The beginning of Doctrine and Covenants 101 addresses the essential nature of trials and correction in mortality: 1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance— 2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions; 3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels. 4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son. 5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
The saints in Missouri are told that the Lord is allowing them to be tried, and later, He tells them that this is due to their lack of building the temple (see D&C 101:43-54). While there were many horrible things that happened to the saints in Missouri during this period, there was a silver lining to this scenario.
Zions Camp came about as a result of the Missouri persecutions. Many of the future leaders of the church were trained in moving a large number of people across difficult terrain under adverse conditions. Brigham Young was in this group of future leaders. Many individuals who would break under adversity left the church, which in a way, helped to strengthen the resolve of those who stayed true under the fire of adversity.
While the need for adversity can be a difficult thing to really get youth to buy into to, there is one example all the young people can identify with right now. It seems as if all the youth where I teach seminary are smitten by what I like to call “Jimmermania”. If we as teachers can use modern examples of the truths that we are teaching, it helps the youth to identify with what is being taught.
Jimmer Fredette played at Mount McGregor prison to help him to play effectively in a hostile environment. Jimmer credits his playing at the prison for his ability to focus and do so well when playing in road games.
Fredette’s older brother first became interested in playing against prison inmates when a mutual friend of his suggested it. The experience was positive enough that he encouraged his younger brother to come with him when his senior season at Glens Falls High School ended in 2007.
From the gun-toting guards, to the barbed wire fences, to the pages of liability paperwork he had to sign before entering, Jimmer Fredette vividly remembers everything about his initial visit to Mount McGregor. Most of all, however, he recalls his anxiety walking through the door to the gym and seeing the bleachers packed with inmates clad in prison garb.
If sign-toting, hate-spewing Mountain West student sections thought they could intimidate Fredette the past four years, they should have considered the taunts and catcalls he endured that day from the all-inmate crowd. Considering that inmates at Mount McGregor committed crimes ranging from drunken driving to drug trafficking to manslaughter, they were probably a tad more menacing than a few hundred college kids dressed as missionaries at SDSU.
“It was intimidating for sure,” Fredette said. “They packed the bleachers, they were rowdy and they said whatever they wanted to you. They would bet cigarettes or whatever they had on the outcome of the game. Most of the time they didn’t want you to win because they had friends on the other team.”
Many of my students ask: “well, did he win?”
I answer their question with a question: “what do you think?” (for the complete story see: http://bit.ly/gnNyrC )
See also: Jimmer Fredette takes no prisoners http://aol.it/gJIRhQ