Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crickets, Seagulls, and Personal Revelation

I love the old Utah pioneer legend of the crickets and the seagulls. In 1848, after a relatively mild winter and an early planting season, hordes of crickets suddenly swarmed down on what seemed to be a tender mercy in the first successful harvest in the Salt Lake Valley. In a matter of minutes, all the hard work of the early pioneers seemed to be for naught as the crickets cannibalized everything in their path. These desperate men and women did everything they could think of--stomping, beating, burning--but nothing seemed to stop the tide of destruction. After doing everything they could think of, the pioneers knelt down to pray. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, flocks of seagulls flew in, devouring the crickets and saving the crops and the future of Utah and Mormondom as we know it today. It was a miracle.

As a historian, I know this tale is fraught with difficulty. Many pioneer accounts do not refer to what would have surely worthy of recording. Others list problems of frost and famine for that year. Apparently, this is a normal activity for seagulls, just one never before witnessed by the new Utahns. All the same, I love it. I believe it. I hope for it.

Elder Holland talks about how in moments of extreme urgency, we can ask for and receive urgently needed revelation. He points out that when the Lord teaches Joseph Smith about revelation, he refers to the story of Moses and the Children of Israel trying to cross the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his troops on their heels. At the moment of greatest extremity, Moses prayed and the Lord showed him how to part the Sea.

I love that the Nephites believed Samuel the Lamanite when he prophesied of the birth of Jesus Christ. He told them that the sun would set but there would be no darkness. Many of them believed, to the point of extreme urgency, when their enemies mocked and scorned, and even threatened death on the deadline of the prophecy. These dear believers prayed and at the last moment, upon danger of death, the sun went down and the world remained alight, exactly as had been promised.

It seems that in moments of greatest urgency, we can receive the deliverance, the light, the hope, the direction we need. I'm banking on it.


Robin Lunt said...

this is a grand recount of the story, and certainly you can trust in revelation!

Jennifer said...

I love how you span time and yet it's so relevant to our very moment. LOVE YOU!!!

Laurel said...

I love your brain, Reeder. I really do.
Oh, and I'm banking on it too.

JJ said...

Thank you! Thank you!

Janell said...

How is your URGENT revelation coming, by the way?!?!? I'm waiting for an update...