Leslee Thorne-Murphy speaks on finding peace


Leslee Thorne-Murphy, department of English professor, spoke at the Nov. 10, 2015 devotional on how Jesus Christ can offer lasting peace.

Natalie Bothwell
BYU English professor Leslee Thorne-Murphy speaks on having the steady influence of Christ’s peace throughout life. (Natalie Bothwell)

“This peace rarely comes as a great and emphatic epiphany,” Thorne-Murphy said. “Instead, peace suffuses our lives when we make the daily effort to invite it.”

Thorne-Murphy used examples from Victorian literature and from the scriptures to show how the Holy Ghost can bring peace during times of trouble, as promised in John 14:27.

Thorne-Murphy asked students how they can find peace in the midst of their busy lives. She said understanding Christ’s shaping role in our lives is key to feeling His peace.

“The Lord created us in the beginning, and he will continue to shape us now,” Thorne-Murphy said.

She added that Christ expects people to take a part in their own shaping, and to do this they should “cultivate a sensitivity to the Lord’s promptings.”

Thorne-Murphy brought in her field of work by examining the principles of peace in Victorian author Charlotte Yonge’s book “The Pillars of the House.”

In Yonge’s work, Thorne-Murphy said, Christian principles are learned and tested in the family. Yonge illustrates that family life is full of trials that allow mothers, fathers and children to grow.

“Underlying this narrative is a prolonged contemplation on what it means to live a peaceful life in the midst of nearly unimaginable adversity,” Thorne-Murphy said.

One of Yonge’s characters, Felix Underwood, is forced to assume responsibility for the well-being of his siblings after the death of both their parents. At 16 years old, Felix drops out of school to be able to work to support his family.

Thorne-Murphy pointed out that “Felix” means happy or having good fortune in Latin. She said she doesn’t think this character was named ironically.

“Looking at what Felix has endured, peace and happiness do not seem to be the hallmarks of his life,” Thorne-Murphy said. “Yet for Felix — charity, patience, peacemaking, humility, reverence — they have all combined to shape him into a person who is capable of enduring adversity while retaining the peace that Christ offers to us all.”

Thorne-Murphy concluded by saying the little moments people pause to remember Christ and to be more charitable invite Christ’s peace into their lives. She said Christ’s peace will not make their lives easy, but it will give them “courage and confidence to carry on.”

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