How would it feel to move a thousand miles by foot and wagon, taking all your belongings you could carry—with a mission to gather to a specific place and build a community and society called Zion. You’ve barely been introduced to the concept of Zion, and now you’re supposed to build it?
How would it feel to move a thousand miles by foot and wagon, taking all your belongings you could carry—with a mission to gather to a specific place and build a community and society called Zion. You’ve barely been introduced to the concept of Zion—a people of one heart, striving with all their might to stay close to God and live the commandments He has given them. You’ve gathered in families and close-knit friend groups. You’ve purchased beautiful, verdant, fertile lands to build your homes and raise your crops. It’s truly an idyllic setting and situation. Except, what happens when opposition is introduced in the form of hundreds of people who don’t want you there are will do anything, including kill you, to get you out of their county?
Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast. We are Scot and Maurine Proctor and this week’s lesson will cover Doctrine and Covenants, sections 98-101 and is entitled: Be Still and Know That I am God. I just have to let you know one personal item before we begin since we are all like family now—I mean, after all, we do spend 35-45 minutes in your homes every week. Last year I did The Nauvoo Diary & Engagement Calendar that thousands of you responded to. Well, this week, I received from overseas what’s called a “folded and gathered” copy of the new Kirtland Diary for Thoughts & Personal Revelation. This contains my best photographs of Kirtland and more than 50 inspiring quotes, one each week, from those early leaders and members of the Church. It truly is so beautiful. We will let you know when you can order them, but I was so thrilled when I saw this first copy, I just had to share this news. I’m so excited.
I’m so excited too, Scot. I’ve loved using my Nauvoo Diary this past year to record my feelings of gratitude each day and also to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in my life in those big and small ways that happen every day.
Now, during the summer of 1833, this Zion-building society started to face overwhelming opposition. You have to remember; these are real people with real needs and real dreams and aspirations. These are Latter-day Saints just like you and me. They have families, homes, work, normal needs and they are all new to the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are learning how to follow the Prophet of God and follow the commandments of the Lord.
Their desire for a perfect society was looked upon with great suspicion and great disdain by the locals in Western Missouri. Seven things, in the minds of the Missourians, were strikes against these peace-loving, united group of Latter-day Saints.
One. The old-time Jackson County residents feared that as the new settlers swelled in numbers, the religiously motivated settlers from the east would just plain outnumber them.
Two. With those sheer greater numbers, clearly, the Latter-day Saints could change the political scene and wrest control of the entire county. They would be able to elect whomever they got behind.
Three. Independence was the head of the 800-mile-long, popular Santa Fe Trail. Entrepreneurial Saints, such as A. Sidney Gilbert, took over some of the Santa Fe Trail trade business from local residents with considerable success.
Four. The Saints established a printing business, and The Evening and Morning Star, the first periodical in the area, was published. This was the first printing press west of St. Louis. Because this was an exclusive newspaper, catering to the needs of the Saints, local and national issues were represented from that point of view. The locals thought they would not have a voice.
Five. Some of the Saints boasted that a great many more members of the Church would be arriving soon to claim their inheritance in Zion. And, of course, this caused great alarm among the locals.
Six. The Missouri frontiersmen hated the Indians, while the Latter-day Saints claimed the Indians to be one of the tribes of Israel and a chosen people.
And seven. By 1819, there were eleven free states and eleven slave states. Missouri wanted to be admitted to the Union as a slave state, but was only let in if Maine was allowed in, breaking off from Massachusetts, as a free state. This had just happened March 3, 1820 and Missourians still relished their victory as the twelfth slave state of the Union. The Latter-day Saints, for the most part, were northerners and were against slavery. This did not set well with the locals. This last issue became especially hot when an article or letter was published in the Star cautioning missionaries about proselyting among former slaves, known as “free people of color.” The Missourians misinterpreted the article as encouragement for slaves to join the Saints in western Missouri, and they felt pushed about as far as they could go. “Samuel Lucas, a county judge and colonel in the Jackson County militia, was livid when he read the letter…In Samuel’s mind, [the editor, William W. Phelps,] was inviting free black people to become Mormons and move to Missouri. William’s statements discouraging black Saints from settling in Missouri did nothing to calm his fears.” (Saints, Volume 1, The Standard of Truth, 1815-1846, pp. 173-74)
Hundreds of Missourians circulated a “secret constitution” denouncing the Mormons. In July, about five hundred Missourians gathered at the Independence courthouse to draft a document outlining their demands and to issue a bitter ultimatum that no Latter-day Saints would be allowed to move to or settle in Jackson County and that those who were already there must pledge to leave in a reasonable time.
