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Lesson 12 - The Pioneer Tradition and the True Church

TitleLesson 12 - The Pioneer Tradition and the True Church
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1957
AuthorsNibley, Hugh W.
Manual TitleAn Approach to the Book of Mormon
PublisherThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsEarly Christian History; Wilderness

The Israelites always looked back upon the days of the wandering in the wilderness as the true schooling of the Chosen People and the time when they were most nearly fulfilling the measure of their existence. The concept of man as a wanderer and an outcast in a dark and dreary world is as old as the records of the human race. The desert has always had two aspects, that of refuge and asylum on the one hand, and of trial and tribulation on the other: in both respects it is a place where God segregates and tests his people. Throughout the history of Israel zealous minorities among the people have gone out into the wilderness from time to time in an attempt to get back to the ways of the Patriarchs and to live the old Law in its purity, fleeing from Idumea or the wicked world. This tradition remained very much alive among the early Christians, and is still a part of the common Christian heritage, as can be seen from numerous attempts of Christian groups to return to the ways of Israel in the desert. Only the restored Church of Jesus Christ, however, has found itself in the actual position of the ancient saints, being literally driven out into the desert.