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Monday, October 25, 2010

We Must Go Through

Ok, so this is really the first time that I've ever done a blog, so I'm still kinda gettin the hang of it. But today, I'd like to explain a little bit why I chose "We Must Go Through" as the title for my blog. But, first I'd like to begin with a little bit of a background history lesson on the famous Hole-In-The-Rock expedition.
In the year of 1879, John Taylor then Prophet, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, called a group of 236 people from the Southern Utah towns of Parowan, Cedar City, and Paragonah, to be a part of the San Juan Expedition. A pioneering company that would go and settle in what is now the south-eastern corner of the state of Utah. At that time, that was some of the isolated and inaccessible country in the nation, with lots of sandstone, cliffs, mesas, washes, slickrock, sand, and cut in many places by deep canyons. Keep in mind, that a good chunk of these pioneers called to be a part of this expedition, had already crossed the great plains from Nauvoo, Ill, and other parts of the country to settle there in Utah, had just barely gotten settled, started to prosper, and now were asked to leave it all behind.
Not to mention, they had already endured many many hardships on the initial treck to the Rockies. Bishop Jens Nielson, who was called to be one of the leaders on the San Juan expedition, had crossed the Great Plains as part of the Willey Handcart Company. When rescuers from Salt Lake arrived they didn't have shoes big enough to fit his rag-bound feet. While struggling over Rocky Ridge, his feet froze so bad that he couldn't go on any farther. At one point he turned to his wife Elsie, and said "Leave me by the trail in the snow to die, and you go ahead an try to keep up with the company and save your life." To which she responded, "Get in the cart and ride, I can't leave you, I can pull the cart." Which she did. So to say that the pioneers had already faced adversity would be a terrible understatement.
The company took established wagon trails to Escalante, and then from there on out had to blast their own trail into the slick rock the remaining way. Their biggest obstacle came when they reached The Colorado River. The 2,000 ft. gorge had to be crossed somehow, and the snow had finally come which blocked their way home, so their only choice was to find a way across.  It took them six weeks to build the road across. Built by chiseling and blasting a path through a steep crevice named the Hole-In-The-Rock, the construction consisted of cutting away a 40 foot drop off at the top of the crevice, moving huge boulders, leveling high spots, filling depressions, and widening the crevice walls.  After they made it past the first drop off, and reached the first ledge,  they were faced with another sheer wall of fifty feet. A narrow ledge for the inside wagon wheels was chiseled out along the walls. Just below the narrow ledge, holes were drilled every 2 feet parallel and about five feet below the ledge. Stakes were pounded into the holes, and then covered with logs, brush, and gravel to form a road that was literally tacked onto the side of a cliff. That section of the road was called Uncle Ben's Dugaway, named after a Welch miner, Benjamin Perkins.
The road was finally completed, and on January 26, 1880 the wagons started down.  Elizabeth Morris Decker, wrote about the trip down. "If you ever come this way it will scare you to death to look down it. It is about a mile from the top down to the river and it is almost straight down, the cliffs on each side are five hundred ft. high and there is just room enough for a wagon to go down. It nearly scared me to death. The first wagon I saw go down they put the brake on and rough locked the hind wheels and had a big rope fastened to the wagon and about ten men holding back on it and then they went down like they would smash everything. I'll never forget that day. When we was walking down Willie looked back and cried and asked me how we would get back home." The settlers continued on and eventually settled the towns of Bluff, Verdure, Blandin, and Monticello.
The quote I mentioned at the very beginning comes from Bishop Jens Nielson when the company had first reached the Hole-In-The-Rock, and many wanted to turn back. But Bishop Nielson remained calm, and is credited with saying. "We must go through. Even if there is no way through, we must go through."
Their story has a lot of meaning to me. I didn't have ancestors were with that company, but I did have many who came from Nauvoo to Utah with Brigham Young. I am in awe, and so grateful for the things that all of those early pioneers faced. Their lives have been a lesson to me. Even though they were faced with so much adversity and trials, they never quit. Never gave up. They forged on. It kinda puts my life into perspective a little bit. If they could face everything they went through with an eye of faith, then my personal trials and struggles, which pale in comparison, I should face with that same determination.
I know that the Lord strenghens us in our extremities if we will but call on His name. He knows us each individually and lets us face opposition so that we can learn and grow. He has felt all of our pains, our sorrows, and our affliction, and therefore knows how to help us. (Alma 7:11-13) Sometimes lifes struggles seam to much to bear, but the Lord is there for us. I just hope that I can follow the example of those early pioneers, and when faced with things that at the time, seam to much to handle, say, "Even when there is no way through, I must go through."

I added pictures of The Hole-In-The-Rock, from the top, and also looking up from Lake Powell, and also Uncle Ben's Dugaway, which shows the holes drilled and used for the road.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Farmer's Son

There was once a farmer. He was proud of his work, and always had straight, long rows of corn, wheat, and all manner of healthy crops.
When the farmer's son was old enough to learn the farm work, the farmer took him out into the fields to teach him how to hoe, plant seeds, irrigate, and other small chores. One day, the farmer decided his son was old enough to learn how to plow. He put him on a tractor and told him how to plow straight, long furrows. The way to do this, he said, was to set your sight on something on the opposite side of the field, and to steer straight toward it, ot veering to one side or the other.
The farmer then went off to other chores. When he came back to check his son's work, he was dismayed to find the field full of crooked rows. He was furious! He stormed over to the tractor to find out the reason for this foolishness.
The son explained, "Well, Dad, I did just what you said. I sighted in on something on the opposite side of the field, and headed straight for it. I never veered to one side or the other."
"Then why are the rows going every which way?"
"Well, the darn cow kept moving!"*
haha Although the story has a humorous ending, the moral of it still rings true. I really like the scripture in 2 Nephi 32:3 "...Wherefore I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."
In todays world, where opinions, fads, and so called doctrines, change faster then you can keep track of, it's good to know that there is something that is constant. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the One, that we can fix our eyes on. He will never lead us to the right, or the left, but if we do what He says we will arrive safely home in the end. Like the scripture says, by feasting up His words, He will never lead us astray. If we center our lives on Christ then "....When the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirldwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shal beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." (Heleman 5:12)
That is the Lords promise, if we keep our eyes fixed on Him, and there build our foundation we won't fall.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"...With Healing in His Wings"

President Dieter F. Uchtdorff, part of the first presidency of the church, once told a story about how "one woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, 'I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.'” 
Life isn't easy all the time. We all make mistakes, and we're all gonna end up kinda like that 20 dollar bill. But no matter how bumped and bruised we get from the world and our mistakes, we're all still sons and daughters of a living, loving Heavenly Father, and we're worth something! He knows us each individually be name, I know that, and because of that love, he provided a Savior for us, Jesus Christ. That through Him we can have eternal life in the life to come, and peace and healing in this one. Christs invitation to all of us is to come unto Him, that he may heal us, and bring us peace and rest, no matter what kind of shape, or circumstance we're in. (Matt. 11:28-30, 2 Nephi 25:13)
If ya want to read the whole talk from President Uchtdorff, I attached the link to my wall on Facebook.
Have a good one!