We have our work cut out for us. We have a very important role to play in the building up of God’s kingdom. We do not have to walk the dusty plains and live in undesirable dwellings and fight off mobs and hostile Indians, but we have our own little battles to fight. —Marjorie Pay Hinckley
I have to begin by saying that I love Sister Hinckley! She never minced words, had an incredible sense of humor, and always had a smile to melt the coldest of hearts. She always seemed to say things that resonated with me, and this quote really did that well. Today is Pioneer Day, the day the LDS (Mormon) pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley. I love the stories of those pioneers! While I am a convert to the Church myself, I take great pride in my Mormon pioneer ancestry. I grew up hearing all the stories of those dusty plains. It does sometimes, however, make me doubt myself and my own capabilities.
There is a reason that I was not born in the days of the pioneers. If long dresses and corsets had not killed me, the trek west certainly would have. I wouldn’t have made it ten miles outside of Nauvoo, Illinois. While there were many who died on the plains with Zion on their lips and in their hearts, I know that was not God’s plan for me. I would not have helped the cause; I would have been a drain on others. Pioneering wasn’t my destiny. It took me a long time to realize that I can do more for building Zion in front of my computer screen than I ever could have done pushing a handcart or coaxing an ox to keep moving.
What is your destiny in Zion? Do you think about it? What can you personally do to help build Zion? Sister Hinckley was right; we do have a work cut out for us. It is an important work, and the role we each play in building God’s kingdom is the biggest thing we will ever do. There will be battles along the way.
These days we are fighting so many battles at once that it’s hard for me to keep up. Current battles include modesty, family values, the sanctity of traditional marriage, pornography, divorce, religious liberty, children born out of wedlock, abortion, drug and alcohol addiction, apathy, faith crises, and many more. What are you personally doing to help fight these battles? What is your personal destiny with regard to building Zion?
In addition to the big battles mentioned above, we also fight our own individual battles. Every single day can bring little challenges that can thwart our efforts in our own homes, not to mention our efforts in the big picture of building Zion. Sometimes our efforts on the big battle front have to be delayed while we fight to keep our own family afloat. Maybe, just maybe, keeping our own family on the path is our role in building Zion. We are told to everything there is a season. Possibly, our season for raising our children is now, and there is something more on the big battlefield in store for us later in life.
From the time I was ten years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. That didn’t happen until my late fifties as I was busy raising my family. When I finally quit my job as a legal secretary and began to write in earnest, I assumed I would be writing children’s books, mystery stories, and/or young adult novels. I soon found that Heavenly Father had other plans for me. I have written an unpublished children’s book, and I have the first draft of a young adult novel that I haven’t touched in more than a year, but that doesn’t matter because God has a different plan for me—at least for now.
It became apparent very quickly that my role in building Zion was in writing 800 to 1,500-word articles for various online websites about gospel-related topics. Apparently, my season for spreading the gospel and working to help build Zion has come. That in itself is my own little battle, because I feel so inept at it. I’ve been reminded again and again that sometimes God wants us to do things above our skill level in order that we may grow. So now I fight the battle of my own insecurity.
Your role in building Zion may be completely different from mine. Sometimes our role in building Zion changes over time. Maybe today your role is to be the best Sunday school teacher you can possibly be, and years from now to serve a couples mission with your spouse. Possibly, your role is caring for your children now, but—like me—Heavenly Father has something different in your future.
However you walk the dusty plains, and whatever battles you are fighting, you are just as important to Zion as those pioneers who walked into the Salt Lake Valley so many years ago. Be of good cheer, for God knows who you are. Happy Pioneer Day!
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.