Elder Steven E. Snow’s full-faced grin reflected the tone of his talk Tuesday morning during BYU’s weekly devotional.
Elder Snow, executive director of the Church History Department, encouraged students to avoid life’s stumbling blocks and to turn them into stepping stones.
“Well, brothers and sisters, there are many other stumbling blocks which will undoubtedly threaten your future progress,” Elder Snow said. “When they do, if you have prepared they will become seasons of learning in your life. Rather than times of setback and loss of faith, these experiences themselves will become stepping stones of spiritual strength for your eternal progression.”
He mentioned three specific stumbling blocks: pride, pessimism and modern technology.
Regarding pride Elder Snow said, “Pride can blind us from danger. If we are caught up in ourselves and our own well-being, we become more susceptible to the enticing of the adversary.”
Elder Snow also explained how members of the Church should shun negativity and replace it with optimism.
“Life is sometimes hard because it is supposed to be,” he said. “If we tend to focus on only those things in our lives which do not go as we intend, we will miss the marvelous blessings we otherwise enjoy.”
Elder Snow included counter-arguments to help students combat negative thoughts.
“When we say, ‘I’m too tired’, the Lord says, ‘…I will give you rest,’” Elder Snow said. “When we say, ‘Nobody really loves me,’ the Lord says, ‘I love you.” When we say, ‘I can’t do it,’ the scriptures teach us, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’”
The third stumbling block is modern technology — a tool he said can be used for good or bad.
“Stumbling blocks are often cleverly disguised,” said Elder Snow. “Let the advancements of today’s modern technology be a springboard in your lives, not a stumbling block.”
Video games were a specific block he mentioned.
“Resist the urge to spend too much time on video games and avoid violent and inappropriate games altogether,” Elder Snow said. “This kind of entertainment can become strangely addictive. In 10 years we do not want to find some of you bright young people living in your parents’ basements playing video games and surviving on Cheetos.”
Elder Snow pinpointed the Church as the best way to avoid stumbling blocks.
“I can testify the more I learn of our Church, its doctrine and its history, the stronger my testimony becomes,” Elder Snow said. “To achieve a proper balance I encourage you to continue to pay attention to your spiritual well-being by praying, studying the scriptures and keeping the commandments.”
Ashley Sones, a freshman from Morgantown, W.Va. studying biology, said she gained a new perspective from the devotional.
“I thought that it was fantastic,” Sones said. “The spirit was so strong. I really loved Elder Snow’s talk. “I think (it) really stood out to me, in that I need to be more optimistic and willing to recognize the Savior is in my life and carrying me along the way.”
Stuart Montenegro, a freshman from Las Vegas, was also impressed with Elder Snow’s words.
“I like what he said about being optimistic,” Montenegro said. “I’ve tried to be optimistic and I’ve definitely seen a difference in when I was optimistic and when I wasn’t. Just be optimistic, come what may and love it.”
Next week’s forum speaker will be Judge Thomas B. Griffith, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.