We, as Latter-day Saints, need to develop the faith that the pioneers had. How much faith would it take to trudge across the frozen lands on our way to the promised land, knowing that many others before us had not made it, yet feeling that Heavenly Father had asked us to do so? This is the faith we can learn from the history of the Church.
Early members endured suffering of great magnitude and helped build the Church with the sure foundation that we can now enjoy. Setting this foundation in our personal lives includes:- Searching the scriptures every day. By doing this, we can endure hard times, gain comfort and, most of all, as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 21:5: "For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith."
- Having the faith to call upon and depend on the Lord. We need to develop faith so our character will be of a high-enough caliber that when we call upon the Lord for needed blessings we can walk away from our prayer with joy in our hearts knowing that all will be well with us.
- Using the sacred power given to the priesthood of the Church to bless our lives each and every day. We need to develop our relationship with the Lord so He will know us and we will know Him and His will.
- Paul and Tamara DuRee, Logan, Utah
What we did:
Walk in faith
Early members left behind homes, family and possessions to venture into the unknown for the purpose of doing God's will. With very few resources, they accomplished incredible things, really against all odds.
Twenty years ago as new converts to the Church, with very few resources, we returned to school with two small sons after seven years absence to complete an education. A year ago, with a few more resources and three more sons but a lot less time, our family supported Kevin as he accepted the call to be bishop. We dared to do these things - and much more in the years in between - aware of our weaknesses and the challenges that might lie ahead because early Church history witnessed to us that all things are possible with the Lord's help.
When times get rough, we try, like the early Saints, to continue to put one foot in front of the other, walking in faith, and we place our seemingly unresolvable problems in the Lord's hands. We try to apply the same patience, hope and willingness to sacrifice in our trials that they did in theirs. As a result, we've learned it's possible to gain something positive from every experience in life. - Kevin and Betsey Delorey, DeForest, Wis.
As the youngest child of a mother from the Black Forest in Europe, I loved to listen to her telling of her life. Her great kindness and abhorring of cruelty came through. I loved her so.
In reading the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history, I saw that Joseph Smith was just such a person and taught these same principles.
I believe and try to apply these principles in my life. - Christina Luedert Pace, Toppenish, Wash.
To me, the application of faith as found in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price has two separate phases:
- In the Pearl of Great Price, we see Moses, Enoch and Abraham conversing face to face with the Lord. There's very little explanation of the trials and tribulations they went through to arrive at this point. They just personified great faith and great obedience.
- In the Doctrine and Covenants, my favorite example of faith is the experience of Joseph Smith in the Liberty Jail, particularly sections 121-122. When I look at Joseph, I can't understand how he endured all he endured, but if he were a false prophet, that would have been the breaking point. In Liberty Jail, he produced some of the greatest scripture that's ever been given to us. In particular, there's the first few verses of Section 121 where Joseph is conversing with the Lord and asking, "Where art thou?" The Church was being persecuted and he was unable to aid the members. He must have had a broken heart. In Section 122, the Lord is consoling him and explains that if all of these things happen to him that the Son of Man had descended and suffered more than that, and that Joseph was not greater than Him. To me, that gives great cause for hope. Most of us haven't suffered these types of persecutions and sorrows on the earth. I have but one small role to play and it's incumbent upon me to play that role the best I can. - Heber Jones, Lafayette, Colo.
Renewed family bonds
D&C 75:11 says: "Praying always that they faint not; and inasmuch as they do this, I will be with them even unto the end." We need Him with us unto the end. A cross reference takes us to 2 Ne. 32:9, "Ye must not perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."
Although we have a rich Church historical legacy from faithful ancestors, we renewed family bonds this year at a family reunion with several who are not members of the Church. Reflecting on the above scriptures, my wife and I prayerfully decided we could refresh their Church legacy. There are some published autobiographies, but much that is not. This fall we compiled nearly 200 pages of unpublished autobiographies of their grandparents and great-grandparents and sent them as a Christmas present. We felt that these testimonies "from the dust" could be a great blessing to them. Our faith is that although there are many other things we can yet do, at this point we have done what we felt inspired to do, and now have faith in the Lord and our ancestors' testimonies to help them. - Heber and Dorothy Hansen, Shelley, Idaho
Faith is active
To me, faith like the early Church members had is knowing that we are going to have hardships and troubles in our lives. That's part of our growth. What matters is how we handle our trials.
Faith is trusting in the Lord and feeling the love of the Savior. Sometimes we don't know the outcome of trials, but peace comes from feeling the love of Heavenly Father and knowing that He's there, in control and has all power. I recently lost most of my eyesight. I pray for my eyesight to come back, but I know that He knows what I need to learn. Trusting in that brings me peace, in addition to knowing that He loves me and has my eternal welfare in mind.
Also, faith doesn't mean sitting back and doing nothing. We have to do as much as we can for ourselves and for others. Faith is active. Being in tune with the Spirit, as were the pioneers, takes action on our part. - Peggy Frome, Afton, Wyo.
How to checklist:
- Search scriptures, pray daily; seek blessings of priesthood.
- Trust in the Lord, feel the love of the Savior.
- Apply patience, hope and sacrifice in our trials.
- Take active role in obtaining faith, be in tune with Spirit.
Write to us:
Jan. 18 "How to discipline your children in a positive manner."
Jan. 25 "How to magnify your Church calling."
Feb. 1 "How to make your spouse a priority despite a busy family life."
Feb. 8 "How to foster unity in a ward or branch with cultural diversity."
Feb. 15 "How to survive temporally, emotionally during period of unemployment."
Feb. 22 "How to unleash the personal impact of scripture study in your life."
- Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to be more patient with your children," "How to foster positive communication in your family."
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