November 30, 2007

"I will be Governor as long as God permits"

Brigham Young March 16, 1856 Precursors to the Utah War Sometime during the Nauvoo period it became clear the Church would have to spread out, or even move altogether. Options were discussed and Joseph Smith prophesied the Saints would remove to the Rocky Mountains. Granted, that view covered a broad area; they believed it could have included Oregon or California, among other places. Brigham Young was a man who saw the hand of God in all things, and discussed the circumstances leading to the Saints withdrawal from the eastern states:

The Prophet Joseph has been referred to, and his prophecy that this people would leave Nauvoo and be planted in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. We see it fulfilled. This prophecy is not a new thing, it has not been hid in the dark, nor locked up in a drawer, but it was declared to the people long before we left Nauvoo. We see the invisible hand of Providence in all this; we realize that His hand has wrought out our salvation. Are we here in fulfillment of prophecy? The world say that the Prophet knew nothing about it, that the Lord had nothing to do with it, that the "Mormons" became obnoxious to them and had to leave, because they were the weakest party, and their enemies the strongest. "No, God knew nothing about all this, He had no hand in it, but we could not live with you Mormons." They said, "We Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, &c., cannot live with you, one of us must leave, which shall it be? You Mormons must leave, if we can drive you." They herald forth that, "It was us who drove you to the Rocky Mountains, as every one knows who is acquainted with your history." "The Mormons must leave and go where no other people will go, and live where no other people can or will live." The world cannot see the hand of the Lord in all our movements, they have not eyes to see, nor hearts to understand that the Lord showed the future to the Prophet Joseph, and brought it before him in vision. They cannot understand that the Lord produced all the circumstances which effected the removal of this people. They do not now understand that the Lord is building up His kingdom on the earth, is gathering His Israel, for the last time, to make a great and mighty nation of this people.

