Sunday, March 31, 2013

Brian Taylor's letter, March 30, 2013

Easter Greetings!

Brian L Taylor
7:34 PM (55 minutes ago)
Dear Elder ______,
            Happy Easter!  I'm going to use a little different approach to writing a missionary letter today.  No personal comments--just a group letter.  I have thought of your specific missionary assignments and in dong so I reflect once again how the General Authority who goes over each prospective missionary's papers seeks the guidance of the Spirit.  Then he KNOWS where the Lord wants you to serve.  A visiting authority to our stake some time ago described the process of the authorities' deciding where a missionary will serve.  His description left no doubt that revelation is involved in the call.  The assigner does not have to wait a long time for the decision to come to him, either.  (I wonder with the great surge in missionary work  just how many of the brethren might be involved in issuing the calls now.  Isn't it exciting!)
            This past week has been a thriller for this young man.  On Friday evening I was able to go to the Bountiful Temple with Grandson Mitch as he received his endowment blessings before he goes on his mission.  I was glad to have two of his brothers alongside me to help me in times of dizziness.  I'm sure that Satan would have liked me to stay at home that evening for two reasons--so I couldn't give loving support to my grandson, and for the fact that one more of our ancestors got his endowment that session.  I got such a thrill out of seeing all of my son  Blaine's family there to support their youngest family member as he prepares to go on his mission
            I'm sure Mitch was pleased to get his endowments that early so he could accompany 14 other members of my family as we drove to Twin Falls to be with my 85-year old sister -in-law Alice as she went through the temple for the first time.  We had been trying for quite some time to encourage her to take this big step.  I hope that by recounting her experience here you might be able to use some part of it in your teaching in the mission field.
            Alice was active in the Church in your younger years.  She had good LDS friends whom she enjoyed and with whom she participated in the programs of the Church.  However, she made her first big mistake in dating a non-LDS fellow.  He was likable in his way, but he was not taught like our LDS people.  He was a returned military fellow, and I can only assume that associating with others of his kind led him to unchaste behavior.  Anyway, Brad and Alice had to get married, which was a great disappointment to her family.  She could have had a husband who would have enabled her to enjoy great happiness.  Instead, the path which she chose kept her from enjoying the blessings of the temple for over 60 years,  Think of what she might have enjoyed in those 60 years if she had just lived as she had been taught.
            Now her husband is in a care center suffering with Alzheimer's, and there are some days when he shows no signs of recognizing his wife.  Her three daughters are inactives; in fact, one has joined the Presbyterian Church.  All three are divorced.  Of course the mother still loves them, but I'm sure she has cause to reflect upon what might have been had she made right choices early in life.
            The fifteen members of our family who accompanied her through the temple were her only "family" yesterday.  And she was so appreciative to have us there.  One of our daughters got to accompany Alice and assist her as needed during the session.
            After the temple session, Alice (a very capable hostess) had us all come over to her home for lunch before we returned home.  She gave me a big kiss and thanked me for helping her to get where she needed to be.  Our prayers were answered, but it had to be Alice's decision before the wonderful blessings were made available to her.
            I hope that  recounting these experiences will enable you to glean some bit of truth that will help one or more of your contacts during the remainder of your mission experience.  God lives!  How grateful we can be for the Atonement of His Son!
            May the Lord bless you, Grandpa Taylor

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 7, 2013, guest cards


I've been making way many calls and here's a report on some cards you turned in.

Scott/Jennings - Brickyard:   Rachael, Kimberly and Chris are all following up on their own with those they referred.  

Munhoz/Jennings/Excell - Browning:  William Chu is talking with the 2 gentlemen he referred.  

They're all excited that they're doing their own missionary work!

Happy thoughts and hurrah for Israel!
Sister Elia

Monday, March 25, 2013

Brian Taylor's letter, March 17,2013

Wonderful Day!!!

