'Why do the righteous suffer?'

One of the age-old questions of the world is, "Why do the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous suffer?" . . . Perhaps no better answer to the question of suffering can be found than in the words of the Lord to Joseph Smith while the Prophet lay imprisoned in Liberty Jail.

A heart-rending letter from the Prophet's wife, Emma, was the catalyst for Joseph's epistle. This epistle to the Church has become a classic in Mormon literature. Portions were selected by Elder Orson Pratt for the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants and have become sections 121, 122 and 123.. . . Joseph Smith shares with [membersT some of his most intimate and heart-rending prayers that he had uttered while in prison: "O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" (See D&C 121:1.)

We do not know how long Joseph Smith must have prayed, whether hours, weeks, even months; but finally the loving answer from his Heavenly Father came. "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high . . . ." (See D&C 121:7-8.) - Keith W. Perkins, professor of Church History and Doctrine, BYU

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