Brigham believed circumstances led to the establishment of the new Mormon kingdom of the west, and believed likewise that circumstances would eventually gain them statehood, something they'd petitioned for since they first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley:
Circumstances have planted the Saints in the midst of the mountains, have given them a Territory and a Territorial Government, and will, ere long, give them a free and independent State, and justly make them a sovereign people. Circumstances will accomplish all this. Now, in the name of common sense, who rules these invisible circumstances? Is it you, or I? True, to a certain permitted degree, we rule, govern, and control circumstances, in a great many instances, but, on the other hand, do not circumstances control us? They do. Who has guided all these circumstances, which neither we nor the Prophet knew anything about? Was it in the power of a single man, or of any set of men, to create and control the circumstances which caused this people to be planted within these mountains? The moment that you say it was not, you acknowledge the workings of a Supreme Power.
Given the impending difficulties (i.e.- the upcoming Utah war) Brigham's belief that God ruled over the whole earth gives us insight into his seemingly cool approach to the difficulties in forming the new Territory:
Do you suppose that it is in the power of any man to thwart the doings of the Almighty? They may as well undertake to blot out the sun. I am in the hands of that God, so is the President of our nation, and so are kings, and emperors, and all rulers. He controls the destiny of all, and what are you and I going to do about it? Let us submit to Him, that we may share in this invisible, almighty, God-like power, which is the everlasting Priesthood. We cannot thwart the plans and purposes of the Almighty. Do the world comprehend that if this people are faithful to God they will become a mighty people? No. It has been leaked out, to a few individuals, that the government of the United States is going to send troops here to drive out the "Mormons." I say to such threateners, cease your folly, for you can only do as God permits you.
The threatenings occurred because of difficulty with Federally appointed judges from the east who didn't get along with the influential Governor of the Territory, Brigham Young. Utah petitioned for statehood, which would have given them the right to elect their own judges and representatives. Instead, they were granted a territorial government, which allowed the presidential administration the right to select the positions. The appointees often ran contrary to what the Saints and the Church leaders would approve of. After a brief and tenuous period three of the appointed judges left the territory and spread rumors about the Church, which culminated in the Utah war.[1] Brigham spoke of one of these judges, Brandenbury, in this sermon:
When certain immaculate judges went from here, they were going to obliterate “Mormonism.” What did they accomplish? They did all they could, and, like an empty sound, their vaporings passed away and are known no more, neither are those judges known. Where is Mr. Brandenbury? Is he seated in the President's chair, under the wings which shadow this nation? Does he control the strength and power of any part of the American Union? Where is he? The last we heard of him he was in Washington, doing a little writing for this, that, and the other lawyer, when he could get any to do, and attending to cases as a lawyer, when he could get a few dollars for transacting a little business of that kind, for this or that man; running from office to office, and from pillar to post, to obtain a living. He is a tolerably good man, after all; and, if he had done as I counseled him, he would have stayed here, and let that other judge go. Mr. Brandenbury was a good sort of a man, he never had any difficulty with me, and would have done well, if he had only had sense enough to know that he could not obliterate “Mormonism.” But he thought that his associate was going to blow the advocates of truth out of existence, when he might as well blow towards the sun to puff it out. When men operate against this people, they may spend all they possess and all their ability, and it will pass away like an empty sound, and they will be forgotten. Such persons have always come to naught, and all who fight against the people of the Most High will continue to come to naught.
Brigham expanded on this concept, telling the Saints not to fear detractors:
Who that has lifted his heel against Joseph has ever prospered, from the day he found the plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, until now? No man. So it will be with all others who leave this community thinking to injure them. Show me the priest, the church, the people, the state, or nation, that will prosper in lifting the heel against the kingdom of God, which is built up upon the earth. They cannot prosper in such a course. Do not be fearful, brethren, you and I will live here just as long as the Lord wishes us to. If I have fears about anything, it is that you and I will not live our religion; if we do this I am at the defiance of all the wicked.
Brigham realized, and mentioned his tendency to get a little overexcited when discussing those who "lifted their heel" against the Church. In so doing, he preached a short sermon admitting to his sometimes hyperbolic remarks, and reminding himself to be still and remember God is in charge:
I sometimes become excited when I talk about them, and so do my brethren. Why? Because we are made of flesh, blood, and bones, like other men, and sometimes our feelings are warm, when we think about the conduct of our enemies. But what do the pure principles of the Gospel teach us? "Be still, and know that I am God, that I rule in the heavens above, and perform my pleasure on the earth, and that I turn the hearts of the children of men, as the rivers of water are turned?" He asks no odds of anybody. Who does He call upon to counsel Him, to dictate Him in the affairs of His rule on the earth? He is the Father, God, Etc, Maker, Preserver, and Redeemer of man. He holds in His hands the issue of all things, and will judge every man according to his works.
He then made a comment that would give his enemies fuel to their claims that Brigham Young refused to be directed by the Federal government, that he was a law unto himself:
I will be Governor so long as God permits, and we will live here, and have hard winters and unfruitful summers, and suffer the ravages of the destroying insects-what for? To bring us to our senses; I am thankful for it.
This statement was used to "prove" that Brigham believed as the leader of a "theocracy" in the west he could do whatever he wanted, and fly in the face of Federal instruction. He would be led to offer explanatory remarks months later. When taken in context it is easy to see he believed he was governor under the province of God, and could just as easily be removed from that position, which he was during the Utah war on 1857. Footnotes: [1] The judges were Perry E. Brocchus and Lemuel G. Brandenbury. The judges arrived in Salt Lake over a year after their initial appointments, and only stayed for about one month before going back east. Personal conflict with Brigham Young led them to believe and report that Brigham, the Governor, wouldn't work with any non-Mormons. Brigham particularly disliked Brocchus, who gave an inflammatory speech in the Tabernacle regarding the chastity of Utah women. See Leonard Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, pg. 228-230.

November 28, 2007

"Stand so near each other that the devil cannot get between us"

Heber C. Kimball March 23, 1856 Brother Heber was emphatic on the theme of following the prophet.[1] This sermon reflected strongly his desire for people to listen to Brigham Young, and stand by him. He also emphasized that Saints are responsible for their own salvation; the every day duties of a Latter-day Saint:

