There are a few things on my mind right now, this next week will be one to remember that is for sure.
This morning I was reading through the Ensign, in this months and last months there has been a special section talking about Joseph Smith and his journey to Palmyra and his role in the translation in the Book of Mormon. As I was reading it seemed like I had heard some of this before, like in a talk or something. As I got to the end of the ensign is said that is was given by Elder Hollands son in February of 2014 at the MTC. I was there! haha I had heard all of this before, i remember thinking as I was listening to him speak "Dang, I can't write fast enough to get all this down!" But now it's in the ensign!
Serving at the Family History center i get to chat with people online, some are looking to ask questions, some are looking to shake missionaries faith. Its been a challenge, I don't always have the answers to what people bring up, accusations that people throw out there..but I always go back to the foundation of my testimony. The Book of Mormon and how I have come to find for myself that Joseph Smith was called of God. Still a man, with imperfection, but still called of God. I love this section in the Ensign..thought I would share it with you. We can not only learn from the Book of Mormon, but also the journey that brought it to past and the man that sacrificed so much, yes, even his life for.
"When Joseph arrived in Palmyra, the Lord had brought His foreordained prophet to the physical resting place of a treasure of inestimable value. This treasure would signal that after centuries of general spiritual darkness and confusion, the heavens were again open. This treasure would show that Jesus’s ministry was far more expansive in both doctrine and geography than the Christian churches of that day could possibly know. This treasure would affirm that, in miraculous fashion, God is sweepingly active in the affairs of men across time, languages, and continents. And this treasure would promise teachings so pure and powerful that if you planted them deep into your soul, you could personally be transformed, tasting of something so delicious as to make it the ultimate and unmatched feast of your desires.
With mortal eyes, we might be tempted to envision that a more fitting path for such a man and such a moment would be a path of greater ease, efficiency, and acclaim. In recognition of the earth-shattering events about to happen as a consequence of this boy entering this town at this time, could not the Lord, who so carefully orchestrated the placement of the golden plates over a millennia earlier, have provided a straighter, more comfortable and heralded path of arrival?
Yes, He surely could have, but He did not.
There was no prominent, prophetic anointing of Joseph in his childhood (see 1 Samuel 16:11–13). There was no directive dream pointing him to a promised land (see 1 Nephi 5:4–5). There was no curious Liahona to help his family avoid missteps along the way (see 1 Nephi 16:10; Alma 37:38). And there certainly was no open-air limousine traveling along a sunny, streamlined parade route with cheering masses providing a triumphant welcome.
Rather, for Joseph and his family, there was a wildly meandering trail of sorrow marked with bad luck, ill health, poor judgment, natural disaster, crushing pain, callous injustice, continuing obscurity, and unrelenting poverty. This is not to suggest that the Smith family lived in one continual round of abject misery; they did not. But the path to Palmyra was anything other than direct, prosperous, and publicly notable. Lame, limp, and bloodied, the Prophet literally had to be carried to his unparalleled rendezvous with destiny by a nameless stranger.
Remember this as perhaps the first lesson of Joseph’s life and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. In spite of failure, mishap, and bitter opposition—and in many cases precisely because of those things—Joseph Smith got exactly where he needed to be to fulfill his mission. So, if now or on some future day, you look around and see that other perhaps less-devoted acquaintances are succeeding in their jobs when you just lost yours; if major illness puts you on your back just at the moment critical tasks of service seem to come calling; if a call to a prominent position goes to someone else; if a missionary companion seems to learn the language faster; if well-meaning efforts still somehow lead to disaster with a fellow ward member, a neighbor, or an investigator; if news from home brings word of financial setback or mortal tragedy you can do nothing about; or if, day after day, you simply feel like a bland and beaten background player in a gospel drama that really seems made for the happiness of others, just know this: many such things were the lot of Joseph Smith himself at the very moment he was being led to the stage of the single most transcendent thing to happen on this earth since the events of Golgotha and the Garden Tomb nearly 2,000 years earlier.
“But,” you may say, “my life and earthly destiny will never be like that of the Prophet Joseph.”
That probably is true. But it is also true that your lives do matter to God, and your eternal potential and that of every soul you will meet is no less grand and significant than that of the Prophet Joseph himself. Thus, just like our beloved Joseph, you must never give up, give in, or give out when life in general, or missionary work in particular, gets utterly painful, confusing, or dull. Rather, as Paul teaches, you must see that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28; emphasis added).
Just as He did with young Joseph Smith, God is shaping and directing you every single day to ends more glorious than you can know!"
Love and hugs… 18 months to serve, a life time to reflect, no regrets!