The document also called for the immediate cessation of the Church newspaper. As we have mentioned before, the leaders of the Church, upon receiving the demands, asked for three months to consider the proposition and consult with Church leaders in Ohio. It took six weeks of travel each way for communications to be received and responded to. This request was denied. They pleaded for ten days. This was also denied, and the Saints were given fifteen minutes to look over and agree to the resolution.
This meeting quickly erupted from discussions into an angry mob as the Missourians, smoldering with resentment and anger, decided to immediately implement a resolution to destroy the printing press. They went en masse to the printing office and the residence of the publisher, W. W. Phelps.
“Down the street from the courthouse, Sally Phelps [wife of W.W. Phelps] was at home on the ground floor of the church’s printing office, tending to her sick newborn. Her four other children were nearby. William had left hours earlier to attend the meeting at the courthouse. He had still not returned, and Sally anxiously waited for news of the meeting.
“A heavy thump rattled the front door, startling her and the children. Outside, men pounded a large log against the door, trying to break it down. A crowd of men, women, and children formed around the printing office, some cheering the men on and others watching in silence.
“Once the door broke open, armed men rushed into the house and dragged Sally and the children into the street. They threw the family’s furniture and belongings out the front door and smashed windows. Some of the attackers climbed up to the second floor of the printing office and dumped type and ink onto the floor as other men began to tear the building down.
“Standing with her children huddled around her, Sally watched as men broke the second-floor window of the printing office and tossed out paper and type. They then heaved the printing press out the window and sent it crashing to the ground.
“In the chaos, a few of the men emerged from the printing office with their arms full of unbound pages from the Book of Commandments. “Here is the book of revelations of the damned Mormons,” one of them shouted to the crowd as he threw the pages into the street.” (Ibid, Saints, pp. 177-78) Within a short time, the entire building was reduced to rubble.
Two sisters, Mary Elizabeth and Caroline Rollins, ages fourteen and twelve, had been watching from their hiding place as the mob threw all the unbound copies of the book out of the printing office and began to level the two-story building. Wanting to save as many of the sheets as possible, they risked their lives as they scooped what they could carry into their arms and ran behind the building. The mob spotted them and shouted for them to stop as they frantically ran and hid in a nearby cornfield. For a long time they heard the men searching for them, but they lay quietly on the ground until the mob left. These few copies preserved from this first printing have become priceless symbols of courage.
Mob violence continued to erupt in Jackson County until it reached a fever pitch. Mobs boldly attacked several settlements, “bursting into houses without fear . . . frightening women and children, and threatening to kill them if they did not flee immediately.”
In a cornfield battle, many were injured, including Philo Dibble, who was shot through his waistband. The ball remained inside him; “he bled much inwardly, and, in a day or two his bowels were so filled with blood and so inflamed that he was about to die. . . . Elder Newel Knight administered to him, by the laying on of hands, in the name of Jesus; his hands had scarcely touched his head when he felt an operation penetrating his whole system as if it had been a purifying fire. He immediately discharged several quarts of blood and corruption, among which was the ball. . . . He was instantly healed, and went to work chopping wood.” (Proctor, Scot Facer and Maurine Jensen, Witness of the Light, pp. 127-28)
Two Missourians were killed during the skirmish, but an exaggerated report said that 20 Missourians had been slain, which enraged the mob to unprecedented levels. The Saints began to run for their lives. Within the next three days, all the Mormons were driven from the county; houses were burned, fields trampled, and personal belongings destroyed. More than two hundred homes were burned to the ground; orchards were destroyed, fields of crops decimated, belongings stolen or pillaged. The shores of the Missouri River became swollen with refugees on both sides.
