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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"The Prince and the Pauper"

"An important lesson about condescension is found in Mark Twain’s classic novel The Prince and the Pauper. Twain tells of two boys: Tom Canty, a poor boy who lives in a hovel in London; and Prince Edward of Wales, heir to the throne of England.
"Tom has always dreamed what it would be like to be a prince. One day he decides to go to Westminster Palace in hopes of getting a glimpse of Prince Edward. Edward comes out of the gates of the palace and greets the waiting throngs. Tom is so excited that he presses up against the gates and tries to call the prince. The soldiers at the palace roughly push Tom away.
"Seeing this, Prince Edward becomes angry with his guard. He tells the soldiers to leave the boy alone and then invites Tom into the palace as his guest. Prince Edward gives Tom a tour of the palace, and then, on a whim, the boys decide to exchange clothing. As they look at each other in the mirror, they realize that they are practically twins. While dressed in each other’s clothing, they step outside. The soldiers grab the pauper (who is really the prince) and throw him outside the gates. Prince Edward yells that he is the prince, but all the gathered people only laugh at him. The soldiers then close the gates. Suddenly the poor boy is the prince in the palace, while the prince is the poor boy in the street. Neither one can convince anyone to believe in the mix-up.
"During the months that Prince Edward is outside the palace, he endures many trials. Tom Canty’s father finds him, thinks the prince is his son, takes him home, and beats him. Edward experiences hunger that he’s never known in his palace comfort. He travels throughout England, trying to determine how he can be restored to the throne. As he does so, he witnesses the poverty and oppression of his people, and he sees firsthand the grave injustices of the law. He suffers for months as a homeless pauper, and on one occasion he’s nearly killed.
"Through a remarkable series of events, the mix-up is finally resolved, and Prince Edward is restored to the palace. In the meantime he has inherited the throne and become the king of England. King Edward honors Tom Canty for his service as an accidental “prince,” and ever after Edward serves as a merciful, good, and compassionate king, having learned to love his people by his suffering." ~The Prince of Glory by Elder Bruce D. Porter (Dec 2009 Ensign)

This story parallels that of our saviour Jesus Christ. "We too have a prince who became a pauper. The Prince of Peace, the Prince of Glory, the Lord Jesus Christ came down to live among His people and share in their poverty and suffering so that He might be a more compassionate king" (The Prince of Glory by Elder Bruce D. Porter, Dec 2009 Ensign). He live with His father, sitting on his father's right hand in his own throne, and yet he came down here and suffered poverty, persecution, illness, and pain, all so He could understand how we feel.

Because He has suffered all he pleads before the father saying,  “Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son. … Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name” (D&C 45: 4-5)

“'Since not all human sorrow and pain is connected to sin, the full intensiveness of the Atonement involved [Christ’s] bearing our pains, infirmities, and sicknesses, as well as our sins' [Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004)].
"Serious illnesses, family tragedies, and emotional struggles do not happen necessarily because we have sinned. Adversity and heartbreak happen to good people; such is the fruit of a fallen world. But having experienced tragedy, sickness, and disappointment in His own life, the Savior knows how to strengthen us in such trials as well. He is there not only when we cry out from the burden of sin but also when we cry out for any other reason.
"The power of the Atonement also covers the consequences of sin in the lives of innocent people. We pay no eternal price for things over which we have no control, including harm done to us by others. The Atonement can heal us. The only thing for which we pay a spiritual price is misuse of our own agency, and for that the Savior has given us the Atonement" (The Prince of Glory by Elder Bruce D. Porter, Dec 2009 Ensign).
The Atonement is real! It has the Power to save us from our sins, as well as to rescue us from our afflictions. Look to Jesus Christ and allow his Atonement to lift us up.

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