We will stand

In the center of the coat of arms for the Isle of Man is a simple symbol: three legs conjoined in the upper part of the thighs, flexed in a triangle.

The motto of the Isle of Man, which often accompanies the arms, is the Latin "Quocunque jeceris stabit," which means "Wherever you throw, it will stand," referring to the triskelion. However, the statement is generally translated as "Whichever way I am thrown, I will stand."

Located in the Irish Sea, between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, the Isle of Man was once home to sturdy Church pioneers who, more than 150 years ago, sacrificed much to gather in Zion.

As the Church approaches the anniversary of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley this July 24, the motto — a symbol of tenacity, determination and resilience — has much meaning.

Take, for example, the life of President George Q. Cannon, who served as a counselor to four Church presidents.

Born in 1827, George Q. Cannon — whose family was originally from the Isle of Man — was taught the gospel by John Taylor, who later became the third president of the Church. George's mother died while his family was crossing the ocean en route to Nauvoo, Ill.; his father died two years later.

The determination that helped him as a young man bring his family from the British Isles to gather with the saints, was eventually channeled into many opportunities for Church service.

For example, once terrified of public speaking, he would overcome his fears to become an orator, prolific writer and editor and apostle. As a missionary, he mastered the Hawaiian language so proficiently that he translated the first edition of the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian. And he served as Utah's territorial representative to the United States Congress and met and lobbied six U.S. presidents on behalf of the people of Utah.

Truly, whichever way he was thrown, he stood.

"Pioneers exemplified great determination and sacrifice," said President Spencer W. Kimball. "They had the persistence of ocean tides, which led them on; the strength of virgin forests, which braced their minds; the quiet of prairie vastness, which stilled their souls; the majesty of mountains, which gave them inspiration. These indomitable spirits faced the unknown with eyes upward, and footsteps forward. There are men in this world who are made of adobe with a thin veneer carrying a high polish; but these men of the pioneer companies were of granite through and through. They did not shrink at difficult situations.... They went forth to conquer and conquer they must and would and did" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 178).

As today's generation faces problems unknown to the pioneers — a deterioration of values, marriage and family; drug and substance abuse; the proliferation of pornography; a troubled world economy and sky-rocketing fuel cost — the pioneer lessons of tenacity, determination and resilience seem more important than ever before.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said in the Sunday morning session of the October 1997 general conference that nothing can detract from the accomplishments of the pioneers and we must learn valuable lessons from their lives and sacrifices.

"We cannot add to their glory. We can only look back with reverence, appreciation, respect and resolution to build on what they have done," President Hinckley said. "The time has now come to turn about and face the future. This is a season of a thousand opportunities. It is ours to grasp and move forward. What a wonderful time it is for each of us to do his or her small part in moving the work of the Lord on to its magnificent destiny."

The key, he continued, to the great challenges facing us and to the success of the work will be the faith of all who call themselves Latter-day Saints. Faith, in essence, can become as a third stabilizing leg that can help us move forward regardless of our circumstances.

"I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world," said President Hinckley. "If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel, we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way."

In essence, whichever way we are thrown, we will stand.

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