I love you both so much. So thank you for sharing that.
So in the next segment, then, we are going to jump into more in Section 121. And we're going to talk about what can actually happen to you in the trial, and not necessarily after, because a lot of times we're like, we look back with, you know, hindsight 2020. But sometimes you can have it in the midst of the trial, and we'll talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 4 38:02
In my experience, lessons usually come to me after the trial, because the reality is, is I'm not really looking for a lesson in the trial. I'm not looking like hey, what can I learn from the Lord right now? I find that I usually poring my guts out, hoping just to make it through the trial. You guys agree?
Alison, Holly 38:28
Like none of us stop and go, What is the lesson? (Laughter) You're just trying to get through it. But I thought it was interesting because Doctrine and Covenants, section 121, verse 26, it teaches us a profound truth that the Lord taught Joseph during this trial while he's in prison. Here he is in Liberty and the Lord takes this opportunity to go, 'You know what? Let me tell you something about this trail you're having. And let me teach you this powerful truth about the Holy Ghost.' And so, Allison, will you read verse 26.
I have this marked and shaded in, and starred.
26 "God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now."
Why do you have it marked and shaded?
I wouldn't have made it without the Holy Ghost, without that Holy Spirit. It is an unspeakable gift.
Beautiful, Allison. Well, I read one commentary that interpreted 'unspeakable' as we just don't speak about it. We don't talk about the spiritual experiences, but that is not how I read it. It's unspeakable because it leaves you speechless. I mean, how many of us can relate to having spiritual experiences, and you're unable to describe it?
And I just think it's interesting that the Lord is promising this to Joseph in prison! 'You will have unspeakable spiritual experiences with the Holy Ghost in the midst of your trial.' That doesn't even make sense. You shouldn't be, you should be so depressed, so sad that it's, all communication is cut off and let's just hope for the best. And Holly, I'm curious to know for you, have you ever had an experience like this, where in the trial you had an unspeakable experience with the Holy Ghost? Or maybe you received revelation in the trial?
Well, I can't give a specific one that comes to mind right now, but I would venture to say, always. Never have I been through a trial where I'm left alone, without the spirit telling me things. And it's whether I want to listen to it. That's the issue, right? And I'll be honest with you, because sometimes I don't want to be comforted. And sometimes I don't want to know. Because I want to sit with my anger and sadness and frustration and loneliness, whatever it is, I want to sit with it for a while. But God doesn't like me to sit with it for very long. I feel like whith this last thing? I got about 10 days. (laughter) Literally. Then, then the spirit was like, Okay, you're done. I feel completely like a different person than I did, you know, 10 days ago.
Well, we just have to read these two quotes about this verse of scripture and the stories that we've shared. I love these quotes. One is by Elder Holland and the other is by Lucy Mack Smith. Holly, will you read the first one by Elder Holland.
"You can have sacred revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life in the worst settings; while enduring the most painful injustices; when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced."
Wow. And then Lucy Mack Smith shares this experience of receiving knowledge and comfort through the Holy Ghost after Joseph and Hyrum were taken prisoners, and threatened with death at this time, to Richmond and Liberty. And Allison, will you read what she had to say.
"In the midst of my grief, I found consolation that surpassed all earthly comfort. I was filled with the Spirit of God and received the following by the gift of prophecy. 'Let your heart be comforted concerning your children, they shall not be harmed by their enemies.' This relieved my mind and I was prepared to comfort my children. I told them what had been revealed to me, which greatly consoled them."
Thank you. I just think those are beautiful quotes about this gift and sweet mother. And there's the word heart again, Allison, like how that heart worked. So I loved talking about this. And that question, has this ever happened to you? and I can definitely say, from my own experience - I'll add to these two stories - is just becoming an insta-mom. One person called it for me "parenting beyond the veil". And I'd never heard that before. But there were times when I was just in the thick of crisis and trauma and trial with these girls, not knowing how to raise them. And I would say a little prayer, like 'Heavenly Father, I don't know what to do.' And then just boom, a thought would come to me in the middle of like, try this. And it always worked.
