Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Elder Bruce R. McConkie on the great caravan of the latter-day church

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (July 29, 1915–April 19, 1985) served as a Seventy from 1946-1972 when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve.  He served in that assignment until his death from cancer at age 69.
"Now,  I have what every true disciple has. It is called the testimony of Jesus. In our day it includes the revealed knowledge that the earthly kingdom—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—will triumph. In this connection may I set before you this illustration:
The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.
"What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travellers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.
"Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on.
"Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on.
"Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on!"
- Bruce R. McConkie, "The Caravan Moves On," General Conference October 1984
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This is classic Elder McConkie. In my mind I can still hear his bold, clear voice declaring this testimony of the Church and its strength and power in our lives. He was certain of the promises that God's kingdom on earth would eventually triumph over all its foes, and this imagery helped to put our responsibility in perspective:

The grand key is the statement, "all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest." While it's easy to abandon the caravan under threats of "predators" or to fall by the wayside in discouragement when the way is difficult, this reassurance is clear: there is only one way to reach the eventual promised land. "Thank God that the caravan moves on!"

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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