Stay With the Brethren
My husband and children are blessed to have a couple of pioneer ancestors named Jonathan and Olive Boynton Hale. Jonathan and Olive were baptized in 1834 and gave their all in living the Gospel and helping to establish the Church in its early days. Jonathan served missions, assisted building both the Temples and served as a Bishop in Nauvoo, even helping to direct the exodus from that city when the Saints were driven away. Olive was his faithful companion and helpmeet in all that he did, bringing eight children into the world and keeping their home and family together through separations, moves and persecution. They were no strangers to the challenges that faced early members of the Church.
In the late summer of 1846 the Hales were camped with a group of Saints in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Jonathan was continuing his service as Bishop, assisting those who were arriving and preparing to travel westward and Olive had just given birth to their eighth child, when their camp was struck with malaria. Jonathan took ill first. Sensing that the end was close, he called his family around him and gave them these instructions, “Stand by the faith and continue with Brother Brigham and Brother Heber to the Rocky Mountains. It is God’s work and we must not fail. Do not be persuaded to turn back, even though our relatives insist upon it. Go with the Church and God will bless and preserve you.” Shortly hereafter, he passed away. Olive also caught malaria, and just four days later she also called their children to her bedside. She reiterated her husband’s counsel to stay with Brothers Brigham and Heber and to stay true to the faith, then she turned to her eldest son, just eighteen years old and asked him to see that this was done. When he promised, she smiled and said she could now “go with Jonathan” and she passed away.
This faithful couple fully knew what they were asking of their children. They had suffered with the Saints of their era and knew that their childrens’ earthly lives would likely be full of hardship and trial and yet they both counselled them to do whatever it took to stay with the leaders of the Church and with the faith. They recognized that in the Gospel of Jesus Christ there was an eternal value that could not be matched by all the security and ease the world might offer. Theirs is good counsel for us today as the world drifts ever farther and more rapidly away from the laws of God—stay with the brethren and stay true to the faith. I am grateful for His watchmen on the towers who were prepared and called by Him to lead His church in the latter days and for the legacy of faith given to us by the early pioneers.