50: “We Believe” (The Articles of Faith and Official Declarations 1 and 2)
If you’re thinking, “Wait, didn’t we just finish the Doctrine and Covenants? Why are there more lessons this year?” Well, yes, we did technically finish the sections, but did you know there are three very important documents included at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants? And so this week, we’re going to study those three documents: Official Declarations 1 and 2 and the Articles of Faith. But we also have a little something extra for you that is going to set up the discussion so well for these documents and we can’t wait to share it with you. So friends, grab your scriptures and let’s dig in.
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Mountain Meadows Massacre Continued
“The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were driven out of Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846. After a difficult journey across Iowa Territory, the Saints settled at what they called Winter Quarters in Nebraska and in surrounding settlements. The following spring, 1847, an advance party of 143 men plus three women and two children made the long journey to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. The gathering of the Saints continued as they inhabited the great basin of the Rocky Mountains and began to settle the region. The political and religious forces that caused them to flee the borders of the United States continued to put pressure on them in Utah Territory. One of the most visible doctrines that caused controversy with the citizens of the United States was that of plural marriage, which Joseph Smith introduced in Nauvoo (see D&C 132). The practice was continued by the Saints in Utah, where it became the focus of attacks against the Church, along with concern over the intertwining of religion and government in the territory.
“The United States made Utah a territory in 1850, and therefore the Congress could regulate activities in the territory. Laws were passed by Congress against plural marriage as early as 1862 with follow-up laws in 1874, 1882, and 1887. Each law became more restrictive on the Saints and exerted more control over the properties and funds of the Church. With these laws being upheld by the United States Supreme Court, their enforcement by appointed governors and sheriffs of the territory led to the imprisonment of hundreds of Saints and many of their leaders. At times some of the leaders, including members of the First Presidency, had to go into hiding to stay out of jail. In 1887 the Edmunds-Tucker Act repealed the right of women to vote and directed federal authorities to confiscate all properties owned by the Church over the value of fifty thousand dollars. The properties included the temples of the Lord. The law was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court in May 1890.
“In the meantime, Church leaders responded to the challenges of these laws. In 1888 the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles directed Church leaders to discontinue preaching the doctrine of plural marriage. In the spring of 1889, President Wilford Woodruff ordered the destruction of the Endowment House, in which many of the plural marriages had been performed. A year later, the First Presidency prohibited new plural marriages in the United States. Those who had already entered into plural marriage would continue in those relationships, but no new marriages were to be performed. These actions were not enough to satisfy the demands of the government and other citizens opposed to the practice of plural marriage, however. In September 1890, government officials began proceedings to turn over the properties of the Church, including the temples, to the government of the United States.
“After considerable consultation with advisors outside Utah and with Church leaders, President Woodruff took the matter to the Lord. He then issued what was called the Manifesto on 26 September 1890, declaring that the Church had stopped the practice of plural marriage and that from that time forward anyone who contracted a plural marriage would be excommunicated. He affirmed the intention of the Church and its members to uphold the laws of the land”1 (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 4, "Official Declaration 1," Deseret Book).
Quotes about the end of polygamy:
“Today the hearts of all were tried but looked to God and submitted” (Zina D. H. Young, “The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage,” Gospel Topics Essays, ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
“Eugenia Washburn Larsen, fearing the worst, reported feeling ‘dense darkness’ when she imagined herself and other wives and children being ‘turned adrift’ by husbands” (Zina D. H. Young, “The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage,” Gospel Topics Essays, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Annie Clark Taylor reported, “great relief,” when she heard about the Manifesto (Annie Clark Tanner, A Mormon Mother: An Autobiography by Annie Clark Tanner (Salt Lake City: Tanner Trust Fund and University of Utah Library, 1991), 130; Lisa Olsen Tait, “The 1890s Mormon Culture of Letters and the Post-Manifesto Marriage Crisis: A New Approach to Home Literature,” BYU Studies 52, no. 1 (2013): 98–124.).
“There was a hallowed and sanctified atmosphere in the room. For me, it felt as if a conduit opened between the heavenly throne and the kneeling, pleading prophet of God who was joined by his Brethren. . . . Every man in that circle, by the power of the Holy Ghost, knew the same thing. . . . Tremendous, eternal consequences for millions over the earth are flowing from that manifestation” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Priesthood Restoration,” Ensign, Oct. 1988, 70).
“Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world” (Bruce R. McConkie, “All Are Alike unto God,” BYU Devotional, August 18, 1978).
“. . . without any shadow of doubt, is the will of God: the salvation of all human beings” (Pope Francis, General Audience, March 27, 2019).
“The letter is one of the choicest documents in our church literature; as also it is the earliest published document by the Prophet personally, making any pretension to consecutive narrative of those events in which the great Latter-day work had its origin. … For combining conciseness of statement with comprehensiveness of treatment of the subject with which it deals, it has few equals among historical documents, and certainly none that excel it in our church literature” (B. H. Roberts, History of the Church, 4:535–41).
“. . . the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (Joseph Smith, “The Wentworth Letter,” March 1, 1842).
“And now dear and well beloved brethren and when we say brethren we mean those who have continued faithful in christ men, women, and children . . .” (Joseph Smith, "Letter to the Church in Caldwell County, Missouri, 16 December 1838," p. 7, The Joseph Smith Papers).
“Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, ‘Brother Brigham I want you to take the stand and tell us your views with regard to the written oracles and the written word of God.’ Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: ‘There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day.’ ‘And now,’ said he, ‘when compared with the living oracles [living prophets] those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.’ That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation: ‘Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1897, 22–23; emphasis added).
All right. So if you're thinking, "Oh, wait, I thought we were done with the Doctrine and Covenants?" Well, you wouldn't be entirely wrong. But did you know that there are three other important documents that come after the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants that we need to study? They are the two Official Declarations, the Articles of Faith, and we also have something extra in store for you. We are going to study something else that is not in the Come Follow Me manual, but it is in the Seminary-Institute manual. And it's something that definitely needs to be talked about because it gets overlooked and understudied. And it's uncomfortable, and that's okay.
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. K, 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 in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Fllow Me study, just like my friend, Electra Paskett. Is that the greatest name ever? Hi, Electra. Thanks for studying with us.
Now, here's my favorite thing about the study group. Each week, I get to invite two friends who come and help me discuss the topic for the week. So it's always going to be a little different, especially when we pair people up together. So I am so excited for today, because we have Tamu Smith, who, original, O.G. Hi, sis.