“The mobs rejoiced as they saw the Mormons driven north to Clay County out of their midst. Lyman Wight recorded, “I saw one hundred and ninety women and children driven thirty miles across the prairie . . . the ground thinly crusted with sleet; and I could easily follow on their trail by the blood that flowed from their lacerated feet on the stubble of the burnt prairie!” Emily Austin wrote: “We lived in tents until winter set in, and did our cooking out in the wind and storms. Log heaps were our parlor stoves, and the cold, wet ground our velvet carpets, and the crying of little children our piano forte.” 9 As the Saints lay on the banks of the mighty Missouri River, they mourned: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” (Psalm 137:1.)
“Twelve hundred homeless Saints were scattered through the counties of Missouri, their dream of a Zion at the center place vanished like smoke on the wind. Elizabeth Haven, who endured many persecutions, recorded in a letter to a friend: “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform. Many have been sifted out of the Church, while others have been rooted . . . in love and are the salt of the earth. . . . We are to be tried (everyone who inhabits the celestial kingdom) like gold seven times purified.” “That the trial of your faith,” the apostle Peter admonished, “being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7.)
Now what were they to do? The Lord had told Joseph Smith: “Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season. . . . Let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly.” (D&C 100:13, 15.) (Ibid, Witness of the Light, pp. 129-31)
Before the Prophet Joseph even knew about the calamities in Missouri, he received this revelation, found in Section 98, verses 1-3:
1 Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
[I do love those seven words: Rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks.—That makes for a VERY happy life. Now verse 2:]
2 Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
3 Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.
Now, we all face trials in this life—that’s part of what was on our contract with mortality, whether we remember or not. The Latter-day Saints faced them in 1833 and we all face them today.
And speaking of trials. I have just passed the one-year anniversary of my bike accident where I shattered my left arm and was unable to breathe because I had effusions around my lungs and heart. It was a very long four or five months for me, where I spent much time in pain, sometimes slept in a chair sitting up, because I couldn’t breathe, and when I did sit down to work, typed with one hand because my left hand didn’t work anymore.
I’ve talked about this before, but for those who don’t know, we were on e-bikes on the Route of the Hiawatha bike trail, up on the border of Idaho and Montana, where the old Hiawatha train used to pass through several tunnels as it traveled through the beautiful pine-covered mountains there. The beginning of the trail was a 1.6 mile long, unlit tunnel. We passed through only with the light of our bicycles. This was a tricky place to ride because the surface was uneven, covered in places with little pools of water or worse, water and clay, which was slick. I felt a bit panicked from the beginning, but I had almost made it to the other end of this very long tunnel, when I was riding along the left side, I swerved a bit to miss something, and my e-bike had enough momentum, that it took me right into the wall of the dark tunnel. I put my left arm up to stop me, but instead that is where it broke, into what the doctor called kibbles and bits.
The pain was instant and explosive. The worst I’d ever felt by far, even though I have given birth so many times. I was tangled into my bike and the first thing I did, Scot, was call out your name for rescue. You immediately came and with our dear friends, the McMillans, we turned around and walked back that nearly 1.6 miles through the tunnel to the beginning of the trail.
What amazed me was that at the moment I was filled with this agonizing pain, I felt this supernatural calm, as if I had a river of light flowing through me. The man who worked at the start of the trail, and had seen many accidents before, said, “She is so calm, she must be in shock.” I said, “No, I’m not.” He checked my irises and said, “She’s right. She’s not in shock.”
What I was, was in a great sense of peace, that all was well and that all would be well. We wrapped up my bleeding arm, climbed into the car and began the hour drive to the nearest hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. But before we left the wilderness area, we pulled off on a forested road and you, Scot, gave me a blessing. You said, “This is not cosmic. This is just an accident, and you will be healed and it will not impact the rest of your life.”
What followed was three surgeries, another stay in the hospital because my lungs and heart had effusions and made it so I could not breathe freely, a titanium rod in my arm that made it so I could not bend my fingers, and fingers themselves that wouldn’t work and wouldn’t bend. I went to months of therapy just to regain the function of my hand. I was just beginning to heal when you and I both got COVID, only you, Scot, were really sick.
