The image of the Destroyer riding on the waters (verse 19) can be be very confusing to youth. In some instances the Destroyer is an angel of God, at other times is can be the Devil. See Exodus 12:23, D&C 105:15, D&C 86:5, Revelation 8-10, 15-18 where in all of these instances the destroyer is a servant of God doing His will. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote that in this circumstance, the destroyer was the adversary (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:224-25). Whatever the case may be, servants of God are promised protection when they are doing God’s will- see D&C 61:6, 16
The main point of this section is that the elders are chastened for not talking to people while they are on their journey. The Lord wants them to open their mouths and talk with everyone- D&C 61:3. How many times do youth not open their mouths (D&C 60:2-3) and share the gospel with their friends? How often are we so busy rushing around that we don’t take time to really “be” with the ones that we love?
Why is this so? Most youth responded that they don’t want to look stupid. This fit perfectly with our previous discussion from section 58. The Lord wants a people who are not afraid of looking dumb, but are willing to take risks to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” Another reason the youth expressed for not opening their mouth is that they do not want to offend their friends by sharing the gospel with them.
What is an application to the youth today? How can a young person make sure that people around them are not “perishing in unbelief?”
I shared a story of my friend John who was in college in Southern California. He was dating a girl at the time who was a member of the church, but he did not know this. During his first year in college he had a knock on his door. It was the missionaries. He let them in, heard what they had to say, and received a copy of the Book of Mormon. He wanted to learn more, but was moving and told the missionaries to come to his new location. They could not do this because he was out of their area.
Time passed after his move and he did not hear back from the missionaries, so he went looking for them. He found a church and was put back in touch with the missionaries and was taught the gospel. After he had prayed and received confirmation of the truthfulness of the gospel and was committed to be baptized, he told his girlfriend that he had found a new faith and wanted to share this with her.
When he informed her that he was joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she told him that she was a member of that same church and had never told him!
This story sad on one level, humorous on another and remarkable on all points. Clearly the Lord was trying to get through to my friend John. He used every means at His disposal to introduce John to the church. Sometimes we don’t listen to the Lord as he tries to work through us, to get us to “open our mouth” (D&C 60:2).