Tamu Smith 1:19
Ah, I'm so glad you're here. And we have a new friend, but we both know her. Her name is Janiece Johnson. Hi, Janise.
Janiece Johnson 1:27
Hello, good morning.
This is interesting, because we got to this section and your name popped in my head. And I was like, really, really? Is this the one for Janiece? And I asked you, and then I went, again, it just always happens. I went and looked at the lesson and I thought, Oh my gosh, this could not be more perfect because for those of you who don't know, Janiece, she is a scholar. She has worked with the Maxwell Institute; she hosts the podcast for the Maxwell Institute. She's pretty smart. I mean, she went to the Vanderbilt Divinity School as well as University of Leicester. Is that how you say it?
Janiece Johnson 1:59
Tamu Smith 2:04
She's real, real smart, ya'll.
Janiece Johnson 2:06
In England they're so smart that they skip whole syllables of words.
I'm like Leshisher. Oh. That is so awesome. Janiece, we're so happy to have you here. You and Tamu know each other. How do you guys know each other?
Tamu Smith 2:21
The clearest memory that I have of me and Janiece meeting is, we went to dinner in Idaho Falls. It was the most beautiful meal that I've ever eaten, for the price that I got it for.
Tamu Smith 2:36
So pretty and delicious.
Janiece Johnson 2:39
Oh, yeah. The "Snake Bite" in Idaho Falls after a Time Out for Women, right?
Tamu Smith 2:44
Yeah, it was after a Time Out for Women.
And I met Janiece at a wedding like five years ago. And when I met you, I remember thinking I need to be her friend. Like, I need her in my life. And so I was trying to schmooze her. Oh, do you remember? I mean, I am trying. I'm pulling out all the stops. I'm saying everything I can to sound smart enough that she would be my friend. I'm like, Help me know what to say, Heavenly Father, I really want her to be my friend.
Janiece Johnson 3:07
I don't remember any schmoozing, I mean, I just remember that she-you had the coolest linen dress on.
Oh, sure. Sure. Nice and airy for the summer. Oh, yeah. I'll give you the name of that company when we're done. You'll fall in love with all their clothes.
Tamu Smith 3:22
Well, tell us all. Oh, they don't sponsor you, got it.
Tamu Smith 3:29
They should sponsor you.
They totally should. Geez. Okay. Well, if you guys want to know more about my friends, and I'm sure you will, because they are so much fun, you can find pictures and information and their bios in our show notes which are found at LDS living.com/sunday onMonday. Okay, this is it. This is the extra thing that I was talking about. These next two segments, we are going to cover the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Now, if you're thinking, What in the world, why are we covering the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Well, a couple of reasons. Because first of all, it falls within the timeline of events that we're studying today. Secondly, it's not really talked about in our history, and it's super important. And lastly, talking about it is going to help prep us for the rest of this episode, because it's going to make us uncomfortable. And that's okay. Because everything we're talking about today is uncomfortable. But we're going to talk about why uncomfortable is good, and I am so excited for the guests who we have joining us, because these two women understand uncomfortable.
So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in. We are going back to the 1850s. And during this time for the saints, there's a lot of tension. There's miscommunication between the Latter-day Saints and officials in the United States government, which led to what we call the Utah War of 1857-1858. Then in September 1857, there was such a conflict that arose that there were some poor choices made and there was a massacre. In fact, it's called the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the reason why I'm so excited to have Janiece here is, Janiece has made this pretty much her life work. She has a book coming out about the Mountain Meadows Massacre and many of you are probably thinking, What even is that? Great question, we need to know. So I've asked Janiece to tell us, teach us about the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Janiece Johnson 5:16
Deep breath. Okay.
I know, take all of your life's work and put it...
Tamu Smith 5:20
I'm holding my breath right now for you.
Tell us in five minutes. I know. I know.
Janiece Johnson 5:24
I've been working on the Mountain Meadows Massacre for, you know, more than a decade. Actually, we are getting closer to 20 years. So that's a long time to be kind of submerged in what I would consider the darkest moment in LDS history-in Latter-day Saint history. But during this time, there are lots of tensions. We have a people that have been pushed across the United States and found refuge in Utah. Yet 1857 comes, they get word that the US Army is marching to Utah. President James Buchanan had declared Utah in a state of rebellion.
The Latter-day Saints in Utah from Provo on down south, they're preparing for the army, to gather, to store the food that they have, to not share it with others. And this particular immigrant company, it was composed of two family groups from Northwest Arkansas around Harrison, Arkansas - the Bakers and the Fanchers. They're not getting the supplies that they want, tensions are on edge. And we have a couple of kind of hotheads in the group who particularly seem to get into it. One that claims he had the gun that killed Joseph Smith, wants to shoot Brigham, lots of rumors, lots of inflammatory language, lots of swearing when they get to Cedar City, which doesn't land well on those pristine Mormon ears, Latter-day Saints' ears.
But it all comes to a head in Cedar City. The Stake President in Cedar City, Isaac Kates decides that something needs to be done to show them that, Hey, this is our land, you're coming through this land. And you need to recognize who has the power here. Southern Utah in the 1850s is a theocracy. There is no division between church and state. So church positions and government positions, political positions are one in the same. Also military positions. So Isaac Kate is the stake president in Cedar City, and he is a leader in the militia. But he goes before councils multiple times, three different times. And every time, the council shoots it down and says, No, this is a terrible idea.
The other members of the council have finally convinced them, Okay, if you you're that feel that strongly about it, let's ask Brigham Young, let's ask the Prophet what we should do. And so they decide that they're going to send a rider to Brigham Young; he'll ride for three days straight, and then stay and take a nap while Brigham decides on his response, and then ride straight back, but is too late. They've already moved forward. Ultimately, the decision is made to kill everyone who is old enough to tell tales to transmit this story.
So it really was a massacre.
Janiece Johnson 8:27
Oh, by every definiton.
How many died?
120. You have 17 children who are saved, but everybody else is wiped out. It's horrific. There is no way to kind of excuse this. I think that we can better understand how it happened as we study the time and the context, but nothing can excuse what happened.