Through this, people have said to me, “You’ve really had a rough year, and in one way that’s true. I was sicker than I could ever have imagined and it seemed to go on and on. Yet, in another way, that wasn’t true. What was going on in my body was really rough, but was going on in my soul was calm, peace, comfort and assurance in a way that I couldn’t explain it.
The prophet tells us to learn how to “Hear Him”, and one of the most important ways we can hear him, is as He sends comfort. What I learned is that he asks us to receive this gift, receive this comfort, receive this light rather than ignore it or talk yourself into darkness.
How do we refuse comfort? We start dwelling on how this shouldn’t have happened to me, or how mad we are that God didn’t protect us or provide for us differently. We lose ourselves in self-pity. We get wrapped up in fear. We feel sorry for ourselves. We compare our state to others who aren’t in such a miserable place. Refusing comfort happens subtly when we don’t know that is what we are doing. It happens in our minds, by following a thought that isn’t productive, a thought that hurts us and resists the very gift that God is willing to give.
I learned that I had to choose actively and with discipline to keep my mind and my thoughts in the light. While I was so sick and recovering, I wouldn’t let my mind go into any of those thoughts or places of complaint, boredom, anger, or despair. I put up a big sign in my mind where those thoughts lay that said NO TRESSPASSING. I am not going to go there. Instead, I chose to dwell in gratitude, and it made my journey light. I could feel the Lord’s gifts upon me.
I figured that my state just then, with such a broken body, was like standing on the edge of a cliff in a good, stiff, breeze. My calm that was a gift from heaven kept me safe and grounded. My gratitude that came from deep within me kept me safe. I knew that if I started thinking in the dark—that I would be blown right over, that my healing would slow and my spirits would be in a whirlwind of self-pity. I couldn’t afford to open those doors to these negative thoughts even for a second, I would go right over that cliff and I would drown in the darkness. So, I didn’t, and I felt peace as I began to heal, a peace that never has gone away.
I am a year out, and I have the full use of my hand and arm again, except for some stiffness when I awaken in the morning, but I always had full use of my spirit, because the Lord blessed me and comforted me. The most important lesson I learned was that God can lighten any burden, however devastating. Sometimes it may be hard, and it will take some time, but trust that He knows how to do His work and there is a reason why the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter.
And, of course, I have been the eyewitness of this series of miracles in our lives this year and in your healing, Maurine. And as you know, I’ve really come to love and feel tender towards your left arm, hand, wrist and fingers. I just hope your right hand doesn’t feel badly for lack of attention. Thank you for sharing such a personal witness of your healing this past year. And, it’s interesting, when we get through a certain season of trials and we wipe our brow and say, “Whew, I’m so glad that is over,” it doesn’t mean our trials and tribulations and concerns are over. We’re all still in mortality and this sojourn has twists and turns.
It certainly did for the early Saints in Missouri.
Now, have you ever been in a situation where you were really worried about your children for any reason? Well, of course you have. Have they been out late at night and they have broken curfew and you don’t know where they are? Have you lost a child for a time in a mall? Have you been separated from a loved child or sent one off to war and you think about them constantly and yet you don’t really know how they are doing? In this week’s readings we will talk about a remedy of assurance from the God of the Universe that will help.
Scot, I know you remember years ago when we made that very long photography journey to the Middle East. We were there for 56 days and because our daughter, Mariah, was just a day shy of two years old when we left, she got to fly for free and we took our 16-year-old daughter Laura with us to care for her and to be immersed in the culture, life and lands of the Savior. Our first thirty days were spent in Israel as we were shooting the photographs for our book called Source of the Light. We stayed in a Kibbutz just outside Jerusalem called Neve Ilan and as long as our photographs were in that area, we went to the Jerusalem Center at noon each day—during the flat light—to eat lunch. This was at the invitation of Truman and Ann Madsen. These were days never to be forgotten. The students there were so kind to our beautiful 16-year-old daughter (who is now a grandmother, by the way) and to our little two-year-old Mariah (who is now a mother and the associate editor of Meridian).
