I was in Sunday school yesterday. The lady teaching the class asked us what would we do if we were requested to walk 1,000 miles in order to help church members we didn’t know. Immediately, people started to complain that you have to consider the time you live in and available transportation and making preparations, etc. It was almost as if asking the question had caused some offense to our modern sensibilities and shouldn’t have been presented to the class.
I felt myself getting agitated which isn’t good when you’re in church. I raised my hand to find out who was doing the asking but the teacher answered that question.
My hand remained aloft.
When I was called on I explained that it was good that we asked ourselves these questions. “We may have to sacrifice a lot but we don’t sacrifice faith.” I don’t have all the answers but I feel that if we are asked to do something by a prophet of God, even walk 1,000 miles, then we ought to seriously consider doing it to the point of actually doing it. It doesn’t matter what time we’re in. The gospel is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Another class member opined that we don’t do what our local leaders ask let alone what a prophet might ask. Yet another moaned that she wouldn’t be able to do it because, maybe, her faith wasn’t strong enough. I said that we can excuse ourselves from anything if it’s something we don’t want to do. Excuses. Excuses! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
It got worse.
The teacher added that when we had walked the 1,000 miles we would be told that there was no one to help and we needed to turn back. Someone gifted us the opinion that, and the teacher was in agreement, they would seriously consider the validity of the prophet. My mind was reeling. I can only hope they were thinking in the moment.
The lesson was about Zion’s Camp when Joseph Smith led a contingent of 200 men on a long journey from Ohio to Missouri with the outward purpose of assisting troubled church members but it turned out to be a testing of the men for the leadership potential. All the men went on to become leading figures in Church history, some apostles and prophets, because they didn’t complain; they had faith.
I know I shouldn’t have gotten annoyed, but I felt as though I was/am surrounded by fellow Saints who are too willing to justify inaction by playing the I’m-just-being-honest card. We, as a church, cannot preach the maxim ‘follow the prophet’ and then choose not to because we might have to put in a little extra effort. If President Monson asked me to walk a thousand miles I would do it. Not take a car or a plane but walk – I would do it. It wouldn’t be easy, but I would do it.