We can choose to be on the Lord’s side by following our Church leaders, which will ready us for the important lesson of being tested, sifted, and prepared.
In 1834, Joseph Smith received a revelation to create Zion’s Camp, an army of volunteers dedicated to protecting early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from persecution. Many members of the Church were hesitant to answer such a call, and Wilford Woodruff’s family even counseled him not to go because they were afraid he would lose his life. Brother Woodruff faithfully replied, “If I know that I should have a ball put through my heart the first step I took in the state of Missouri I would go.”
In a talk entitled “On the Lord’s Side: Lessons from Zion’s Camp,” Elder David A. Bednar connects lessons learned during Zion’s Camp to our modern lives. He teaches us that even though Zion’s Camp was considered “unsuccessful,” it was an experience that provided early members with indispensable blessings and lessons. By choosing to answer Joseph Smith’s call to serve, Zion’s Camp became a “refiner’s fire for all of the volunteers in general and for many future leaders of the Lord’s Church in particular.” Men such as Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, and Wilford Woodruff learned much from their service in Zion’s Camp, and years later their dedication to serve prepared them to become the Lord’s elect prophets and apostles.
When we prove that we are truly on the Lord’s side, we open ourselves up to new spiritual experiences and blessings. Brother Woodruff’s experience didn’t end with him staying home at his family’s urging; he went and served the Lord as he was commanded to. He experienced fatigue, bloody blisters, inadequate food, unclean water, disappointment, and even threats. We will also experience difficulties in our own lives, but obeying God’s commandments will, as Elder Bednar observes, “strengthen us to prepare for, to face, to overcome, and to learn from the trials and tests of mortality.”
Choosing to be on the Lord’s side can often be a difficult and scary choice, but our Church leaders promise us that when we do, we will be blessed “to observe, to learn from, and to follow” the Savior.
Learn more about Elder David A. Bednar’s apostolic promise by reading his full talk “On the Lord’s Side: Lessons from Zion’s Camp.”
—Hope Jones, Latter-day Saint Insights
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Listen to “Who’s on the Lord’s Side?” (Hymn #260) for additional comfort and courage.
To learn more about the blessings of choosing the Lord’s side, take a look at “The Greatest Blessing” by Emma Valentine.
Read or watch “The Lord’s Side” by Joseph B. Wirthlin to learn more about the sacred importance of our choices.