Can I save you? No, I can only advise a righteous course, and encourage and aid in walking therein, it then remains for them to take the course which I advise, and I always advise people to adopt that policy which Joseph taught and advocated, and which brother Brigham now lays before us, from day to day. This is what will save you, and you cannot be saved upon any other principle. I have power to save myself, and if I do not save myself, who will save me? All have that privilege, and naught can save us but obedience to the commandments of God.
You say that you have repented and been baptized for the remission of sins, that you have received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, that you pray, pay your tithing, and day by day, fulfill all the duties required at your hands; such a course is saving in its nature.
Unity in these matters would lend more to overall unity of the Saints; an important principle for the growing Church, and an important principle for salvation. God wants a united people, a Zion people (see Moses 7:18). Heber knew division and contention leads to apostasy, and gave a "key" from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
I will give you a key which brother Joseph Smith used to give in Nauvoo. He said, that the very step of apostasy commenced with losing confidence in the leaders of this Church and kingdom, and that whenever you discerned that spirit, you might know that it would lead the possessor of it on the road to apostasy.
This principle didn't only apply to Church leadership, but to all:
If then you have got this spirit in your hearts, or in your families, and if brethren and sisters, husbands and wives are contending and quarreling one with another, I say, there is the spirit of apostasy, there is a place where the Spirit of God does not abide in its fulness. Do you suppose that God, His Son, the Holy Ghost, or angels will dwell in a house where there is quarreling and loss of confidence in the leaders of His appointing? Would you stay in such a habitation? Then let us banish all strife and contention; let no children contend against their parents, nor wives against their husbands, nor any one against the authorities which God has established. This should be the course in every family, and in every quorum, and let all be actuated and governed by the pure spirit and principles of eternal truth. Let my family take my counsel, as I take the counsel of my President, and they will go into celestial glory, where I am bound to go by walking in that path.
The scriptures contain multiple pleadings for unity and love. The Lord warned "if ye are not one, ye are not mine," (D&C 38:27) and commanded the Nephites that they must cease all disputations (see 3 Nephi 11:28-30). In the great intercessory prayer of Christ, he plead that his disciples could be one, as He is one with the Father (see John 17:11-23). Paul told the people of Corinth to have no divisions among them, and to be perfectly joined together (see 1 Corinthians 1:10) just as Alma's church in the wilderness had their hearts knit together in unity and love (see Mosiah 18:21). Heber believed the unifying principle was love; and it would fortify all against the danger of falling:
I desire to stand in my place, to be beneficial to the Saints, to go in and out before the house of Israel, pure and holy. This is my character, and these are my wishes, notwithstanding my weaknesses, which I admit; and this is the character of brother Brigham, and I know it. God bless his soul forever, and he shall live forever, and go into the courts of glory, and enjoy the society of the Father, of Jesus, and all the Apostles; and I will be along with him there, and so will my brethren who are faithful. We will stand so near each other that the devil cannot get between us, and let all our brethren do the same. Every family should do so, and if they all did, what trouble would there be? What could the wicked do if all the Saints stood faithful in their own places?
What could the wicked do? Footnotes: [1] Another post based on a Heber sermon about following the prophet is "He that receiveth you receiveth me".

November 27, 2007

Brother Vernon: No Less Serviceable

Brigham Young
March 16, 1856

In a powerful editorial moment of the Book of Mormon, the record compiler pauses to heap praise upon the famous Captain Moroni, saying if all men could be like him the very powers of hell would be shaken forever (see Alma 48:17). Two verses later, Mormon comes back down to earth a little and remembers to mention the others:

Now behold, Helaman and his brethren were no less serviceable unto the people than was Moroni; for they did preach the word of God, and they did baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken unto their words (Alma 48:19).
The sensational people and stories may get more airtime, but for each of those there are countless others in the background doing their duty in quiet ways. Brigham Young took a moment in this particular discourse to highlight an "every-day" Latter-day Saint who might not make the front page of the Deseret News (est. 1850), but through his plodding efforts deserved commendation:

There are thousands of individuals in these valleys, and I may say thousands within this City, men, women, and children, who are constantly minding their own business, living their religion, and are full of joy, from Monday morning until Saturday night. On this account, they do not obtrude themselves and their acts upon the notice of the public, hence, they are known but by few.

Probably my beloved brother Vernon, who has spoken to you this morning, is not known by many of this congregation, for since his arrival in our midst he has been quietly and industriously practicing the principles of our religion.

For this reason a formal introduction of brother Vernon to the congregation might by some have been deemed necessary, but with me “Mormonism” is, “Out with the truth,” and that will answer our purposes, and is all we desire.

