Sometimes the smallest objects can symbolize the greatest faith.
In the Church’s early days, Joseph Smith and his family faced nearly constant persecution. An article by Heidi Bennett on the Church history website shares one story that demonstrates their courage despite enormous pressures to deny the gospel.
One day, a debt collector came to the Smith home, threatening to take Joseph Smith Sr. to prison for a debt that he could not pay. The man offered to forgive the debt if the family would burn every copy of the Book of Mormon they had. They refused to do so, and the man continued to threaten Joseph Smith Sr.
In an attempt to save her husband, Lucy Mack Smith took the string of gold beads off her neck and held them out to the debt collector, asking him to take the beads as payment. She declared, “You think by this to compel us to deny the work of God and to destroy a book which we know has be[en] brought forth by the gift of the Holy Ghost but sir we shall not burn the Book of Mormon nor deny the inspiration of the Almighty.”
Today, the single gold bead on display in the Church History Museum stands as a symbol of the faith of the early Church members. Many people continue to face ridicule and attacks because of what they believe, but just as the Smiths refused to compromise their beliefs, we can also be firm and courageous as we stand for truth.
Read additional details about this experience in Heidi Bennett’s article, “Lucy Mack Smith’s Gold Bead.”
Source: Church History Department
—Melissa Gee, Mormon Insights
feature image by flickr user tessa sheremeta // cc by 2.0
Find more insights
Read Lucy Mack Smith’s own words about this experience in her journal entry, found on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
Read the Mormon Insights article “When Evil Increases, So Does God’s Help” to learn more about staying strong in the face of persecution.