David James Archuleta is not a person that anyone could ever accuse of allowing the proverbial grass to grow under his feet. He returned home in early March of this year after serving an honorable two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile. Since his return, he has continued his missionary efforts through various projects that he has been involved with to include entertaining military troops overseas to speaking at a special fireside for youth in Ethiopia to a special “Face to Face” (Cara a Cara) Facebook chat in Spanish and in English. One of his latest projects include the recording of a music video for the song called “Glorious” that will be featured at the end of the new featured length film produced by The Church of Jesus Christ called “Meet the Mormons” which premiers in select theaters on 10 October 2014.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) revere the temple as a sacred place – the House of the Lord. Only faithful Latter-day Saints who hold a valid temple recommend are permitted to enter the temple to perform sacred ordinances.
As we go to the holy house, as we remember the covenants we make therein, we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation. The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls—not the peace provided by men but the peace promised by the Son of God when He said, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
When members of the Church are troubled or when crucial decisions weigh heavily upon their minds, it is a common thing for them to go to the temple. It is a good place to take our cares. In the temple we can receive spiritual perspective. There, during the time of the temple service, we are ‘out of the world.
Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems, and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can ‘see’ things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.
The Lord will bless us as we attend to the sacred ordinance work of the temples. Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service. We will be blessed in all of our affairs.
“I am still David, but I feel so different. I am not afraid to show people who I am, and I’m not afraid of what I believe. I’m not afraid for people to know that.” – David Archuleta
For the past two years, David Archuleta has placed his music career on hold while he went to labor in the Lord’s vineyard as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) in the Chile Rancagua Mission. While serving his mission, he had the time to reflect upon his life and his personal relationship with his Heavenly Father. As he stated in his first post mission interview, serving a mission gave him an opportunity to forget about David Archuleta and focus on serving others.
Even in the mission field, the Lord blessed him to be able to use the musical talents that he has been given to bless the lives of others, especially those whom he taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also had the opportunity to take part in several firesides, including two Christmas firesides that were held on the Temple grounds of the Santiago Chile Temple.
Now that he is home, he is catching up with the events of the past two years while he was away, as well as, contemplating where his life will lead him. As he has mentioned, he realizes that the Lord has blessed him with a wonderful gift of music that is to be used to bless the lives of others. David has said, “I am still David, but I feel so different. I am not afraid to show people who I am, and I’m not afraid of what I believe. I’m not afraid for people to know that.”
And so, no matter where life may take him, we can rest assured that music will be a part of it. We will have to patiently wait and see what the future holds for this incredible young man, and how his missionary service will play a part in that future. Whether or not he will return to the stage as a performer, continue to record the music that so many people have come to love, or whether he will go in a totally different direction using his musical talents, is something that will be revealed with time. For now, he needs time to re-acquaint himself with family and loved ones, and to adjust to life as now a former honorable missionary. This author, however, is certain that whatever David Archuleta decides to do, he will most certainly excel.
On Sunday, 6 April 2014, KSL.com broadcast a 30-minute documentary on David, his mission, and his plans for the future titled “David Archuleta: Called to Serve.” You can watch the program in the playlist below.
|Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, what shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. – John 6:27-29|
There are some people who make their mark on history, and then for whatever reason, seem to fade off into the sunset without anyone ever getting to know much, if anything, about them personally or about the contributions that they made. One such person in Latter-day Saint history is Brother Elijah Abel. If the question were asked, even of people who have been Church members all of their lives, “Who was Elijah Abel?”, I would venture to say that a great number of people would have no idea as to who he was or the significant role that he played in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elijah Abel was born on 25 July 1810 in Washington County, Maryland to Andrew and Delilah Abel, likely in bondage. There is some evidence that he used the Underground Railroad to escape slavery into Canada. It is certain that he eventually found his way to the first settlement of the Latter-day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, and was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in September 1832 by Ezekiel Roberts. He was a personal friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Being a skilled carpenter, in 1841 Abel and others formed a partnership called “The House Carpenters of the Town of Nauvoo.” He worked on the Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Salt Lake Temples. In 1842, in Cincinnati Ohio, Elijah married Mary Ann Adams and they had eight children.
Abel was one of the few Black members in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to receive the Priesthood. He was the first Black Elder being ordained on March 3, 1836 in Kirtland, Ohio by the Prophet, Joseph Smith Jr.