Brian L Taylor
8:46 PM (11 hours ago)
to me
Dear Elder Willie and Sister Judy,
            I'm wondering if you ever have a day when you say to yourself, "Oh, I'm so grateful to be alive!"  Today is one of those days for me.  Last Monday I began battling an internal infection that had me shaking so violently that my kids helped me to bed and stacked on the blankets.  I made three trips to the doctor, got hi-powered drugs  to kill my bugs, and I spent a lot of time in bed during the week.  My son and a grandson gave me a blessing, and today I awakened feeling just wonderful!  Believe me, I'm one grateful kid!!!  I deeply appreciate the power of the priesthood and a wonderful posterity that honors their priesthood.
            Today our church meetings seemed just heavenly to me.  two new Dana couples were the main speakers.  Converts to the Church, they bore such powerful testimonies.  One mentioned that soon after he was baptized, he was called to be the ward mission leader.  He had the desire to teach, but just did not know how to take the first step.  Bery soon the opportunity came to him, when a not-to-distant neighbor came to him and said he had noticed something different about him and was curious.  Here was the opening--probably after much sincere pleading for help in taking the first steps.  The young convert may not have felt confident in many ways, but  he could share his deep feelings, which helped prepare his neighbor for "planting of the seed"--and eventual baptism.  Perhaps there were some listening ears today who have a better idea about how they can help someone find the truth.
            Our Sunday School and priesthood discussions today both contained some eye-opening and stimulating discussions.  The story was told of a man who was kicked by a horse so violently that friends and family feared for his life.  The story reminded me of a similar incident in our adjoining town of  Plain City, where a farmer lost his life from being kicked by a horse.  Anyway, the story today had a happy ending.  Friends who saw him sometime later saw a WHOLE and grateful and spiritually mature person.
            Today I got a different outlook on the law of consecration.  I guess I had thought that when I promise to live that law, it meant that I was WILLING to consecrate as needed for a special part of the Lords' work.   However, today I understand that when I covenant to live that law, it means an actual daily consecration--and I'd challenge you to reflect back on the wording of the special covenant you made and study it out in your mind and ask yourself WHAT is required daily and HOW you can best live it.  If you have any problem with this, pose the question to your presiding officer.
            Finally, we studied today one of Elder Bednar's talks in which he made the statement, "Testimony is the beginning of and a prerequisite to continuing conversion."  But then he stated,  "Testimony alone is not and will not be enough to protect us in the latter-day storm of darkness and evil in which we are living."  That really caught my attention, especially when he cited the incident of the conversion of the Lamanites by Ammon and his brethren.  Just reading about their conversion had impressed me, but I  guess I had never asked myself the question as to what was different about their conversion and my own testimony of the Gospel.  What finally caught my attention today was having the point emphasized that those converted Lamanites buried their swords deep in the earth and would allow themselves to be slain rather than take up their weapons again.  As I caught the new understanding of conversion, I determined to live better each day in some way  (notice that I did not say "will try to") so the Lord will know that I am converted.
                I hope these ideas will bring you the same wonderful feelings that have  come into my heart today.
Love, Brian

Sunday, March 24, 2013

About the Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, Thomas S. Monson

Just click on the link and search for Meeting Your Goliath or enjoy other article and talks by a prophet of God here on the earth today.
Meeting Your Goliath

Training Meeting talk I was involved in, March 20, 2013

Elder and Sister Heaton came to the Family Living Center the other day and said they wanted to talk to Elder Scott and I. I asked enthusiastically, are you going to fire us? But they said no. Instead what they did is called “added upon”. J
They handed us these papers upon which is a message from President Monson about “meeting your Goliath” and asked us to talk about it in this training meeting. Of course he is talking about David and Goliath.
President Monson talks of COURAGE. He says the course that we should properly follow appears at times impossible, impenetrable, hopeless.
He talks of Nephi’s courage and quotes 1 Nephi 3;7 “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commanded them.”
 Now! I need these training meetings probably more than anyone here. So for me to stand up here and try to express to you what I’m thinking is literally my Goliath, but here goes. As I said in Relief Society when I had to give the lesson, pray with me--for me. I guess and for you also, so you can understand.
Next, President Monson speaks of EFFORT---mental and physical effort. I think Elder Scott is going to elaborate more on that one. I’ll just use the quote President Monson used from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
The heights by great men reached and kept                                                     Were not attained by sudden flight, 
But they, while their companions slept,                                                          Were toiling upward in the night.
That would be us, I need a whole lot more sleep than Elder Scott.
Next President Monson speaks of HUMILITY, for haven’t we been told through divine revelation that when we are humble, the Lord, our God, will lead us by the hand and give us answer to our prayers.
And of course that is the next thing President Monson talks of is PRAYER. Power from on high to exalt us.
  Finally, he talks of LOVE OF DUTY. Saying, Duty is not merely to do the thing we ought to do, but to do it when we should, whether we like it or not.
Tell about the miracle of being able to stand in the sights and give tours without feeling that quaking feeling inside, bear your testimony, and sit down.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Brian Taylor's letter, March 17, 2013

I'll bet you're smiling!

