In the Doctrine and Covenants we are able to read the Lord’s commands to the saints to move to Ohio. As we’ve gone through the several revelations and the historical context in class, the similarities between the Exodus in the Old Testament and the “exodus” of the LDS saints have become apparent.
New York—the “land of enemies”—represented Egypt for the Israelites. The latter-day saints were asked to leave New York and travel in the “wilderness,” eventually ending up in Ohio for a time. In Ohio, the saints received the “Law”—Section 42. Similarly, the Israelites wandered through the wilderness and Moses received the law at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19 & 20). Both of these movements of people eventually migrated to the land God designated for them—their own “promised land,” which was the Salt Lake valley for the latter-day saints.
Both of these journeys are a broader, spiritual metaphor of the journey we take through the plan of salvation. As a fallen race, we are vulnerable to the temptations and influence of Satan. We are among enemies—people and influences that want to thwart our progress towards the “promised land.” God commands us to leave these enemies behind, to perform a personal exodus from such situations and influences. The journeys through the wilderness are not unlike our mortal life on earth. We are to be tried and tested, guided and challenged, shaped and formed. However, we aren’t expected to do it all on our own mortal wisdom and guidelines. God has given us a “law.” The gospel and the scriptures are our guiding forces through this life on earth. If we abide by the commandments contained in them, God promises us the reward of a “promised land”—this can mean happiness, spiritual confidence in the sight of God, or other blessings that come from obeying the commandments. Finally, if we follow the right path, receive the law, try our best, and use the Atonement to make up for our failures, we are promised a great reward—a “promised land.” In other words, we will reap the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom and eternal life.