Yesterday Nick and I taught our 10 year old primary class about the extermination order from church history. Since I am sure you are already familiar with the story, I will only share my insights here in this post.
But before I go into that, I wanted to briefly state how great I think my class members are. I'm a little nervous for the kids that come in to our class next year. I'm not sure if they will be as smart and amazing as these kids are. For example, one of my class members (I overheard) telling a friend how she had received a special painting of Christ as a reward for finishing reading the Book of Mormon for the 4th time. Keep in mind that this little girl has only had her tenth birthday this year. I think the first time I read the Book of Mormon on my own was when I was 14, because of Seminary. So I was impressed by that. But also these kids know the gospel so well. When they get up and bear their testimonies, it is not some trite repetitious thing. They are actually speaking from the heart. I don't think I can bear to move out of this ward anytime soon just because of them. They amaze me in little ways every week, and I feel like I'm learning more from teaching them sometimes than they are learning from me.
Anyway, onto the thought about our lesson...
In the back of each lesson are questions that the teacher(s) are supposed to ask class members after they have taught the lesson. Occasionally I read some of the questions and realize that even though we just taught the lesson, I don't know the answer to the question. They don't always put the answer to the question right in the book, so apparently you are supposed to be paying attention to what you are teaching. (I thought I had been doing a good job of that.)
Anyway, so the question that stumped me this time was "Why did the early church members have to suffer through all that persecution, and eventually get exterminated from Missouri?"
At first thought my impression was because of the wickedness of the non church members. But that didn't seem to be the right answer. So I had them look up the scripture reference in D&C 105 to be sure.
Long story short, it was because of their (members) lack of obedience.
So, how can we learn from this? Obviously it is our lack of obedience that causes us to suffer. If we are keeping the commandments then what else can God do but bless us for doing so? And not just that, but oftentimes it is a direct natural result of keeping the commandments that we are spared any problems. For example if we are building up a food storage then we will be prepared for any famine or financial trouble that might happen to us. God gives us commandments because He loves us and wants us to be happy. Let us trust in Him and show it dutifully by choosing the better part everyday.