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.
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).