Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meeting Fellow Saints by Seeming Chance

D&C 62’s section heading tells of an interesting incident that was the occasion of that revelation:

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, on the bank of the Missouri River at Chariton, Missouri, August 13, 1831. On this day the Prophet and his group, who were on their way from Independence to Kirtland, met several elders who were on their way to the land of Zion, and, after joyful salutations, received this revelation.

When you think about it, Zion and Kirtland were so far apart that there were any number of different routes the two separate parties could have taken that would have resulted in their never meeting at all. And at that time in 1831, the church was so small that the chances of meeting another member were very slim. That being said, with centers in Zion and Kirtland, outside of these two different places there would be a higher chance of meeting other Saints on a line traveling between the two places, but any number of circumstances could have prevented their meeting. So meeting at all was a tender mercy, and I think both parties were probably were aware of that.

In verse 6, the Lord says about their meeting:

Behold, I, the Lord, have brought you together that the promise might be fulfilled, that the faithful among you should be preserved and rejoice together in the land of Missouri. I, the Lord, promise the faithful and cannot lie.

The Lord had brought them together to preserve them and so they could rejoice. I think the same is still true today, even if it is not in Missouri. Unexpectedly meeting or finding other Saints is always a joyous occasion, and when they are close friends it is even more thrilling. I can think of a number of times when unexpectedly meeting other Saints—family, friends, member acquaintances—became a tender mercy and even saved me from feeling a bit low or lonely.

Once I went to the temple for comfort about an old friend who had fallen away. In the celestial room I happened to meet another old friend, one whom I had never expected to see again. That joy swallowed up my sorrow.

Another time I was in the Bankok airport alone, feeling a bit lonely, when I ran into some sister missionaries who were traveling home at the end of their missions. Just being with them perked me right up.

Another time my husband and I were vacationing in an out-of-the-way place in Colorado (Silverton), and the restaurant we stopped to eat at was run by a Latter-day Saint who noticed our BYU shirts. We had a great chat with her. That became one of the highlights of that trip for us.

Once my husband and I were on BYU campus attending Education Week when we ran into my cousin Tamera, who was dropping off her daughter for her freshman year. Considering how crowded the campus can be and the myriad of classes and interests Saints can have, I felt it was a great blessing to have bumped into her. (No, I didn’t knock her down. Haha.) We made sure to schedule a dinner get-together to catch up even more, and we included my siblings who lived in the area. The more the merrier!

It is special to me that the Lord wanted Joseph Smith to know this apparently chance meeting with the other group of elders was not chance. The Lord brings us together to strengthen and preserve us and to lift our spirits to rejoicing. We can expect this blessing to continue far into the future.

Can you tell me of times when you were brought together with other members seemingly by chance (but really by the Lord)?


Rozy Lass said...

I've had a few of those times too, and they are wonderful and uplifting. I do wish we Latter-day Saints could wear an easily identifiable symbol so it would be faster to see who is one of us. The mainstream Christians have the cross--some are so pretty as necklaces--to identify themselves. What is our equivalent? Should we all wear black name badges? Or BYU shirts? Could we make replicas of the temple Moroni's be our universal symbol? Food for thought.

Michaela Stephens said...

I know some of us wear CTR rings, but of course it isn't required. I think the things we say are a better tell, though.