98968_000_002(Adapted from an April 1997 conference address. See Ensign, May 1997, pages 24–26.)Thou shalt keep … his commandments, … that it may go well with thee (Deut. 4:40).
When tensions ran high in northern Missouri in the fall of 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith called for all the Saints to gather to Far West for protection. Many were on isolated farms or in scattered settlements. He specifically counseled Jacob Haun, founder of a small settlement called “Haun’s Mill.” A record of that time includes this: “Brother Joseph had sent word by Haun, who owned the mill, to inform the brethren who were living there to leave and come to Far West, but Mr. Haun did not deliver the message.”
Later, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “Up to this day God had given me wisdom to save the people who took counsel. None had ever been killed who [had abided] by my counsel.” Then the Prophet recorded the sad truth that innocent lives could have been saved from the mob’s attack at Haun’s Mill had his counsel been received and followed.
Every time in my life when I have chosen to delay following inspired counsel or have decided that I was an exception, I have come to know that I had put myself in harm’s way. Every time that I have listened to the counsel of prophets, felt it confirmed in prayer, and then followed it, I have found that I moved toward safety. Along the path, I have found that the way had been prepared for me and the rough places made smooth. God led me to safety along a path which was prepared with loving care.