Business College Devotional
you for all the prayers that have been offered in my behalf.
wanted to sing the opening song to place in your mind the fact that things
aren’t always what we expect. I never
expected to be on this side of the podium.
received the call to speak from Brother Nelson, I was standing, keys in hand,
ready to head out the door to catch a flight to Arizona to attend the Gila
Valley Temple open house. I thought,
great, July 27th. That’s
close to Pioneer Day and I’m going to the home of some of my ancestors. I’ll speak on pioneers. That’ll be easy. I could just stand up, read pioneer histories
for 35 minutes, say “amen,” and sit down. Right?
was going to speak on pioneers, I needed to learn more about them and decide
what I could share that may help someone in the audience today. I began to
gather histories and take a closer look at my ancestors. In the process I discovered 12 of my father’s
2nd great grandparents and six of my mother’s great grandparents
came across the plains in the early days of the Church – there were a lot of
histories to read through. To say the
least, I’ve been learning a lot about my family; some stories were faith
promoting, others eye opening; and with that many ancestors in such a small geographical
area, the histories and families were becoming so intertwined it was making my
stepped back and analyzed what I had learned from the stories and how they
might help, these words from Come, Come,
Ye Saints came to mind.
Why should we mourn or think our
lot is hard?
’Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to
All is well! All is well!
words, along with the histories, helped me to better understand that life is
hard for everyone – we all have our challenges.
What is hard for one person may not be hard for another, and vice versa;
we need each other to help balance load. Some days it doesn’t seem so easy.
Mormon 9:15 … and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
1846. While camped at Cutler’s Park on
the west side of the Missouri River, Brigham Young asked for volunteers to go
back to Nauvoo to help evacuate the poor Saints from the city. My 3rd great grandfather, Orvel
Morgan Allen, left Winter Quarters and joined the volunteers, however, before
they arrived the Saints had been driven by rifle and cannon fire from their
homes, and then they were either thrown into or ferried across the river to a
temporary camp near Montrose, Iowa. As
the Saints camped, the rains poured down and drenched everything. Then, Thomas Bullock records the miracle –
“On the 9th of October, several wagons with oxen having been sent by the Twelve
to fetch the poor Saints away, were drawn out in a line on the river banks,
ready to start. But hark! What noise is that? See! The quails descend; they
alight close by our little camp of twelve wagons, run past each wagon tongue,
when they arise, fly round the camp three times, descend, and again run the
gauntlet past each wagon. See the sick knock them down with sticks, and the
little children catch them alive with their hands. Some are cooked for
breakfast, while my family were seated on the wagon tongues and ground, having
a wash tub for a table. Behold, they come again! One descends upon our
teaboard, in the midst of our cups, while we were actually round the table
eating our breakfast, which a little boy about eight years old catches alive
with his hands; they rise again, the flocks increase in number, seldom going
seven rods from our camp, continually flying around the camp, sometimes under
the wagons, sometimes over, and even into the wagons, where the poor sick
Saints are lying in bed; thus having a direct manifestation from the Most High,
that although we are driven by men, He has not forsaken us, but that His eyes
are continually over us for good. At noon, having caught alive about 50 and
killed some 50 more, the captain gave orders not to kill any more, as it was a
direct manifestation and visitation from the Lord. In the afternoon hundreds
were flying at a time. When our camp started at 3 p.m. there could not have
been less than 500 (some say there were 1500) flying around the camp. Thus I am
a witness to this visitation. Some Gentiles who were in the camp marvelled
greatly; even some passengers on a steamboat going down the river looked with
May 2000 CES Fireside address entitled Miracles,
Elder Dallin H. Oaks gives the definition of a miracle and then gives an
explanation of the greatest miracle. Miracle: A beneficial event brought about through
divine power that mortals do not understand and of themselves cannot duplicate.
greatest miracle is not in such things as restoring sight to the blind, healing
an illness, or even raising the dead, since all of these restorations will
happen in any event in the resurrection.
