This gallery illuminates several examples of people who exerted themselves in order to receive visionary revelation. Some examples include: Joseph Smith, Karl G. Maeser, George H. Brimhall, and John M. Whitaker. In writing up that list, I noticed I didn’t list any women. I regretfully also noted how difficult it was for me to name any. In my defense, I can think of plenty of women who receive inspiration, but have these women received a singular visionary revelation? This is not to say that those monumental shifts are superior. In fact, I acknowledge those instances are certainly the exception to the rule, but I wanted to place some women on the list. I did gather a list of some names (LDS and non-LDS women) for further research. In my research, I came across Lucy Mack Smith, and I found some stories I really liked.
After six years of marriage, Lucy became very ill, was diagnosed with “confirmed consumption,” the disease from which her sisters Lovisa and Lovina had died. The doctors had given up hope and condemned her to death. Lucy stated she didn’t feel prepared for death and judgment at all. “I knew not the ways of Christ, besides there appeared to be a dark and lonesome chasm between myself and the Savior, which I dared not attempt to pass.” Though fatigued and bedridden, Lucy spent the night pleading with the Lord to spare her life so she could bring up her children and “be a comfort” to her husband.
“My mind was much agitated during the whole night . . . During this night, I made a solemn covenant with God, that, if he would let me live, I would endeavor to serve him according to the best of my abilities. Shortly after this, I heard a voice say to me, ‘Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Let your heart be comforted; ye believe in God, believe also in me.’
Lucy’s recovery began immediately and she began her lifelong search for a religion that would teach her and her family the way of salvation.
Camlyn Giddins, Gallery Educator
The title of this post is from one of the displays in our gallery that has been quite intriguing to me. What an honor to be called “God’s student!” What qualified Joseph Smith to receive this title? His learning came through a pattern of study, experience, and revelation. As we gain our education in this same way, we too can be God’s students.
Joseph’s example of study was an incredible one. When he had questions, he did all he could to find the answers. When confronted with the realization that he did not know which church to join, he sought for answers by studying the scriptures, talking to his parents and family, attending various religious services, and asking questions of the local ministers and church leaders.
Much of our learning will come in the same way. In fact, it often feels like this is the only way we are to learn while here at BYU. We spend hours studying, memorizing, and doing all we can to learn and understand the material we will be tested on. While this is an important part of the learning process, it is only that: a part.