Where Is the Pavilion?

in the depths of his anguish in Liberty

jail the Prophet Joseph Smith cried out

Oh God

where art thou and where is the pavilion

that covereth thy hiding place many of

us in moments of personal anguish feel

that God is far from us the pavilion

that seems to intercept divine aid does

not cover God but occasionally covers us

God is never hidden yet sometimes we are

covered by a pavilion of motivations

that draw us away from God and make him

seem distant and inaccessible our own

desires rather than a feeling of I will

be done create the feeling of a pavilion

blocking God God is not unable to see us

or communicate with us but we may be

unwilling to listen or submit to his

will and his time our feeling is of

separation from God will diminish as we

become more childlike before him that is

not easy in a world where the opinions

of others human beings can have such an

effect on our motives but it will help

us recognize this truth God is close to

us and aware of us and never hides from

his faithful children my three-year-old

granddaughter illustrated the power of

innocence and humility to connect us

with God she went with her family to the

open house of the Brigham City Temple in

Utah in one of the rooms of that

beautiful building she looked around and

asked mommy where is Jesus

her mother explained that she would not

see Jesus in the temple but she would be

able to feel his influence in her heart

there lies a carefully considered her

mother's response and then seemed

satisfied and said oh Jesus is gone

helping someone she concluded no

pavillion obscured

Eliza's understanding or obstructed her

view of reality God is close to her and

she feels close to him she knew that the

temple is the house of the Lord but also

understood that the resurrected and

glorified Jesus Christ has a body and

can only be in one place at a time if he

was not at his house she recognized that

he must be in another place and for him

for what she knows of a Savior she knew

that he would be somewhere doing good

for his father's children it was clear

that she had hoped to see Jesus not for

a confirming miracle of his existence

but simply because she loved him the

spirit could reveal to her childlike

mind and heart the comfort all of us

need and want Jesus Christ lives knows

us watches over us and cares for us in

moments of pain loneliness or confusion

we do not need to see Jesus Christ to

know that he is aware of our

circumstances and that his mission is to

bus I know from my own life that Eliza's

experience can be our own belong after

we leave childhood in the early years of

my career I worked hard to secure a

tenured professorship at Stanford

University I thought I had made a good

life for myself and for my family we

live close to my wife's parents and very

comfortable surroundings by the world

standards I had achieved

success but I was given by the church

the chance to leave California and go to

Rick's College in Rexburg Idaho my

lifetime professional objectives might

have been a pavilion dividing me from a

loving father who knew better than I did

what my future could hold but I was

blessed to know that whatever success I

had in my career and family life to that

point was a gift from God and so like a

child I know that prayer to ask what I

should do I was able to hear a quiet

voice in my mind that said it's my

school there was no pavilion shielding

me from God in faith and humility I

submitted my will to his and felt his

care and closeness my years at Rick's

college during which I tried to seek

God's will and do it kept the pavilion

from covering me or obscure God's active

role in my life as I sought to do his

work I felt close to him and felt

assurance that he knew of my affairs and

cared deeply for my happiness but as

they had at Stanford worldly motiva gate

motivations began to present themselves

to me one was an attractive job offer

extended just as I was finishing my

fifth year as president of Rick's

college I consider the offered prayed

about it and even discussed it with the

First Presidency they responded with

warmth and a little humor but certainly

not with any direction president Spencer

W Kimball listened to me described the

offer I had received from a large

corporation and said well wow that

sounds like a wonderful opportunity and

if we ever needed you we'd know where to

find you

they would have known where to find me

but my desires for professional success

might have created a pavilion that would

make it hard for me to find God and

harder for me to listen to and follow

his invitations my wife sensing I had a

strong impression but she felt that we

were not to leave Rick's College I said

that's good enough for me

but she insisted wisely that I must get

my own revelation and so I prayed again

this time I did receive direction in the

form of a voice in my mind that said

I'll let you stay at Rick's College a

little longer my personal ambitions

might have clouded my view of reality

and made it hard for me to receive

revelation 30 days after I was blessed

with the inspired decision to turn down

the job offer and stay at Rick's College

the Teton dam burst nearby God knew that

dam would burst and that hundreds of

people would need help

he let me seek counsel and gain his

permission to stay at Rick's College he

knew all the reasons that my service

might still be valuable at the college

and a Rexburg so I was there to ask

Heavenly Father frequently in prayer

they would have me do those things that

would help the people whose property and

lives had been damaged I spent hours

working with other people to clear mud

and water from homes my desire to know

and do his will

gave me a soul stretching opportunity

that in his incident illustrates another

way we can create a barrier to knowing

God's will or feeling his love for us we

can't insist on our timetable when the

Lord has his own I thought I had spent

enough time in my service and Rexburg

and it was in a hurry to move on

sometimes our insistent on an insistence

on acting according to our own timetable

can obscure his will for us in Liberty

jail the Prophet Joseph asks for to

punish those who persecuted the members

of the church in Missouri his prayer was

