Recently, an old friend of mine gave me a book by an emeritus general authority named Gerald N. Lund. He is the author of one of my favorite books, The Alliance, which is a science fiction allegory to agency and its vital role in our lives. This book my friend gave me is a little different from The Alliance. It’s called Divine Signatures.
In it, Lund describes divine signatures as follows, “Sometimes, the Lord sends His blessings in such a highly unusual, dramatic, or precisely timed manner, that it might be likened to a ‘divine signature.’ It is as though the Lord ‘signs’ the blessing personally so that we will know with certainty that it comes from Him” (p.20).
As I’m reading Divine Signatures, I’ve been reflecting on moments in my life where divine signatures have been influential in my testimony and the growth of my personal relationship with God. There are many small ones and a few rather large ones. And I feel that we could all benefit from reflecting on these signatures in our lives.
The title of this post is from one of the displays in our gallery that has been quite intriguing to me. What an honor to be called “God’s student!” What qualified Joseph Smith to receive this title? His learning came through a pattern of study, experience, and revelation. As we gain our education in this same way, we too can be God’s students.
Joseph’s example of study was an incredible one. When he had questions, he did all he could to find the answers. When confronted with the realization that he did not know which church to join, he sought for answers by studying the scriptures, talking to his parents and family, attending various religious services, and asking questions of the local ministers and church leaders.
Much of our learning will come in the same way. In fact, it often feels like this is the only way we are to learn while here at BYU. We spend hours studying, memorizing, and doing all we can to learn and understand the material we will be tested on. While this is an important part of the learning process, it is only that: a part.
I’ve often reflected on how Mary Magdalene felt upon finding a dark, empty tomb where she had
hoped to see the body of her beloved friend and teacher.
Of course, she had once been taught the doctrine of the resurrection, but, as His death became a reality, I suspect that the image of His prophesied glorious return must have proved an almost unimaginable one – even for such a faithful woman.
I think we’ve all stood with Mary Magdalene at some point in our lives. Maybe we haven’t seen the empty Garden Tomb, but we’ve had moments when our futures looked a bit bleak. We’ve all felt the loneliness creep in perhaps at the loss of a loved one or at the end of a good chapter in our life’s book.
A few weeks ago my nephew, who is three, called me and asked me if I would come play with him and his younger brother. I was swamped with class work and a busy schedule but decided I could spare an hour.
We went on a hike up a steep hill that was slippery from snow and had trees and other woodland obstacles. My older nephew was able to make it up the hill more or less by himself, while my younger nephew required my help. So we hiked the hill hand in hand and followed the trail blazed by his older brother.
As I helped my younger nephew and called out for the older one to wait for us, or to be careful, I found myself in an allegory. The times we learn most in this life are often the ones that are most challenging. My young nephew came to a branch in the pathway and looked at me for help, but I told him he could do it. He tried and with some intense two-year-old effort, he made it. Heavenly Father is always there to help us, but often lets us try it ourselves: He wants us to realize what we are capable of.
Upon being accepted into BYU, I made plans to make the journey by car all the way from North Carolina, to Provo. The 2,200 mile trip would pan out to take about 35 hours and would require that I drive through the night and day to complete the trip within 3 days. Although I dreaded the drive, I accepted this fate and bore through it the best I could.
I recall driving through areas in Nebraska and Wyoming where the only adjustments I made in the car were not in the steering wheel, but in my seat to lay back. The flat and open road soon began to bore me, and I began to complain about my situation.
“Why couldn’t my parents just have flown me out to Utah?” In my bitterness and complaining, I remember that I stared out of the window only to see the open plains that lie ahead of me.
As the end of the semester is nearing, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the long “to do” lists we all have. Studying, cleaning checks, studying some more, final projects, switching apartments, getting in those last minute hours at your internship, figuring out what your summer plans are, etc. The list never ends!
On a particular stressful day with a very long list of things to accomplish, I was walking through the exhibit and began to read about Susa Young Gate’s life. The first line of her display says “Susa Young Gates was a prolific writer, adept educator, advocate for Women’s rights, leader in the LDS Church, early organizer of the Church’s genealogy program, and mother of thirteen.” Read more
Flump! I throw myself on the bed. One midterm and two essays down. Glancing at my alarm clock, I start to calculate: 5 hours till I wake up. My nose peaks over the edge of the bed. It’s sitting there staring at me from the top of a pile of books. I’ll skip-just for tonight. I turn off the lights: I’ll read tomorrow night. A minute slips by. I guess I could read it tomorrow during dinner. Ten minutes slip by. I could even read it tomorrow at lunch. Twenty minutes slip by. I could always read it at breakfast. Thirty minutes slip by. Or I could just read it now! I reach to the side of my bed to grab the Book of Mormon.
My mother always taught me to respect the scriptures: never throw them, put them on the floor, or ignore them – so many people have sacrificed so much for us to have them. Read more
I love working in the Education in Zion Gallery because it is unlike any other space on campus. I am privileged to enjoy the peaceful quiet beauty of the gallery almost every day. But what is it that makes this space so peaceful?
“I have been asked what I mean by ‘word of honor.’ I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls–walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground–there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I’d die first!”
Karl G. Maeser knew what it meant to stand by your honor. Do you?
One Saturday I was standing in the student section, cheering on the Cougar basketball team, when a flood of school pride came over me. Our team is having an awesome season. Then thoughts came streaming through my head about how we are so fortunate to have such nationally esteemed teams, programs, faculty, and opportunities. Read more