He does see us. Joseph suffered helplessly, knowing that the Latter-day Saints were being driven from Missouri under an "extermination order" from the governor. We don’t have to seek to be martyrs. What a magnificent attitude to maintain in good times or bad, in sorrow or in joy! PROVO, Utah — Joseph Smith's experience as a prisoner in Liberty Jail teaches some valuable lessons, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve told young adults during a Church Educational System fireside Sunday evening.Elder Holland reviewed the experiences of the Prophet and some of his brethren in the dark, depressing, bitterly cold Missouri jail. See Comprehensive History, chapter 38 heading, vol. He does hear us. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:36.) You will recall that from the depths of Liberty Jail when Joseph was reminded that he had indeed been “cast … into trouble,” had passed through tribulation and been falsely accused, had been torn away from his family and cast into a pit and into the hands of murderers, nevertheless, he was to remember that the same thing had happened to the Savior of the world, and because He was triumphant, so shall we be (see D&C 122:4–7). That is a hard thing to ask when we’re hurting. 21:14–16.) Very early in the Prophet Joseph’s ministry, the Savior taught him this doctrine. No, Joseph was not greater than the Savior, and neither are we. There are also episodes about Liberty Jail at Mormon Channel. . Letter to Emma Smith, March 21, 1839, in Personal Writings, p. 449. 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. Inset left: Liberty Jail by C. C. A. Christensen. Our prayers are heard. Donors who contribute at least $25 to BYU Annual Giving receive the magazine for one year. As did the Prophet Joseph, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experiences—even in the most miserable times of your life. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. Liberty Jail Historic Site: History Lesson - See 104 traveler reviews, 39 candid photos, and great deals for Liberty, MO, at Tripadvisor. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, the Lord has “graven thee upon the palms of [His] hands” (Isa. [except] by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; . To his eternal credit, Brigadier General Alexander Doniphan, an officer in the Missouri forces, boldly and courageously refused to carry out the inhumane, unjustifiable order. 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. 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. History of the Church, vol. . What a tremendously optimistic and faithful concluding declaration to be issued from a prison-temple! Third, remember that in the midst of these difficult feelings when one could justifiably be angry or reactionary or vengeful, wanting to demand an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, the Lord reminds us from the Liberty Jail prison-temple that “the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only [or ‘except’] upon the principles of righteousness” (D&C 121:36). 463, 464; spelling and capitalization standardized. They have planned, prepared, and guaranteed your victory if you desire it, so be believing and “endure it well” (D&C 121:8). That is a hard thing to do when we’ve been offended or are tired or stressed out or suffering innocently. The Prophet, who bore the brunt of the persecution in that period, had been imprisoned in the ironically named Liberty Jail. When that happens we can sometimes fear that God has abandoned us, and we might be left, at least for a time, to wonder when our troubles will ever end. But Elder Brigham H. Roberts (1857–1933) of the First Council of the Seventy, in recording the history of the Church, spoke of the facility as a temple, or, more accurately, a “prison-temple.”7 Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) used the same phrasing in some of his writings. 4, 1839, in Personal Writings, 463, 464; spelling and capitalization standardized. It’s always a thrill to be in the Marriott Center. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. of Latter-day Saints when this fireside address was given on 7 September 2008. 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. As Joseph was taught in this prison-temple, even in distress and sorrow we must “let [our] bowels . And then we can justifiably turn to the Lord, wait upon His mercy, and see His arm revealed in our behalf. But that is when Christian behavior may matter the most. What a scriptural gift! That is when we get to see what we’re made of and how strong our commitment to the gospel really is. Indeed, they knew that the real test of our faith and our Christian discipleship is when things are not going smoothly. 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). 2. There was every indication that his enemies were still planning to take his life. Our prayers are heard. Letter to Emma Smith, Mar. 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. God was not only teaching Joseph Smith in that prison circumstance but He was teaching all of us. The Saints, too, were without homes and without their prophet. What a testimony that gospel principles are to apply at all times and in all situations and that if we strive to remain faithful, the triumph of a Christian life can never be vanquished, no matter how grim the circumstance might be. . And they remind us that God often “moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.”8 He certainly turned adversity into blessing in giving us those sacred writings and reflections—so pure, noble, and Christian in both tone and content, yet produced in such an impure, ignoble, and unchristian setting. . 