After we finished our shooting or, I should say, photography, (in Israel you have to be careful with that word shooting) we had to go to Cairo to see about getting Visas into Oman and Yemen—which at that time were nearly impossible to get. Because these areas were quite dangerous—more specifically Yemen, we could not bring the girls with us, but some of our family, Nina and Darrell Ownby, were living in Switzerland at the time, so we arranged for them to go stay in Zürich with them for three weeks and we would meet them there after our multi-country photography in Egypt, the Sinai, Oman and Yeman. Through a series of absolute miracles, we got our Visas to get into Oman and Yemen and off we went. At that time, this was our first time into these countries, and so, when we finally got to the proposed candidate for where Nephi built the ship, we felt like we were as far away from home, our girls and our family as we could possibly be. I remember sleeping on the beach at Wadi Sayq on the Arabian Sea and looking out and seeing the canopy of stars and recognizing the Southern Cross, a beautiful constellation which we had never seen. We said, “We are SO far from home and nobody knows where we are.”
By the time we had been separated from the girls for a little over two weeks, we were in our Holiday Inn Hotel in Salalah, Oman and we received a note from the front desk that our girls had decided to head home early from Switzerland. I think they were just so homesick for their siblings and their actual home. Mariah used to say, “I want to go Tel Aviv.” Which, translated from two-year-old-language meant, “I want to go back to the place where that big jet brought us so that we can get on that big jet again and go home.” You have to know; this was long before the days of cell phones or the Internet and it was in the days when long-distance calls were very expensive. That little, brief post-it-note of our girls, with no details—a 16-year-old and a 2-year-old leaving Switzerland and heading home heightened our nerves and our concerns to a fever-pitch of anxiety. How did they change their airline tickets? What if they had a number of layovers, how would they do? What if someone abducted them? Well, this last question and others like it, sent us into a panic.
That’s right, I remember feeling so helpless and so concerned and could not get ahold of them. We could not reach our family in Switzerland. We were trying to call from Salalah and kept getting disconnected. I remember we racked up more $143 worth of calls trying to calm down and receive some kind of assurance that the girls were okay. We finally were able to connect briefly with family and found out they were okay. But you know those feelings, don’t you? You know your protective nature as parents. You know what it’s like when you feel helpless or if you think your children are not safe.
Let’s put this in context with our lesson this week.
A new convert to the Church, Freeman Nickerson and his wife, Huldah, arrived in Kirtland in the fall of 1833. They had an interesting request they made to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, two members of the First Presidency. Could they accompany Nickerson to Mount Pleasant, in Upper Canada, to preach the gospel to two of his sons, Moses and Eleazer Freeman.
Joseph and Emma were then living in Kirtland with their two very small children, two-year-old Julia and Joseph III who was not quite one-year-old. They had already lost four children to death. Joseph was 27 and Emma was 29. Sidney and his wife Phebe had nine children at the time, ages 12 to 1. This was quite the request for Nickerson Freeman to ask of these men.
Two major things were weighing on Joseph at the time. One was that on August 9 he had just received word that the Saints in Missouri who were trying to establish Zion were not doing well—as we have talked about—and the mobs had driven them from Jackson County. They had suffered much, including the loss of their homes and property and they were now living in miserable circumstances and in great danger.
The second thing was that an apostate by the name of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut, after being excommunicated for immoral conduct, began a very aggressive campaign to undermine the Church and discredit the Prophet Joseph. Hurlbut was stirring up local persecution and he was gathering statements critical of the Prophet Joseph to publish on a national basis and even threatening his life.
This sounds a lot like what people do today—being critical of the Brethren and trying to undermine them using the Internet and Social Media. One line the Prophet recorded in his journal is especially telling: Hurlbut had “sought the destruction of the saints in this place and more particularly myself and family.”
But despite all that, Joseph and Sidney agreed to go with Nickerson Freeman to preach the gospel to his sons in Mount Pleasant, Upper Canada. Naturally, with all that was going on—just like in our setting in remote Oman on the Arabian Sea—Joseph and Sidney were very concerned about the welfare and safety of their families. I love what the Lord says to them in Section 100, verse 1—Listen carefully:
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.