I have spent most of my time focusing on the prosecution for the massacre. Only one participant in the massacre, John D Lee, was ever brought to trial and he was ultimately executed after his second trial. But I study not only what happens legally, but also how the story of Mountain Meadows really becomes a central feature in how many Americans know about Latter-day Saints in the 19th Century. For many anti-Mormon authors, if people don't think polygamy is bad enough to kind of do something about the Latter-day Saints, about the Mormons, they would know them as Mormons in the 19th century, then, this certainly is. Mountain Meadows tells you everything you need to know about the Latter-day Saints.
Do you have anything to jump in and say Tamu?
Tamu Smith 9:54
Well, you know, because I am a convert to the LDS church, there are bits and pieces of the Mountain Meadow Massacre that I had heard and that I knew about. I didn't know about it initially coming in, because as a African-American member, my family's concern was more for, you know, my well-being in a church that in their eyes was very anti-black. And so it makes me want to dive deeper into that.
I'm with you, Tamu. Like, I totally want to dive deeper into that, also. Wow, Janiece, so good. Thank you so much for teaching that in such a short amount of time, I appreciate it cuz I know there's so much more you could say. And for those of us listening, if you're kind of like, if you feel uncomfortable, that's okay. Because we're gonna talk about that. And I think it's important for us to talk about because there's a lot of uncomfort in today's topics. And I wanted Janiece to start with this, because in the next segment, we are going to talk about the why for learning about all of this.
Segment 2 10:54
So, this is an uncomfortable part of our history, one of the parts I should say. So Janiece, tell us why should we study it? What are your thoughts so far on this?
Janiece Johnson 11:05
I have lots of thoughts. I, I've been immersed in this for a long time. But it has also created how I deal with difficult topics. And my philosophy is that we approach them head on. We don't excuse bad behavior. We don't excuse wrong behavior. We don't try and sweep it under the rug, but we approach it head on, and we learn everything that we can, and then we deal with those difficult things. It took us a long time, collectively, to deal with Mountain Meadows. It took 150 years for us to really be able to deal with this. But it has modeled something really important.
Rick Turley, who is one of the authors of Massacre at Mountain Meadows, he was the assistant church historian for the church. When we started this project, he said, in his mind the biggest problem was, what if Brigham Young ordered the massacre? Like that was the worst possible outcome he could think of. It's very clear to me that Brigham Young did not order the massacre. And one of the things I do in my book is kind of trace how that narrative of Brigham Young ordering the massacre was created. And it was created in 20 years after the massacre happened. But being able to be okay, if that was the worst-case scenario?
Rick said, Okay, I can move forward with this and do this and completely honestly, not be trying to hide things, not be trying to change things. And I think that that willingness and that trust in the church, but also, most importantly, in the Gospel is key there. The Gospel can withstand us debating and discussing hard questions. It can hold up, it can hold up under that scrutiny. We are always going to have individuals who fail; we all fail at some point. It's easy for us to see those who participated in this horrific atrocity at Mountain Meadows and just say, Oh, I'm totally different than they are, I would never do that. It's a much harder question to say, Okay, how am I alike them? How have I done some of those same things?
And we may even recognize
Tamu Smith 13:40
Yeah, I'm thinking like, even if we recognize that might be us, we would say, Oh, but it's much more subtle; but it doesn't matter, it is what it is. Tamu, come on, I know you're over here snapping, I know in your brain
Tamu Smith 13:55
It vibes with me. Because if we have this living gospel, then we are living, living things are that we are defect like, even plants, like there are defective plants. And so why would we be perfect? Look at David. I mean, goodness gracious. All the wives that King David had.
Okay, I just have to stop for a minute, because how much did we love when Janiece said, The Gospel can withstand us debating and discussing hard questions, it can hold up. I mean, when you said "it can hold up", I was like, Amen. Hallelujah. Like it really can. When we have built our foundation on Christ. I love that you just said that, Janiece. I have in my notes here Helaman 5:12 "That it is upon the rock of our Redeemer that we build our foundation"; that is where your foundation should be built.
Tamu Smith 14:43
Can you say that one more time for all the people in the back of the car that's gonna be listening to this.
Yes, I know, right. Helaman 5:12. Your foundation should be built upon the rock of our Redeemer. And so think about this for a minute because I want to know from both of you this idea. I have this question written down because I thought of this, like, how can our faith in Jesus Christ strengthen us when we learn about these instances where things don't sit right or are uncomfortable?
This is gonna sound terrible, terrible, terrible. And it's not in all things, like I have to come to a place where I can laugh about the hurtful thing that happen. But when I finally get the hurtful thing, it's almost like this amen moment, just like, amen. If that dude is receiving revelation and he did all that? I'm going to the celestial kingdom. (laughter) I thought that was a terrible thing to say. But that's how I feel in my, in my core. I'm just like, of course, he could be this person in the sight of God, because God only has imperfect people. But he speaks with God and this is his personality, I made it, I'm good.
Like God's grace is greater than I ever imagined.
Tamu Smith 16:03
Grace covers me.
It totally does. I Iove that. What about you, Janiece?
Janiece Johnson 16:09
Well, and I think that scripture never gives us a model of a prophet who doesn't mess up and doesn't sin.
I love that.
Janiece Johnson 16:20
That is the model that we get, and that's who we are as human beings. It's not just prophets. We all make mistakes, we all sin. I love the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants section one, and it talks about, yeah, we all make mistakes, we all sin, that's part of the process. And sometimes we get light from heaven. And it illuminates us and things are revealed to us. And then we have to act on those things. And it's our responsibility to change. And we all know how hard it is to change.
If we want to stop a bad habit that we have, we know how hard that is to change that behavior. What about those things that are those bad behaviors that are culturally ingrained within us, part of who we are. Like that takes a lot more work, and giving grace to ourselves, but also offering it to other people is sometimes a really hard thing to do. But it's also a necessary thing for disciples to do. That's what disciples do.
Ahh, beautiful. Now, that's something that we want stitched on a pillow. That's what disciples do: they offer grace. You know, in fact, I feel like that really is the theme of this episode. Because we do need to give grace to ourselves, and also offer it to other people. It is hard, but it's necessary, especially for what we're going to talk about today. So, I would encourage all of you to write down what you just heard from this segment. And what I mean by that is not necessarily verbatim what was said, but what the Spirit just taught you. Because we just, we cannot move into the rest of these hard spaces in today's podcast, if we don't believe what was just said. Because it was so good. Thank you so much, you two.
Oh, my gosh, I felt like we needed to have this foundation, this foundation of Christ, of grace, the truthfulness of the Gospel before we dive into more of these complex, complicated, uncomfortable subjects. So, thank you for helping me set this foundation because this might be one of my favorite episodes, because it's stuff that we don't like to talk about, but it's in scripture.
