I am taking a religion class from Dr. Holzapfel again, but this time the focus is on the Doctrine and Covenants. I’m excited to go through this class, because I feel like this canon of scriptures and church history in general are topics I’m not as familiar with. I have a tendency towards ancient things, but I realize that the modern revelation received in the early 1800’s by our beloved prophet, Joseph Smith, are the Lord’s words as well. And they have incredible power.
Recently, as we discussed the revelation Joseph received after losing the 116 manuscript pages, a couple verses in the third section of D&C stood out to me. “For behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words—Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble” (3:7-8)
The concept that made the greatest impression on me was that I should not fear man more than God. I should not succumb to the influences of the world and discount the counsels and commandments of my Holy Father in Heaven. I should not fear social discomfort more than reaching out to a child of God who may feel left out or disregarded. I should not seek prestige or academic recognition more than a rich, valuable education. I should not fear man more than God.
These verses remind me of the quote that has guided me through my high school years as well as my college career thus far. It’s had an immense impact on my life and several important decisions I’ve had to make. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat” (“Citizenship in a Republic”).
While Joseph during this time slipped up and allowed the influences of the world and worldly perspectives inhibit the progress of the coming forth of the gospel, I must not let the world and its persuasions inhibit my spiritual progress. I cannot allow myself to fear temporal consequences. My perspective must always be directed at the eternal goal and destination—to dwell with my Father and my Savior in Heaven once again. No matter how convincing man can be, I must not step to the side or make exceptions. But if I do, just as every man and prophet will make a mistake, the Lord leaves Joseph and the world with this assurance: “But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work…” (3:10).