for sure and swift retribution but the

Lord responded that in not many years

hence he would deal with those enemies

of the church

in the 24th verse of the 120 1st section

of the Doctrine and Covenants he says

behold mine eyes see and know all of

their works and I haven't reserved a

swift judgment in the season thereof for

them all for there is a time appointed

for every man according as his work

shall be we remove the pavilion when we

feel and pray thy will be done and in

vine own time his time should be enough

for us since we know that he wants only

what is best one of my daughters-in-law

has spent many years feeling that God

had placed the pavilion over her she was

a young mother of three who longed for

more children after two miscarriages her

prayers of pleading grew anguished as

more barren years passed she felt

tempted to anger when her youngest went

off to school the emptiness of her house

seemed to mock her focus on motherhood

so did the unplanned and even unwanted

pregnancies of acquaintances she felt as

committed and consecrated as Mary who

declared Behold the handmaid of the Lord

but although she spoke these words in

her heart she could hear nothing in

reply hoping to lift her spirits her

husband invited her to join him on a

business trip to California while he

attended meetings she walked along the


dee Beach her heart ready to burst

she prayed aloud for the first time she

asked not for another child but for a

divine errand

Heavenly Father she cried I will give

you all of my time please show me how to

fill it she expressed her willingness to

take her family wherever they might be

required to go that prayer produced an

unexpected feeling of peace it did not

satisfy her Minds craving for certainty

but for the first time in years it

calmed her heart the prayer removed the

pavilion and opened the windows of

heaven within two weeks she learned that

she was expecting a child the new baby

was just one year old when a mission

call came to my son and my

daughter-in-law having promised to go

and do anything anywhere

she put her fear aside and took her

children overseas in the mission field

she had another child on a missionary

transfer day

submitting fully to heaven's will as

this young mother did is essential to

removing the spiritual pavilions we

sometimes put over our heads but it does

not guarantee immediate answers to our

prayers Abraham's heart seems to have

been right

long before Sarah Sarah conceived Isaac

and before they received their promised

land heaven had other purposes to

fulfill first those purposes included

not only building Abraham and Sarah's

faith but also teaching them eternal

truths that they shared with others on

their long securities route to the land

prepared for them the Lord's delays

often seem long some lasts a lifetime

but many are always calculated to bless

they need never be times of loneliness

or sorrow or impatience although his

time is not always our time we can be

sure that the Lord keeps his promises

for any of you who now feel that he is

hard to reach I testified that the day

will come that we will all see him face

to face just as there is nothing now to

obscure his view of us there will be

nothing to obscure our view of him we

will all stand before him in person like

my granddaughter we want to see Jesus

Christ now but are certain reunion with

him at the judgment bar will be more

pleasing if we first do the things but

make as familiar to us as we are to him

as we serve and we become like kin and

we feel closer to him as we approach

that day when nothing will hide our view

the movement toward God can be ongoing

called Chi me blessed of my father

inherit the kingdom prepared for you

from the foundation of the world the

Savior teaches and then he tells us how

quote for I wasn't hungry and he gave me

meat I was thirsty and you gave me drink

I was a stranger and he took me him


any clothing I was sick and he visited

me I was in prison and he came unto me

then shove-it righteous answer him Lord

when saw we thee an hungred and fed thee

or thirsty and gave thee drink when saw

we thee a stranger and took thee in or

naked and clothed thee or when saw we

thee sick or in prison and came under

the and the King shall answer and say

unto them verily I say unto you inasmuch

as ye have done it unto one of the least

of these my brother he attended to me as

what as we do what he would have us do

for his father's children the Lord

considers it kindness to him and we feel

close of him as we feel his love and his

approval in time we will become like him

and we'll think of the Judgment Day with

happy anticipation the pavilion that

seems to be hiding you from God may be

fear of man rather than this desire to

serve others the saviours only

motivation was to help people many of

you as I have have felt fear and

approaching someone you have offended or

who has hurt you and yet I have seen the

Lord melt hearts time after time

including my own and so I challenge you

to go for the Lord to someone despite

any fear you may have to extend love and


I promise you that as you do you will

feel the love of a savior for that

person and his love for you and it will

not seem to come from a great distance

for you that challenge may be in a

family and maybe in a community or it

may be across a nation

but if you call for the Lord to bless

others he will see and rewarding if you

do this often enough and long enough you

will feel the change in your very nature

through the atonement of Jesus Christ

not only will you feel closer to him

you will feel more and more that you

were becoming like him then when you do

see him as we all will it will be for

you as it was for Moroni when he said

now I bit under you all affair well I

said go to rest in the paradise of God

until my spirit and body shall again

reunite and I am brought forth

triumphant through the air to meet you

before the pleasing bar of the great

Jehovah the eternal judge of both quick

and dead amen

if we serve with faith humility and a

desire to do God's will I testify to the

judgement of the great Jehovah will be

pleasing we will see our loving father

and his son as they see us now with

perfect clarity and with perfect love in

the sacred name of Jesus Christ