In 1888, Wilford Woodruff sent out a commission to all stakes in the Church. They were to build their own academies of learning, construct school houses, appoint teachers, and develop curriculum. However, the timing of the commission was not opportune. The Saints were already struggling to make ends meet. They were also in the midst of persecution, and many families feared for their own safety. Nevertheless, regardless of the looming deterrents, the Saints answered the prophet’s call.
Stakes answered the call with faith. Within four months, academies were up and running, and within a year, twenty of the twenty-one stakes in Utah had established academies. Two or three years after the call, every stake but one in the entire Church had established an academy.
With looming difficulty and widespread persecution, the faith of the Saints proved true. They did not shirk, nor did they delay the responsibility given to them by their loving prophet. The haste with which they completed their task is noteworthy and should inspire all of us. Even without persecution, nearly impoverished circumstance, and very limited knowledge or resources, how many of us delay or shirk what we are called to do? We should have faith in the importance and in the significance of our callings as students, as children, as employees, as Church members, and as children of God. We cannot know the extent of the effect our faithfully fulfilling our duties can have in the future.
1 Hunter, J. Michael, “Jesse Knight and His Humbug Mine” (2004). All Faculty Publications. Paper 1405.