“Defending My Thesis—and the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, July 2011, 68–69
Defending My Thesis—and the Book of Mormon
Scott Macdonald, California, USA
When I was a university student, the honors program in which I was enrolled required students to write a thesis. Each student’s thesis had to be supervised and approved by two professors.
For my thesis I chose to research and analyze warfare in the Book of Mormon. I consulted with one professor about my idea, and he agreed to be one of my supervisors. He also suggested another professor as a potential second supervisor.
I met with the second professor to explain my thesis topic to him. As soon as I mentioned the Book of Mormon, his demeanor changed and he began to criticize the Church. I listened quietly until he had finished and then briefly explained that I felt he misunderstood our beliefs. He didn’t seem convinced, but to my surprise he agreed to supervise my thesis.
After almost a year of research and writing, I submitted my thesis for faculty approval. During that year I had been accepted to law school, and I needed to finish this project to graduate and move forward.
Within a week I received an e-mail from the professor who had criticized the Church. He asked me to meet him at his office.
When I arrived, he asked me to close the door and sit down. Almost immediately, he launched into an attack—not on my thesis but on the Book of Mormon. As calmly as I could, I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon.
I hesitantly asked the professor if he would still approve my thesis. He said he would not.
I went home feeling depressed and unsure what to do. Without this man’s approval, I could lose my chances to graduate from the honors program and to begin law school. I prayed that everything would work out somehow.
When I explained my situation to the other professor who was supervising my thesis, he advised me to visit the professor the next day and give him one more chance to approve my thesis.
The next morning I found myself waiting outside the professor’s office. I was nervous, unsure of how he would react to seeing me again. When he arrived, he silently opened his office door, gesturing for me to come in. Without saying a word he took out a pen and signed my thesis, officially giving me his approval. He offered no explanation of what had caused him to change his mind but smiled at me as I said good-bye.
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to bear my testimony to this man. I know that as we stand for what we believe, Heavenly Father will strengthen and bless us.