Who was this "brother Vernon"? Brigham yielded a small but important clue:

Brother Vernon came here with Elder Taylor, when he returned from Europe. He is not known except by a few of his associates, who have been laboring with him at the Sugar Works.
John Taylor served a European mission in the 1850s when he became aware of the possibility of producing sugar in Utah. Soon, Elder Taylor started up a private enterprise to ship sugar machinery and employees to Utah. After being located at Temple Square for a time, it was moved south of Salt Lake to a settlement which was subsequently named "Sugar House."[1] A man named Joseph Venables Vernon accompanied Elder Taylor to Utah. His story was detailed in 2002 by a descendant who was interested in family history who discovered his name on a family group sheet in her mother's genealogy book.[2]

Though we remember John Taylor, it seems there were others around him who were "no less serviceable." Brigham continued:

Brother Vernon came here with Elder Taylor, when he returned from Europe. He is not known except by a few of his associates, who have been laboring with him at the Sugar Works. But, suppose he had been guilty of swearing in the streets, of getting intoxicated, of fighting, and carousing, he would have been noted character, and there would hardly have been a child but what would, by this time, have known brother Vernon; and the expressions would have been, "O, he is the man we saw drunk the other day, the one whom we heard swear and saw fight; the one who was tried before the High Council for disorderly conduct, or reproved before a General Conference for his wickedness."

But brother Vernon is almost entirely unknown, because he has lived his religion, kept the commandments of God, and minded his own business. So it is with many in this City, they are known but by few, they live here, year after year, and are scarcely known in the community, because they pay attention to their own business.
They live their religion, love the Lord, rejoice continually, are happy all the day long, and satisfied, without making an excitement among the people. This is "Mormonism." I wish we were all so, I should then indeed be very much pleased.
Brigham envisioned a Zion society where everyone lived as "one," and happiness would reign. He saw reality around him, however, and knew that even if a Zion society was not immediately forthcoming, a personal Zion was just as important. Take personal responsibility for your happiness:

I think such a state of society would answer my happiness, not particularly my spiritual enjoyment, for I know that in that particular I must be happy for myself. I must live my religion for myself, and enjoy the light of truth for myself, and when I do that all hell cannot deprive me of it, nor of its fruits.

My spiritual enjoyment must be obtained by my own life, but it would add much to the comfort of the community, and to my happiness, as one with them, if every man and woman would live their religion, and enjoy the light and glory of the Gospel for themselves, be passive, humble, and faithful; rejoice continually before the Lord, attend to the business they are called to do, and be sure never to do anything wrong.
If all men were like unto Brother Vernon...

All would then be peace, joy, and tranquility, in our streets and in our houses. Litigation would cease, there would be no difficulties before the High Council and Bishops' Courts, and courts, turmoil, and strife would not be known. Then we would have Zion, for all would be pure in heart.

I should be pleased if we had a few more thousands of such men as brother Vernon. That class, I am happy to say, is increasing, this I can truly say, for the encouragement of this community.
Brigham believed- no matter what circumstances he may be placed in- his happiness was his responsibility. He also looked forward to a better society, and though he often preached on improvement, he occaisionally gave the Saints in the territory credit for how things were running generally, especially considering they were such an eclectic group of people:[3]

When we reflect upon how many strangers we gather to these valleys, those who formerly believed some of the various creeds of the day, which did not fully inform them upon the principles of the Gospel, who come clothed upon with many of the diverse traditions and customs of different nations and neighborhoods, and how harmoniously they mingle, how few differences exist among them, how little strife and wickedness, it is a subject full of consolation.

Still there is much more strife than we should have, yet, with all, consider how easily, under these varied circumstances, we get along, how easily we pass the time, and with what little difficulty. I can say in truth, for the comfort and credit of this community, that the Latter-day Saints are indeed improving.
Brigham knew every brick was important if the wall was to stand for eternity. The gospel plan is such, he taught, that it would rightly govern one individual. And if the individual, then two, and so on. (We are talking about reigning as kings and priests, queens and priestesses unto God, and some of us can't keep or desks organized!):

The very rudiments of the Gospel of our salvation teach the principles best adapted to control the child, and if so, of course, best designed to guide his steps when he has advanced further in life. And if best for instruction in the government of one, they must be for that of two, and if for that of two, then they must needs be for that of a family, of a neighborhood, of a nation, and of the whole earth.

