I testify that heaven’s kindness will never depart from you, regardless of what happens (see Isa. No, Joseph was not greater than the Savior, and neither are we. . 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. People also love these ideas 6. 463, 464; spelling and capitalization standardized. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - Lessons from Liberty Jail. I love him and sustain him as I know you do. B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1948), vol. 8. Donors who contribute at least $25 to BYU Annual Giving receive the magazine for one year. And I testify that They are close, perhaps even closest via the Holy Spirit, when we are experiencing difficult times. That is when we get to see what we’re made of and how strong our commitment to the gospel really is. As individuals, as families, as communities, and as nations, probably everyone has had or will have an occasion to feel as Joseph Smith felt when he asked why such sorrow had to come and how long its darkness and damage would remain. How I love the majesty of these elegant, celestial teachings taught, ironically, in such a despicable setting and time. Into this dismal dungeon the voice of God came, saying: “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; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (D&C 121:7–8). Liberty Jail, one of the more forbidding structures in that region, was considered escape proof, and it probably was. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:290. Lessons from Liberty Jail: A Prison and a Temple - BYU Speeches. Furthermore, we note that not only has the Savior suffered, in His case entirely innocently, but so have most of the prophets and other great men and women recorded in the scriptures. And then we can justifiably turn to the Lord, wait upon His mercy, and see His arm revealed in our behalf. When he wrote those lines, Joseph did not know when he would be released or if he would ever be released. Letter to the Church in Caldwell County, Dec. 16, 1838; “Communications,” Times and Seasons, Apr. And if you execute these men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God.”1. The purpose of Primary 5 Lesson 32: Joseph Smith Is Jailed Unjustly is to understand that when we have faith in the Lord, He will help us meet whatever adversity we face.. 9. So if the Savior faced such injustices and discouragements, such persecutions, unrighteousness, and suffering, we cannot expect that we are not going to face some of that if we still intend to call ourselves His true disciples and faithful followers. 2 (2002): 111–125. By Todd A. Knowles, Published on 09/01/02. 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. What lessons does Joseph Smith's experience in Liberty Jail teach us about God's love? There was every indication that his enemies were still planning to take his life. Time does not permit a detailed discussion of the experiences that led up to this moment in Church history, but suffice it to say that problems of various kinds had been building and by October of 1838, all-out war seemed inevitable between Mormon and non-Mormon forces in Missouri. People. 3:40. Joseph suffered helplessly, knowing that the Latter-day Saints were being driven from Missouri under an "extermination order" from the governor. In giving us this sober reminder of what the Savior went through, the revelation from Liberty Jail records: “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. In the meantime, know that God hears your cries and knows your distress. Alluding to the kind of history we’ve reviewed tonight and looking on the scene where his grandfather and granduncle were so unjustly held, he said perhaps such things have to happen—not only can they happen, perhaps they have to. Painting by Al Rounds, Liberty Jail. Of course sinfulness does bring suffering, and the only answer to that behavior is repentance. There are also episodes about Liberty Jail at Mormon Channel. Editorial inquiries and submissions: magazine@byu.edu. 26 Lessons from Liberty Jail ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND God can turn the debilitating prisons of our lives into circumstances that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace. That was the Savior’s message in the parable of the importuning widow (see Luke 18:1–8; see also Luke 11:5–10). . All rights reserved. Surely the classic example of this is that in the most painful hours of the Crucifixion the Savior could say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). They are truly the holiest, most sacred structures in the kingdom of God, to which we all ought to go as worthily and as often as possible. Alexander McRae, quoted in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century One (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), vol. It has always been a wonderful testimony to me of the Prophet Joseph’s greatness and the greatness of all of our prophets, including and especially the Savior of the world in His magnificence, that in the midst of such distress and difficulty they could remain calm and patient, charitable and forgiving—that they could even talk that way, let alone live that way. The best company that has ever lived. Surrounded by stone walls four feet thick, the floor-to-ceiling height in the dungeon was barely six feet. The jail, one of the few and certainly one of the more forbidding of such structures in that region, was considered escape proof, and it probably was. What a magnificent attitude to maintain in good times or bad, in sorrow or in joy! They helped to make [them] strong.”10. Secondly, we need to realize that just because difficult things happen—sometimes unfair and seemingly unjustified things—it does not mean that we are unrighteous or that we are unworthy of blessings or that God is disappointed in us. . How long shall thy hand be stayed . They were leaving Missouri, heading for Illinois, but who knew what tragedies were awaiting them there? It’s always a thrill to be in the Marriott Center. 3, pp. When lonely, cold, hard times come, we have to endure, we have to continue, we have to persist. 2. Now, don’t misunderstand. They remembered their covenants, they disciplined themselves, and they knew that we must live the gospel at all times, not just when it is convenient and not just when things are going well. It is presented as a cutaway, giving visitors a view inside. Todd A. Knowles, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” in Religious Educator 3, no. