BYU–Idaho Education Week Attendees Learn about Eclipses, Happiness, Trusting in God

Contributed By Elisa Walker, Church News contributor

  • 13 August 2018

Attendees walk the BYU–Idaho campus in between sessions of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.

For three days, more than 2,500 individuals came to the BYU–Idaho campus to hear uplifting messages, attend a variety of classes, and enjoy the many activities offered by the university.

The three-day conference included classes for children ages 6 and above, youth, and adults and activities for families including a dance, devotionals, alumni events, and a concert.

This year attendees had the opportunity to listen and learn from four keynote speakers: Dean Hughes, Jeff Morrin, Rob Eaton, and Al Fox Carraway.

The root of happiness

Dean Hughes (known for his popular book series Children of the Promise) opened the conference. He spoke of the importance of lifelong learning and gave the audience three reasons why it is important to continually learn throughout their lives.

First, Hughes taught that learning brings us happiness.

Attendees listen and take notes during a session of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.

An attendee walks the BYU–Idaho campus in between sessions of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.

“One of the great joys of life is learning,” he said. He went on to explain how there is something special about being able to name things that you didn’t know before.

“The more you know something, the more interesting it becomes,” he said.

Second, Hughes reminded the audience that the purpose behind learning is to become like the all-knowing God. He taught that learning will continue throughout mortal life and into the eternities.

Third, the author shared one of his favorite things to learn about: people.

Hughes and his wife have served two LDS missions, the last being in Beirut, Lebanon. On both missions, the couple had wonderful experiences learning about and becoming friends with the local people. Hughes taught that, in the end, all people are alike.

Finishers wanted

BYU–Idaho’s University Resources vice president, Jeff Morrin, addressed Education Week participants during the first day. Morrin taught the importance of endurance, perseverance, grit, and being a finisher in both the big and small aspects of life.

“The Lord needs each of us to be finishers. He needs us to be finishers in the seemingly routine activities of our daily lives. He needs us to be finishers when He asks us to do some really hard things,” Morrin said.

Through relating the story of the Atonement, Morrin reminded everyone that Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a finisher. He closed with the invitation for everyone to “become the finishers that God wants [them] to become.”

Attendees listen and take notes during a session of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.

Eclipses and exaltation

Rob Eaton, BYU–Idaho associate academic vice president, spoke during Friday’s afternoon devotional. Eaton taught of exaltation and kingdoms of glory by comparing them to his experience of witnessing the 2017 total solar eclipse.

Eaton explained he originally wasn’t excited for the solar eclipse—he thought it was overrated. He then described the feelings and attitude change he had after witnessing the spectacular event.

“It was a spiritual experience,” he said.

Eaton then compared his observation of the heavenly phenomenon to exaltation. Just like the eclipse, celestial glory is not overrated. He taught that exaltation is something we should all strive for—that it is worth the work and sacrifice on this earth.

Eaton also compared the beauty of the eclipse to the blessings God grants His children when they keep His commandments. He said that people who viewed 75 percent of the solar eclipse did not receive 75 percent of its beauty. He explained how the beauty was exponential—that it only began to take people’s breath away when they began to witness its totality. Eaton expounded by saying that God’s blessings work the same way. When we are 75 percent obedient, we do not receive 75 percent of the blessings. Yet when we start to align ourselves completely with God, our blessings are exponential.

Eaton closed by encouraging all in attendance to not be afraid to invite others into the “zone of totality” or, in essence, to invite them to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Trusting in God

The final speaker of the conference was Al Fox Carraway—an LDS convert, blogger, multi-award-winning speaker, and author. Carraway began her address by relating an experience she had while giving a speech at a prison ceremony. She said she was surprised to hear them sing “A Child’s Prayer” as the closing song. Carraway then asked the audience if they’ve ever wondered, “Heavenly Father, are you really there?”

Carraway shared her own story of moments when she wondered if Heavenly Father was really there for her. She told her conversion story and how, as a result, many of her family and friends rejected her. She talked about how she received a spiritual impression to move to Utah after her baptism. She described the difficulties of the move and how doing so put her in a poor living situation. Carraway said she often wondered where God was during her trials.

The author then explained how her life changed once she put her complete trust in God and chose to have patience in Him. She talked about how she began to write, blog, and speak—all activities that came as inspiration from God. She expressed gratitude for her husband, her two children, their recent move to New York, and the life she is living. Carraway saw the full circle of all the blessings she had received.

“Just allow Him to show us how great He really is,” she said.

Attendees walk the BYU–Idaho campus in between sessions of BYU–Idaho Education Week August 2–4 in Rexburg, Idaho. Photo by Ericka Sanders, BYU–Idaho.