Upon You My Fellow Servants D&C 12-13 and Joseph Smith History 1:66-75
Sometimes I look back at the events in early church history, especially some of the events talked about in Joseph Smith History, and wish I could have been there to take part.
Oliver Cowdery's Story
As I was reading Oliver Cowdery's account of the visitation of John the Baptist and the events that followed (this is printed at the end of Joseph Smith--History if you haven't read it) I felt in awe of the whole experience. Oliver's description of the events is beautiful, and I could quote the whole thing here, but I wanted to highlight the part that really touched me:
On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the Gospel of repentance. What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld, our ears heard, as in the ‘blaze of day’; yes, more—above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, ‘I am thy fellow-servant,’ dispelled every fear. We listened, we gazed, we admired! ’Twas the voice of an angel from glory, ’twas a message from the Most High! And as we heard we rejoiced, while His love enkindled upon our souls, and we were wrapped in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt?
Where was room for doubt, indeed.
So when sometimes I wish that I could have an experience like that, something that left me feeling that kind of overwhelming joy, and removed all doubt, it's easy to ask myself why it's never happened for me.
But then I look at Joseph Knight and his wife, Polly.
They were both present in these early days. They were friends with Joseph, including Joseph Knight being there the night that Joseph Smith returned with the plates. Joseph told his elderly friend about the Urim and Thummim, and the plates, describing them and the experience of retrieving them.
But Joseph Knight never got an angelic visitor. He didn't get to see firsthand the Urim and Thummim or be a witness to the gold plates. Joseph Smith did receive a personal revelation for him, and he had a lot of opportunity to participate in the work. But everything he did, he did on faith, and not because he'd seen or witnessed anything spectacular.
He believed Joseph's testimony of the gold plates and supported Joseph and his efforts to get the Church established.
He bought them paper and ink when they were out.
He brought them supplies so they could continue with the work of translation.
He was there the night Joseph Smith retrieved the plates, willing and able to defend Joseph.
He and his wife, Polly, remained faithful and devoted their lives to the establishment of the Church, not just in their home state of New York, but on into Ohio, Missouri and Nauvoo. Their extended family also joined in the work.
Joseph Knight asked how he could help, and he got a personal answer from the Lord to "bring forth and establish the cause of Zion."
Maybe they didn't get to see an angel, but they became them. Standing by, willing and able to help when they were needed, devoting their lives to those around them and doing everything in their power to minister to others.
And that is the message that I took from this lesson.
Angels Are Among Us
It is more than likely I will never have an angelic visitation from someone like Moroni, yet I am surrounded by angels.
Just last week as we struggled with the health of my son, a chain of people in my ward started praying for us, contacting me, asking if they could help. And this has been happening all of my life.
Several years ago, I was contacted by a friend of my husband's that he knew through work. This was a man that outfitted vehicles for disabled people, and he knew that we had never had a van that could transport a wheelchair. He had gotten together with a group of people that knew Patrick and knew our story, and thanks to the generosity of so many, he had collected funds to buy and outfit a van for us. And then he and his team and his family drove it all the way to Utah from New Jersey as a surprise gift for my husband.
This truly was a group on angels, from the friend and his company and team that did the work to every member of the group that contributed to the project. They are a great example to me of ministering to others, and I can learn a lot from them. And if I say I have never seen an angel, that is a lie. They truly are all around me.
And maybe, while I'm busy looking for angels, I need to learn how to be one, and contribute the the establishment of Zion because I have faith.
Lesson Helps and Links
There are some great articles, talks and videos to go with this week's lesson! So many, in fact, that I had a hard time choosing. I picked my favorites, and I hope you'll find these helpful this week with your scripture study!