Canadian Pioneers (Conclusion)


For the temple is a holy place (Children’s Songbook, page 95).

When the stranger with bloody feet asked to come in, Father questioned the “new” religion the stranger talked about. But Father read Brother Reed’s Book of Mormon and was willing to hear Brigham Young preach. It was Mary Ann’s best friend, Betsy, who called Brother Reed and Brigham Young fakes!

Just as Mary Ann returned to sit with her family at the meeting, Brigham Young was getting up to speak again. He told of the need to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. After testifying that the Savior lived and spoke to a prophet today, Brother Young told them to repent and to be baptized.

One old man from the back called, “I’ve been baptized. Why do I need to be baptized again?”

Brother Young told them about the authority brought to earth by John the Baptist to Joseph Smith. Joseph gave that authority to him and to Brother Reed. Brigham Young asked if any wanted to be baptized.

Mary Ann’s mother stood up. Then her father stood up, and Nathan and Mary Ann did too. No one else in the whole congregation did. Brother Reed beamed at them. They sat back down, and Brother Young closed the meeting. As Mary Ann walked by, Betsy turned her face away.

Mary Ann touched her arm. “I’m sorry I got mad at you. It’s just that I believe what these men are telling me. I know it’s true, and I want you to know it too.”

Betsy stared at her friend. “I don’t believe them, but if you want to, it’s all right with me. But are you really sure? He’s taking everyone who’s baptized to Kirtland. If you join, I’ll never see you again!”

Kirtland! Mary Ann felt all funny inside. This Church was true, but she didn’t want to leave their warm home and travel far away. She hurried home. Mother would know if Betsy spoke the truth.

Her mother nodded. “Your father and I talked to Brother Reed last night while you were sleeping. He told us that all the Saints are gathering to Kirtland, Ohio. After we’re baptized, we’ll join them there.”

Mary Ann’s heart sank. How could they leave their home? How could they leave their friends? She sat down by the fire and poked at the coals.

Brother Reed came in and sat next to her. “Is something wrong?” he asked.

Her heart ached so much that it was hard to talk. “I don’t want to leave here.”

He nodded. “You’ve heard we’re gathering to Kirtland.”

“Yes.”

He smiled. “Let me tell you about Kirtland. You’ve met an Apostle of God, but in Kirtland there’s a real prophet of God, Joseph Smith. Imagine seeing someone who’s actually talked to God! The Prophet is the one who has commanded that we gather. You see, we’re building up the kingdom. We’re also going to build a temple.”

“A temple?”

“Yes. It’s a place where the Saints can gather to worship and teach one another the gospel.”

“Can I go in this temple?”

“Yes, but it isn’t built yet. We all need to help build it. There’s much to be done.”

Mary Ann thought about it. She wanted to hear the Prophet speak and to be with others who believed as she did. Suddenly she found she was eager to go to Kirtland.

Weeks later their farm sold, and her family joined several others in a small wagon train. With Brother Brigham leading the way, they started on their journey to Kirtland.

The wagons traveled slowly, and baby Anna got sick. Just when Mary Ann thought that they’d never get to Kirtland, Brother Reed ran alongside their wagon. “Kirtland’s just around the bend!”

The people urged their tired oxen on. Mary Ann bounced up and down on the wagon seat. Then she jumped down and ran ahead with the other children. As she turned the corner in the road, her heart sank. Where were all the beautiful buildings? Where was the temple Brother Reed had talked about? Kirtland was just a raw frontier town.

She plodded back to her parents. “I don’t like Kirtland,” she told them. “It’s ugly.”

Her mother smiled at her. “It’s just not finished yet. It’ll be beautiful some day. We’ll help to make it so.”

Brother Reed came and took Mary Ann by the hand. “Come with me.” He took her along a dirt road past a store and around the corner to the edge of a field. “This is where we will build the house of the Lord. When it is finished, it will be shiny and white and wonderful! It will be a fit place for the Lord.”

Mary Ann felt that sweet feeling she now recognized as the Holy Ghost. Maybe things weren’t what she expected, and maybe it would be hard to build a home again, but she knew that her family was doing what was right.

She looked at the field. It might be a long time before the temple was built, but it would be a temple of the Lord!

[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Greer