Janiece Johnson 18:31
How many times have you said that?
Well, not very....I know, right? Every episode is my favorite episode; every kid's my favorite kid. Actually, that's not true. I hate them all the same. (laughter) No, I just, I mean, here's why: because I don't like being uncomfortable. I hate any kind of discord, I don't like fights, I avoid all opposition at all costs. And so when stuff like this comes up, I'm like, Oh, uh, well uh, that probably did happen but let's not talk about that, you know. I want to divert. And so, like I love that the seminary manual allows us to talk about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and it was just kind of cool how it played into, Now we're gonna talk about a couple other things that we don't really like to talk about, but it's so necessary.
And so in the next segment, we are going to jump into another part, and I just loved that Tamu, you have taught us this year. You and Xander believe, and I love this, that it's okay to be uncomfortable because......
Tamu Smith 19:27
The comforter can only comfort those who are uncomfortable. And so I love being uncomfortable in some situations.
I've learned to own it more.
Janiece Johnson 19:38
I've been thinking about Enos as we talk about this. You know, we don't have any record that Enos has any great sins, but he has this 'wrestle before God'.
and received a remission of sins.
Janiece Johnson 19:50
and received a remission of sins, but there's something that's bugging him, you know, there is something that is not sitting well with him that he has to wrestle before God. And I think the process he goes through is very similar to Alma, the Younger, but wherever we are, whatever it is that's causing us to wrestle, that wrestling is good. Yeah, that discomfort, we don't like it. No one wants to be uncomfortable. But it is a necessary part of gaining that depth of testimony and that depth of spiritual experience. We've got to wrestle with our things. That's why there is opposition.
Tamu Smith 20:31
Well, and think about the, the even the idea of wrestling with something. How many skinny, weak wrestlers do you know? It strengthens us, it makes us stronger. So bring on the wrestle.
All right, bring on the wrestle, let's do this then. So in the next segment, we're going to start with some wrestling and we're going to tackle the official declarations.
Segment 3 20:55
Everyone turn to the Official Declaration #1. I'm going to give you the history. 1847: We have an advance party of 143 men, 3 women, 2 children who make the journey to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. 1850: the United States makes Utah a territory. So what this means is that Congress can therefore regulate the activities in a territory. That's important to know. 1862: Congress passes laws against plural marriage, with follow-up laws in 1874, 1882, and 1887. Now, each of these laws become more and more restrictive. For instance, hundreds of saints and many leaders are imprisoned because of practicing polygamy.
Members of the First Presidency had to go in hiding. The 1887 Tucker Edmunds Act, which is an anti-polygamy law, it repeals the rights for women who are practicing polygamy to even vote. And it also directed federal authorities to confiscate all properties owned by the church that valued over $50,000, which included temples. So this is a big deal. 1888: the Quorum of the 12 then directs leaders to discontinue preaching about the doctrine of plural marriage. 1889: Wilford Woodruff orders the destruction of the Endowment House. So for those of you don't know, the Endowment House was built in 1854 and Truman Angel called it a "temple pro-tem"; it was kind of like an in-between while the temples were being built.
So between 1855 and 1889, there were 54,000 Endowments performed in that building, 68,000 sealings, and 134,000, baptisms for the dead; there's so much going on there. So he says, Alright, we're going to destroy the Endowment House. Then in 1890, the First Presidency prohibits new plural marriages, but allows anyone already in a plural marriage to stay. And then in September 1890, government officials began proceedings to turn over all of the properties of the church, including temples, to the United States government. In September of 1890, Wilford Woodruff takes it to the Lord. And he receives Official Declaration #1. It was called a manifesto on September 26, 1890, and then in 1981, it's going to be renamed Official Declaration #1.
And for those of you who don't have an updated set of scriptures, in 2013, Official Declaration, we have a little section heading, or an introduction to it that was added. And I really like that introduction that we have there. It gives some information, kind of summed up what I just said. But I love how the very last line it says "this led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the church." And so here we have this official declaration. And so Janiece, let's talk about how it was received. And particularly - you pointed this out to me - women's responses to the official declaration. Talk to me about that.
Janiece Johnson 23:49
This is a process. With Official Declaration #1, we've also got some excerpts from some speeches, some talks that Wilford Woodruff gave as the Prophet in the year leading up to it, it's very clear that he has been thinking about this. He has gone to the Lord and said, Okay, is plural marriage more important than keeping our temples? Is plural marriage so important that we need to go somewhere else to practice it? The response that he got back was, No, the temples are more important and keeping those temples are more important.
But it's a process. The manifesto was published in the newspaper two weeks prior to conference, and then at conference it was presented before the membership of the church that were there, and they voted. And George Q Canon, who has gone to jail for the practice of plural marriage, for practicing polygamy. He spent time in the Federal Penitentiary at Sugar House. Now it's SugarHouse Park today in Salt Lake City, the middle of Salt Lake City, used to be the Federal Penitentiary. He was the one who presents it before the church. It is accepted, but he can see people haven't all voted. There are people who are there who are weeping.
I just want to read a couple quotes from women that kind of maybe give us some sense of the spectrum here. Zina DH Young, who was sealed to Joseph Smith, who then was sealed to Brigham Young, was a General Relief Society President. She says
"Today, the hearts of all were tried, but looked to God and submitted."
Eugenia Washburn Larson, she talks about feeling dense darkness, thinking about the possibility of being turned adrift by her husband, that she won't have that support anymore. And now Wilford Woodruff is very explicit, he says,
"I did not, could not, and would not promise that you would desert your wives and children. This you cannot do with honor."
And they have made an arrangement with the federal government that it won't dissolve those families that are already in place. But it becomes a very difficult thing. And then we have Annie Clark Tanner, who says she felt great relief. And it, and she was very, she welcomed this change. But it was a significant change.
But he says, "The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not the mind of God."
For us to not misuse this, I think we need to understand the context here. He is introducing this thing, plural marriage, that they believed was essential to their salvation for the last 50 plus years. And he's saying, it's not. They have to refigure their whole theological understanding that had been built around this idea of celestial or plural marriage. And so this isn't Wilford Woodruff saying, I'm perfect, I don't do things wrong, because I'm Prophet. This is Wilford Woodruff saying, This is a big thing. 'I am not going to mess up in a way that you would now be denied your exaltation.' And I think, for me, that context is really important. It is not Wilford Woodruff saying, I don't make mistakes. It's Wilford Woodruff saying, I can't make a mistake this big. That would deny you your exaltation.