I didn't know at the time that's what was happening, but I can see how in the midst of that trial, and there were a lot of them, where the spirit was like, Oh, yeah, here's what this child needs. And so I think that is true for all of us. As parents, the spirit will say, 'Here's what your child needs.' It is, it's parenting beyond the veil. That's the only way I can describe it. And it never goes away, which is so awesome. You know, and if you're single, you had better believe that parenting beyond the veil is real, because your Heavenly Parents love you. And they will give us through the Holy Ghost the knowledge that we need to make it back to them.
And that's what's so cool about this experience with Liberty Jail, is that the Lord knew, 'I know this experience stinks. And I know you hate it. And yes, it is awful. And it is the experience, I'm going to use it to get you back to Me. And you have to trust Me in that.' And so I just think it's beautiful how the Doctrine and Covenants teaches us about that. And so in the next segment, we're going to learn another important principle that the Lord teaches us - this powerful truth that you both taught us about, the heart, and trial, and the Holy Ghost.
Segment 5 44:20
I want you to finish this verse of scripture, ladies. "Behold, there are many called but...
few are chosen"?
Yes, very good. Okay, section 121, verse 34. That is where that verse comes from. And then verse 35 tells us why they're not chosen. Look at verse 35 and tell us why they're not chosen. And there's that word again, Allison.
35 "Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men,...."
Okay. Now, this was so interesting to me because at the end of that verse it says they did not learn this one lesson. And as I was reading this, traditionally I have always taught these verses to be about men and the priesthood. But it's not. When it says that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, the rights of the priesthood are for who?
All of us.
All of us, men, women, everyone. And so I really did. I'm like, Well, guys, you better get it together, men, you better not be proud, or whatever. And now I'm, as a mother, I'm reading it completely different. Because I count on the rights of the priesthood. I depend on those rights. What are those rights? Those rights are the blessings and promises that come from keeping covenants, attending the temple, partaking of the sacrament, your baptismal covenants, everything. You are promised rights, powers, and privileges through the power of the priesthood.
And when it says "inseparably connected with the powers of heaven", it's just incredible, going back to what we talked about, how there are these heavenly parents who are helping us on this earth to be parents or to be family or to be friends, or whatever it is. Whatever sphere of influence you have over another human being, you're going to need the powers of heaven to get you through this. And so then what happens, is verses 37-46 outline all of the attitudes that either weaken or strengthen our connection to heaven. And it was so cool to read it this way. Because there are some where you're like, Umm Huh, you better you know, these men and unrighteous dominion. And then I was like, oh, or women, because yeah,
39 stuck out up to me. That's, I had alot of questions about that one.
Okay, read verse 39. Cuz when I read it, I was like, guilty, guilty. So read verse 39.
39 "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men," (or women), "as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion."
And I love that we did add the women in there, because then we start thinking of all the men, um hmm, like you said, but for heaven's sakes, I've done that, you know. I think that sometimes I know it all, like, oh, what a shame you're like that, you should try to be a little bit more like me.
Yeah, my husband, and I will always say, why can't everyone just be as awesome as us? The world would run beautifully. Not really. (laughter)
And you know, I wrote after that scripture "othering", because that seems to be such a tool right now, is to "other" people. You are not as much, or you are not as valuable, or do what is right, or you don't have as much knowledge, you know. There's just so much of it like, he says here, it is a natural kind of challenge that we each have, that as soon as we're strong, we try and push other people down. And I think that's one of those things that we are just constantly warned to work against. Because of course, it breaks the unity in a group when you "others".
Allison, I love that, the principle of "othering". Well, and verse 37 is what stood out to me and kind of how we do that. Thirty-seven says 'that they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon your children, or upon anybody, you're, you know, upon the souls of the children of man in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves. The Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man, or woman.' It's not like I've thought, oh, I've totally tried to exercise control and dominion over people before, like
Oh, my children.
I think that's our number one mistake is we think we can control them. And we know from the beginning of time, God doesn't work that way. He does not work with control; and worse, begging for more control. "How can I control this child? Help me control." And God's saying, 'That's not how I work. I don't control you.' The more control you want, the harder life becomes.
Well, that's the whole thing. I mean, we're here to enact our own agency. It should, it should definitely not be.... And I think for a lot of people, it is easy to take the agency away from others, and that's the unrighteous dominion, right?
Or judging other people that they're not controlling their kids or their circumstances enough.
I did that a lot and when I was single.
