Some nights you just cannot wait to go to bed. What is better than waking up to a nice frozen floor, leaving the warmth of your covers, to get ready to walk out into the frozen tundra of Provo’s winter wonderland? I’m sure that we all could think of things that we would rather be doing, yet the weather has never discouraged the Saints, past or present, from achieving the goals that they have set for themselves.
What a privilege we have to be here at BYU where faith is at the core of higher education. What an honor it is to be able to go forth from this institution and serve others in whatever communities and municipalities that we will inhabit after graduation.
Yet, each and every morning we must make the decision to put on that extra sweater or jacket and careen up the hill upon which BYU is placed in the bitter Utah cold. It is imperative for us to deepen our understanding of personal sacrifice so we can look to the past and truly understand how weather has affected the Saints.
When Joseph Smith received the revelation to build the Kirtland temple, it was in the beginning of the winter in 1832. The Saints at the time had just arrived in Kirtland, and were too poor to even afford small luxuries and comforts. Yet, they were able to not only build their own houses, but the Lord’s as well.
It was in the bitter winter of January 1838 that the Saints were forced to leave behind the beautiful temple which they had sacrificed to make in order to flee to Far West, Missouri.
Then, during the winter the Saints were forced to leave Far West in response to the extermination order that had been issued. The winter of that exodus claimed the lives of many Latter-day Saints.
It was in the beginning of one of the worst winters in Nauvoo when the Saints were commanded to erect a temple to the Lord. This would not be the last time, however, that the Saints were to endure the cold as they were forced to leave Nauvoo and everything they had built in it. They were originally planning to leave in April of 1846, however because of continued persecution, they decided to leave early on February 4th, during the middle of the winter season. The trials that the Saints faced in the cold can be read in many of the Church’s publications, but the impact and inspiration that can be felt from those early Saints still stands today.
What, therefore, have we to complain of during our winter season? What burdens have we to bear other than our daily routines and homework schedules? I write this message not to condemn those who seek to complain of the cold, but to remind us all of the beauty in all of God’s creations. There is a time and a season for all things. What greater beauty can exist than to see the snow covered mountains that surround this university? What greater eloquence can be found in the sight of a fresh sheet of snow covering the ground as we find ourselves surrounded by purity? Let us all remember that although we face trials in our everyday lives, we must seek out the beauty and blessings that lie hidden, even under the snow, in all things.
- Ben Simmons, Psychology Major and Education in Zion Student Gallery Educator