Strong Men, Brave Women, and Sturdy Children - The Spoken Word

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The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square
Published at : 14 Nov 2020
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More than 150 years ago, thousands of stalwart pioneers fled their comfortable homes into the wilderness in search of freedom from religious persecution. A newspaper headline from 1914 summarized their remarkable westward trek in these words: “Strong Men, Brave Women and Sturdy Children Crossed the Wilderness Afoot.”

But if you could talk to some of those men, women, and children, they would probably tell you that they didn’t always feel strong, brave, and sturdy. Betsey Smith Goodwin, who pushed and pulled a handcart more than 1,000 miles as a 13-year-old, recalls food rationing and bitter cold weather. “But we never forgot to pray,” she said, “and we sang, ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints,’ with great zeal and fervor. We realized that we needed the help of God to see us through.”

Betsey continues, “I will not dwell upon the hardships we endured, nor the hunger and cold, but I like to tell of the goodness of God unto us.” She recounts one day that especially stood out in her memory. The wind blew fiercely. The dark clouds were ominous and threatening. The approaching storm was so violent, the thunder and lightning so frightening, that even the ox teams refused to take another step. The group’s captain stood in the middle of the road, took off his hat, and bowed his head. Soon other members of the company joined him in bowing their heads and removing their hats, until 100 carts had gathered around the captain, who said, “Let us pray.” Betsey remembers that as he poured his heart out in prayer, heaven felt close. The clouds then parted, and the company pressed forward with faith until they reached camp and pitched their tents—just before the storm clouds finally burst open with torrents of rain.

So often, the best thing to do—the only thing to do—is pray and then get to work. That’s true whether we’re crossing plains in handcarts or facing more modern hardships and difficulties. When our days are daunting, when the challenges we face are frightening—even paralyzing for a moment—we don’t have to rely on our own strength, bravery, or sturdiness. We can seek divine help. As we do, will be able to share with future generations stories of “the goodness of God unto us.”

Episode 4532. Aired July 24, 2016.
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