Tamu Smith 27:43
That's one of the things that people hide behind, I guess. My exaltation is actually not in Wilford Woodruff's hands. And so he did not atone for me. He is not my savior. And while he has access to speak on behalf of God in some situations, he cannot make a promise like that to me, because my trust is not in him, in flesh. My trust is in God. Jesus atoned for all of us, including the Prophet. And so I get where he was coming from with that. But I also think that people have used that as a weapon against other people in the church.
Janiece Johnson 28:28
I get that. I think in essence, Wilford Woodruff here is acknowledging that perhaps they misinterpret it, right? They understood their theology to mean that plural marriage was essential to their salvation. And he's learning that it's not. And those sealing rites and rituals have transformed over time. When Joseph Smith introduced plural marriage, the idea was, the more people you can connect yourself to the greater your exaltation will be. Yet under Wilford Woodruff, our understanding of how sealing works and that we want our, to bring our family, that it's our familial lines that we want to bring in. It's transforming.
And so implicit within this is this acknowledgement: The sealing power itself is way more important than all these other things that we've been emphasizing, at perhaps at a cost to the sealing power. And the sealing power that is those relationships in the temple, is the most important thing. That's way more important than this practice of plural marriage. And we have to adjust ourselves theologically.
I like what both of you said, because here's my connection. I just, I'm doing that - I had to do the math here on my phone because, you know, I don't do math well. The church is new. I mean, the church is only 61 years old. And for me the bigger picture here is, they're really learning how revelation works. Here we have Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and now we've got Wilford Woodruff - boy, his name's hard to say - Wilford Woodruff. And so this is a new idea, that revelation is ongoing, and it's ever- changing, and, it's okay.
I mean, can you imagine? Because here they are, Wait, no, but but that last Prophet? We've been told we're supposed to do this. And now you're telling us we're not supposed to do this? Like, and in such a short amount of time, that just doesn't make sense to them. And I think this is where 'the proof is in the pudding' as far as where your foundation is built - on Jesus Christ, on the belief that revelation continues to happen, and that it's ever-changing. And I think that that continues to be an issue for us as members of the church when things change like, wait, what? Because even, even changing church to two hours from three. Some people had issues with that. Tamu, raising her hand right there like, seriously? (laughs) Tamu, yeah, jump in.
Tamu Smith 31:02
Oh, yeah. I did have issues with that. Because, because I just have issues with two-hour church, I guess. Like I grew up in a church that was
Yeah. Like, you're telling me this is on-going revelation.
Tamu Smith 31:15
So yeah, I wasn't feeling it. And then COVID hit and I was like, aha! Studying with the family. So yeah, it was, uh, I was like, How is this revelation? But then when it really needed to be, when it really hit, that, This is revelation. I was like, Okay, got it. You know, you don't gotta tell me twice.
So what are your thoughts on this, Janiece?
Janiece Johnson 31:42
From the beginning, with Joseph Smith, there were always those along the way who said, Wait, this isn't what I bought into originally. And they, what they did not get, what was, what they bought into with the Prophet is the fact that everything can change.
Janiece Johnson 32:01
If revelation is the thing without which we don't function, it is always possible to change, that our understanding is going to change.
Amen! Well, and it's not even an LDS thing. It's in Old Testament: Amos - "Surely, the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth His secrets to His prophets." Change happens, and the change IS for our benefit. Janiece, I really like how you used Wilford Woodruff's quote in context. And that change is for our benefit. And so in the next segment, we're going to talk about another big change and revelation.
Segment 4 32:36
Tamu, earlier you shared with us that your family was concerned that you had joined a church that seemed anti-black. I appreciate that you shared that. Now here we have Official Declaration #2. So this official declaration is the revelation that removed all restrictions with regard to race that once applied to the priesthood. Now in the 2013 edition of the scriptures, so just FYI, in 2013, the church updated the Scriptures. So if you have an older set, you're going to be missing out a little bit on section headings and different things.
So in this section heading specifically for the Official Declaration #2, there was a part that was added. And I just want us to read this specific part of it because it begins with, "Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice." Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance.
Tamu, you've researched the priesthood ban extensively. And so I just want to ask, how did learning all of this affect you, and why do you stay?
Tamu Smith 35:42
The way that my testimony was achieved, I guess, set up, is it had nothing to do with men; it had nothing to do with the missionaries; it had nothing to do with, with what anybody told me. And so my relationship here is with God. I come from a very religious family, and through my prayers, the first time I entered the LDS church I was told by the Holy Ghost that I was home. And true to word, the things that I had been praying about as a 10 year old, 11 year old child, I was starting to like, receive answers to.
It was a very interesting and very personal experience as I read the journals of these men, there are things that they did that I totally got, and it resignated with me. And when I would read things that that hurt, that stung, I had the companionship of the Holy Ghost. And I know that there are people that that, it will not make sense to them, but I did have the companionship of the Holy Ghost that would just testify, That's not a truth. As I would read it, That's not a truth. That is not a truth. And so for me, having companionship with God and the Holy Ghost makes this experience a very different one for me. But it also allows me to speak truths that, that other people find hard to swallow.
I love that you kept saying over and over again, it spoke truth, the Holy Ghost spoke truth to you. And that's how you're able to do this. That was powerful, Tamu. Janiece, as a historian, and learning about Declaration #2 and what led up to this official declaration, how does that sit with you?
Janiece Johnson 37:34
Well, I think that the two official declarations are connected, as President Kimball was studying and as the church begins to expand, particularly in Brazil, where you can't cut off a majority of the population. People's ancestry is so intertwined, that if the church is going to spread at all, something has to change. And so he begins to study. And one of the things that he reads is actually an article that was written in 1973. This suggested for the first time that this practice did not originate with Joseph Smith, but originated with Brigham Young.
But in this policy, in this practice had been in place for so long, that people had this historical amnesia and really thought, believed that it was a revelation, that there was a doctrine behind it, when that's not - we now know - that that's not the case. But people were so ingrained and had done some, so much to defend this policy, that he felt like he needed revelation to be able to to change this practice.
I'm just letting this sit with me for a minute. That's a good, like, we need to know this information.