Brian L Taylor <>Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 6:57 PM
To: Wilford Scott <>

Dear Elder and Sister Scott,
            Today I was invited to attend the blessing of my 30th great-grandchild.  Jean and I now have a family circle of 72!  That seems like a lot to me, and yet I have friends or acquaintances who have far more than this.  Seeing what happens in our day helps me to understand how some of our progenitors who had large families had hundreds of progeny when they passed on to their reward.
            The ward bishopric was reorganized in the meeting we attended.  A relatively young bishopric was sustained.  As they walked up to stand, I remembered the day when I was sustained as first counselor in our ward bishopric at age 27 to the amazement of ward members.  I recall that it was 16 years later when I was made bishop.(I probably had to undergo a lot of "polishing of the rough edges" to become the father of the ward.  I must say, however, that during my years as bishop we had a BUNCH of young men sent into the mission field within a short time.  And they were like the Army of Helaman.  We were so proud of those young men, and they served well.  Some of them continued to serve with distinction after their return--I remember that one of them is now a professor of religion at B. Y. U.
            Anyway, after the sacrament meeting the baby's parents had a brunch in their new home.  I had not been aware of their intentions, so I was able to eat a very small plate of fruit and a doughnut.  Soon after I finished, my daughter, who was seated right next to me had two small grandchildren on her lap.  The baby who was blessed began fussing, so I offered to take her.  I continued to hold her when her feeding time came.  She was an angel, and I guess her mother thought she looked angelic, because she came around and took some pictures of us.  I guess it was an unusual; sight--a 92-year old man feeding a young baby.  I surely do love these little angels.
            I came back to attend the two last hours of our ward meetings.  In both of the classes I attended, the point was made that we need to serve with cheerfulness.  Being cheerful wasn't too difficult for me in both missions that I served.  Thinking back on those years, I found it easy to be pleasant, because I came from a happy home.  Our family had a lot of good times together--plenty of jokes and enjoying the brighter side of life.  We were all blessed with a good sense of humor. so it did not take much to send us into fits of laughter.  I'm sure that cheerfulness made it much easier to teach our mission contacts.  But then I have to say that I have found deep happiness in associating with the wonderful members of our ward, particularly those who have served as instructors or in administrative positions.  I can recall so many different church gatherings when members seem overjoyed to see one another and visit in the hallways or in places where we congregate.  I recall the scripture "…Men are that they might have joy."
            So--I would have you reflect back on the people who have made the best impressions on you in the Church.  I dare say that all of them have the ability to display a warm smile as they go about doing good.  Take a moment and think how many of our church hymns carry a message of happiness--either happiness NOW or pleasant thoughts about the future.
            Finally, I want you to know that Brother Taylor is sending a smile your way.  I find great joy and satisfaction in knowing you are having the greatest experience of your life--thus far.  You'll find even greater joy in the years to come as you keep living the principles of the gospel.
            God bless you.  You're in my thots and prayers.    Love, "Grandpa" Taylor

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Brian Taylor's letter, March 10, 2013

