Come Follow Me – D&C 3-5 – I’ve Lost My Soul – powered by Happy Scribe
Every day, missionaries all over the world recite Doctrine and Covenants Section four, while a great and motivating section for missionaries, it was originally given to Joseph Smith’s father when he wanted to know his role in the restoration.
One line reads, Having an eye single to the glory of God qualifies one for the work, right? Yeah, OK. But what does that mean? Think of it like having a set of glasses. Hold on. I already see fine with my current pair. Well, OK, it’s like two sets of glasses.
Then through our own pair of glasses we see things as we want to see them. But the prescription is imperfect.
The other pair has got prescription that helps keep our eyes single to his glory, meaning we see things clearly the way he does most scary laser surgery requires.
Now, Joseph didn’t always see things clearly and made lots of mistakes. You mean he wasn’t perfect?
Yeah, he was just like the rest of us. And really, the Lord has only ever had imperfect people to work with, but he’s trying to teach those imperfect people us to trust him and see things the way he does. One way he teaches each of us is through trials. Yeah, I know. No fun, but Joseph learned many important lessons through one specific painful experience.
It begins in 1827 when Joseph is a young new prophet and recently married to Emma Hill. She was tall and beautiful and the love of his life. Emma believed in support of Joseph and all he did. She completed him.
Joseph and Emma had to leave Palmyra with the gold plates because of all the people who were trying to steal them. They were living with her parents now in Harmony, Pa. and Emma was expecting their first baby. Joseph was beginning to learn how the process of translating the plates and listening to the Lord worked and to always be quickly obedient.
But he also had to do hard farm work, manage a new family, wash the dishes and deal with in-laws that thought he was nuts. Enter Martin Harris.
He was an older neighbor and a friend of Joseph believed his story and was willing to help. Martin had financial help.
Joseph and Emma moved from Palmyra to Harmony and was one of the only ones outside of his family that believed Joseph’s story. Martin went to Harmonie to offer his assistance and became the much needed scribe for Joseph.
Soon, the first section of the Book of Mormon was translated, which included the Book of Lihi and was written on 116 pieces of paper. Meanwhile, as Martin was serving a scribe, his wife Lucy was at home and angry.
Yeah, she was very jealous that Martin was spending his time helping Joseph and Emma rather than with her, not to mention she wasn’t too keen that Martin had helped them financially.
She was also very upset that Joseph wouldn’t let her see the gold plates because she felt she deserved to see them.
She even ransacked the prophet’s house looking for the plates and when she couldn’t find them inside, searched his entire property once she thought she’d found them buried outside.
But then a large black snake scared her away.
Snakes. Why did he have to be snakes? However, nothing stopped her for long. And trying to see the plates. Lucy wanted proof.
I need proof. Show me proof. And Martin felt if he could at least take home the 116 pages they’d translated and show his wife, then she would believe and trust him. So Martin begged Joseph and Joseph asked the Lord if Martin could take the pages home, and the Lord said no. And you know what? Lucy was totally happy with that answer.
Nope, Lucy and Martin weren’t satisfied with that answer at all and continued to beg Joseph. They weren’t seen clearly. And when Joseph gave in to their peer pressure and asked the Lord again, the Lord said no to. Joseph hadn’t yet learned that when you ask the Lord, you do what he says, but remember that Joseph was just a young man with a Herculean task before him and likely felt the only way he could do all that he needed to do was to keep Martin on his side.
He figured that the only one anyone needs on their side is the Lord, but because he’s human. When Martin begged for the pages a third time, Joseph gave in and asked the Lord, and this time the Lord granted a conditional permission. What?
Yeah, that Martin could take the pages, but he would only be allowed to show them to five specific people and no one else and had to quickly bring them back. Soon after Martin left, however, a tragedy occurred.
Emma gave birth to their first son, Alvin, who died shortly after birth, and Emma became so sick that she almost died. Joseph stayed at her side for a couple of weeks full of grief, mourning and worry when Emma was finally feeling well enough.
She sent Joseph to Palmyra to check on Martin and the pages.
When Joseph arrived, he learned that Martin couldn’t find the pages anywhere. They were totally gone. Oh, no. Joseph was devastated and knew he disappointed God. He had feared man and lost perspective in doing the Lord’s work. Moroni appeared and took back the plates and Mormon them, and Joseph lost the ability to translate for a while. It was many months of soul searching before he got the plates back and could continue translating.
Now, this is the cool part, though the Lord, with his perfect perspective, had prepared for the loss of these pages 2400 years earlier when he told Nephi to make two sets of plates. Nephi said the Lord commanded me to make the second set of plates for a wise purpose.
Which purpose? I know not. These other plates contained the needed info that was lost with 116 pages. So even though these transcribed pages were never retranslated, the Lord’s work continued on despite human weaknesses and imperfections. And, you know, maybe we’re being a little tough on Lucy. I mean, how would you feel if your spouse or relative was threatening the family livelihood, supporting something you didn’t understand or believe in?
Anyway, Joseph learned many lessons from this painful experience which apply to us as well. When we’re asked to fulfill a calling in the church or follow a difficult commandment, we need to keep our eye single to the glory of God. We could ask ourselves, what pair of glasses are we wearing?
We need to look through the Lord’s eyewear and not our own.
The work of man is frustrated, not the work of God. He’ll succeed and nothing can stop his work. The Lord is mightier than any imperfect human.
And when we inevitably make mistakes and feel like failures in the church or his parents or missionaries or wherever, we might mess up, we need to remember the Lord’s OK with our mistakes because he has the prescription to help. Joseph’s personal mistakes didn’t ruin the restoration, nor will ours. Now, Joseph needed a new scribe, but would he beg to take Page’s home to find out in the next episode? Thanks for watching. If you feel like this video has helped you on your path towards truth and Christian discipleship, share it and subscribe to the channel and click on the little alarm bell to get notified when new videos come out.
Most importantly, go study the scriptures for yourself.