saint joseph church

Forum #1

The scripture passage I will be addressing this week is one of my all time favorites. It’s included in the Doctrine and Covenants, which is among the scriptures considered canon by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, though it isn’t recognized as such by other Christian denominations. The reference is Doctrine and Covenants section 122, verses 5-8, which read:

“5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

“6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

“7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

“8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”

This section is one that our Prophet Joseph Smith received as revelation while he was being held prisoner illegally in Liberty, Missouri. Section 121 is a record of a prayer said by the Prophet Joseph, imploring the Lord to explain why he had left Joseph to his own devices during this time of trial.

I came across this scripture for the first time in high school when I was first going through depression. I was researching the scriptural topic of enduring to the end, and this scripture spoke to me. Unlike Joseph Smith, I have never been tarred and feathered for my religious beliefs, or forced to move from home to home across the frontier. I certainly haven’t been through many of the things that this scripture suggests.

However, in almost any trial I have been through in my life, I have been able to look back on it and see how it improved me as an individual, and I have been able to see how the Lord blessed me and how the power of Christ’s Atonement enabled me during the trial. I have never been tested without reason.

I think that it is important to note that, at least from the perspective of a Latter Day Saint, life is a test. I may struggle, but I have the ability to be successful and, in the times when I flounder, when answers evade me, I return to this scripture and remind myself that I am learning through my struggles in much the same way that I have to wrestle with a math or science principle before I can understand and apply it.

I would like to close this post by bearing my testimony that our trials all have the potential to be for our good and that, if we face them prayerfully and with the best attitude we can muster, we will learn and grow as a result of being tried. I have seen this principle at work in my life again and again in the last four or five years and hope to continue to be able to apply it as my life progresses.

Thank you for reading!


When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.
—  Joseph Smith Jr.

REMEMBERING Sister Samantha Lierley         1991-2014

Vancouver Washington Mission

“My sister killed on her mission by the Mission President’s Wife in Portland.”

I have been debating on whether to post this or not. It’s obviously a sensitive issue. I decided that I want to do whatever I can to warn other families that these conditions exist out in the mission field.

My sister was enjoying her mission in Portland last summer. After receiving some needed dental surgery she was sent back to work being a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The dentist warned her to contact a doctor if she felt unwell because infection was an unlikely but real risk.

When my hard working sister began to have pain in her mouth she sought permission to see a doctor through the mission president’s wife. This is world-wide protocol for missionaries. You aren’t supposed to seek medical help without permission from your mission president. My sister’s request was denied. She was told to take some aspirin and continue the work. My sister asked to see a doctor three times over the curse of 2 weeks. Each time her request [was] denied.

My sister reached out to us, her family, through her weekly emails asking us what we thought she should do because she was in pain. Many of us told her to please go to the doctor right away. But, our Mom encouraged her to be obedient to the mission president’s rules.

Anyone who is familiar with the mission field rules knows that obedience without question is drilled into young missionaries minds. My sister chose to do what the mission president’s wife instructed. Maybe she believed that the mission president and wife were led by spiritual inspiration. Maybe my sister thought she would be going against God by going to the doctor. Maybe my sister was just scared.

Finally, the pain got so bad to handle that my sisters mission companion took her to the emergency room. Infection had taken hold of my sisters body. She was septic and admitted into the hospital for 2 days being treated with antibiotics through an IV. We didn’t know if she would survive that first night. She seemed to be doing much better after medical intervention and her doctors released her from the hospital.

But the infection had held on too strong. Within 48 hours of being released from the hospital, my sister passed away in her missionary apartment bed while she was asleep. She died from infection because her mission president and his wife wouldn’t allow her to see a doctor when she was in pain.

My brothers went to Portland and confronted the mission president and his wife. They were extremely defensive and they yelled at my brothers to leave them alone. Some of us in the family want to press charges. It is difficult to go against the church. They can pay for very skilled lawyers. Our mom doesn’t want to pursue any action against the mission president because she believes that maybe it was God’s will. I don’t agree.

