grandmother, and other relatives. As was customary in my youth, I also took a ferry out to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. There are few things I enjoy more in life than to feel the salty breeze on my face, to watch the galloping wild horses, and to peer out over land and sea from the top of the lighthouse. I hope to visit the Island again soon, and as frequently as possible thereafter.
As I reflect on Simon Hancock's 17th century journey from England to the American Colonies, I am reminded of Lehi's prophecy in the Book of Mormon that the Americas would be a land of promise, and a land of liberty. Lehi recognized the hand of the Lord in the migrations of many people: "Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them." (2 Ne. 1:6-7)
the land where the Lord restored the Gospel through His servant and prophet Joseph Smith. Simon Hancock's great great great grandson Calvin Hancock was born during the period of the American Revolution and American Independence, just prior to the restoration of the Gospel in 1820. Calvin Hancock's great great great grandson, Ralph Louis Hancock, my grandfather, was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just months before Israel's own declaration of independence. Although my mother tells me that I was named after the beloved disciple in the New Testament, it cannot ignore the fact that my father is, among other things, a scholar of the American Revolution, and that I was born in the bicentennial year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which document bears the name of an early patriot whose name, John Hancock, has since become a synonym of the word "signature."
All of these things remind me of the great blessings of freedom that we enjoy in the United States of America, and that the love of liberty can inspire our souls, as it did the souls of those who preceded us. It reminds me that it is important to remember who we are, and that like the good timber on the Island, we too can grow stronger and become better through the trials and the adversities of life. It reminds me that, like the Cape Lookout lighthouse beckoning to the ships at sea, the lighthouse of the Lord, His holy temple, beckons to all of God's children: "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." (Matt. 11:28-30)