What more comforting words could you hear from the Lord, first of all, that he calls them “my friends,” and then: “your families are well; they are in mine hands”—nine words of pure comfort. Reading section 100 in Salalah, Oman would have helped calm our nerves when our girls were heading back around the world: “your families are well; they are in mine hands”
It really is something that stood out to us in this week’s readings: your families are well; they are in mine hands. What the Lord says unto one, He says unto all. And don’t all of us need to know this? This assurance from the Lord is so utterly reassuring especially in our modern world. I remember when we had received the invitation from the Spirit to move to Washington, D.C. We took the family there to visit and see the sites and to check things out. We had all 11 children with us and we were visiting the National Mall and the Washington Monument one day. Scot, you are I were experts at counting from 1 to 11 faster than anyone we knew—constantly standing watch and making sure our little flock was together. At one moment, we turned around and seven-year-old Mariah was gone. We looked everywhere for her and the panic started rising in our throats and chests.
I had a brand-new cell phone but wasn’t even sure I knew the number yet. We started to make a plan to find Mariah amidst the crowds of people. We would split up and go north and south and east of the Washington Monument. And then my cell phone rang. It was a park ranger and he asked if we were missing anyone in our family. I said, “YES! We are missing our daughter!” “What is her name?” “Mariah!” “That’s good. We have her here and she’s doing fine. She’s in our tent pavilion and just doing some coloring.” He described how to get to her. We got there and though we had only been separated for maybe 15 minutes, it seemed like a lifetime. We threw our arms around Mariah and hugged and kissed her. We had been so worried. “What happened?” “I just was backing up further and further to make sure I got the whole Washington Monument in my picture. I had to back up a long way.” I don’t wonder anymore if angels are around our families—and to know that line from the Lord: “your families are well; they are in mine hands” really makes all the difference.
Now, we have to review the promise that’s in Section 100 in verses 5-8 very briefly—but we hope you will discuss these verses in your homes and in your study groups. Listen closely:
5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
[Remember, Joseph and Sidney are heading on a mission to preach to the Freeman sons.]
6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
7 But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
[And then listen to this amazing promise:]
8 And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.
That is so wonderful.
And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put that promise to the test and the Lord has sent His Spirit each time. And when you feel the Spirit as you are teaching, whether in your family, in a missionary/investigator setting, in a Sunday School class, or just one-on-one with someone, I think it’s important to verbalize, at times, when you are feeling the Spirit testify to you, so that the other party can also recognize that this is the Spirit of the Lord and they are receiving the truth.
Now, in our short time together with these four sections, we cannot leave out one last thought—because it is so pertinent and important for our times right now.
Let’s turn to section 101, verses 77-80. Before we read that together, though, look at the lesson the Lord is driving home to the beleaguered Saints who have been driven from their homes in Jackson County (and soon to be other counties and states).
The Saints live in the world but are not to be of the world. They are striving to form a Zion society in the midst of a Babylon society. The Saints are asked to live by the law of the land; to appeal to proper authorities in order, to local authorities, to the governor of the state and to the president of the United States. And if none of those work, then they are to leave things in the hands of the Lord.
16 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
17 Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered. (D&C 101:16-17)
God knows what He is doing. He truly does have all things in His hands. And He set up this nation with a sacred Constitution that is for all people:
77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
Make no mistake, these amazing leaders of the late 18th century were raised up by the Lord to bring about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of this land—both of which would pave the way for the Restoration of the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And in the last few years, the senior brethren of the Church, that means members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, have given more than 40 major talks on religious freedom, the Constitution and our sacred rights and freedoms. All of these underline that the Lord’s hand is in the destiny of this and all nations and He will watch over and bless His covenant people.
That’s all for today. We truly love being with you. Next week the lesson will cover Sections 102 through 105 called “After Much Tribulation … Cometh the Blessing.” Thanks so much to Paul Cardall for the music which accompanies this podcast and thanks to Michaela Proctor Hutchins, our daughter, who has produced this show. Have a great week and see you next time.