Thursday, January 19, 2012


When I was growing up it seemed to me that nothing went right. It seemed that trials and tribulations were all my family encountered at every turn. My mother had undulant fever. My father contracted encephalitis from a mosquito bite and almost died. Our house burned down. Dad started several businesses and serious problems plagued every one of them. Dad had blood clots in his lungs. Financial problems hung over us like a storm that wouldn't abate. I could go on, but this is enough to give you a feel for the things that plagued us.

Despite all of this, my parents were always faithful in the Church. They paid a full tithe. They studied the scriptures. They attended the temple often. They taught us. They served in the Church and were always very active. The problem with all of this is that I kept hearing and reading verses of scriptures such as that found in 2 Nephi 1:20; "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land." I saw that my parents were diligently trying to keep the commandments, but they weren't prospering. This bothered me a lot and challenged my testimony.

It took years of study and gospel scrutiny for me to finally realize what the Lord means when he says "prosper in the land." I should have caught on from the very verse I just quoted. The rest of that verse says, "But inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence." I was always so caught up in the "prosper" part that I didn't see that the opposite of prospering has nothing to do with wealth. The opposite is to be cut off from the Lord. This led me to the realization that this earth is one day going to be the celestial kingdom. So to prosper in the land means to stay here—to be part of the celestial kingdom. This is explained in Proverbs 2:21-22, "For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it."

While it is true that righteous people often acquire more earthly prosperity, it doesn't always happen. There are many righteous people who struggle financially and many wicked people who don't. But righteous people will always acquire faith and will "prosper in the land" in that they will receive a celestial inheritance in this land.

Now when I think back on my growing up years I realize that everything went exactly as it was supposed to. My parents had faith. What more could I ask for?


Camille said...

Thank you so much for this!

Anonymous said...

Your family went through so many things, but what always stood out to me, and other people is how strong your family was, and I'm sure still is. It is true that you all stayed true to the gospel, but there were so many other things, too. Your parents were always so gracious, warm and loving with a smile for everyone. You kids were always kind and friendly to your friends. There was never any bitterness, or negativeness, or jealousy. After your dad came so close to dying, and was able to get out and about again, there he was with his warm smile and handshake for anyone he had an encounter with. Many families with much less adversity struggle to teach their children all those principles. And I see you have done the same in your life, raising children and facing many struggles and losses, and illness. In the way that really matters, you have prospered. You have always been a wonderful friend, but your whole family from your childhood to now has also been an inspiration in holding your head up high and marching straight into the storm, while giving strength to those around you. I'm sure that's one of the reasons we all love you so much!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Camille, Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you liked it.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Cathie, You are always so very, very kind! You spread so much love and cheer to others. Youa re amazing! Love you!