Changing bodies or protecting temples are miracles, but an even greater
miracle is a mighty change of heart by a son or daughter of God. A change of heart including new attitudes,
priorities and desires is greater and more important than any miracle involving
the body. I repeat, the body will be
resurrected in any event, but a change affecting what the scripture calls the
heart of a spirit son or daughter of God is a change whose effect is
eternal. If of the right kind, this
change opens the door to the process of repentance that cleanses us to dwell in
the presence of God. It introduces the
prospective and priorities that lead us to make the choices that qualify us for
eternal life – the greatest of all the gifts of God.
Dallin H. Oaks, Miracles, CES
Fireside: May 07, 2000, http://www.byub.org/talks/Talk.aspx?id=2251
pioneers did indeed experience a miracle, but I have witnessed what Elder Oaks
says is greatest miracle. One story in
particular comes to mind. It is of a young
man from Nevada. I cannot tell you his
name, only of the experience. One summer
we took our YM and YW to float down the Green River. The overall group included three different
youth groups, ours from East Mill Creek, a YM/YW group from Bountiful, and a
Young Men’s group from Nevada. Our ward
ended up in several water wars with the Nevada group, and over the next couple
of days friendships were made. There was
one young man in their group that really stood out – not because he had that
“spiritual giant” demeanor, but because he was covered with tattoos. One day as we were getting off the bus I
asked him what had caused him to want to do that. He said, “I got in with the wrong bunch of
friends. I wish I could take ‘em off,
but it’s too expensive.” The night of
our ward testimony meeting he joined our group and bore a strong and powerful
testimony. He had experienced the mighty
change and wanted the youth in our ward to know that the journey he had taken
was a hard one and encouraged them to make better choices than he had. I’m not sure if the youth in that meeting
understood that they had witnessed a miracle.
if thou shouldst be cast into the pit
into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if
thou be cast into the deep
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
shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these
things shall give thee experience
and shall be for thy good.
Dreikurs wrote a book entitled, Children:
The Challenge. I think Amy Francom
would agree with my first response to that title, which is simply “amen.”
my ancestors, William Francom and Amy Dora Harding Francom, joined the Church
while living in South Africa. In 1865
William gave his consent to Amy to go to America with four of their children. Due to persecution, they left secretly. They loaded their wagon and drove the 20
miles to Port Elizabeth where they boarded the ship with 35 other convert
families. William planned stay in Africa
long enough to settle business matters and then to join Amy in America.
to the diary of Miner G. Atwood, the head of the company on the ship, Amy had
an eventful trip. They left harbor on
April 12, 1865. On April 21 he made this
entry, “Met with the children. Also met with the Saints for prayers. A light
breeze during the day. Met again in the evening for prayers. Spoke a short time
to the Saints. All felt well. Sister Francom took the office of chief
In Atwood’s entry a week
later I gained a better understanding of what may have been the cause of her
grumbling. On Thursday, April 27 he wrote.
“I am some better today. Met for prayers this morning. Before the meeting was
over Brother Kershaw came down in a passion about the conduct of (my then
13-year-old 2nd great grandfather) Samuel Francom. I soon settled
it. Attended the school. A fine day. Ship on her course. Very warm. Met for
prayers again in the evening.”
Friday, April 28. “Met this morning as usual for prayers.
Also met in school. Samuel Francom was a very bad boy. We were obliged to tie
him up to the ship's post. On promising that he would be a good boy he was
released. A good breeze. Ship on her course. Met in the evening for prayers.
All felt well.”
Saturday, April 29 was a repeat of Friday.
After Samuel, it was his older brother, John…
Saturday, May 13. “Met for
prayers. John Francom called Elder Noon a liar in meeting and would not ask his
pardon until he was tied up for several hours. He then did so and promised to
be a good boy. A good breeze during the day. Very warm.”