Spiritual Promptings

Brian L Taylor <>Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 7:29 PM
To: Wilford Scott <>
Dear Elder Willie and Sister Judy,
        I trust that all is going well for you--and for your family back home.
        A wonderful feeling came to me as I reviewed what happened to me
yesterday.  My eldest daughter and her husband took me to Rexburg,
Idaho to attend an open house for my cousin who had just celebrated
his 100th birthday anniversary!  After giving him a big hug and
visiting briefly, I moved on to see other family members.  There were
cousins galore, several with a look of expectancy, eager to receive a
greeting themselves.  I remembered most of those who came into view,
but before our "greeting line" was exhausted, one cousin came to greet
me that I did not recognize.  She began a conversation by expressing
appreciation for the enthusiasm I had shown in years past for
gathering family records.  Then she made a statement that surprised
me.  She promised that she would finish the family records on which
she was working and would send me a copy.  I was especially excited
because my son Blaine has been assigned to gather the records of my
great-grandfather's descendants. Every contribution of information
will help him.
          One after another cousin came on the scene and gave me such a warm
greeting that I felt as if I were in heaven at the end of our stay.
        After we returned home, I reflected on the joyful experience with
those wonderful relatives.  The thought came to me, that I had just
tasted what it would be like in the next world when we greet all our
family and dear friends who have preceded us thru the veil.  I have
NEVER before felt such a heavenly influence.  I never expect to have a
more wonderful experience till my "graduation" day arrives.  Don't we
all live on hope?
        I would also like to share a beautiful experience that I read this
week.  A young man in Salt Lake City who had a late evening job was
allowed to use his brother's car after the brother left on a mission.
The job was in an are  that I can visualize well.  One night as the
young man got off work, he decided to take in a late-night movie, so
he headed eastward until he came to a main thoroughfare that would
take him to the move theater.  Suddenly he looked at his watch.  12:07
A.M.  The thought came to him that he had school the next morning and
he did not want to see a movie after all.  So he turned the vehicle
around, drove back home and climbed into bed.
        Next morning when he came from his room to have some breakfast that
his mother had prepared, she handed him the paper and asked him to
look on the first page of Section C.  When he turned that section, he
saw a picture of a horrible car wreck that had occurred because of
reckless driving.  He scanned the story that accompanied the photo and
observed that  the catastrophe had  occurred right by the theater
where he planned to go.  Then he noticed the time of the wreck.  That
time struck him like a brick. That evening after work he drove to the
same boulevard where he had changed his mind the previous night.
Again he looked at his watch and turned to go to the theater.  Looking
at his watch, he made the heart-wrenching discovery that had he
continued on to the theater the previous night, he would have arrived
at precisely the same time as the terrible wreck had occurred.  He
realized that someone was surely watching out for him and warning  him
in just the right way to avoid a catastrophe of his own.  Coincidence?
 Hardly.  I just imagine that the experience would certainly cause him
to accept a mission call himself and give the Lord the best that he
could to show appreciation for a warning at just the right time.
        I sincerely pray that we can all live worthy of promptings by the
Spirit for whatever our particular need might be.
        My love and best wishes for YOUR daily direction by that Spirit.,
"Grandpa" Taylor

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013, The rest of the story or The Atonement research story continued.

OK! Elder Scott called Rita for help on writing his Atonement paper last month. She sent us all the information in the next few blogs. Well, Saturday, she called us and asked if we turned her research in to President Gilliland. I told her, only one page of it so far. Her bishop called and asked her and Wes to give talks in sacrament meeting on the Atonement. When I told President and Sister Gilliland about it, Sister Gilliland said to tell her, you're welcome. They all set! All they have to do is organize her research into a talk. That's a Nauvoo miracle or a tender mercy from God.

The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality BY ELDER DAVID A. BEDNAR Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality

From a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on October 23, 2001. For the full text in English, visit

