I love listening to Hank Smith and John Bytheway in their Come, Follow Him podcast and YouTube series, called “Follow Him.” They do one, sometimes two videos a week featuring a guest presenter to discuss the Come, Follow Me scripture reading assignment. When they do two it’s because they break up the discussion/presentation into two parts. Last week they featured Susan Easton Black Durrant, one of my favorite female scholars. You can read about her here and here. I love the connections they all make to help me understand the gospel better. This past week’s reading involved the story of a man named James Covel. He was a Methodist minister and a contemporary of Joseph Smith. In Doctrine and Covenants 40, he was told by the Lord Jesus Christ in a revelation to Joseph Smith to get baptized into the church that Joseph restored and move to Ohio from New York with the church members, to establish Zion.
Spoiler alert: Susan said that he didn’t. As a Methodist minister, he probably knew the Bible backwards and forwards. He had the potential for great leadership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He, however, turned it down because of the “cares of the world,” no doubt his desire to stay in his current position of social esteem and church leadership. Hank compared him to Len Bias.”Hey,” I thought, “I remember hearing the story of Len when I was in high school.” Hank said that Len had better college basketball stats than Michael Jordan. He was a top pick in the NFL draft. The night after the draft he tragically died of a drug overdose. Oh, this is such a sad story! Can you imagine Len’s future? He probably could have been greater than Michael Jordan, based on his stats. To drive the point home, Hank asked, “Do you want to be like James Covel and Len Bias, someone who ‘could have been’ great?” It’s definitely something for us to each ponder, and decide what we want to change so we aren’t a “could-have,” a “would-have,” or a “has-been.”