I get off on these tangents…once in a while something Church related squeaks by my careful avoidance tactics and seeps into my social media feeds.
Such is the case with this article:
When I was going through the worst of things a few years ago. I thought long and hard about the Willie and Martin Handcart Company, along with the biblical story of Job (still waiting for everything to be restored to me ten fold BTW). I was already well aware of some of the grave mistakes made by the leaders during that time which opened the door to this tragedy. But the story that often came to mind was of Francis Webster, the famous old man sitting in the back of a Sunday school class that silenced critical remarks toward the Church leaders regarding that tragedy, through his powerful testimony. The story is told in a myriad of Church publications, and while it is never stated that his statement is correct regarding no one having lost their faith during the ordeal, it is also never stated as incorrect. Which it is.
That is really too bad. It would have been good to know the whole story. It would have been good for us, my family and me, to see of how these survivors of horrific trauma managed to keep their faith, in spite of true mistakes, false prophesies, and betrayals from their leaders. The travelers did as they were told, and still the promised blessing were not realized!! It wasn’t just me!!!!
It would have been nice to learn regarding those who did not manage to survive. It would have been nice to know about those whose faith was not strengthened. God loved and blessed the Laminates too. Even when they were “sinning.” Even though they were not able to endure their trauma with the same seeming grace as their brothers.
I too had angels helping me push my metaphoric cart. Some were even LDS. One time…it felt like God himself was carrying me. Even after I left the Church. In fact, especially after.
I have never been rebellious regarding my God, in spite of my questioning nature. Yet how many times have I felt God abandon me? It’s a human feeling. It’s a common feeling. It’s a feeling that often accompanies trauma and tragedy. Right along with self blame. Yet most of us are much more comfortable blaming ourselves, than blaming or wrestling with our God.
Though I still struggle with self-blame, the evidence was too compelling that I did not bring the evils on my family through any neglect or fault of my own. I have asked several objective observers, willing and ready to take the blame on myself. It would have been far less scary to think I must not have had diligent enough family home evenings, than to think my leaders betrayed me, or that false prophesies had been made. But the truth remains undeniable.
And here is this man who got through it all, and made peace with it all! How inspiring! I want to know MORE!
Here is an excellent, very pro LDS article that offers a much more compete account of Francis Webster.
I do object to the author’s conclusion as to why some of the handcart company lost their faith. He obviously is not trained in the affects of trauma. But oh! How I appreciate the more complete picture! Both from his faith promoting view and the more critical view above! Knowing the entire story, the real story, is far more beneficial than the sugar-coated, white-washed and incomplete accounts. The real story, is quite congruent with what I have learned myself.
Prophets make mistakes, even acting as prophets.
Ecclesiastic leaders can and will betray you, even in the “true” Church.
Life is hard, and God will not spare you hardship.
God does NOT offer protection, only presence, peace, and sometimes strength.
Different people, are affected by trauma differently and God still has room for them.