"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." - Articles of Faith 1:13
(Disclaimer: I am not an official spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Pioneers of Salvation
What is a pioneer? A pioneer is one who goes before, showing others the way. There are many pioneers to whom I look for inspiration, including my parents, my ancestors, and the Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains. There are pioneers of ancient days, and pioneers of modern times. There are pioneers of the future, such as little children and those yet to born. As I consider the sacrifices and the accomplishments of past, present and future pioneers, there are three pioneers in particular whose lives I wish to acknowledge and commemorate.
Abraham was an early pioneer who was rescued from very unfavorable circumstances in Chaldea and led through foreign lands with his wife Sarai, from Haran to Canaan and eventually into Egypt. This great patriarch, a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and a high priest, was also called a Friend of God. As if his earlier journeys were not enough to endow him with pioneer status, Abraham made yet another trek in his old age, bringing with him his precious son. He arose early one morning, laid wood for an offering upon his son Isaac, and together they journeyed to the land of Moriah to offer sacrifice. As a result of Abraham's willing obedience, he paved the way for all the nations of the earth to be blessed.
Joseph Smith, like Abraham, was a friend of God. His path took him from the town of Sharon, Windsor County, in Vermont, through Palmyra, to such places as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He lived great and died great in the eyes of God, translating the Book of Mormon, organizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and becoming the instrument to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. Toward the end of his life he languished in a jail called Liberty, and he was finally martyred in Carthage Jail. As he was shot, Joseph leapt from the window exclaiming, O Lord my God! As result of his prophetic pioneering, all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are now available to all.
But the greatest pioneer was, is, and ever will be the Lord Jesus Christ. Many centuries before the event, Isaiah prophesied of his birth: