April, 27, 2011

Finding Strength in Our Past

Upon being accepted into BYU, I made plans to make the journey by car all the way from North Carolina, to Provo. The 2,200 mile trip would pan out to take about 35 hours and would require that I drive through the night and day to complete the trip within 3 days. Although I dreaded the drive, I accepted this fate and bore through it the best I could.

I recall driving through areas in Nebraska and Wyoming where the only adjustments I made in the car were not in the steering wheel, but in my seat to lay back. The flat and open road soon began to bore me, and I began to complain about my situation.

“Why couldn’t my parents just have flown me out to Utah?” In my bitterness and complaining, I remember that I stared out of the window only to see the open plains that lie ahead of me.

In that moment, I could not help but to think about the Pioneers and their trek westward.
Having left everything behind, they journeyed through plains and mountains, the hot sun, and the freezing snow. I can only imagine making such a trek with the thought that some of my family members might not make it.

So why were the Saints subjecting themselves to such awful circumstances? I learned in that moment that the Saints were not only traversing across the country to flee persecution, they were doing it because a prophet of the Lord had been inspired to tell them to do so. No matter how intense the pain of their frozen feet, or the blisters on their hands from pulling the carts became, the Saints pressed forward.

I’ll never forget that car ride and just how grateful I felt to be able to make my own passage out west in the manner in which I was traveling.  It was because of the sacrifice of so many that I was able to have it so easy. It was because of these faithful early members of the church, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been able to fulfill the prophecy that it would one day cover the whole of the earth.

Let us all strive to remember the sacrifices that have been given so that we too may be able to be grateful for those few and precious eternal things that are of most importance.

– Ben Simmons, Education in Zion Gallery Educator, Psychology Major