“I Chose Sunday School,” Ensign, Feb. 2006, 67–68
I had been going over an extensive reading list for the comprehensive exam I needed to pass to obtain my master’s degree in English. I hoped my preparation was adequate, but I worried that it was not. I had gone back to school at age 35, and remembering concepts often seemed more difficult than it had been when I was younger.
The test was to occur on Monday, and when Sunday morning came, I began to rationalize that my time would be better spent studying rather than attending Sunday School and Relief Society. I had almost decided to attend just sacrament meeting, but in the end I felt too guilty. I wondered what sort of example I would be setting for my young children. So I went to Sunday School and Relief Society.
The Gospel Doctrine lesson covered the book of Job, and the instructor, Brother Clayton Smith, was an eloquent and humble teacher who delivered a powerful, spiritual message. I held the scriptures open on my lap during the lesson and found my eyes drawn to a few particular verses that I read over and over again.
The next day I arrived at the room where the test was to be administered, and the proctor handed out the exam. It consisted of three essay questions, and I had three hours to complete them. Imagine my surprise when I read one of the questions: “Discuss the concept of suffering as illustrated by at least three literary works from the reading list.” The book of Job was one of the works on the list.
I was truly amazed at how easily I answered that question, my response highlighted with direct quotes from the verses I had read the previous day in Sunday School. Breezing through that essay allowed me extra time to complete the other two questions.
At the conclusion of the test I felt very grateful for my “extra” preparation. I also felt that, having participated in Brother Smith’s lesson, I had gained a spiritual perspective on Job that allowed me to answer the question with greater depth, fervor, and understanding than would otherwise have been possible.
Several weeks later, when the results of the test were posted, I discovered that I was the only student who had been awarded honors.
That was a Sunday School lesson I will never forget, particularly as it reinforced the concept of keeping the Sabbath day holy and never missing my meetings. I am grateful I was inspired to attend Gospel Doctrine that Sunday morning rather than cramming for my exam.