I am continually fascinated by the forethought that the early members of the church displayed (namely Joseph Smith but others as well) in recording the events of things happening around them. The level of detail here is exhaustive. There are letters to government officials, and responses and correspondence between missionaries and even notes from one member to another and minutes from meetings of the twelve. I have no doubt that nearly any question of events in the early part of the church can be answered by searching through these volumes.
I wonder if the people at the time new and understood how important this record keeping was or if they just did it by blind faith, like Nephi. The Lord said ‘keep a record’, so he did.
I know much of our church history is also corroborated by the faithful writings of Wilford Woodruff at the behest of Joseph Smith. This is another case of curiosity to me. Did he know that his writing would some day be an invaluable record that confirms many of the things that Joseph Smith and others wrote about (‘in the mouth of two or three witnesses…’) or did he just do it because he was asked to?
That makes me think about how many times I’ve been asked to do something and I start to ask questions. Why? Why me? Wouldn’t it be easier to…? Most of the things we’re asked to do are not that difficult. Write in a journal regularly – it doesn’t even have to be every day. Go to church. Read scriptures. Listen to and obey the commandments. Why then does it feel so difficult sometimes?
I find that sometimes the simple faith of those early saints is a powerful lesson. It reminds me of when my son was only 18 months. I asked him to throw something away. He thought I was talking about the cookie that I had just given him so he walked to the trashcan and threw it away. No questions.
Heavenly Father won’t tell me to throw away my cookie unless I need to. Perhaps that is the reason for President Kimball’s well-known phrase – ‘Just do it.’