Church History Lesson #29 —
“Building the Kingdom in Nauvoo”
This week in I substituted in Gospel Doctrine. We led off by talking about a person who was well known as a charismatic leader. He had a fervent band of followers and he sold them on a vision of “draining the swamp” and making a city great again. That’s right folks, we’re talking about Joseph Smith and Nauvoo.
The purpose of today’s class was to lay some historical groundwork of what life was like in the city and explore explore how they built the kingdom. Also, what does “kingdom building” actually mean? Is the kingdom done yet? If not, where then is it being built? What role do we have in the process? And 170 years later, what lessons can we learn?
Nauvoo chapter of history begins and ends in tragedy — we were refugees coming in, and we were refugees going out. The city blossomed for a season as a “shining beacon on the hill” only through the work and efforts of people coming together as a patchwork of humanity. Like the temple built there, the Nauvoo Church wasn’t a monolith of one material, and neither is the fabric of God’s Kingdom to made of only one type of thread. It is a masterful interweaving of all colors, rough and smooth, young and old. In our untrained hands He entrusts the tools of kindness, tolerance, charity, and justice for all. Ours is the chance now to stand shoulder to shoulder with the master weaver and with each other in the crafting of this tapestry of humanity. It will be full of flaws, it will be uneven, and it will take a long time to develop into what he envisioned and the beauty revealed. So let us build together, learning as we go, until His work is complete, the family crest of humanity unfurled, the standard planted, and we finally say with our Lord “thy kingdom come”.