Monday, May 29. “Had some trouble between [John] Driscal and
John Francom and so it is, no sooner is one difficulty over than another
begins, but through the blessings of the Lord we have thus far been able to put
all things right. A good breeze during the day. Met in the evening for prayers.
I stood guard until one.”
I can imagine what may have been in the letter Brother Atwood spoke of in his Saturday, June 17 entry. “Saw a great number of steamers, a
lighthouse at one p.m., and land. We are about 80 miles from New York. Wrote a
few lines to Brother William Francom, Senior. We saw land this afternoon. A
light breeze. All feel well. Met for prayers when I gave the Saints some
counsel about landing, etc. A good spirit is with all the Saints. I had a
thy father and mother; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Amy. Can you imagine what it was like to
spend four months on a ship with teenagers.
Children are a challenge and frequently push the limits, but to Amy it
was worth it. In John’s later history he
says, “It was a very trying time for Amy to break away from her home and leave
her husband, son, and sister behind, but her faith was so strong that she was willing
to leave everything to cast her lot with the Mormon people.”
first read Atwood’s journal, I just had to shake my head and laugh. My son had come by his behavior rightly. There was been as many a time I felt like
tying him up to keep him from driving me or someone else crazy. When many of his younger sister’s sentences
began with a tearful, “Mom, Paul…” You
have to know that he was good at pushing the right buttons to get a
response. There was a time he was tied
up. I guess my boys had pushed one cousin to the limit. My nephew tied both of my boys and his sister
to a tree. I wasn’t aware things like
that ran in families. I, too, need the
faith that Amy had.
Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts
of the children the promises made to their fathers,
the great work to be done in the temples
of the Lord in the dispensation
fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing
of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse
and utterly wasted at his coming.
the first histories I read was that of my 2nd great grandparents
John Jacob Huber and his wife Mary Elizabeth Abegg Huber from Switzerland.
being introduced to the Church, John read everything he could get for and
against the Mormons. He joined the
Church March 28, 1865. On June 2, 1868
he married Mary who had joined the Church in March of 1857. They decided to go to America the following
spring even though Mary was in a delicate condition. When upon the high seas, Mary became sick and
gave birth to a baby boy, who only lived three days, and it was necessary to
bury her first born in the Atlantic Ocean.
later years she told her son, Jacob, the following regarding that voyage: “I knew Mormonism was true, and I prayed
earnestly and with all the faith I could muster that our Father in Heaven would
spare my child and that it would live and go to Zion, but with all the kind
help I received from other immigrants, it passed away and my prayers were not
answered. But, my son, I want to tell
you that through all my life I have prayed and have had consolation in so
doing, although my prayers, it seems to me, have more often not been answered
than they have. Yet my faith grows
stronger year by year, and my testimony of the Gospel does not diminish.” Jacob says, “That’s the kind of integrity and
faith that buoyed them on when adverse circumstances confronted them along the
highway of life.”
gained strength and appreciation from their story as I, too, lost a child to
death. Shortly before my youngest child
turned two, she was diagnosed with liver cancer. Her diagnosis put into perspective the fear
my husband and I felt when her older brother needed tubes put in his ears – at
the time we thought tubes would be the most difficult medical problem we would
ever have to deal with. Little did we
know what life had in store for us. One
experience seems to prepare you for the next, perhaps more challenging,
experience you’ll face.
two years of hospital visits, surgeries, chemo, and then radiation, the doctors
told us there was no more they could do.
It was time to take her home and let her enjoy the time she had
left. Seven months later our brave
little Sara quietly succumbed to cancer and moved to the other side of the
veil. While people often asked, “How can
you stand it?” or they said, “I couldn’t do it.” I wondered why we were so blessed to have an
angel in our home.
Sara was very hard, and 17 years later we still miss her; however, as hard as
it was to lose her, I have since learned that there are things in life worse
than death. Her death added another step
of experience, growth, and testimony to prepare me for the next hard step.
behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon
line, precept upon precept
here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my
precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom
pondering the stories of the lives of my pioneer ancestors, their testimonies,
their challenges, and their faithfulness, my mind went back to a conversation I
had with Elder Hawkins a few weeks ago.