David A. Bednar
The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.
The grand objective of the Savior’s gospel was summarized succinctly by President David O. McKay (1873–1970): “The purpose of the gospel is … to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature.”1Thus, the journey of mortality is to progress from bad to good to better and to experience the mighty change of heart—to have our fallen natures changed (see Mosiah 5:2).
The Book of Mormon is our handbook of instructions as we travel the pathway from bad to good to better and strive to have our hearts changed. King Benjamin teaches about the journey of mortality and the role of the Atonement in navigating successfully that journey: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christthe Lord” (Mosiah 3:19; emphasis added).
I draw your attention to two specific phrases. First—“putteth off the natural man.” The journey from bad to good is the process of putting off the natural man or the natural woman in each of us. In mortality we all are tempted by the flesh. The very elements out of which our bodies were created are by nature fallen and ever subject to the pull of sin, corruption, and death. But we can increase our capacity to overcome the desires of the flesh and temptations “through the atonement of Christ.” When we make mistakes, as we transgress and sin, we can repent and become clean through the redeeming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Second—“becometh a saint.” This phrase describes the continuation and second phase of life’s journey to make “good men better” or, in other words, to become more like a saint. This second part of the journey, this process of going from good to better, is a topic about which we do not study or teach frequently enough nor understand adequately.
I suspect that many Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us.
Most of us know that when we do wrong things, we need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives. The Savior has paid the price and made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.
The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. Help from the Savior is available for the entire journey of mortality—from bad to good to better and to change our very nature.
I am not suggesting that the redeeming and enabling powers of the Atonement are separate and discrete. Rather, these two dimensions of the Atonement are connected and complementary; they both need to be operational during all phases of the journey of life. And it is eternally important for all of us to recognize that both of these essential elements of the journey of mortality—both putting off the natural man and becoming a saint, both overcoming bad and becoming good—are accomplished through the power of the Atonement. Individual willpower, personal determination and motivation, effective planning and goal setting are necessary but ultimately insufficient for us to triumphantly complete this mortal journey. Truly, we must come to rely upon “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8).
Grace and the Enabling Power of the Atonement
In the Bible Dictionary we learn that the word grace frequently is used in the scriptures to connote enabling power:
“[Grace is] a word that occurs frequently in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
“It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”2
Grace is the divine assistance or heavenly help each of us desperately needs to qualify for the celestial kingdom. Thus, the enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.
In my personal scripture study, I often insert the term “enabling power” whenever I encounter the word grace. Consider, for example, this verse with which we are all familiar: “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). I believe we can learn much about this vital aspect of the Atonement if we will insert “enabling and strengthening power” each time we find the word grace in the scriptures.
Illustrations and Implications
The journey of mortality is to go from bad to good to better and to have our very natures changed. The Book of Mormon is replete with examples of disciples and prophets who knew, understood, and were transformed by the enabling power of the Atonement in making that journey. As we come to better understand this sacred power, our gospel perspective will be greatly enlarged and enriched. Such a perspective will change us in remarkable ways.
Nephi is an example of one who knew, understood, and relied upon the enabling power of the Savior. Recall that the sons of Lehi had returned to Jerusalem to enlist Ishmael and his household in their cause. Laman and others in the party traveling with Nephi from Jerusalem back to the wilderness rebelled, and Nephi exhorted his brethren to have faith in the Lord. It was at this point in their journey that Nephi’s brothers bound him with cords and planned his destruction. Please note Nephi’s prayer: “O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound” (1 Nephi 7:17; emphasis added).
Do you know what I likely would have prayed for if I had been tied up by my brothers? “Please get me out of this mess NOW!” It is especially interesting to me that Nephi did not pray to have his circumstances changed. Rather, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances. And I believe he prayed in this manner precisely because he knew, understood, and had experienced the enabling power of the Atonement.
I do not think the bands with which Nephi was bound just magically fell from his hands and wrists. Rather, I suspect he was blessed with both persistence and personal strength beyond his natural capacity, that he then “in the strength of the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) worked and twisted and tugged on the cords, and ultimately and literally was enabled to break the bands.
The implication of this episode for each of us is straightforward. As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the Atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14).
Consider the example in the Book of Mormon as Alma and his people are persecuted by Amulon. The voice of the Lord came to these good people in their affliction and indicated:
“I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs. …
“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:14–15; emphasis added).
What was changed in this episode? It was not the burden that changed; the challenges and difficulties of persecution were not immediately removed from the people. But Alma and his followers were strengthened, and their increased capacity and strength made the burdens they bore lighter. These good people were empowered through the Atonement to act as agents and impact their circumstances. And “in the strength of the Lord” Alma and his people were then directed to safety in the land of Zarahemla.
You legitimately may be wondering, “What makes the episode with Alma and his people an example of the enabling power of the Atonement?” The answer is found in a comparison of Mosiah 3:19 and Mosiah 24:15.
“And putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lordseeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19; emphasis added).
