10450_000_014A useful tool for harnessing animals became a central image in the Savior’s invitation to come unto Him.
Illustration by David Habben
A Double Yoke
Purpose: To harness a pair of animals so that they can drag a load together as efficiently as possible. Used especially with oxen for plowing soil.
How it’s made: A beam carved from a single piece of wood is fitted to a particular ox’s shoulders, maximizing comfort and pulling force. The strap or bow around the neck is attached to pegs to secure the yoke. The hitch point connects the yoke to what’s being pulled.
How it works: The beam rests in front of the shoulder hump (or withers), distributing weight and enabling natural and comfortable movement. Custom fitting each side allows oxen of unequal size or strength to pull together without one being dragged by the other.
What We Can Learn
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
A yoke is:
Designed to carry burdens. Why drag the heavy weight of sin around (see Isaiah 5:18)? When we repent and come unto the Savior, He takes that burden away and gives us peace and healing.
Custom fitted. It’s His yoke we take upon us—the one best suited for us, because His ways help us live in harmony with our true nature, “the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:11), and because the Savior knows us and can succor us individually (see Alma 7:12).
Yoked with His Power
“You come unto Christ to be yoked with Him and with His power, so that you’re not pulling life’s load alone. You’re pulling life’s load yoked with the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and suddenly your problems, no matter how serious they are, become lighter.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Mission and Ministry of the Savior,” Ensign, June 2005, 18.
The law of Moses prohibited yoking an ox and a donkey together (see Deuteronomy 22:10). Apparently, only animals of the same kind were meant to be yoked together. This might suggest that Jesus’s invitation to take His yoke upon us is also an expression of kinship with us.