Trusting in God

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Sometimes we don’t understand or see the hand of God in our lives as we go about our day to day life. But as we grow older we begin to see and recognize His hand in events of the past. For me, one experience as a young nineteen-year-old, has caused to do just that.

The summer of 1980 I was working with my father for the Temples and Special Projects division of the Church Building Department in Nauvoo, Illinois. We were restoring the exterior of the Ashby-Snow duplex and preparing the interior for two missionary couples to live in as a modern updated home. I was either waiting for, or had just received, my mission call when this story took place.

The roof was sagging after so many years (about 138 years), so one of the major repairs to the exterior was the removal of the old roofing materials and the adding of 2x12's to each rafter, as well as the center beam, that would strengthen and straighten the roof lines. After the rafters had been strengthened, new plywood was placed to cover the roof.

The brick layers then came in and rebuilt the brick walls above the roof line so it would look like the old Mormon style homes in 1840's Nauvoo. They had been removed in a previous remodel, probably for water leaking reasons, and now in the restoration process, they were being returned to their original design.

Kent Powell and I were then working on the roof to prepare it for the new wooded shakes to be placed as shingles. To measure the roof, I needed to walk across the roof at the peak to get to the north side of the house. I had a tape measure in my gloved hands as I was walking across the roof, when at about the half way point, the sand from the brick layers on new plywood resulted in me finding myself sitting on my backside and me sliding down the steep roof at a fine rate of speed.

I put my hands out to try and stop my descent, but to no avail. I slid down the roof so fast I didn’t really have time to think about what was about to happen except to realize I was going to fall to the ground two stories below.

As my feet went over the edge, I came to a complete stop, sitting on the edge of the roof. I looked down and my feet had landed in the center of a single 2x12 plank across the scaffolding that had been put up when we were working on putting up the new rafters and plywood. Two stories below were the new stone steps that had been put in place just a week or so previously.

Kent, who was next to the new brick on the south end of the roof, asked if I was okay and I turned and looked up at him and said, “yes.” My dad then walked out of the front door of the Ashby side of the house and looked up at me. He asked if I was okay, and I turned and looked down at him and told him, “yes.” He then said, “We’re not going to tell your mother, are we.” I said, “No,. We both knew that if I did, my job working with him would end. After catching my breath, I stood up on the plank and walked across to the north side of the roof and we went back to work to measure the roof---albeit slower and more careful.

If that plank hadn’t have been there I would have fallen two stories down to the stone front steps of the house and would have either been killed or terribly injured, perhaps with a lifetime of physical or mental disabilities. All three possibilities could have been part of Heavenly Father’s will and plan as part of my life experience. However, on this day, a small miracle took place and a plank saved my life. Whether it was because I was going on a mission or not, I don’t know. I just know on that day my life was spared and now, after nearly 40 years, I am able to bear witness of the tender mercies and miracles of the Lord.

My mother wasn’t told and never knew of the story until about 20 years later when I was telling this story as part of a fireside for my ward on my experiences as a youth living in Nauvoo. I was to the part where I was sliding down the roof when I looked over at my mother and realized from the look on her face she had never heard this story. I stopped, and said, “You’ve never heard this story, have you?” She shook her head no. The class laughed. and I apologized to her and then finished the story. She told me later it was a good thing she hadn’t been told.

So that is the story of my experience of almost being killed working on the Ashby-Snow Duplex in 1980, and my testimony of the Lord’s hand in our life. We don’t always know or understand why some things happen, why someone dies and someone else lives, but the scriptures are filled with the encouragement to Trust in God. For example, in Alma 5:13 it reads: “And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.”

It is difficult sometimes to Trust in God when we are unable to see the whole picture before us, but, the day will come when we will understand why things happened the way they did. With that hope we continue to trust in God and try our best to be faithful until the end and be saved.

Barton Golding

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise” (2 Peter 3:9).

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The prophet Nephi wrote, “. . . if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?” (2 Nephi 4:26).

Often as we sail upon the waters of life, the storms of “afflictions” tear at our sails and beat against us. The rips in the cloth cause the sail to slacken and our power to weaken. At times, we fear we are sinking among the waves of weakness, oppression, or sin. Jesus calmed the storm as his shipmates feared destruction, and he will do the same for the storms in our life. As with all storms, the affliction will end but it will take time to repair the sails so we can move under full power once again. Like Nephi of old, we wonder why, with our understanding, do we still struggle and weaken under the strain of affliction.

It is a great comfort to all of us to know that the Lord is not slack concerning his promises to us. He has promised us that if we believe in him we shall “not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He has promised us that we shall come forth in the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29). He has promised that if we repent of our sins, he will “remember them no more” (D&C 58:42).

He has promised that if we “believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (2 Chronicles 20:20). He has promised us that “he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers” (Deuteronomy 4:31). He has promised us that if we do “works of righteousness” we will be given “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23). Great are the promises of the Lord!

It is no wonder then that Nephi continues his psalm and writes, “O Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust in thee forever. . . . yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God” (2 Nephi 4:34-35).

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The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote, “Most assuredly it is, however, that the ancients, though persecuted and afflicted by men, obtained from God promises of such weight and glory, that our hearts are often filled with gratitude that we are even permitted to look upon them while we contemplate that there is no respect of persons in His sight, and that in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is acceptable with Him” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p 65-66).

The Prophet also said, “And what shall others receive who do not labor faithfully, and continue to the end? We leave such to search out their own promises if any they have; and if they have any they are welcome to them, on our part, for the Lord says that every man is to receive according to his works. Reflect for a moment, brethren, and enquire, whether you would consider yourselves worthy a seat at the marriage feast with Paul and others like him, if you had been unfaithful? Had you not fought the good fight, and kept the faith, could you expect to receive? Have you a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness from the hand of the Lord?” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 64).

