Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sixth Day: Joseph Smith's Vision

"On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
six geese a-laying."

When young Joseph Smith went into a nearby grove of trees to address his Maker, I doubt he had any intention of founding a Church or becoming a martyr. When I was fourteen, my family returned to America from six years in Europe. Rather than flying directly to our new home in the West, we touched down in an eastern airport. We visited a long series of historical sites, both in American history and in the history of the Church.

Although at the time, I was determined to seem as much interested in my books as I was in the scenery, that journey sparked a slow change in me. I stood in the room where our forefathers argued the points of the Constitution. I wandered through the Smithsonian, where the works of men over ages are gathered.

And I stood in a small, unassuming grove of trees. Perhaps for many, it was nothing but a grove of trees. But trees and earth have always been sources of comfort for me. I took an opportunity to wander off by myself, away from my family and shrill younger siblings.

And I knelt down and prayed.

That is not the only time or place which I have prayed and felt the real presence of my Heavenly Father. Because of what I experienced when I prayed, I know that Joseph Smith truly experienced what he recounted. He saw that vision, and he was later directed to found the Church that would be instrumental in bringing the ordinances and authority of God back into the world.

I know the Church isn’t perfect. I believe that there are yet many things that we don’t currently understand. I believe the vision of the Lord’s church still has some growing to do. I very rarely feel at home amongst my fellow saints. I often feel a greater communion with the Spirit in people who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yet I am glad that Joseph had the courage to meet the call of the Lord. That is another gift which has sustained me through the darkest time in my life so far.

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