Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sarah Studevant Leavitt

I know, I know, my parents are modern pioneers, and they have fabulous conversion stories (I’ll post my mother’s tomorrow). But growing up, I felt I couldn't relate when people told stories about their pioneer ancestors. So it was a pleasant surprise for my husband to look over my shoulder as I was reading about Sarah Studevant Leavitt’s conversion and say “wow, I’m related to her.” :) I'm now part of the club through marriage.


Sarah was born in Lime, New Hampshire. She grew up in a religious home, where her parents taught her to pray and read the bible, and where visitors from many Christian denominations discussed religion. Sarah married Jeremiah Leavitt in 1817, moved to Canada shortly thereafter, and started her family.

She gives the following account of a vision that she had as a young mother:


When I was getting ready for bed one night, I had put my babe into the bed with its father and it was crying. I dropped down to take off my shoes and stockings; I had one stocking in my hand. There was a light dropped down on the floor before me. I stepped back and there was another under my feet. The first was in the shape of a half moon and full of little black spots. The last was about an inch long and about a quarter of an inch wide. I brushed them with the stocking that was in my hand and put my hand over one of them to see if it would shine on my hand. This I did to satisfy others; as for myself, I knew that the lights were something that could not be accounted for and for some purpose. I did not know what until I heard the gospel preached in its purity. The first was an emblem of all the religions then on the earth. The half moon that was cut off was the spiritual gifts promised after baptism. The black spots were the defects you will find in every church throughout the whole world. The last light was the gospel preached by the angel flying through the midst of heaven and it was the same year and the same season of the year and I don’t know but the same day that the Lord brought the glad news of salvation to Joseph Smith. It must have been a stirring time among the heavenly hosts, the windows of heaven having so long been closed against all communication with the earth, being suddenly thrown open. Angels were wending their way to earth with such a glorious message--a message that concerns everyone, both in heaven and earth.


Sarah shared this vision with her relatives and those in the community, and she states that many individuals increased their commitment to God as a result of her vision. She joined a Baptist church because she wanted to be baptized by immersion, but was looking forward to finding the church God restored to the earth. When her sister-in-law confided in her that she had been baptized, and shared Joseph Smith’s vision and mission, she knew she had been told something important. She read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, and believed in them whole-heartedly. She and her family set out to join the Saints in Kirtland, the first of many migrations she would make to gather with the Saints.


In the interest of space, my account is going to stop here, but she is a woman of remarkable courage and faith. She suffered many hardships and persecution along the way. She not only survived a serious illness, but survived a serious illness during her migration to Salt Lake. She gave healing blessings to members of her family that were in need. She had visions that sustained her faith and let her know that the Lord was mindful of her needs.


What inspires me most about Sarah’s conversion is the way that she looked for guidance from the Lord as she went about her life. I’m amazed that while her baby was crying and she was exhausted, she was able to recognize this vision from the Lord. I often try to compartmentalize my life, keeping "communication with God" in its own separate place, but Sarah’s example reminds me of the importance of being in tune to receive the Lord’s guidance whenever he offers it.


Sources:


History of Sarah Studevant Leavitt, ed. Juanita L. Pulsipher (n.p., 1919)

2 comments:

Jon W. said...

My wife is a direct decendant and I have to say after reading a part of her life story she is amazing.

Thanks for this.

Marjorie said...

Thank you for what you posted on your blogg. I am writing a Reader's Theater for our Relief Society and like you said there was practically nothing on her. She had eleven children, have they not written about their mother, grandmother or greatgrandmother?