by Christy Monson
In the early 1800s, Nathaniel Thomas was a wealthy farmer, living on the Fox Islands off the coast of Maine.
Wilford Woodruff preached the gospel to the people of the islands, and Nathaniel and Susanna, his wife, were baptized. Nathaniel sold his land and home, and he committed to lead the little band of Saints from the Fox Islands to Missouri, outfitting his family and
others for the arduous journey.
Nathaniel and Susanna, daughter, Clara, age 5, son, Martin, age 2, and a new baby left their beloved island home on October 3rd,, 1838. Snow storms and bitter winds raged, hampering their journey across main land. Little Clara became ill and died on the way. Can you imagine how Susanna felt, leaving her child’s grave and knowing she would never return to it? What a price she paid for her testimony.
By the time they reached Portage Ohio on November 21st., they were spent—Clara was dead, Susanna and the baby were ill, and Martin had a cold. The family and many of the company stopped for the winter.
By the time they reached Illinois the next spring, the Saints had begun to return from Missouri to settle Nauvoo. Nathaniel died during the persecution in Nauvoo. Susanna, her small children, and her widowed mother trekked westward to the valleys of the mountains alone.
What a price they paid for their testimonies!
Several years ago we took our six children and their families to visit the Fox Island homeland the Thomas family left when they joined the church. It was truly a life-changing experience for us all.
The land is lush and green. The smell of the sea is all around. The old luxurious family home—brought piece-by-piece from the mainland and reassembled in the 1700s—has been refurbished.
The well they dug is green with moss and unused, but still a landmark. The old graveyard, decayed over the years, haunts one with visions of life before ours.
The left this green paradise to settle in the land of the sagebrush.
Testimony? They knew the truth because the Spirit bore witness to them—the sacrifice they paid was not too great.
I ask myself, “What am I willing to pay for my testimony?”
The Holy Ghost bears fervent affirmation of the Truth for me today. No offering is too great—whether it’s temple attendance, church
callings, raising a righteous family, connecting with my ancestors, or battling the evil influences of today’s society.
My contributions are different, but no less valid. My price is before me, and I will pay it willingly—a thousand times over because I love the Lord.