Afflictions can bring out the worst in us. Thoughts like “It’s not fair,” “Why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?” can pervade our minds. Do we seek to learn and grow from our afflictions, remembering that all of this is part of the test of mortality? How do we handle our afflictions? With resolve and faith in God? With patience and hope for the future? Nephi’s example is one of Christlike perseverance and worshipful endurance.
“I Did Not Murmur Against the Lord Because of Mine Afflictions”
The Latter-day Saints have experienced few periods of adversity that compare with the cruelty at the hands of the Missouri mobs during the formative years of the restored Church. As part of his journal entry for Monday, April 22, 1839, the Prophet Joseph Smith summarized the Saints’ persecution by the Missouri mobs, gave thanks for the Lord’s steadying hand, and called for civil redress. “The conduct of the Saints, under their accumulated wrongs and sufferings,” said he, “has been praiseworthy; their courage in defending their brethren from the ravages of the mobs; their attachment to the cause of truth, under circumstances the most trying and distressing which humanity can possibly endure; their love to each other; their readiness to afford assistance to me and my brethren who were confined to a dungeon; their sacrifice in leaving Missouri, and assisting the poor widows and orphans, and securing them houses in a more hospitable land; all conspire to raise them in the estimation of all good and virtuous men, and has secured them the favor and approbation of Jehovah, and a name as imperishable as eternity… . Marvel not, then, if you are persecuted… . Afflictions, persecutions, imprisonments, and death, we must expect, according to the scriptures… .” (HC 3:329–331). As if to add a capstone to the monument of the Saints’ endurance, the Prophet also quotes this verse as part of his narrative: “Short though bitter was their pain, everlasting is their joy” (330). (Richard J. Allen)