Not Separated

An Israelite woman named Naomi lived in Moab for many years. Both of her sons married Moabite women. After her husband and both sons died, Naomi decided to return home, and she encouraged both of her daughters-in-law to return to their families. One of them, Orpah, agreed and affectionately bid farewell to Naomi. But Ruth wanted to remain with her mother-in-law. “Entreat me not to leave thee,” she said, “or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law is admirable and was a source of strength to them both as they relocated to Israel.

Shortly before Lehi died, he blessed his children and grandchildren. He also gave a special blessing to Zoram, the servant of Laban who had accompanied the family to the promised land. “I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever,” he said. “Wherefore, because thou hast been faithful thy seed shall be blessed with his seed, that they dwell in prosperity long upon the face of this land” (2 Nephi 1:30-31).

Many generations later, Alma and Amulek supported one another during times of distress. When Alma was hungry after begin rejected by the people in the city of Ammonihah, Amulek welcomed him into his home and nourished him for many days (Alma 8:21-27). Subsequently, when Amulek was rejected by his friends and family because of his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Alma “took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord” (Alma 15:18).

A week before the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, Joseph encouraged his brother to flee to safety. “I advised my brother Hyrum to take his family on the next steamboat and go to Cincinnati.” Hyrum replied, “Joseph, I can’t leave you” (Joseph Smith, “History of Joseph Smith,” The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Apr. 19, 1862, 248, quoted in M. Russell Ballard, “Shall We Not Go On in So Great a Cause?” General Conference, April 2020).

The official announcement of their martyrdom contains the following declaration about these two brothers: “In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3).

Today, I will strive to emulate the steadfast devotion of Ruth, Zoram, Alma and Amulek, and Hyrum Smith. I will stay close to family members regardless of the circumstances and prioritize relationships over personal comfort and convenience.

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