Education Week: ‘Why has this happened to me?’ and other powerful questions about trials


At BYU’s Education Week Brad Wilcox and John Hilton III spoke about the importance of the questions asked by LDS General Authorities during General Conference.

Hilton quoted Elder Tad R. Callister saying, “The power of a good question is of inestimable worth. In many ways, it is like a mental alarm clock … It is a catalyst that jump-starts our mental engines.”

Hilton and Wilcox examined four questions from previous general conference sessions to discuss within the class:

John Hilton III talks about the trials that Lehi endured with his sons Laman and Lemuel. Hilton and Brad Wilcox co-taught a lesson about trials in people's lives. (Maddi Driggs)
John Hilton III talks about the trials that Lehi endured with his sons Laman and Lemuel. Hilton and Brad Wilcox co-taught a lesson about trials in people’s lives. (Maddi Driggs)


1. “When I have tried all my life to be good, why has this happened to me?”

This question came from President Henry B. Eyring’s April 2012 Saturday Morning Session address, Mountains to Climb.

People who have this question are in “pretty good company,” according to Hilton, who explained that Joseph of Egypt, Noah, Nephi, Mormon and Lehi were good, faithful people who had many trials.

“I think if we ask (I’ve been so good, why is this happening to me?) to Mormon, he would say join the club,” said Hilton.

In talking about Lehi and his trails, Hilton pointed out that while some aspects of Lehi’s life were good, he had many difficulties and sorrows over his two eldest sons Laman and Lemuel.

Hilton quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk An High Priest of Good Things to Come paraphrasing that blessing will may not come now, but they will come.  He concluded by quoting President Eyring’s ‘Mountains to Climb’ talk.

“I cannot promise an end to your adversity in this life. I cannot assure you that your trials will seem to you to be only for a moment,” said President Eyring. “If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing…We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word.”

2. “What do I want my grandchildren to know?”

This question came from Sister Linda S. Reeves’s April 2014 Saturday Morning Session address, Protection from Pornography–A Christ-Focused Home.

Wilcox tackled this question focusing on the impact of pornography on families. He mentioned various statistics from a Washington Post article. The article’s statistics showed the correlation and causation of pornography to crimes and/or other inappropriate behavior.

Quoting Elder Holland’s speech about pornography at the Utah Coalition Against Pornography Conference, Wilcox said “(Pornography) continues to rend the very moral fabric of our society…thats because in every case, it rends the moral fabric of each individual who views…’and it is an ‘actual threat of pornography.”

Wilcox recommends that people should recognize the threat, talk openly about it to others and their children, ask younger children questions such as “When was the last time you saw pornography?” or “What do your friends say about pornography?” make sure those who need it reach out for help, set small goals, and form healthy attitudes about sex with youth.

Wilcox compared pornography addiction to counterfeit money, and discussed the curious appeal many have to magazine covers stating things like “10 secrets to great sex.”

“We are convinced that in our little Mormon bubble we are missing something. Everybody in the world knows secret number 10. Everybody in the world knows all this stuff but we don’t know this stuff because we are in our little Mormon bubble,” said Wilcox.

He said that those who feel this way have it backwards because with the gospel members are the ones who understand the God given blessings of intimacy. He brought the room to laughs by claiming he was going to write “one of those sex secret articles.”

“Its going to be called the ‘Best kept sex secret in the world’,” said Wilcox. “And everyones going to open the magazine to open read my article and its going to say the Law of Chastity.”

He concluded this part of the class by reminding people that worthiness was not flawlessness. Worthiness is honesty.

3. “Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”

This question came from Elder David A. Bednar’s April 2014 Sunday Morning Session address, Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease.

Hilton took these questions on by discussing how a trial could crush someone or give someone the traction they need to improve.

There are three responses to a trial, as show in Exodus 14:10-16 when the Israelites were at the bank of the river with the Egyptians behind them. The first response was to ask why it happened to me, the second to not be afraid, and the third to move forward.

Hilton mention how each person has unique burdens but if they live according to God’s will they will have the spiritual traction they need to move forward.

4. “How do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love?”

This question came from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2014 Saturday Afternoon Session address, Like a Broken Vessel.

Wilcox told participants that each individual has a place and a purpose, since everyone is going through their own personal Plan of Salvation.

Each individual person’s personal Plan of Salvation gives them “the best shot for Godhood,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox challenged those in the room to listen to the questions asked through out their classes at Education Week, because they could be a mental alarm clock for their lives.

Wilcox and Hilton are the co-writers of the book 52 Life Changing Questions from the Book of Mormon.

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