Author Ted Gibbons passed away after a long battle with cancer. In honor of his memory and the wonderful insights he shared here on Meridian, we will continue to publish his work periodically.

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Cover image: “Miracle at Quincy” by Julie Rogers.

Alma explained to believers that involvement with the church meant more than immersion in the Waters of Mormon.  His message was, You must be willing to take care of each other.  “You must be willing” meant more than immersion in the Waters of Mormon.  His message was, You must be willing to take care of each other.  You must be willing,

to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea . . . to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort . . . (Mosiah 18:8,9).

If we find a brother or sister in distress and do nothing, we will be subject to the judgements specified in Matthew 25.  Those who ignore sufferers “shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

When we learn that our brothers and sisters are in distress we must be like the friends of Job.

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him (Job 2:11).

The Savior set the example.  He came 

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn . . . (Isaiah 61:2).

Our Church history is replete with examples of members who responded to the needs of others in just this way.

Amidst the terrible hostilities in Missouri that would put the Prophet in Liberty Jail and see thousands of Latter-day Saints driven from their homes, Sister Drusilla Hendricks and her invalid husband, James, who had been shot by enemies of the Church in the Battle of Crooked River, arrived with their children at a hastily shaped dugout in Quincy, Illinois, to live out the spring of that harrowing year.

Within two weeks the Hendrickses were on the verge of starvation, having only one spoonful of sugar and a saucerful of cornmeal remaining in their possession. In the great tradition of LDS women, Drusilla made mush out of it for James and the children, thus stretching its contents as far as she could make it go. When that small offering was consumed by her famished family, she washed everything, cleaned their little dugout as thoroughly as she could, and quietly waited to die.

Not long thereafter the sound of a wagon brought Drusilla to her feet. It was their neighbor Reuben Allred. He said he had a feeling they were out of food, so on his way into town he’d had a sack of grain ground into meal for them.

Shortly thereafter Alexander Williams arrived with two bushels of meal on his shoulder. He told Drusilla that he’d been extremely busy but the Spirit had whispered to him that “Brother Hendricks’ family is suffering, so I dropped everything and came [running]” (This story is related by Jeffrey R. Holland in “A Handful of Meal and a Little Oil,” Ensign, May 1996, 31)