Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the “Mormon Church” by friends of other faiths), have been counseled by their leaders to “prepare every needful thing” (Doctrine and Covenants 109:8) so that, “should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others” (Food Storage). Mormons follow this counsel by adhering to the words found in the Book of Mormon, “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (3 Nephi 13:33) and also by having a basic supply of food storage, water storage, and some money in savings. When we prepare, as God would have us prepare, we should be confident and fearless, regardless of the trials that may come. God will always provide protection when we listen to Him.
In a book titled, Be Not Afraid—Only Believe, written by Ted L. Gibbons, and published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc., we learn of how the proper preparation can yield protection:
All His Hail and His Mighty Storm
The story of the three pigs can teach us a lesson about preparing for divine protection. The safety to be found behind walls of straw, sticks, and bricks can help us consider what kinds of walls will actually keep us safe when the wolf comes to our door. Because he will come, with his huffing and puffing, with his “mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea . . . all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon [us]” (Helaman 5:12).
We do not build many straw or stick houses. Pigs don’t either. But sometimes we do put up walls around ourselves that are made of materials that cannot withstand the winds any better than hay and branches. Our bank accounts and our mansions may not protect us against the winds that will blow. Nor will our amazing collections of the things of the world or our infatuation with the honors of men (see D&C 121:35). These will blow away like leaves in a hurricane. We need to get behind better walls than these if we hope to be safe.
Ancient Babylon had walls unlike the walls of any other city in recorded history. The most conservative estimates of their length and size suggest huge obstacles designed to repel every enemy.
King Nebuchadnezzar, who conquered Jerusalem just after Lehi (the first prophet in the Book of Mormon) departed for America, lived from about 630 BC to 562 BC. He ruled Babylon for over forty years. It was during his reign that the city of Babylon attained its greatest power. The city was built on the bank of the Euphrates River, about thirty miles south of modern Baghdad, Iraq. The great city had towering walls. Some accounts indicate that these walls were 9 miles long, 80 feet thick, and 320 feet high, and included 250 watchtowers and 100 bronze gates. The walls were surrounded by a deep moat also designed with the walls to keep the city safe from invasion.
Walls around ancient cities had only one purpose of course: protection. The formula was simple. The higher and thicker and stronger the walls, the safer the people within. Babylon, ruling most of the known world, had walls fashioned to resist the weapons of the greatest armies that could be assembled. And for a number of years the walls did exactly that. Enemies hurled themselves against the stone battlements and died or retreated in defeat. Then Cyrus came.
After a useless siege of two years, Cyrus found a way past the walls. The Euphrates river followed a channel that ran underneath the great wall of Babylon. His armies diverted the river and made it flow into a huge marsh near the city, leaving a broad, unguarded, muddy highway for his soldiers to follow into the city. The Babylonians inside the city were not worried. They had their great walls. With an army at their gates, they spent the night of the attack eating and drinking. By the time they discovered their danger, the city was filled with enemy troops who conquered Babylon and ended a dynasty…
I Will Not Put My Trust in the Arm of Flesh
Nearly all of us labor without ceasing for our own security. Such efforts may be necessary, but if we are not wise, they may do us more harm than good by conveying a sense of false security. Nephi (Lehi’s son, and also a prophet) wrote, “I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm” (2 Nephi 4:34).
Our own carefully constructed walls—in better houses, larger and more productive bank accounts, diversified stock portfolios, faster and more expensive cars, or redundant levels of personal and financial safety—will never be sufficient to protect against the Satanic storms that blow through this world (Helaman 5:12; 3 Nephi 14:26, 27), and the divine judgments of the next. Jesus made this point in a parable:
The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:16–21).
Of course we ought to build some barns. We ought to do what we can for our own welfare, but we must remember that all we can do will never be enough unless we obtain the protection the Lord offers. We must remember that to be truly safe there is only one place we can go to—the one truly impenetrable wall. (pages 101-104)
Always remember the truth from the words of a modern day apostle, Russell M. Nelson, who said, “obedience to the commandments of God will provide physical and spiritual protection. And remember, God’s holy angels are ever on call to help us” (“Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign, May 2011). I know these truths are of God and that they are real. I invite you to “come unto Christ” (Moroni 10:30-32) by praying about these truths and acting upon the impressions you receive from the whispering of the Holy Spirit. After all, don’t we all enjoy the feeling that comes from being protected?
This article was written by Ashley Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.