As we progress in the journey of mortality from bad to good to better, as we put off the natural man or woman in each of us, and as we strive to become saints and have our very natures changed, then the attributes detailed in this verse increasingly should describe the type of person you and I are becoming. We will become more childlike, more submissive, more patient, and more willing to submit.
Now compare these characteristics in Mosiah 3:19 with those used to describe Alma and his people: “And they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15; emphasis added).
I find the parallels between the attributes described in these verses striking and an indication that Alma’s good people were becoming a better people through the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ the Lord.
Recall the story of Alma and Amulek contained in Alma 14. In this incident many faithful Saints had been put to death by fire, and these two servants of the Lord had been imprisoned and beaten. Consider this petition offered by Alma as he prayed in prison: “O Lord, give us strengthaccording to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance” (Alma 14:26; emphasis added).
Here again we see Alma’s understanding of and confidence in the enabling power of the Atonement reflected in his request. And note the result of this prayer:
“And they [Alma and Amulek] broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them. …
“And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ” (Alma 14:26, 28; emphasis added).
Once again the enabling power is evident as good people struggle against evil and strive to become even better and serve more effectively “in the strength of the Lord.”
Another example from the Book of Mormon is instructive. In Alma 31, Alma is directing a mission to reclaim the apostate Zoramites, who, after building their Rameumptom, offer a prescribed and prideful prayer.
Notice the plea for strength in Alma’s personal prayer: “O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people” (Alma 31:31; emphasis added).
Alma also prays that his missionary companions will receive a similar blessing: “Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may bear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people” (Alma 31:33; emphasis added).
Alma did not pray to have his afflictions removed. He knew he was an agent of the Lord, and he prayed for the power to act and affect his situation.
The key point of this example is contained in the final verse of Alma 31: “[The Lord] gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith” (verse 38; emphasis added).
The afflictions were not removed. But Alma and his companions were strengthened and blessed through the enabling power of the Atonement to “suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.” What a marvelous blessing. And what a lesson each of us should learn.
Examples of the enabling power are not found only in the scriptures. Daniel W. Jones was born in 1830 in Missouri, and he joined the Church in California in 1851. In 1856 he participated in the rescue of handcart companies that were stranded in Wyoming by severe snowstorms. After the rescue party had found the suffering Saints, provided what immediate comfort they could, and made arrangements for the sick and the feeble to be transported to Salt Lake City, Daniel and several other young men volunteered to remain with and safeguard the company’s possessions. The food and supplies left with Daniel and his colleagues were meager and rapidly expended. The following quote from Daniel Jones’s personal journal describes the events that followed.
“Game soon became so scarce that we could kill nothing. We ate all the poor meat; one would get hungry eating it. Finally that was all gone, nothing now but hides were left. We made a trial of them. A lot was cooked and eaten without any seasoning and it made the whole company sick. …
“Things looked dark, for nothing remained but the poor raw hides taken from starved cattle. We asked the Lord to direct us what to do. The brethren did not murmur, but felt to trust in God. … Finally I was impressed how to fix the stuff and gave the company advice, telling them how to cook it; for them to scorch and scrape the hair off; this had a tendency to kill and purify the bad taste that scalding gave it. After scraping, boil one hour in plenty of water, throwing the water away which had extracted all the glue, then wash and scrape the hide thoroughly, washing in cold water, then boil to a jelly and let it get cold, and then eat with a little sugar sprinkled on it. This was considerable trouble, but we had little else to do and it was better than starving.
“We asked the Lord to bless our stomachs and adapt them to this food. … On eating now all seemed to relish the feast. We were three days without eating before this second attempt was made. We enjoyed this sumptuous fare for about six weeks.”3
In those circumstances I probably would have prayed for something else to eat: “Heavenly Father, please send me a quail or a buffalo.” It likely would not have occurred to me to pray that my stomach would be strengthened and adapted to the food we had. What did Daniel W. Jones know? He knew about the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He did not pray that his circumstances would be changed. He prayed that he would be strengthened to deal with his circumstances. Just as Alma and his people, Amulek, and Nephi were strengthened, Daniel W. Jones had the spiritual insight to know what to ask for in that prayer.
The enabling power of the Atonement of Christ strengthens us to do things we could never do on our own. Sometimes I wonder if in our latter-day world of ease—in our world of microwave ovens and cell phones and air-conditioned cars and comfortable homes—we ever learn to acknowledge our daily dependence upon the enabling power of the Atonement.
Sister Bednar is a remarkably faithful and competent woman, and I have learned important lessons about the strengthening power from her quiet example. I watched her persevere through intense and continuous morning sickness—literally sick all day every day for eight months—during each of her three pregnancies. Together we prayed that she would be blessed, but that challenge was never removed. Instead, she was enabled to do physically what she could not do in her own power. Over the years I have also watched how she has been magnified to handle the mocking and scorn that come from a secular society when a Latter-day Saint woman heeds prophetic counsel and makes the family and the nurturing of children her highest priorities. I thank and pay tribute to Susan for helping me to learn such invaluable lessons.
The Savior Knows and Understands
In Alma chapter 7 we learn how and why the Savior is able to provide the enabling power:
“He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12; emphasis added).
The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
I declare my witness of and appreciation for the infinite and eternal sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know the Savior lives. I have experienced both His redeeming power and His enabling power, and I testify that these powers are real and available to each of us. Indeed, “in the strength of the Lord” we can do and overcome all things as we press forward on our journey of mortality.