Education Week: Brad Wilcox talks on why people need Jesus Christ

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By Cole Cummings

Religion professor Brad Wilcox addresses Education Week participants at the Joseph Smith Building auditorium on Aug. 19. Wilcox displayed years of teaching experience whilst walking a young boy through the story of Saul’s conversion. (Cole Cummings)

Brad Wilcox capped off Education Week on Aug. 19 with a thought provoking and humbling address about the need of Jesus Christ in one’s life.

Wilcox, a BYU religion professor and Second Counselor in the Young Men’s General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, began his lecture by giving out imaginary graduation certificates to all Education Week participants who had decided to attend the very last lecture, praising their patience.

Intending to finish the week on a high note, Wilcox dove into a plethora of personal stories.

“I grew up with all boys and my brothers would torture me with stories of zombies and dead bodies,” Wilcox said. “They always scared me as a kid.”

He explained how as his brothers all left and returned from their missionary service, his father grew quite elderly. Shortly after Wilcox’s return from his own mission, his father passed away peacefully, with him in the same room.

“There I was, with my worst childhood fear, a dead body,” Wilcox said. “But all I could feel was peace.”

Wilcox then recalled his brothers and himself waking his mother up and telling her the news, in which she replied, “All is well, all is well.”

As Wilcox paced back and forth, this story enveloped the room in a shroud of peace. Those leaning back in their seats were suddenly sitting up and the perpetual chatter of the back row had ceased.

“How could such a trial be so peaceful and sweet?” Wilcox asked. “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ offers life amidst trials.”

From there, Wilcox shared an interaction with a boy in the Missionary Training Center who was struggling to learn Spanish, complaining about his hardships a mere three weeks into learning it.

“Why has God forsaken me? Where is God?” the boy asked in an e-mail.

“God lives in the MTC!” Wilcox said, receiving a hearty laugh from the audience.

Wilcox went on to explain how the boy wanted a “Harry Potter-like” change, while the gift of tongues is a change that happens over time.

Continuing on to stories of his own mission, Wilcox painted a picture of his struggles in Chile. According to Wilcox, while in Chile, not one person wanted to hear what he had to say. He also recalled a time where he was sprayed by a hose to get off someone’s lawn.

After this specific instance, he told his companion, “I think I lost my testimony today,” to which his companion responded by bursting out laughing.

Allowing the audience to laugh along with him, Brad Wilcox quickly got serious again.

“Later that night I asked, ‘God are you there?’ and my room suddenly filled with light, and then the car passed,” Wilcox said.

He continued on to explain how he packed away his doubts when he transferred to a new city in Chile. This was when he was finally prompted to ask if there was a God and whether this God knew him and loved him.

His mission president answered all of his questions affirmatively, concisely and swiftly, reassuring Wilcox while simultaneously strengthening his testimony.

“If any of you have questions or doubts, I will be the one to say yes,” Wilcox said to end his lecture.

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