No man ever did, or ever will rule judiciously on this earth, with honor to himself and glory to his God unless he first learn to rule and control himself. A man must first learn to rightly rule himself, before his knowledge can be fully brought to bear for the correct government of a family, a neighborhood, or nation, over which it is his lot to preside.
So the rank and file plod along, learning to take care of their individual stewardships. Some might wish they had a larger stage on which to perform. Some might simply wish they could do more to further the cause of God, regardless of the recognition. Think of Alma, when he wrote:

O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
He concluded, however:

But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me. Alma 29:1-3).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell discussed how we can be content with our allotments, even when they are less desirable; perhaps especially when they are less desirable. People like Alma and Brother Vernon experience a sort of spiritual tranquility in whatever they may encounter. As Elder Maxwell pointed out, "Paul described it as 'godliness with contentment,' signifying the adequate presence of attributes such as love, hope, meekness, patience, and submissiveness (1 Tim. 6:6)."

He mentioned the allotments some must "pass through," and some one must "live with." Location, relationships, occupations, setbacks; life itself is the testing ground, and though it differs for all, "what we are and what we do" with what we have is what matters; be our allotment large and conspicuous, or small and seemingly unnoticed; Christ sees even the sparrow that falls.[4]

Brother Vernon must have understood the lesson David O. McKay learned as a young, discouraged missionary in Scotland. His attitude was turned around by a simple stone carving that said "Where e're thou art, act well thy part."[5]

Where would I be without my mother, who goes largely unrecognized for raising her children? without faithful seminary teachers like Brother Read and Brother Richardson, or without Various teachers and other great examples of faith or scholarship who have helped me become who I am? They acted well their part, and they are "no less serviceable" to me than the prophets and apostles. Brother Vernon and many other saints of the rank and file won't likely be on tonight's news, but theirs is a holy and important calling nonetheless.

In the end, accolades, recognition and applause will not save our souls; what we have become through steady faith in Christ will fill us with charity, "the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him" (Moroni 7:47).



For more on the sugar experiment (which was a costly failure at least until the 1900s) see B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1930, 3:88, 395-402; Charles L Schmalz, "The Failure of Utah's First Sugar Factory", Utah Historical Quarterly, 56:1 (1988);
Leonard Arrington, Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience, 123; Robert A. Burton, Paul Alan Cox, "Sugarbeet Culture and Mormon Economic Development in the Intermountain West," Economic Botany, Volume 52, Number 2 (April, 1998), pp. 201-206; Nate Oman, "The Quandary of the Sugarbeets," Times and Seasons, Jan. 31, 2008.

From "Vernon, Utah's First Sugar Project," , last accessed 11/15/2007.

The Vernon family lived in Hull, England, shown by the census of 1851.


Joseph, 43, b. Winsford, Cheshire
Margaret, 42, b. Northwich, Cheshire
Christiana, 20, b. Liverpool, Lancashire
John, 16, b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Eliza Brenton, 11, b. Hull, Yorkshire
Emily A., 7, b. Hull, Yorkshire
Horatio, 1m., b. Hull, Yorkshire

Next to John's name was scribbled in pencil "disappeared 1854." It appears he was killed by an Indian after accompanying his father to Utah to aid in the sugar works.

Joseph Venables Vernon traveled to America in 1852 on the ship, "Niagra", with John Taylor. That boat docked in Boston. John Venables Vernon, the son, traveled on the ship "Rockaway" with the sugar machinery purchased in England. That ship docked in New Orleans, then brought the machinery up the Mississippi River to St Louis, Missouri, where they joined up with John Taylor's party. From here they took the massive machinery (it took 52 wagons to carry it all) 1200 miles. The Sugar project became a failure when they found they did not have all the necessary equipment or experience.
Thanks to Virginia Andrus, who located and provided the photograph of Brother Vernon.


For more on community and unity see "A Visit to the Southern Settlements: The Miracle of Unity."

Neal A. Maxwell, "Content With The Things Alloted To Us," General Conference, April, 2000.

Cherished Experiences from the Writings of David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss [1955], 174–75.