The flipside, you know, Oh, for sure. Single people were always right.
I was such a good mom when I was single. Oh boy, I was so, I was the best mom ever.
Or you're such a good wife or you're such a good
Oh, I was a perfect wife when I was single, yeah. But I was also really good at me trying to maintain control of my environment and my friends, the people I dated. Oh, geez, I mean, no one's immune from this, whether you're a parent or not. Everyone experiences it. And I love how in these verses the Lord's like, Okay, but let me show you what attitudes strengthen your connection to heaven. And those attitudes are found in 41 and 42. And I love everything it describes here. Holly read 41 and 42.
41 "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 "By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy and without guile--"
Yeah, those are beautiful.
If there weren't so many, I'd probably put that in a frame. But just one should I, one word I would frame because that's a huge long list, right? A lifetime goal.
Well, like on, you had on your podcast, you know, I'm so bad with names. But he said the one thing we should be working on is just Sermon on the Mount.
Oh, yeah. Michael Wilcox.
He had to say one thing, just work on Sermon on the Mount. That's what we need to do. And isn't that kind of this? Right here, again, telling us the same thing?
So good stuff. Well, the title for Section 121 is "The Constitution of the Priesthood." And that's what these verses are that we've just been studying. And I really like that, like, here's how it works. And here's how it doesn't work. And so again, isn't that not interesting? Remember, we're in Liberty Jail, we're struggling, we're suffering, this is not what we kind of wanted to hear. And yet, I'm going to teach you. And so that is an incredible perspective to have and as we study these, because you're probably in the middle of your own temple prison, and here's what you need to know. So pretty good stuff.
Those of you who are listening, I just want you to ponder this week and consider: of all these things we've described, specifically the ones that are going to help strengthen your relationship with the brights of the priesthood, maybe consider ones that you perceive in others that they should change. Haha, just kidding. (laughter) That's just a joke. Perceive the ones you see in yourself, what area do you need to work on and write that down in your journal. Pick one word, maybe put it on a sticky note and just put it in your bathroom. And think about that throughout the week that you can work on so that you can really connect tightly to the rights of the priesthood and to the powers of heaven.
Now, in the last segment, coming up next - which I wish so badly we had more segments, I cannot believe how fast this has gone by - we're gonna look at examining, reflecting, and fixing our attitudes, and how that has everything to do with the Lord using His power to help us in our trials.
Segment 6 52:54
Here's what we're gonna do, because we just, honestly - probably some of you were like, you haven't even covered section 122 yet. You're right, I told you, there's no way we could possibly do all of this. So the title for Section 122 is "Why Suffering". And the title for Section 123 is "Anti-Christ Literature and Works".
Section 122 packs a punch. Because here is Joseph and all the men saying, Why? Why is this happening? Why do we have to go through this? And it has some of the most powerful words. I call it the 'ifs', because starting in verse 5 the Lord lays this out like, If this happens to you; if this happens to you; Oh, what about this, if this, if this, if... I've circled all these ifs. Because the Lord's setting it up. But then there's the craziest of all the ifs in verse 7.
7 "......if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell gape open the mouth wide after thee......."
Then here's the punch. Holly, read it.
8 ",,,,,know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."
Oh, that packs a punch, doesn't it? And then here's the next verse, 8. Allison, will you read verse 8.
8 "The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Then you're like, No, No, I'm not.
I know that one I've always struggled with it. Like, how could he be, but this time I read it, it was more like 'you are where he was and you are learning what he did, instead of like, Oh, are you trying to say this is worse? So I always read it, it was like,you're experiencing what the Savior experienced. It's gonna be great for you.
And isn't the goal to become Christ-like? And if you could totally believe that all of your trials would make you become more like Jesus, you would say, Bring it on. Heap those trials, let's do this, because it's - and he even says earlier, in verse 4 - it's all but a small moment. Like you said, Holly, take that string, pinch the middle - that's where Earth is compared to all the time we lived, and all the time we will live.
