PROVO — As individuals look at trials in life as stepping stones — rather than stumbling blocks — they are able to face and overcome the adversity that comes their way, Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy, and church historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said during a campus devotional at BYU on Tuesday.
"How can we make a bad experience become a learning experience?" he asked. "Part of the answer, of course, lies in perspective."
Elder Snow shared a few examples of stumbling blocks for individuals to be aware of and avoid, as well as offered counsel to help individuals stay strong in times of trial.
"Stumbling blocks … can, if ignored, become trials, even crises in our lives," he said. "Now please understand: The trail of life is strewn with stumbling blocks placed there to test us and to try us. Sometimes it seems we are literally stumbling through life as we deal with the challenges and trials of this mortal existence. The stumbling blocks of which I speak are those which we can avoid if we are obedient, plan ahead and remain vigilant."
"Pride can blind us from danger," he said. "If we are caught up in ourselves and our own well-being, we become more susceptible to the enticing of the adversary. Pride prevents us from serving and giving and causes us to become self-centered and demanding. Pride interferes with relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and loved ones. No one cares to be around a truly selfish person."
"While there are challenges and difficulties we all face, it is important to maintain an eternal perspective," he said. "Life is sometimes hard because it is supposed to be. … We can … learn to overcome hard things. 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."
Speaking of the media's focus on the LDS Church, Elder Snow spoke of the responsibility of individuals to appropriately filter through the rhetoric and attempt to understand why such things were said — especially when crude utterances are made for political gain or entertainment.
"Some of our beliefs, which to some may seem peculiar, have been ridiculed by a few," he said. "The ability to transmit information through the Internet and the media is unparalleled. The words of a bitter or disrespectful critic are magnified many times through use of social media. This was a platform not available to our critics just a generation ago."
"There are many other stumbling blocks which will undoubtedly threaten your future progress. Some you will need to maneuver around or laboriously push them from your path," he said. "You will avoid many stumbling blocks by living wisely, being obedient and by paying attention to the stepping stones which will build your faith."