-Her sister



Fawn McKay Brodie (September 15, 1915 – January 10, 1981) was a biographer and one of the first female professors of history at UCLA, who is best known for Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974), a work of psychobiography, and No Man Knows My History (1945), an early and still influential non-hagiographic biography of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.[1]

In 1977, I knew only vaguely that there was a dark cloud in Fawn Brodie’s life. She had grown up devoutly Mormon in a small hamlet outside Ogden, Utah. Her grandfather, on her mother’s side, was the president of Brigham Young University, the theological center of Mormonism, and her uncle David O. McKay was one of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the ruling bodies of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS). (McKay would become the ninth president of the LDS in 1951 and serve in that capacity until his death in 1970.) Her first rebellion from the tight-knit restraints of her family and faith was to marry a Jewish scholar named Bernard Brodie, a professor at Yale and national defense expert.

In late 1945, after seven years labor, she published her shocking biography of Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of the Mormon faith. The book rocked the church to its foundation, for it portrayed Smith as a charlatan and imposter who had made up the story of his purported discovery of the golden plates and who had written the holy books of the faith, the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, out of his own fertile imagination. Her book, No Man Knows My History, questioned his “first vision” and pointed out that Smith had given three different versions of it.Tracing the influences on Smith in upstate New York, she put forward her theory of how Smith went about his work of fiction, as she called it. And in her appendix, she listed Joseph Smith’s 47 wives by name — “Whenever I see a pretty woman, I have to pray for grace,” Smith said — and quoted Smith’s revelation in the early 1840s that permitted every man to take “10 virgins.” This was not an invitation but a command. To ignore it risked the loss of one’s crown in the celestial kingdom. Smith’s revelation was nothing less than a redefinition of the nature of sin, Brodie wrote. And it created for modern Mormons a “legacy of unconscious shame” for the polygamy of their ancestors. Polygamy was outlawed by 1890, and over time, she wrote, most Mormons came to regard the end of polygamy with relief. But because plural marriage was for so long a fundamental tenet of Mormon theology, the shame of history survived, even dipping into the recent genealogy of Mitt Romney’s family.

 Fawn Brodie eventually became one of the first tenured female professors of history at UCLA, she is best known for her five biographies, four of which incorporate insights from Freudian psychology.

Brodie’s depiction of Joseph Smith as a fraudulent “genius of improvisation”[2] has been described as both a “beautifully written biography … the work of a mature scholar [that] represented the first genuine effort to come to grips with the contradictory evidence about Smith’s early life”[3] and as a work that presented conjecture as fact.[4]

In May 1946, the LDS Church excommunicated Brodie.

In May 1946, Fawn Brodie was living in New Haven and only a few weeks away from giving birth to her second child when she received a summons from the New England Mission of the LDS Church to answer charges of apostasy. (It is surmised that her uncle, David O. McKay, was behind the formal accusations, and that the matter was left to the New England Mission, to cover up the person who was the real driving force.) The summons letter accused her of asserting “truths which deny the divine origin of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the Priesthood and of Christ’s Church through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith, contrary to the beliefs, doctrines, and teachings of the Church.” Brodie did not answer the letter and did not appear before the tribunal. Less than a month later, a bishop’s court officially and summarily excommunicated her from the Mormon Church as a heretic.

When God, destines anyone for a particular office, He gives him the graces that fit him for it. Therefore, since God chose St. Joseph to fill the office of father over the person of the Incarnate Word, we must certainly believe that he conferred upon him all the sanctity which belonged to such an office. Gerson says that among other privileges Joseph had three which were special to him:

1. That he was sanctified in his mother’s womb, as were Jeremias and St. John the Baptist. 

2. That he was at the same time confirmed in grace. 

3. That he was always exempt from the inclinations of concupiscence - a privilege with which St. Joseph by the merit of his purity, favors his devout clients by delivering them from carnal appetites.