Tamu Smith 38:52
I just want to say, too, in that process, I mean, having just experienced this weekend - the 50th anniversary of Genesis (a support group for black members of the church) - and Spencer W Kimball was very instrumental in making Genesis happen prior to him being the Prophet. But they talk about, they used to have these these, they call them family reunions, but they were really just black people getting together in Utah, black LDS people getting together in Utah. And at the time, Spencer W. Kimball and his wife and other general authorities, but specifically Spencer W. Kimball, would attend some of these gatherings, these barbecues.
And on one occasion Eugene Orr tells this story - and he was in the First Presidency of the Genesis presidency - Eugene Orr tells this story about how Spencer W Kimball looked around at - it was Ruffin Bridgeforth, Darius Gray, and Eugene Orr and a couple of other families at this barbecue - and he said, "These children will have the priesthood." And this was in the late 60s, early 70s. So,
Wow, he wasn't wrong. Okay, well, then let's do this in the next segment, let's dive into Official Declaration #2, and talk a little bit about the process of how it became that all worthy male men were able to receive the priesthood.
Segment 5 40:29
So I didn't know this - I thought this was pretty cool - that President Gordon B Hinckley, he was actually a member of the Quorum of the 12 at the time. In fact, in the Official Declaration #2, it says that the Quorum of the 12 unanimously approved Official Declaration #2. I didn't realize that President Hinckley was there as part of that group. He shares his experience, and I love this quote. And so Janiece, will you share with us what you love about the quote, too?
Janiece Johnson 40:36
So President Kimball is there, he is the one who offers the final prayer. And he says it came to him so clearly, there was no question to him that this was the time. And President Hinckley said that "There was a hallowed and sanctified atmosphere in the room. For me, it felt as if a conduit opened between the heavenly throne and the kneeling, pleading Prophet of God, who was joined by his brethren. Every man in that circle, by the power of the Holy Ghost, knew the same thing. Tremendous eternal consequences for millions over the earth are flowing from that manifestation."
I love that, the preparation involved, that President Kimball is methodical. He, he sees this vision very much earlier, but he wants everyone to embrace it. It took time for them to get to this point and offer that final prayer. Elder McConkie says, "Forget everything that I have said or President Brigham Young, or whomsoever said in days past, that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that has now come into the world." Now, the fact that we still hold on to some of those things from the past is our fault. That's our problem.
Tamu Smith 42:28
I really want to say that sometimes when we talk about hard things, our reasoning, you know, is, Well, we just don't know why the Lord did that. And I'm just tired of people blaming stuff on God, for reals. Like I just, that we have to stop doing that. And even in ambiguity, there's clarity.
I was reading not too long ago, a quote by Pope Francis, where he was talking about, God does not speak in riddles. And so he says, "without any shadow of a doubt, is the will of God the salvation of all human beings, of each one of us individually." I look at the blessings that people missed out by not having the priesthood in their lives. I have to revert to the scripture, "The last will be first and the first shall be last", and know that nothing is ever lost. And and that is what I trust, and nothing is ever lost and that God restores all of us.
Amen. I totally agree.
Janiece Johnson 43:34
Yeah, it is. Thank you, Tamu. At the end of the Official Declaration, where it says "Sincerely yours," and then we have the members of the First Presidency, what stood out to me was what's written down below. And when it said, "Any opposed by the same sign", it made me think back to the Official Declaration #1 where many people were opposed, and I wondered, Were there any that raised their hand? I mean, when you kept saying it takes time, it took time for members of the church. And it's still taking time; let's be clear, right?
Just because Official Declaration came out doesn't mean we've completely eradicated these false notions and behaviors. And so, you know, when you brought this up, Janiece, I think a great question is, How do we do that? How do we eradicate these behaviors and change this thinking so that we all can unanimously agree and approve it?
Janiece Johnson 44:24
It takes work. It takes humility to recognize and to listen to people, and not to discount someone's experience because it doesn't line up with your own experience, to listen to people who have had different experiences. I had students at BYU-Idaho who had grown up in the church who were African-American students who had never experienced racism in the church, and then came to Rexburg at BYU-Idaho. And suddenly we're having some really horrific experiences. That is wrong; that should not be happening with people of the Lord's church. That should not be happening, period.
But the fact that we still haven't eradicated this, I think that there are some people who every time President Nelson talks about fighting racism, roll their eyes and go, This doesn't exist anymore. Why do you think he keeps talking about it? Why do you think that we still need to, to highlight this and talk about this? I have had people tell me that when I talk about it, when I'm teaching, whether it be in my own ward or in classes. And we need to talk about it, because we have not eradicated it. And if anything, we have a resurgence. And if we are disciples, this needs to concern us greatly.
Well, I like that you have written
Tamu Smith 46:00
written Janiece, "how we treat other children of God is the primary marker of our discipleship." And I love that you wrote that, because Tamu talked to us about this. What does that look like for you? Are there any specific behaviors that come to mind?
Tamu Smith 46:17
What I will say is this: having a male child out on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a very different experience for me than having a female child out. I can tell you that it has kind of shaken me, you know. And it's something that I've never really had to think about or grapple with. But now that I'm having this experience, and I'm talking to other parents - like I have a cousin who's, who had to come and pick her son up, son up from a mission in this area because of the way that he had been treated by members. And so we're still dealing with it. So I appreciate everything that our prophets, seers, and revelators say about, you know, Black Lives Mattering, and racism in the church, because it should be eradicated. It's not a part of the gospel, it's a part of the church. And so anything that's not a part of the gospel should not be a part of the church.
Right. And how old is Official Declaration #2? It's what? Someone do the math. 1978 - 2021. Come on.
Tamu Smith 47:59
It is 42 - 43.
43 years old.
So this is interesting. There is a church news video online, where the Prophet is inspecting the Salt Lake Temple. And then the Prophet says this, and it just struck me, he says, "It's really easier for us to build the temple than it is to build a people worthy of the temple."
And that just struck me because it makes me think of this whole foundation like, they're trying to repair the foundation. I feel like it's easier to fix the Salt Lake Temple foundation than it might be to fix a lot of our foundations if it's not on Christ. And I just love that because I thought, wow.
Tamu Smith 48:35
Well, he has the truth.
I know, I mean, Official Declaration #2 allows for us to be brothers and sisters in every respect. So I want to know, Tamu. What does Official Declaration #2 mean to you?
