This is not a story about Missouri, this is rather a personal story. It is an important one in my faith experience. If you look at the Missouri experience and to a lesser extent Nauvoo many of the Saints were driven out, most of which took very little and in some cases took only the clothes on their back. A year later I was in the MTC.
When I was 19 I left my parents house looking to explore the world. I took with me everything of significance. After about a year I ended up living with a group of guys who were less than savoury. I was not active at the time in the Church so for me I was exploring many of those things the World is proud of.
After living with these people for about four months while they sponged more and more money off of me and I accomplished little. I felt that I was left in a situation with people who were not going to get me where I needed to be. I thought back of the things I had read and been taught and decided that I needed to change my life.
Of course this was encouraged by a my former roommates who took most of my belongings, tossed my clothes out, and kicked me out into a wet and depressing day. At that point I then walked for about 2 miles back to a friend’s house carrying about 15% of my original belongings.
I then spent a week sick and weary at this friend’s house. At the end of the next week I returned to my parents’ house more humble and more receptive.
So what does this have to do with Missouri?
I was reminded of this experience reading Life on Gold Plates yesterday and the experience of Heber C Kimball. He described how because of the persecutions he suffered he had about three items left from when he left his parents house. Because of his beliefs he was left with little of his past life before he arrived in Utah.
For me this hit home because I associate my re-conversion, and all that has occurred since then, with this event. It was one of those events that completely covers all of your life. I feel almost as if there was two lives, my life before my mission, and the one I have lived since then.
I remark on this because it has been almost 20 years since I left my parents house and began my struggle to understand what God had in store. The biggest lesson I have taken since that time was that possessions are not important as faith or listening to the spirit. That is not a trite statement, for me it was and is the honest truth.