He’d been writing a story and I asked him how it was coming along. He said, “I had the beginning, but then I had
to write the end to figure out what to put in the middle.” That really hit me. We’ve “written” the beginning of our stories,
and we know how we want it to end, so what are we going to put in the
middle? What other trials will we
encounter? How are we going endure if
each step is harder than the last? Who
will help us? Can we really hope to make
it in this crazy world we live in? Will
we be as strong and faithful as the pioneers, so our stories help strengthen
the testimonies of future generations?
Monson gives us counsel in regards to what to “put in the middle” in his talk Finding Joy in the Journey. He tells us,
“This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we
live, the greater is our realization that it is brief.
come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are
to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us
distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to
let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and
nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do.
Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”
Thomas S. Monson, “Finding Joy in
the Journey,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 84–87
Faust adds to that, saying, “We are not only to avoid evil, not only to do good
but, most importantly, to do the things of greatest worth. We are to focus on
the inward things of the heart, which we know and value intuitively but often
neglect for that which is trivial, superficial, or prideful.”
James E. Faust, “The Weightier
Matters of the Law: Judgment, Mercy, and Faith,” Ensign, Nov 1997, 53
a goal – the end. We just need to
remember what is most important, get our priorities straight, and forget about
the petty and unimportant “things” that often distract us from our that goal.
was the most often-quoted scripture during our family home evenings. My kids had it memorized. When I read this scripture I envision Christ
weeping because of our sadness, our pain, and our trials, but when we meet him,
I hope he’ll be weeping for joy.
we’re making our journey trying to make the best choices, we’re going to
experience adversity. It may be
something unfamiliar to us like a new church calling we feel inept at doing, or
difficult decision we need to make.
Perhaps our trials will be physical, emotional, or mental challenges,
never marrying, failed marriage, a lost job, abuse, money, children who stray,
no education, too much education, or a myriad of other scenarios, it’s not
going to be easy.
Neal A. Maxwell explains why. “One’s life … cannot be both faith-filled and
Therefore, how can you and I really
expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience,
but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and
certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which
made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share
Thy joy!’ …
“Real faith … is required to endure
this necessary but painful developmental process.”
Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your
Minds,” Ensign, May 1991, 88, 90.
In a Church News Article entitled “Role of
Adversity” we learn more of the purpose of adversity. Orson F. Whitney, a member of the Quorum of
the Twelve from 1906-1931, is quoted as having said: "No pain that we
suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education,
to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and
humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure
it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls,
and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children
of God. . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that
we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more
like our [Heavenly] Father. . . ."
“Role of Adversity,” LDS Church News, 4 Dec 1999
our trials it will be up to us to decide how we’ll act, or react. Will we turn to the Lord for strength or will
we become bitter and angry and look for someone else to blame? Will we blame the Lord? I heard a comment regarding blaming the Lord the
other day on a radio broadcast. The gentleman
being interviewed was talking about the tragic death of his wife and children
and he said, when asked why he didn’t blame the Lord, “You come to realize how
incredibly ridiculous it is to shake your fist at heaven, because all you can
say is, ‘Why are you trying to make me more like you?’ It’s the reason why we’re here.”
as it is, he’s right. It’s the
plan. Hopefully we are becoming more like
him one small step at a time, and through those steps, we must endure.
my commandments and endure
to the end
you shall have eternal
life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
Uchtdorf shares his thoughts on enduring.
“When I was a young boy, “endure to the end” meant to me mainly that I
had to try harder to stay awake until the end of our Church meetings. Later as
a teenager I progressed only slightly in my understanding of this scriptural
phrase. I linked it with youthful empathy to the efforts of our dear elderly
members to hang in there until the end of their lives.”
