YMF Sunday School is a series where members of the yMf community prepare Gospel Doctrine lessons and present them on this blog. Readers are encouraged to discuss lessons in the comments section. This week’s lesson is lesson 26 in the Doctrine and Covenants & Church History manual: “Go Ye into All the World and, Preach My Gospel”. The lesson was prepared by Sabrina Franks.
The manual’s lesson was written with the intention of encouraging members to follow the example of the Kirkland Saints in the 1830’s. These early saints made immense sacrifices to share the gospel and remained steadfast in spite of their trials. My lesson is written to inspire people to learn about the early saints in Kirtland and then to reflect on their own lives.
When you read this lesson it is my desire that you do so while in a thoughtful and spiritually active manner. To arrive at that state of mind say a prayer, sing the suggested hymn (or any song you find appropriate), meditate or whatever works for you personally. Additionally, I have posed some questions to you throughout the lesson if you feel comfortable please share your answers and any other thoughts in the comments section.
Opening Hymn: High on a Mountain Top (Pg. 5)
Introduction to Topic:
The past few weeks of lessons have talked about the event that transpired when the saints lived in Kirtland, Ohio. During this lessons we study the saints as they leave Kirtland for other territories to preach the gospel and escape persecution.
Sacrifice to Share the Gospel:
During the Kirkland period many were called to preach the gospel on missions in the U.S, Canada and England. Many individuals were destitute when they departed on their missions. For instance Elder Erastus Snow wrote about his state as he departed on his mission, “I left Kirtland on foot and alone with a small suitcase containing a few church works and a pair of socks, with five cents in my pocket being all my worldly wealth”. Elder John E. Page was in a similar situation when the Prophet called him to be a missionary. Elder Page told Joseph Smith that he didn’t even have a coat to wear and in response the Prophet removed his own coat and gave it to the new missionary Every story of a poor member departing to preach the gospel shows the passion, faith and love for the gospel these early saints had. When Heber C. Kimball was approaching the dock of Liverpool England he lept from the boat to get to shore first so he could be first to preach the gospel on foreign soil. Our Heritage has more stories about Kirtland missionaries if you would like to read more.
While we all don’t serve full-time missions we all make sacrifices for the Church. Some of these sacrifices include time, money and and personal boundaries (jk but sometimes it feels like that). However, more generally speaking we make sacrifices for what we believe. I know as a feminist I have had to give up many things and continue to make sacrifices because like the gospel of Christ it is something I truly believe in.
Why are the sacrifices you make for the Church worth it? Are the Kirtland saints a good example for modern activists Why or why not and has that changed today?
Many Saints Remain Valiant:
In 1838 the persecution against the saints intensified due to excommunicated members and disgruntled local residents. It reached a point where members of the Church could no longer stay in Kirtland. The Prophet’s life was in constant danger and he fled Kirtland in January of 1838 In addition, the U.S was in the midst of a financial depression which lead to the collapse of the Kirtland Safety Society, the banking institution of the town and weighed heavily on the saints’ shoulders.
Many saints did stay valiant in this time but many began to oppose the leadership and decisions of Joesph Smith. This lead to their excommunication or chastisement. Those who left the Church included members of the Quorum of the Twelve and many other prominent leaders.
My personal interpretation of this story is that these individuals were understandably upset. They were under much trial and strain at the time. I have felt betrayed or angry at leader and the Church at various points in my life but what gets me by is my solid testimony in the core principles of the gospel.
How do you view these early apostates? What keeps you in the church during times of trial?
I admire those who have such earnest and passion for honorable beliefs. The Kirtland Saints took their beliefs and put them into action. They had such strong faith that they were willing to give up their comfort and families to go and serve their higher cause. While these are extreme examples they are reminders to me that I can do more and try harder to progress good in the world.
As a public health major I admire Mother Teresa in a similar way I admire the Kirtland saints. They were both selfless and fully devoted to a higher cause. I don’t expect people who believe in those causes to go to such an extreme, I don’t expect that from myself but I find the full devotion respectable and inspiring. I strive to seek the balance in my own life between personal well-being and commitment to my beliefs. Considering this I have decided to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While this is my balance at the moment I implore those reading to find their own and to always prioritize personal well-being in their lives.
What beliefs are you committed to? How can you improve this balance in your life?
Tune in for next weeks Sunday School on Lesson: 27 “They Must Needs Be Chastened and Tried, Even as Abraham“.