Courage in a Cornfield


James E. Faust
From an April 2006 general Young Women meeting address.

Courage in a Cornfield

Photograph by Busath Photography

President Faust shares a true story of heroism and divine protection that can guide us today.

The light shining in your faces comes from the Lord. This same light led the way for 15-year-old Mary Elizabeth Rollins and her 13-year-old sister, Caroline, on a dark day in Independence, Missouri.

It was 1833, and an angry mob roared through the streets of Independence, wreaking havoc. In their path was the home of Brother William W. Phelps, where the printing press was kept. He had been printing revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith. The mob demolished the printing press and threw the wreckage into the street. However, they stacked up the printed pages in the yard so they could burn them later.

Mary Elizabeth and Caroline had been hiding by the fence, frightened spectators to all this destruction. Even though Mary Elizabeth was terrified, her eye was fixed on those precious pages. She and her sister ran out from their hiding place, gathered up the scriptures, and bolted. Some members of the mob saw them and ordered them to stop. But the brave girls ran into a large cornfield, where they dropped breathlessly to the ground. They carefully laid the pages of revelations between the tall rows of corn and then covered the pages by lying on them. The mobsters looked and looked for the girls, coming quite close at times, but never did find them. Eventually they gave up their search.

I believe the light of the Lord directed Mary Elizabeth and Caroline as to what to do and where to go for safety. That light shines for you, and it will guide you as it did the Rollins girls. It will keep you safe even when danger lurks.

My dear young friends, you can stand apart from evil, just as the Rollins sisters did, if you will develop your own testimony of the Savior. As you do so, you will grow in spiritual strength.

Things to Think About

  1. 1.

    Although they were afraid, Mary Elizabeth and Caroline risked their lives to save revelations that became part of the Doctrine and Covenants. How can you show love for the scriptures today?

  2. 2.

    Facing injury from a mob takes courage. What threats do you face today that require courage on your part?

  3. 3.

    How can you develop a testimony of the Savior? How can your testimony help you stand apart from evil?

[illustration] Illustration of corn by Robert A. McKay

[illustration] Saving the Book of Commandments, by Clark Kelley Price