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. After speaking of sufferings so exquisite to feel and so hard to bear, Jesus said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they [and that means you and I and everyone] might not suffer if they would repent” (D&C 19:16). And what does such a title tell us about God’s love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are made manifest? Use our Feedback Form to let us know what you think. Most of us, most of the time, speak of the facility at Liberty as a “jail” or a “prison”—and certainly it was that. Similar lessons are coming. Surely, to say it again, it was the bleakest and darkest of times. . We are not alone in our little prisons here. … How long shall thy hand be stayed … ? On the other hand, the Spirit finds instant access to a heart striving to be charitable and forgiving, long-suffering, and kind—principles of true discipleship. In precisely this sense: that you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences with the Lord in any situation you are in. Dean C. Jessee (2002), 456. For further understanding of this revelation, read Within the Walls of Liberty Jail. In fact, the restricting brutality and injustice of this experience at Liberty would make it seem the very antithesis of the liberating, merciful spirit of our temples and the ordinances that are performed in them. [except] by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; . Keywords. They remembered their covenants, they disciplined themselves, and they knew that we must live the gospel at all times, not just when it is convenient and not just when things are going well. 34 Four Talks, Four Lives Changed How general conference changed these members’ lives for the better. Joseph was not greater than the Savior, and neither are we. 2. How empty our lives as Latter-day Saints would be if we did not have sections 121, 122, and 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants! We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Trouble has a way of finding us even without our looking for it. In fact, it ought to be a matter of great doctrinal consolation to us that Jesus, in the course of the Atonement, experienced all of the heartache and sorrow, all of the disappointments and injustices that the entire family of man had experienced and would experience from Adam and Eve to the end of the world in order that we would not have to face them so severely or so deeply. Browse more videos. We came to this earth not to live perfect lives, but to learn and grow; that is what trials and difficulties do for us. In the dungeon the floor-to-ceiling height was barely 6 feet, and inasmuch as some of the men, including the Prophet Joseph, were over 6 feet tall, this meant that when standing they were constantly in a stooped position, and when lying it was mostly upon the rough, bare stones of the prison floor covered here and there by a bit of loose, dirty straw or an occasional dirty straw mat. The height of the dungeon in Liberty Jail was barely six feet. Keep pleading. 3. But whenever these moments of our extremity come, we must not succumb to the fear that God has abandoned us or that He does not hear our prayers. Most of us, most of the time, speak of the facility at Liberty as a “jail” or a “prison”—and certainly it was that. Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised, “I will go before your face. At any rate they became school teachers to our people. Now then, three lessons from Liberty Jail: May I suggest that the first of these is inherent in what I’ve already said—that everyone, including (and perhaps especially) the righteous, will be called upon to face trying times. Well, without trying to determine which of these kinds of experiences in our life are “mandatory” and which are “optional” but still good for us, may I suggest just a very few of the lessons learned at Liberty—those experiences that were “school teachers” to Joseph and can be to us, experiences that contribute so much to our education in mortality and our exaltation in eternity. Here is a painting by Liz Lemon Swindle showing Joseph in prayer. I will not obey your order. . They have planned, prepared, and guaranteed your victory if you desire it, so be believing and “endure it well” (D&C 121:8). Even the Worthy Will Suffer 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. It began with his hasty departure from Kirtland, Ohio, the evening of 12 January “to escape mob violence” [1] and ended with his incarceration in the … Art thou greater than he?” (D&C 122:8). 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. But that is when Christian behavior may matter the most. Lessons from Liberty Jail. Fear not . Just at the time he felt most alone and distant from heaven’s ear was the very time he received the wonderful ministration of the Spirit and the glorious answers that came from his Father in Heaven: “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; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (D&C 121:7–8). And when we promise to follow the Savior, to walk in His footsteps and be His disciples, we are promising to go where that divine path leads us. Letter to Emma Smith, March 21, 1839, in Personal Writings, p. 449. Of course, sinfulness does bring suffering, and the only answer to that behavior is repentance. . Indeed, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences 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. However heavy our load might be, it would be a lot heavier if the Savior had not gone that way before us and carried that burden with us and for us. He does see us. I testify that the Father and the Son do live. . . That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. This item: Breaking the Chains of Worry and Anxiety: Lessons from Liberty Jail and Mindfulness Therapies by Mr. Steven Jay Davis Paperback $8.99 Available to ship in 1-2 days. What lessons does Joseph Smith's experience in Liberty Jail teach us about God's love? As did the Prophet Joseph, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences—even in the most miserable times of your life. He is ninety-one years old. 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