A few weeks ago, I hurt my knee and it hurt really bad. For a few weeks, I stayed home part of the day, elevated my knee and put ice packs on it. During this time I watched a lot of TV, including several hours of BYUTV. One of the programs I watched was stories about men who decided they knew better than Brigham Young and the Quorum of the 12 how the Church should be administered and led. Some of these were Sydney Rigdon, James Strang, a Brother Cutler, and some others whose names I have forgotten.
I was amazed at how many there were. I had known that Sydney Rigdon had started a church, but I had never heard of the others. They all called their churches by names like "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Strangites)," etc. James Strang was a convert to the Church several months before the Prophet Joseph was martyred and was a very good friend of the Prophet. He had been sent to Wisconsin by Joseph to see if he could find a place for the Saints to gather. He was a very charismatic man and decided that he knew the will of Joseph, so after the martyrdom he began preaching to the Saints that he had been sent to lead them to Wisconsin. He was very convincing, apparently, because thousands of the members of the Church followed him. At one time his church had almost as many followers as Brigham.
This caused me to begin thinking about my family who were in Nauvoo at that time. I realized that I had eight sets of great-grandparents living in Nauvoo who were all members of the Church and not one of them left the church to follow any of those men! What a testimony builder that was for me. They were all really converted to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They had all received strong witnesses that this Church was the one and only true Church on the earth, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Lord had designated Brigham Young as his successor. They believed that so strongly that they followed the brethren across the plains to Salt Lake. They believed that so strongly that they went on missions, some proselyting, some colonizing, and lived the gospel to the best of their abilities. How blessed I am to have been born into this strong family. How blessed I am that this great family helped establish what Elder Oaks calls the culture of the Church. How blessed I am that all of my progenitors lived this culture and passed it down to me so that I could live it until my testimony was strong enough to sustain me through trials and tribulations. I thank Heavenly Father for this great blessing.