Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bracing words from Brigham Young for preparation for Thanksgiving

I love Brigham Young’s practically unsinkable positive attitude.  If you need a blast for fresh air for your spirit to sweep out the cobwebs and the tendency to whine, I highly recommend re-reading the Brigham Young manual.

Here’s what I read recently that struck me as perfect preparation for this Thanksgiving season:

I might say something with regard to the hard times. You know that I have told that if any one was afraid of starving to death, let him leave, and go where there is plenty. I do not apprehend the least danger of starving, for until we eat up the last mule, from the tip of the ear to the end of the fly whipper, I am not afraid of starving to death. There are many people who cannot now get employment, but the spring is going to open upon us soon, and we are not going to suffer any more than what is for our good. I am thankful for the hand of the Lord which is visible; I am thankful for this providence of his as for any that I ever received. I have told you, years ago, my feelings with regard to their sympathies, their faith, gratitude and thankfulness, and their acknowledgement of the hand of the Lord and of the dispensations of his providence. . .

We rejoice because the Lord is ours, because we are sown in weakness for the express purpose of attaining to greater power and perfection. In everything the Saints may rejoice—in persecution, because it is necessary to purge them, to prepare the wicked for their doom; in sickness and in pain, with sorrow, and with every affliction that mortals can endure, for by contact all things are demonstrated to our senses. We have reason to rejoice exceedingly that faith is in the world, that the Lord reigns, and does his pleasure among the inhabitants of the earth. Do you ask if I rejoice because the Devil has the advantage over the inhabitants of the earth, and has afflicted mankind? I most assuredly answer in the affirmative; I rejoice in this as much as in anything else. I rejoice because I am afflicted. I rejoice because I am poor. I rejoice because I am cast down. Why? Because I shall be lifted up again. I rejoice that I am poor because I shall be made rich; that I am afflicted, because I shall be comforted, and prepared to enjoy the felicity of perfect happiness, for it is impossible to properly appreciate happiness except by enduring the opposite. (Chapter 25)

When I read this, I can’t help but feel my perspective changing to look upon my challenges and afflictions as blessings and to be even more thankful for my advantages.

You see a bit of Brigham Young's resourcefulness here. He was fine with eating his mules, if it came to that, and we can imagine he wasn't going to let anything go to waste.

And then this is how he looks forward with an eye of hope:

We talk about our trials and troubles here in this life; but suppose that you could see yourselves thousands and millions of years after you have proved faithful to your religion during the few short years in this time, and have obtained eternal salvation and a crown of glory in the presence of God? Then look back upon your lives here, and see the losses, crosses, and disappointments, the sorrows . . . ; you would be constrained to exclaim, “but what of all that? Those things were but for a moment, and we are now here. We have been faithful during a few moments in our mortality, and now we enjoy eternal life and glory, with power to progress in all the boundless knowledge and through the countless stages of progression, enjoying the smiles and approbation of our Father and God, and of Jesus Christ our elder brother.” (Chapter 25)

From a certain perspective, Thanksgiving is a kind of prelude to that day of rejoicing.

So what are you thankful for?


Ramona Gordy said...

Wow, these are like in your face. But I think we need this perspective to make us "see things" as they really are.
My husband has had some health challenges this year, he lost his job and everything that went with it. We have always had the conscious pattern of depending on Heavenly Father for our very life. We have worn out favorite verses in the scripture in Malachi concerning him "rebuking the devour" for our sake, to bring forth fruit from a dry ground, to never leave us or forsake us. And mostly to soften the hearts of our enemies (bill collectors). I am thankful, as Paul said that I know how to prosper in abundance and in poverty.
In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us one and all :)

Michaela Stephens said...

Hi Ramona,
I'm glad if Brigham Young's words helped you in any way. I'm sorry to hear that your husband lost his job through health challenges. I know what lengthy unemployment can do to a family and my heart goes out to you.
I hope Heavenly Father will bless you soon!