He goes on to explain that enduring to the
end implies “patient continuance in well doing,” striving to keep the
commandments and doing the works of righteousness. It requires sacrifice and hard work. To
endure to the end, we need to trust our Father in Heaven ….
By doing our best to endure
to the end, a beautiful refinement will come into our lives. We will learn to
“do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us]”
). The blessings that come to us from
enduring to the end in this life are real and very significant, and for the
life to come they are beyond our comprehension.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?,” Ensign,
Nov 2007, 18–21
… as ye
to come into the bfold
of God, and to be called his
people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens,
that they may be light; Yea, and are awilling
to mourn with those that bmourn
yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort,
the pioneers do it? They certainly
didn’t do it alone. Every story I read
included saints who worked together.
They might never have made it if they had to travel that far in the
competitive and contentious nature of the world we live in today. We must forget the ways of the world and help
Mack Smith expressed the importance of working together when she told the
Relief Society sisters in 1842, “We must cherish one another, watch over one
another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in
Minutes of the Female Relief
Society of Nauvoo, 24 Mar 1842
Together. Isn’t that the way we really want it?
D&C 66:9 Be patient in affliction. Ask
and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you.
Church News article, Role of Adversity, President Kimball shares of another
source of help. Therein he states, “The
Lord has not promised us freedom from adversity or affliction. Instead, he has
given us the avenue of communication known as prayer, whereby we might humble
ourselves and seek his help and divine guidance, so that we could establish a
house of prayer. I have previously said that they who reach down into the
depths of life where, in the stillness, the voice of God has been heard, have
the stabilizing power which carries them poised and serene through the
hurricane of difficulties.”
Spencer W. Kimball, “Fortify Your
Homes Against Evil,” Ensign, May 1979, 4
Do we “disconnect” from the distractions of
the world and take the time to put ourselves in the stillness so we can hear
the voice of God?
again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope
Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope
through the atonement …,
and this because of your faith in him according
to the promise. Wherefore, if a
man have faith
needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
Wilford W. Andersen describes the scene at the edge of the river when he
visited Nauvoo, “As we stood on Parley Street reflecting upon their desperate
conditions, my eyes were drawn to a series of wooden signs nailed to fence
posts upon which were etched quotes from the diaries of these suffering Saints.
As we read each quote, to our amazement what we found in their words were not of
desperation and discouragement but of confidence and commitment and even joy.
They were filled with hope, the hope that is reflected by this quote from the
diary of Sarah DeArmon Rich, February 1846: “To start out on such a journey in
the winter … would seem like walking into the jaws of death but we had faith …
[and] we felt to rejoice that the day of our deliverance had come.”
early Saints were indeed homeless, but they were not hopeless. Their hearts
were broken, but their spirits were strong. They had learned a profound and
important lesson. They had learned that hope, with its attendant blessings of
peace and joy, does not depend upon circumstance. They had discovered that the
true source of hope is faith—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His infinite
Atonement, the one sure foundation upon which to build our lives.
When we strive to keep the commandments of
God, repenting of our sins and promising our best efforts to follow the Savior,
we begin to grow in confidence that through the Atonement everything will be
all right. Those feelings are confirmed by the Holy Ghost, who drives from us
what our pioneer mothers and fathers called “our useless cares.” In spite of our
trials, we are filled with a sense of well-being and feel to sing with them
that indeed “all is well.”
He concludes with this thought. He will never forget or abandon us, for He
has graven us upon the palms of His hands.
Wilford W. Andersen, “The Rock of Our Redeemer,” Ensign,
May 2010, 16–18
So our posterity may learn and grow from our stories,
remember the experience shared by Sister Hales of President Eyring when he
heard a voice tell him, “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself.
Write them down.”
Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,” Ensign,
Nov 2007, 66–69
May our lives be filled with the faith, hope,
and the ability to endure as we have learned from the pioneers, that we may
touch the future.