At the time of his ordination, Elijah was given a Patriarchal Blessing by Church Patriarch Joseph Smith, Sr. Following is the text of Elijah Abel’s Patriarchal Blessing, pronounced by Joseph Smith, Sr., circa 1836: 
Elijah Abel was also the first Black Seventy being ordained a member of the Third Quorum of the Seventy on 20 December 1836 in Kirtland, Ohio. His ordination was certified in Nauvoo. While living in Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo home, he was given “the calling of an undertaker” by the Prophet. In 1902 President Joseph F. Smith recalled a seventies meeting held in Utah on March 4, 1879:
Bro Elijah Able [sic] gave an outline of his history and experiences during a period of forty years. Of his being in Kirtland. Of his appointment an[d] ordination as a Seventy, and a member of the 3rd Quorum. He related some of the saying[s] of the prophet Joseph who told him that those who were called to the Melchisadec [sic] Priesthood and had magnified that calling would be sealed up unto eternal life. 
Abel was also the first Black missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Listed as a “minister of the gospel” in an 1837 edition of Messenger and Advocate, Abel served missions to Canada and New York in 1838, and another mission to Ohio shortly before his death.
His Canadian mission provoked concerns at a seventies conference in Quincy, Illinois, where Jedediah M. Grant “communicated to the council a short history of the conduct of Elder Elijah Abel, and some of his teachings etc. such as … that in addition to threatening to knock down Elder Christopher Merkley on their passage up Lake Ontario, he publicly declared that the Elders in Kirtland made nothing of knocking down one another.” 
In 1841, when Joseph Smith was illegally detained by Missouri and Illinois lawmen near Quincy, Illinois, Abel and six others attempted unsuccessfully to rescue him. By the time they reached Quincy, the Prophet had been taken back to Nauvoo.
In 1843, Abel’s desire to engage in missionary work in Cincinnati, Ohio, presented special difficulties for a traveling high council comprised of Apostles John E. Page, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, and Lorenzo Snow. Despite their respect for “a coloured Bro.,” the brethren felt “wisdom forbids that we should introduce [him] before the public … [but] Bro Abels [sic] was advised to visit the coloured population.” 
In 1853 Abel and his family migrated in the Appleton Harmon pioneer company to Utah Territory. After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley with his family, he worked at many trades, including managing the Salt Lake Farnham Hotel. He also performed minstrel shows with his family while living in Ogden.
Although Abel spent his life serving in the LDS Church, he had one desire which was denied him in this life. According to “A Book of Mormons”:
Abel had received washings and anointings in the Kirtland Temple in 1836, before the complete endowment ceremonies had been established. Though he acted as proxy in baptisms for the dead in Nauvoo and Salt Lake City, Brigham Young denied his request to be sealed to his wife and family [8 children]: that was a ‘privilege’ he ‘could not grant,’ a decision later reaffirmed by President John Taylor (Richard S. Van Wagoner and Stephen C. Walker, 4).
Toward the end of her life, one of the people Abel converted, Eunice Kinney, offered this description of his teaching: 
In Utah Abel remained a Seventy. He died on Christmas Day, 25 December 1884, at the age of seventy-four, only two weeks after his return from a proselyting mission in Ohio, where he had become ill through exposure.
Elijah Abel is buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery. His obituary which appeared in the Deseret News makes specific note of his priesthood, as it had become controversial:
Died, Elijah Abel…of old age and debility, consequent upon exposure while laboring in the ministry in Ohio… He joined the Church and was ordained an Elder as appears by certificate dated March 3rd, 1836. He was subsequently ordained a Seventy, as appears by certificate dated April 4, 1841. He labored successfully in Canada and also performed a mission in the United States, from which he returned about two weeks ago. He died in full faith of the Gospel. 
At least two of Abel’s descendants — his son Enoch and Enoch’s son Elijah — were ordained to the Priesthood: Enoch was ordained an Elder on 27 November 1900, and Elijah was ordained an Elder on 29 September 1935.
In 2002, a monument was erected in Salt Lake City over Abel’s grave site to memorialize him, his wife, and his descendants. The monument was dedicated by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The two videos above were recorded for the More Good Foundation in Orem, Utah on 14 October 2013. This is the story of my conversion to the LDS faith in question and answer format. Prior to converting to the LDS faith I was studying to become a Baptist minister. Your comments and/or questions are welcomed.
Elder Joshua Allen Burton was a dedicated pianist and composer from Cardston, Alberta, Canada. Burton, 23, began serving his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” Church by the media and others) in November 2011. He served in the Guatemala, Cobán mission.
He passed away on Monday evening, 22 July 2013, as a result of injuries he suffered when a truck he was riding in overturned on the way to a service activity on Saturday morning, 20 July 2013. In the accident he had broken his back and had undergone surgery that evening.