Strangers and Pilgrims

Season 1 – Death of the Prophet Joseph Smith

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Yellow Canaries with Gray on their Wings

Thomas S. Monson, who just died two weeks ago, gave a talk in the Mormon Church's General Conference back in 1973.   In one part of the talk he said:

When the Savior was to choose a missionary of zeal and power, he found him not among his advocates but amidst his adversaries.  Saul of Tarsus made havoc of the church and breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord.  But this was before the experience of Damascus Way.  Of Saul, the Lord declared: ". . .he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: . . . I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."

He then went on to say:

Saul the persecutor became Paul the proselyter . . . Both Paul and Peter were to expend their strength and forfeit their lives in the cause of truth. The Redeemer chose imperfect men to teach the way to perfection. He did so then. He does so now—even yellow canaries with gray on their wings.

I have always been fascinated that out of the 100s and 1000s of followers Jesus had on the earth while he was alive, that the one dude he chose to be his apostle to the Gentiles was a guy who wasn't even a follower while he was alive.  And, in fact, he was an enemy of Jesus.

And, Paul would even go on to have a lot of fights with the other apostles in Jerusalem.  And, have fights with his missionary companions.  He was a stubborn dude.

I think it's easier to look at Paul, who lived 2000 years ago, as stubborn and difficult and still accept his apostleship than it is to look at apostles and prophets that live today who might be stubborn and difficult and accept their apostleship, or divine callings.

Jesus said that no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 

So, when it comes to telling stories about prophets and apostles who live in our day and age, It can be hard to give an accurate portrayal, of the yellow canary with gray on their wings -- because no one wants to see that portrayal.  Everyone wants a yellow canary.  No one wants gray.