This is the second in a series of articles that will offer counsel and encouragement to people everywhere as we face the pandemic currently sweeping the earth.
ENCOURAGING THE SAINTS
Editor’s Note: This is a letter to the Saints’ Herald Editors from Mount Vernon, Illinois. It was composed on December, 22,1918. It appeared in the January 8, 1919 Saint’s Herald on page 44. The entire world was recovering from the Great War, or World War One, when a very potent influenza virus ravaged the world. An article was published in the Herald from a periodical called The Survey on December 21, 1918. The pandemic’s devastation on the United States is described by that article: “the plague … has within less than twelve weeks carried off over four hundred thousand persons in death in this country, has caused a national loss of ten million years of life, and an economic waste of more than three billions of dollars. Nor is the danger over.”
In this environment came this letter from F. M. Slover. It contains timeless counsel for members of the church in any time of crisis or need. He wrote:
Editors Herald: The scourge of influenza is on the wane here sufficiently to enable us to go ahead with our meetings, while in other places the disease is still raging. It has been very terrible in some places and many have gone down in death from it. We are thankful that our people as a rule have escaped, but while the ban was on I felt the handicap keenly in not being permitted to hold public meetings. However, I kept as busy as possible under the circumstances, visiting from house to house as Ï had opportunity, encouraging the Saints and doing what I could to advance the work.
During these times of great distress of nations and while this great scourge is slaying the people by the thousands and so much perplexity in the world; when even the great men of the world seem to be embarrassed or puzzled over the conditions with which they are confronted, the Saints should not be discouraged or feel cast down in the least, but observe the word of wisdom and keep all the commandments of God to the church in order that they may not suffer or lose faith in the gospel. I know of nothing that would be of greater harm or loss than to lose faith in this great work.
The Saints everywhere should earnestly pray for those who are called of God to lead the church, and for all their ministry that they and all the members may be one according to the prayer of Jesus as stated in the seventeenth chapter of John in order that the work may not be hindered. I hope to be one of that number who will endure faithfully to the end, but it will require great faith to endure. The Lord will have a tried people. We are told, “The fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is.” I am earnestly praying and working to be fully prepared to stand firm at the post of duty all along the way, while everything will be shaken that can be shaken.
We are told in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Alma (Alma 16:137/32:15-16) that he that truly humbleth himself and endureth to the end the same shall be blessed, yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble.”
Those who truly humble themselves because of the work and the great love they have for it, and to serve God, will be blessed more than those who are compelled to be humble by reason of great chastisement. We read in the one hundred and forty-eighth verse of the above chapter as follows:
“There are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatsoever circumstances they might (Alma 16:148/32:25).”
This is the class of people that we can depend on from first to last and they will carry this work on to success.
There is a little band of Saints here who are trying to keep the work moving and the outlook for the work is encouraging. The daily papers have given our meetings free advertisement right along and the people are deeply interested in the preaching of the word. We are grateful for the Lord’s help and his protection over his Saints in these perilous times. I wish all the Herald readers may be given greater power in spreading the angel’s message the coming year than ever before. I lately baptized four excellent people here. F.M. Slover