The Other Side of the Fence

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“The Other Side of the Fence,” New Era, Sept. 2003, 34

The Other Side of the Fence

On my family’s ranch in Idaho, we have about 40 horses. We break some of our horses to ride, but most of them we use to raise colts to sell. I learned many things from working with those horses, but I never expected to learn something about the gospel from them.

On our ranch is a 60-acre hill that doesn’t receive much water. In early summer, we put the horses on this hill to eat the grass that grows after the spring rain. One summer, there was a severe drought in our valley, and our horses had picked the hill clean of all its grass. My dad decided it was time to move the horses down to the meadow, which was covered in lush green grass.

Under the direction of my father, I opened the gate to allow the horses into the new pasture. A few of the horses immediately ran through the gate and began to eat the untouched grass, but the rest of the horses stayed on the barren hill. I tried to herd them through the gate by chasing them, but they wouldn’t go. Then I broke a bale of hay in front of the gate to lure them through, but that didn’t work either. The horses seemed content to eat the few blades of grass on the hill instead of coming through the gate.

My dad asked me to drive his truck up the hill and herd the horses through the gate while he did some work on the irrigation ditches. I was excited because my dad didn’t give me permission to drive his truck very often. But my excitement turned to disappointment. Whenever I would get the horses headed in the right direction, one old mare would take off in the wrong direction, leading the herd away from the gate.

I drove the truck faster than before, trying to herd those stubborn horses off the hill. With all my yelling, the horn honking, and a cloud of dust rising up from the hill, my dad came over from the ditches to see what was going on. I was hot and frustrated, and explained to him that I couldn’t get the horses through the gate. We both tried to herd them through with no success. Finally, we decided to leave them, hoping they’d come through the gate on their own, sooner or later.

As I walked back to the truck, feeling frustrated, I thought, “I bet this is how God feels with us sometimes.” As I pondered that, the gospel really came alive to me. I realized that sometimes we become content with the things of this life and we forget that our real destination is a “greener pasture” in God’s kingdom. When we’re headed in the right direction, Satan, like the old mare, tries to tempt us away from the path. Jesus Christ is our gate to greener pastures. He is the only way we can return to our Heavenly Father and have everlasting life (see Mosiah 3:17).

On my mission, I see a lot of people stuck on a barren hill, seeking for something better. I try to help them find and enter the gate that leads to Heavenly Father’s presence.

I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us and wants us to return to Him. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of the world and open the gate that leads to exaltation. I hope that we can all help each other enter the gate and find the greener pasture.

Come unto the Lord

Jacob taught, “Come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name” (2 Ne. 9:41).

Illustrated by Greg Newbold