Monday, November 4, 2013


while i was visiting my sister in kansas we were able to visit liberty jail, one of our church 's historic sites. 
here is the explanation elder jefferey r. holland gave of liberty jail:
"The Prophet Joseph Smith and his brethren were imprisoned in that facility during the winter of 1838–39. this was a terribly difficult time in our history for the Church generally and certainly for the Prophet Joseph himself, who bore the brunt of the persecution in that period. Indeed, I daresay that until his martyrdom five and a half years later, there was no more burdensome time in Joseph’s life than this cruel, illegal, and unjustified incarceration in Liberty Jail."

this is where the prophet received the revelations that are now sections 121, 122 and 123 of the doctrine and covenants. there have been times in my life when i have been going through a hard time and have read the question joseph smith posed to the lord, almost as if asking it myself, "o god, where art thou? and where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" (doctrine & covenants 121:1). but more often i have found comfort in the words of the lord to joseph, "my son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, god shall exalt thee on high..." and the perspective this verse gives, "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good (doctrine and covenants 122:7)." such beautiful truths joseph was taught that we now can be blessed by too.
i read a quote while at the jail that i've been thinking a lot about. elder b.h. roberts in recording the history of the church said liberty jail was "more temple than prison, so long as the Prophet was there. It [Liberty Jail] was a place of meditation and prayer. . . . Joseph Smith sought God in this rude prison, and found Him. Out of the midst of his tribulations he called upon God in passionate earnestness." i've been thinking about this idea of a temple-prison. that the lord can use times of trial and adversity in our lives to teach us and refine us and that those experiences will become sacred to us because of the things we learned and the way we progressed. i came across a ces fireside elder holland gave where he talked more about this temple-prison idea. 
[visiting the beautiful kansas city temple]
"Tonight’s message is that when you have to, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, let me say that even a little stronger: You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced.

Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.

President Joseph Fielding Smith, grandnephew of the Prophet Joseph and grandson of the incarcerated Hyrum, said something even stronger than that when he dedicated the Liberty Jail Visitors’ Center in 1963. 'As I have read the history of those days, the days that went before and days that came after, I have reached the conclusion that the hardships, the persecution, the almost universal opposition[toward the Church at that time] were necessary. At any rate they became school teachers to our people. They helped to make [them] strong.'"
the same weekend i visited liberty jail i watched the wonderful relief society broadcast with my sister and linda s. reeves shared a story that teaches this same idea.

"Almost three years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, 'Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.'

Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple—a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple—a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants.

tabernacle 2 temple2
My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones—and maybe our own—figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally."

so i'm trying to keep this in mind as i face my own trials, to allow them to be a temple-prison in my life, a redemptive experience. 

this was the blowout connor had while we were at liberty jail. pretty impressive, eh?! getting a poopy onesie off of a baby is no small feat. and i ran out of wipes! lucky thing i had my emergency diaper kit (which included wipes) from my friend cassy. and thanks to oxiclean, that onesie is as good as new!

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