Can I just say something really quick? I really believe that they are for thy good. Everything leads up, and you can look back once you're out of it and see, but somebody said to me, "Well, there's gonna be the time where you blame yourself, you blame yourself". And I told this person, "Actually, no, I never felt that way." I never did. Because I felt that way - I don't know, 13 years ago, 15 years ago - when my son was struggling. And he was doing it, I felt that way. Oh, what did I do wrong? I'm the worst parent to ever live. My oldest child, I can't even do one good, my oldest. And through the course of time, I learned it has nothing to do with you. It goes back to he has his free agency. And so I'm so grateful that now this new experience, I'm not blaming myself. I've already learned so much, that I don't even go there.
Well, and Holly, I just have to say this because I have watched you parent over the years. And I appreciate what you said. Because for anyone that wonders what the parent did or didn't do, Holly, you and your husband, you did it right. Like you had Family Home Evening, my gosh, you have a special Family Home Evening song you guys sing. You went to church, you did your callings, you prayed, you read your scriptures. And I'm just now thinking like, all of that wasn't necessarily guaranteed perfection in your child, or change the course of your child's life. But it was to strengthen their course for the rest of their lives. When challenges come you gave them a sure foundation. And that is what they're going to stand on.
I believe that, because I wonder, our Heavenly Parents, the most perfect parents of all. You think they're ever like, 'Boy, what did we do wrong? We couldn't get that.' I mean, come on. They're the best parents there are and all right,
Adam and Eve like, Nephi, I mean. One day, someone will tell me one story where the whole family just made it through without any struggles. Everyone was perfect. I don't think there is a story in all of Scripture.
No, there's not. You're totally right. There's not, not one story. Wow, the House of Israel - they're fraught with stuff. Wait till we get to THAT next year! Geez, those boys.
What should we learn from this? This is for their good, therefore our children's good.
Yes, I love that.
And I'm a better person now. And I can be more of a parent, a better parent for Ellery now, because of what I've gone through.
And you'll be a light for so many other mothers who are experiencing similar, if not exactly the same kind of experiences and, and they'll be able to see that, that light and follow it.
I just had an aha because I was like, you know, I wonder if Jacob when all of their sons are going through their trials, if he's like, I can't even get it right. And my name means 'let God prevail'. That's not prevailing at all. His name got changed to Israel and he's like, Okay, my kids are missing the mark here, you know, I just, like all of this. Yeah, I know, it's, I love what you said, Allison, because it's their example that is the light for us. Their example of trying to just make it through this life amidst all the trials. So I love how you just connected that. Thank you. Thank you.
Okay, so then section 123. Here's why it's called Anti-Christ literature works, because Joseph was saying that all this horrible stuff has happened to us. And all this horrible stuff is written about us. What are we going to do with this? And the Lord says, 'Why don't you form a committee, gather up all the information, and put it together in books for generations to come? That's what I want you to do, so that it will benefit everybody.' And I thought that was so interesting, rather than saying, 'You know, Joseph, just let it go.' He's like, 'No, tell the stories, make sure people understand and know what happened', right?
The witness of the families and their stories is just so powerful for all of us to hear and it's that, when - I don't know the saying - but it's like, once you've talked to somebody for a few minutes, and you can see why they do what they do. Once you really see people's lives, then you're like, Oh, I get what you're doing. I get, I get where you are, and it changes the way you view people.
So just thinking now, I want everyone to go back to how we started in segment 2, where we told you the history. They're in this jail, this temple prison. The conditions are awful. Who knows what food they have just eaten or been fed? It's freezing cold, they cannot stand upright. Joseph's getting this revelation and he's telling the men this and Caleb's writing everything down and we're about to end this incredible letter. And who would have ever thought it would have ended the way it did in verse 17. I'm sure the men are thinking, the Lord is going to vindicate us, we're going to have a hurrah. He's going to come in; He's going to break down the walls like in the Book of Mormon, and we're gonna walk out. And here is how this whole series of letters ends. And it's verse 17. Holly will you read that for us.
17 "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
Holly, that was you two days ago in your text to me, where you're like, I'm so mad at God right now. I'm so sad. And I can't stop being nice to people. That was your text.
I know, I told Tammy, could you call off people praying for me, because I'm so nice and happy.(laughing) And I'm trying to be miserable.
I love what He says at the end. Like, 'I know it's hard and do all things that, just let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power.'