Tamu Smith 48:52
Off-times that I think that we tend to focus on what the men lost, restoring the men. The truth is that women were more affected by this priesthood ban than men. And I say that in all sincerity, because even when I look at the church today, across the color line, the most active people are women. It is very rare for me to see a group of men attend the temple as brothers, unless it's a priesthood activity. Women just on a whim will call their girlfriends up and go to the temple.
I feel personally, while the focus is on what men didn't have, families missed out on being sealed together. And if we believe that the endowment is a life-saving endowment, what did I do as a woman that was so wrong, or so, deemed so unworthy that I could not go through the temple and receive my own endowments and do life-saving services for my living dead?
I have these mixed emotions, because it's a fine line of just saying, 'Yeah, that was just a lie and it's racism,' and also trying to make space for what I'm not seeing, what I'm not experiencing. For me the Official Declaration #2 means that I have opportunities that my ancestors didn't have, to, in real time, have my family sealed to me, and in real time, be able to go through the temple and receive my own endowments, and also do work for my living dead.
That was beautifully and powerfully spoken Tamu. And again, can we just sit with that for a minute? Because we always talk about the men. But that struck me when you just said that; it was also about the women and families. I, gosh, I really appreciate that perspective, Tamu, thank you. What about you, Janiece, what does it mean to you?
Janiece Johnson 51:01
I believe that we should take scriptures seriously. In the Book of Mormon we have that God invited all to come unto Him and partake of His goodness. If we are not creating a space in which everyone can thrive, and everyone is welcome, then that's on us. That's our fault. Zion is not something that just happens when we snap our fingers. Zion is something that we have to work to, to create. And that requires work on all of our parts.
Absolutely requires work. And that's what we've talked about. It requires work and faith and a whole heaping bunch of grace, for sure. So, thank you, both of you for sharing that. You know, as we've talked about these different things, I've loved the underlying current of all of this. And again, it's the foundation that both of you, your foundation is in God and Jesus Christ, and everything else, come what may and understand it, apply it, and know that Jesus loves you. Everything we've talked about has been powerful. In talking more about this idea of this foundation, then, in the next segment we're going to talk about some pretty important foundational principles, then. Thirteen, to be exact, and we'll address those in the next segment.
Segment 6 52:18
In your scriptures, let's turn to the Articles of Faith, and you're gonna find those at the very back, past the Pearl of Great Price, past Joseph Smith History, right before you get to the index, and you're gonna see right there. Hello, Articles of Faith. How are both of you when it comes to the Articles of Faith? Do you have 'em memorized? Have you ever memorized them? (laughter)
Janiece Johnson 52:48
I'll start with, "We believe,
Yeah, you're solid on that. I'm like, I'm really good on "We believe", or "We claim" all that, for that one. Yeah. Number 11.
Janiece Johnson 52:57
I know I had them all memorized at one point. But I've got the "We believe" part down.
They're so fun to learn. I love that in Primary we learn them, we sing songs to them. I was once in a ward where the Primary presidency gave the kids king-sized candy bars if they could memorize an Article of Faith. And of course, I'm like, Uh, does it count for adults too? Because I'm about to brush up on those real quick if that's the case. So Janiece, this is a fun story. Tell us how we got the Articles of Faith.
Janiece Johnson 53:27
So Joseph writes this down in 1842; a publisher from the Chicago Democrat, John Wentworth asks him to write this for a history of Illinois, but it doesn't actually ever end up in that. But we have a snapshot from 1842, and this statement of beliefs. I think that it's interesting because sometimes we'll talk about Joseph being anti-creedal, that he doesn't like creeds, and he does say things like that. But he's created a creed here, you know, and it follows that general pattern that we have in the Christian Creeds beginning with the Apostles' creed of "I" or "We believe", and a statement of faith.
Now when Joseph kind of speaks out against creed's, I think that he's more referencing things like the Westminster Confession of Faith, which has like 30 some-odd chapters, and also includes things like, that God is without passion or parts. But something, I don't think he is speaking out against like the Apostles' Creed. But this is succinct statement of Latter-day Saint belief. And it doesn't include everything that we ever think about, but it is an important foundation.
That was awesome. Thank you so much for that background. Janiece. Alright Janiece, you mentioned a man by the name of John Wentworth, when you were just giving us some of that background, and the Articles of Faith were written in a letter to John Wentworth as a statement of Latter-day Saint beliefs, and it is referred to as the Wentworth Letter. So if anyone's ever heard someone say something about the Wentworth Letter, this is what we're talking about. I want to read this quote by BH Roberts, who's a church historian, and this is what he had to say about the Wentworth letter, specifically. Tamu, will you read this for us.
Tamu Smith 55:19
"The letter is one of the choicest documents in our church literature, as also it is the earliest published document by the Prophet personally, making any pretentions to consecutive narrative of those events in which the great latter-day work had its origin. For combining conciseness of statements with comprehensiveness, of treatment of the subject with which it deals, it has few equals among historical documents, and certainly none that excel it in our church literature."
I thought that was so interesting. And I remember on my mission, the Wentworth Letter, part of it, and some of the missionaries do this, we had to memorize the quote that Joseph Smith wrote. And it is so powerful because, listen to this, this is what he wrote. This I had to memorize and say every morning when I woke up with my companion. Here it goes.
"The standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, how many may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say, the work is done."
And then he lists these Articles of Faith. And so here we have 13 of them. And as you look at these, of the 13, I mean, Janiece, I know you would have so many things to say about this. But for you, personally, both of you, is there one that's very profound? I mean, Tamu with your background, joining the church, is there one in here that strikes you? I mean, I'm just curious to know if there's anything about these articles that stand out to you?
Tamu Smith 57:00
The one that I, I really love is that "We believe in the gift of tongues, (prophecy,) revelations, visions, healing, interpretations of tongues, and so forth." And where's the other one, there's another one that I really like. Number 6, "We believe in the organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors," because we never had say that we have pastors, "teachers, evangelists," we never say we have evangelists, "and so forth." But I, I like number 7 because it makes me feel like there is room for worship, and that a lot of the Articles of Faith resonate with me because of my foundational faith.
Yeah, I love that. A lot of similarities. What about you, Janiece?
Tamu, I really like the expansive potential of lots of these pieces of the foundation that we have, that everything isn't enumerated here. Temples aren't specifically enumerated here, but we have this this foundation that gives us this all sorts of expansive potential, particularly that we will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam's transgression. That is central for me, that the Fall was not a negative black mark on humanity collectively, but that it was this move forward for us to reach our eternal potential. Perhaps if we've grown up in the church and don't know the Bible very well, we're reminded that the Bible is the Word of God. And we need that reminder.