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There is another great promise the Lord has made to his people. Peter explains this promise by beginning with a plea to “remembrance” the words of the prophets and apostles. Apparently “scoffers” had come among the Church saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Peter pleads with us to “be not ignorant” and to know that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise . . . But the day of the Lord will come” (2 Peter 3:9-10). If that is the case, Peter asks, “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversations and godliness. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12). He ends with a warning, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Peter 3:17). We look forward to the promise of the Savior coming again to earth, this time to reign in righteousness, power, and glory. What a wonderful day that will be!

Simon Dewey

Simon Dewey

The scriptures are filled with promises to the Lord’s people. “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled” (D&C 1:37). Should we not then search out the promises of the Lord and live so that we may obtain them for ourselves, and thus have eternal life.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise . . . but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Barton Golding

“According to Their Needs and Their Wants” (Mosiah 18:29)

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A while ago I was driving down the road having a conversation with a young man about some of his “needs.” He was expressing a desire for something I thought was not necessary, especially when there were other more important things he needed. I asked about clothing–surely he could use a new pair of pants and a shirt. What growing teenage young man couldn’t? He, however, had his heart set on something else that I considered trivial--something he felt he truly needed. I joked with him about the difference between a need and a want. He then said something that caught my attention. “It would be nice to be able to get something that I both need and want.” Having just finished reading Mosiah 18, my heart softened, and within a few short minutes we were at the store checkout line with his “needed” item.

I have thought about that conversation several times over the last few months. Over the years I have tried to help several families meet the clothing needs of their growing children during difficult financial times. I found great pleasure watching them open the gifts, excited about their new outfits. The smile on the child’s face would warm me for several weeks, and the feeling was renewed each time I saw them wearing the clothes. I knew I was providing a need for the family, and that brought a great peace to my heart. But what of their wants?

Alma teaches us that we must impart “to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants” (Mosiah 18:29). We do not need to look far to see the temporal needs of many of Heavenly Father’s children. The television news floods us with the humanity of famine, war, and inequality. We see the need within our own families and neighborhoods. The needs of our heavenly siblings can be overwhelming in scope and size. Perhaps it is through our own spiritual needs that we come to understand how each of us can do our part to help out. I love to hear of the temporal relief sent through the Church’s humanitarian fund throughout the world. I thrill with stories of hundreds of quilts made and donated to those who need them. Food, clothing, wheelchairs, and more are donated to help make the life of someone better. Simple individual efforts that truly make a difference are the basis for a Zion society. However, reaching out and fulfilling the temporal needs of others is not enough. Alma mentions “both temporally and spiritually” fulfilling their needs and their wants.

While a priest of King Noah, Alma enjoyed a life of wealth and ease. The taxes upon the people provided him with his temporal needs and wants. And yet, with the testimony of Abinadi, Alma realized there was more to life--there was more that he needed and wanted. His unsuccessful attempt to save Abinadi’s life resulted in his fleeing the city to save his own life. Alma writes that he went through “sore repentance; nevertheless, after much tribulation the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers” (Mosiah 23:9-10). With his spiritual need and want being fulfilled, he then turned to others, desiring to help them receive what he had received from the Lord. With Alma’s repentance came the Spirit of love and peace that he desired for all his people. Having been given the priesthood authority as a priest, he now exercised that authority righteously by privately going about teaching redemption through Jesus Christ to his family, friends, and neighbors. All who believed on his words entered into a covenant to help and serve each other (Mosiah 18:8-10) as “every man should love his neighbor as himself” (Mosiah 23:15).

By gaining a testimony of the redemption of Jesus Christ, Alma and about four hundred and fifty other residents of the land of Nephi, changed their lives through repentance and service to each other, “walking uprightly before God, imparting to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and wants” (Mosiah 18:29). All were blessed, and all were served. Their needs and their wants became one as they looked at each other through eternal eye sight.

Today, some of the greatest wants and needs in the world are spiritual. While the humanitarian efforts of the Church are impressive, the work of thousands of missionaries, leaders, ministering home teachers, and others is truly making a difference in healing the world. There is a great blessing in serving our fellow men by teaching them the gospel and then encouraging and strengthening each other in living its principles. By serving each other spiritually, we fill an internal and eternal need and want.

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While the young man probably could have done without his “want,” I couldn’t do without fulfilling my “need.” I thought about my needs and wants, and felt the need to ask Father in Heaven for help in understanding them. I felt the need to ask the Father for eternal eye sight in understanding both the needs and the wants of those around me. I pray that I might be more “willing to bear one another’s burdens,” “mourn with those that mourn,” “comfort those that need comfort” (Mosiah 18:8-9), and that my heart would be “knit together in unity and in love” towards others (Mosiah 18:21). There is so much room for growth in this area needed, and wanted, in my life. May we each realize our own needs and wants, and then come to understand each of us have similar needs and wants. Thus we come to know the importance of “imparting to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants” (Mosiah 18:29).

Barton Golding

Nauvoo---Waste Place of Zion

Nauvoo---Waste Place of Zion

John Smith had been made President of the Nauvoo Stake when William Marks refused to follow the leadership of the Twelve. John Smith would go west with the Saints and become the first Stake President in Salt Lake City. As most of the Saints, with their leadership, crossed the Mississippi River to move west, Nauvoo became a waste place of Zion with few Saints remaining.