Okay. And it reminds me of my favorite, endure it well. So to me, to endure it well means cheerfully. And I don't think that means be fake. I don't think it means don't talk about it, pretend that your family's perfect, because I'm the opposite of that. I don't believe in that. I believe that there's still so much to be cheerful about.
It reminds me of my favorite scripture in James: "Count it all joy". When you fall into diverse temptations, like when life is really horrible, count it all joy, like what a great thing.
What's that reference, Allison?
James 1:2-5 . Yeah, cuz we always skip over that and we go to the part about, let him ask in faith, but really, it says
2 "My brethren, count it joy when you fall into diverse temptations;
3 "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 "But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
So it's just, read the whole thing of like, it's because of the temptations, the trials, the prison you're in that you can count it all joy because you get to get better at this.
Wow. Oh, Allison, I love that scripture. I just put it in my scriptures next to verse 17.
Oh, my favorite, it's gotten me through many hard questions,
I bet. Ahhhh. Well, thank you, ladies, thank you so much. Thank you. I cannot believe how strong the spirit was today, as both you sweet women shared your experience and your testimony. So thank you, thanks from the bottom of my heart. There's the heart again. So okay, take a minute and just think, what was your takeaway? Is there anything you learned or anything that you're gonna go - Oh, yeah, I'll remember that?
Oh, I have several of them. The pain upon pain upon pain. I loved that. But I loved the 'othering'. That, that was a new word for me. I loved that. And that to make us feel less than, and we just have to know that our faith is sufficient. So thank you. It was very enlightening to me today.
I would say a lot along the lines of what Holly said. The two commandments that the Lord's given us - to love God, stay close to him, keep your heart open to God, and to love our neighbor - are really the only things that we need to do. And you can see in this story and in just almost every scripture story that there is this element of aloneness and separation from everybody. I think Satan just wants us to feel separated. God asks us for unity. When we are one people we are Zion. So what's Satan doing? He's pulling us apart.
And it's just so painful to listen to, to Joseph in this story like, 'where are you, we are so utterly alone'. Yet they're not. And it feels relevant to so many of us today. I think in children with faith crisises, or our own crises, or just any situation we feel so othered, but the Lord wants us to feel connected. That's what we can do for one another. That's loving your neighbor, saying, Hey, you're connected to me. I'm connected up the street. We're all together.That's His message.
Well, and I just have to say from my own perspective that recently, the LGBTQ members of our church have had a place in my heart. And I've really been thinking about them a lot lately, and praying about them and praying about what to do and how to handle things. And every time I pray, the only answer I get is, Love them. Tammy, you can love them. And I realize, yeah, I can do that, I can love. And so for me, that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to love 'em with all of my heart. And that, that has to be good enough. Thank you, Allison.
Thank you, Allison and Holly for sharing. And for being here today. It's been an incredible experience. When we're in those prison temples, we just, it's just about love. And when you find somebody who's in the midst of their prison temple, love them. That's all we can do. And that's all Jesus does for us. He just loves us. That's why I end every episode with "You're God's favorite", because He loves you so much. He loves every single one of His children on this earth. And that blows my mind still, because I only have four kids. And I'm like, geez, even sometimes I just like, I don't really like you right now. But He just loves us. And so that's, that's the only thing we can do is love. So thank you. Thank you. I love both of you so much. Oh my gosh, I Love you guys.
We would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So much stuff in this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group or on Facebook, on Instagram, go do it. It's a great place to ask questions and to discuss what we've talked about this week. And then at the end of the week, on Saturday, we post a call for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let me know what you've learned. I read all of them and I'm really looking forward to what you have to say about this week's episode.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we're gonna have links to all the references we used. There are so many, so much history in these show notes, and quotes that you're going to want, as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion, so go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today, our brilliant study group participants who I love, were Holly Howarth and Allison Dayton and you can find more information about these women at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me; it is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios. And our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here, we'll see you next week.
And please remember: God loves you and you are His favorite.
Who wants fries and ice cream cone? That is my, that's my comfort food.
Huh? Me, too!!
Oh my gosh
And a coke.
Oh yeah, Diet Coke, but yes.
Yeah, well, you know, but that is my comfort food.
(whispers) When no one's with me in the car and I'm running errands - that's what I secretly get and nobody knows....
Unknown Speaker 1:08:00
We do, now! : )
Transcribed by JU Transcribe