We also believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that scripture is foundational, and developing a relationship with scripture is essential. But I think out of all of them, 9 is my favorite. "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." Revelation is foundational for us. This is the thing, the 'sin quo non', the thing without which we cannot function. If we believe in an open cannon, if we believe in the possibility of revelation, then all bets are off. We can't predict, we can't know what our future looks like, but this gives us a really important foundation for an expansive future.
And it's what we've talked about today. I love that.
Tamu Smith 59:41
Right. I also love the 11, that's the one that I was looking for. We believe in claiming "the privilege to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege," This is where we get sideways in our church. "let them worship how, where, or what they may." They, when they say let THEM, they think that means outside of the church, as opposed to inside of the church. And so my amens might be a little too enthusiastic and loud and joyous for some talks than for others. But that also is a part of my worship. And also that's the part that I think that people balk at the most like, hmmmm.
I love that you just brought that up, because we do, we think the 'them' are the others, that are not members of the church.
Tamu Smith 1:00:31
They can worship outside, but in here we have the Holy Ghost
We DO worship differently.
Tamu Smith 1:00:34
It's how we do it and I'm like, my Holy Ghost is actually in the fire. Not in the water.
Yes, I think that's so great. I love that you pointed that out in verse 11. I love Article of Faith number 13. It sums up everything, especially everything we've talked about. Like we believe in being honest, true chaste, but here we are, benevolent, virtuous - which you know how I feel about that word, very strong, which means filled with power; that's all it means in Hebrew and in Greek - and in doing good to all men. I mean, right? Come on, "in doing good to all men".
Janiece Johnson 1:01:08
and women and everybody.
Oh, and women, yes, for sure.
Janiece Johnson 1:01:14
And Joseph writes the letter in 1838. And he says, "Dearly, beloved brethren, and by that, I mean, every faithful man, woman and child..."
Tamu Smith 1:01:23
He who was so progressive,
Janiece Johnson 1:01:26
expansively, so let's not keep it narrow.
Circle 'men' right there, put to the outside, 'and women, all people'. And then the end when he says we, you know, "....we follow the admonition of Paul---We believe all things, we hope", oh, I have hope highlighted, underlined. "...we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
I just love how many times hope is said in there. Because I think as members of the Church, since it began, we have hoped for a better, we have hoped for change. And in the words of my very good friend I've had on before - Julie Peterson - "It's okay to hope. It's okay to pray to Heavenly Father and take your hopes and your dreams and your desires, whatever it is, to Him, and He wants that. And it's okay to hope for change." And I think many of the saints did and change happened. And we saw that today with our Official Declarations. And I love that.
Janiece Johnson 1:02:23
As you were just reading that I was really struck by 'enduring' here. Sometimes we have that misconception that if we are faithful, then things just come easily. But mortality doesn't work that way. And enduring is part of it, and the acknowledgement that we can't endure all of it right now.
Oh, I just made the connection to that hoping and enduring.
And that we hope to be able to endure all things, you know. And also within hope, that it's not just that wishing in a scriptural sense of hope, it is that expectation. We know right now, section 76 teaches us that we overcome through our faith in Christ. Ultimately, we will be able to overcome all things; that is promised us. But right now, we hope to endure those, all those things. And right now we are stuck in that messy middle where there's a lot of enduring that is acquired.
Oh, I like that.
Tamu Smith 1:03:28
You should get a t-shirt made: "I'm in the messy middle right now".
Yes! Hold on. I'm just writing, I have so many things I'm writing. Oh, my gosh, I've loved this discussion. Wow! Today was incredible. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So just take a minute now and gather your thoughts and tell me, what is your takeaway?
Tamu Smith 1:03:52
For me, it's something that Janiece said. I've been asking God to allow me to be more graceful. And I don't know why, I really don't. But she said "necessary disciples offer necessary grace." And that is one of the most beautiful things that I have heard.
Janiece Johnson 1:04:10
I have kind of two disparate thoughts. One has been going through my head as we've been talking about all these things, and it's actually from Brigham Young quote, from Brigham Young, but "living prophets are better than dead prophets." And messiness shouldn't scare us as we work on the messiness, whether it's our personal lives or in our collective histories. We can find grace and we can find clarity.
I love how tender that is for you. Why is this tender?
Janiece Johnson 1:04:46
My life's too messy right now.
Yeah, let's make her the t-shirt, Tamu.
Tamu Smith 1:04:55
"I'm in the messy middle." I think it was a beautiful discussion today. Because then for my takeaway, then, when we're in that messy, is that hope and endurance part, because we hope and then we enter, but I love how it comes back to what you talked about Janiece, is through our foundation in Christ. And that's what it's about. If we have a foundation built on Jesus Christ, hoping and enduring, it just makes sense. And that enduring is messy and uncomfortable. And nobody likes it. But with a foundation on Christ, you will not fall, you just won't. And I think we saw that with the early saints in Official Decoration 1, and in number 2, and and even in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Tamu Smith 1:05:41
Like, I'm amazed at the stories that I read, that there are people who have joined the church that are related to people who died in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. That's a fascinating fact. And I just think, how that have they been able to reconcile that messy, and I think it's through their foundation in Jesus Christ. And so I hope my foundation can get me through the rest of my messy as I hope and endure. Wow, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate this discussion. I think it's really powerful and
Janiece Johnson 1:06:10
I love you both.
Tamu Smith 1:06:10
You were awesome, Janiece.
Bye, Janiece; thank you so much.
Janiece Johnson 1:06:14
It was fun.
All right. I want to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram go there. You have to. It's just such a great place to ask questions as you study. And I try to answer them. And so do people in this community, it's really fun. And then at the end of the week, on Sunday, we post a call for what your big takeaway was. So, comment on that post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned. I read all of them. And I love it.
You can go to our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sundayOnMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we have the links to all the references, and a transcript of this entire discussion. So go check that out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our awesome, so great, perfect participants were Tamu Smith and Janiece Johnson. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS living.com/sundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Erika Free 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 that everyone, every one of us, you are God's favorite.
Tamu Smith 1:07:26
Tammy, you with 13, I'm feeling some type of way about that because while I believe in being honest, true, and all of those things, I am sitting here having a hot flash and fanning myself with a fan that I stole from somebody's church. (laughter!)