November 26, 2007

"Realize from whence your blessings flow"

Brigham Young March 16, 1856 After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States saw an increase in the mentioning of prayer. In the October General Conference of 2001 Henry B. Eyring described the circumstances:

The world seems to be in commotion. There are wars and rumors of wars. The economies of whole continents are faltering. Crops are failing from lack of rain in places all over the earth. And the people in peril have flooded heaven with prayers. In public and in private, they are petitioning God for help, for comfort, and for direction. You have probably noticed, as I have in recent days, that prayers have not only become more numerous but more heartfelt. I often am seated on the stand in a meeting near the person who has been asked to pray. I have listened recently with wonder. The words spoken are clearly inspired by God, both eloquent and wise. And the tone is that of a loving child seeking help, not as we might from an earthly parent but from an all-powerful Heavenly Father who knows our needs before we ask. Such a turning to fervent prayer when the world seems out of joint is as old as mankind. In times of tragedy and danger, people turn to God in prayer... The great increase in heartfelt prayer, and the public acceptance of it, has been remarkable to me and to others. More than once in recent days, someone has said to me with great intensity and with a sound of worry in the voice, "I hope that the change lasts." That worry is justified. Our own personal experience and God's record of His dealing with His children teaches us that. Dependence on God can fade quickly when prayers are answered. And when the trouble lessens, so do the prayers.

Elder Eyring said the Book of Mormon repeats that sad story over and over again:
From the book of Helaman, "O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?" (Helaman 7:20). And later from the same book, after God had answered prayers with gracious kindness, the awful pattern is described again: "And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him. Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him (Helaman 12:1-3). And now, from the next words of that same scripture, we learn why it is we forget so easily the source of our blessings and cease to feel our need to pray with faith: "O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom's paths! Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide" (Helaman 12:4-6).[1]

Brigham Young expressed similar sentiments during the drought and famine of 1856. Brigham was perfectly satisfied with the circumstances; he believed they were calculated to remind saints that they depend on God:
I tell you honestly that I do not know when I have been more thankful, in all my life, than I have to see the pinching hand of want compel every man and woman to pray God our Father, to give us day by day our daily bread. It makes me happy, inasmuch as the people will not otherwise understand that the Lord does feed them. In years of plenty their understandings seemed closed to this fact, they did not appear to realize that the Lord made the earth fruitful, and caused it to yield its fruit bountifully. And while our flocks and herds were increasing upon the mountains and plains, the eyes of the people seemed closed to the operations of the invisible hand of Providence, and they were prone to say, "It is our own handy-work, it is our labor that has performed this."
It seems we are all prone to wander to a certain extent:
It seems to be so interwoven with our nature, while we are blessed and surrounded with all the comforts of the earth to forget that the Lord furnishes these things to us, Then I say that I rejoice, when the Lord brings us into circumstances calculated to make us aware that if we are fed it is Him that feeds us, that if we are clothed it is Him that clothes us, for we cannot do it ourselves, that if we get bread to eat, from this until harvest, it must be the hand of the Lord that furnishes it, for of ourselves we cannot obtain it. I am glad to see you brought into a state where you may begin to think and realize from whence your blessings flow. The Lord rules and reigns.

Keeping an eye single to God's glory can help carry us through in times of want. Our circumstances in life are calculated to stretch us, and we would do well to learn from Job, who, in the midst of his terrible trials, said:
And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21).
The scripture then says "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly" (Job 1:22).
In other words, we might be brought to a state where we must acknowledge the Lord rules and reigns; if so, let it be an exalting, rather than damning experience. Heber C. Kimball encouraged the Saints to be grateful even, if not especially, in times of want:
I have seen the time in Nauvoo, the last time I went to England, when I could sit down with my family and eat all we had in the house, and then not have half enough. I never was so poor in my life as I was then, and I was sickly and afflicted. Was I happy? Yes, just as happy as I am now, and just as comfortable in my feelings. I always felt as thankful when I had not anything as when I had plenty; I feel as thankful with a little as I do with ever so much. But I have heard some people say, that they could not ask God to bless a jonnycake, and feel thankful for it. I could mention many such characters, people who are never thankful, only when they have an abundance. I am thankful when I have a little; I am thankful now, and I never was more so than I am this day, for there is a prospect of some people learning a lesson, though I doubt very much whether all will (Journal of Discourses 3:252).[2]
Gratitude, especially or at least for another day to learn. Footnotes: [1] Henry B. Eyring, "Prayer," General Conference, October 2001. [2] Heber C. Kimball also used this instance to emphasize the importance of following the prophet; see footnote one in Taking Safety in Prophetic Counsel.