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. . I would highly recommend watching the talk first, though. In the middle of that floor was a trapdoor through which prisoners were then lowered into the lower floor or dungeon. Keywords. 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. Lessons from Liberty Jail | Jeffrey R. Holland, Sep 2008. 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. The reconstructed jail is housed within a visitors’ center. . 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. He is there. Todd A. Knowles, “Lessons from Liberty Jail,” in Religious Educator 3, no. Some of the men, including the Prophet Joseph, when standing had to stoop constantly. But that is when Christian behavior may matter the most. 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. I testify that the Father and the Son do live. We may face persecution, we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones, we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Browse more videos. 21, 1839, in Personal Writings, 449. Joseph was not greater than the Savior, and neither are we. Most of us, most of the time, speak of the facility at Liberty as a “jail” or a “prison”—and certainly it was that. Remain Calm, Patient, Charitable, and Forgiving. In the end it “shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7), and you will see “everlasting dominion” flow unto you forever and ever “without compulsory means” (D&C 121:46). Lessons from Liberty Jail My beloved young friends, it is a thrill for Sister Holland and for me to be with you tonight for this worldwide satellite broadcast. Playing next. He does love us. . Joseph was to remember that the same thing had happened to the Savior of the world. Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking. Name an Old Testament or Book of Mormon prophet, name a New Testament Apostle, name virtually any of the leaders in any dispensation, including our own, and you name someone who has had trouble. Those are all antithetical to the Spirit of the Lord. I testify that the Father and the Son live and that They are close, perhaps even closest via the Holy Spirit, when we are experiencing difficult times. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace. 3:40. This Day in Church History. 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. One of the most trying times in the history of the Church, both in terms of its impact on the Church generally and in the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith personally, occurred during the winter of 1838–39. How I love the majesty of these elegant, celestial teachings taught, ironically, in such a despicable setting and time. 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. First, God has not forgotten you, and second, the Savior has been where you have been, allowing Him to provide for your deliverance and your comfort. And it certainly underscores the fact that the righteous—in the Savior’s case, the personification of righteousness—can be totally worthy before God and still suffer. The height of the dungeon in Liberty Jail was barely six feet. Katy Perry Jokes She'll Be the Good Cop and Orlando Bloom Will Be the Bad Cop to Their Daughter. . 1838: Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and others are incarcerated in Liberty Jail. Of course, sinfulness does bring suffering, and the only answer to that behavior is repentance. Their execution averted, these seven Church leaders were marched on foot from Far West to Independence, then from Independence to Richmond. For full text, see speeches.byu.edu. 22, 1839, in Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, comp. 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! When we are in dire circumstances and want to cry, “Where art Thou?” it is imperative that we remember He is right there with us—where He has always been! lessons from liberty Jail iberty Jail 5 Here is a cross section of the Church’s reconstruction of the prison, which can now be seen at our visitors’ center there. Letter to Isaac Galland, March 22, 1839, in Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, rev. After being driven from several counties in the state and under the presumption they had been invited to discuss ways of defusing the volatile situation, five leaders of the Church, including the Prophet Joseph, marching under a flag of truce, approached the camp of the Missouri militia near the small settlement of Far West, located in Caldwell County. Zachariah Tenney. That was the Savior’s message in the parable of the importuning widow (see Luke 18:1–8; see also Luke 11:5–10). The best company that has ever lived. When what has to be has been and when what lessons to be learned have been learned, it will be for us as it was for the Prophet Joseph. "In this final canonized statement of the Liberty Jail experience, the Lord says to us through His prophet, Joseph Smith: 'Therefore, dearly beloved brethren [and sisters, when we are in even the most troubling of times], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. Parley P. Pratt was remanded to nearby Daviess County for trial there, and the other six prisoners, including Joseph and Hyrum, were sent to Liberty, the county seat of neighboring Clay County, to await trial there the next spring. I wish it were possible for us to be in each of your individual locations, seeing you personally and being able to shake your hands. 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. . 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