“The Best School Assignment,” New Era, Apr. 2009, 60–61
“Who are you doing your biography on?” my best friend, Jasmine,* asked. We were in the library working on an assignment to read a biography for our literature and composition class. My head started whirling. Jasmine wasn’t a member of the Church. What would she think? Mustering up my courage, I opened my mouth and squeaked, “Joseph Smith Jr.”
“Who’s that?” she asked.
The butterflies in my stomach fluttered about as I spoke. “A prophet of God who lived in these latter days.”
“Yeah, like Abraham and Moses,” I explained. She only shrugged.
Not knowing how to continue, I simply returned to reading the biography I had chosen. How do you describe someone who is that incredible? With a troubled heart, I said a sincere, silent prayer that the Holy Ghost would help me know what to say, but the bell rang. It was too late. Disappointed with myself, I left for home.
The next day, Jasmine and I were working in the library again. We both sat down and began reading our books. Then I stopped myself. I was sitting here with a perfect missionary opportunity before me but was unsure how to approach the situation. But my problem was solved when Jasmine asked, “Hey Sierra, where do you think we go after we die?”
With truth in my mind and warmth in my heart, I explained to her why we were here, where we are going, and the importance of getting there.
As the days went on and we had that precious time together in the library, we had wonderful conversations. I told her about the Restoration of the gospel and Joseph Smith. Eventually I bore my testimony of the Prophet. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my testimony was growing as well. I realized that Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God and that God speaks today. I had had my doubts, but the day I finished the book, I finally could say that I knew that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus in the Sacred Grove, and he really did translate the Book of Mormon. Somehow, I just knew it. No visions, no voices, no angels, just the calm reassurance that Joseph Smith was a prophet.
As I walked back to class that day with the book under my arm, I found myself humming the hymn “Praise to the Man” (Hymns, no. 27). My arm tingled just knowing I was carrying a book about such a marvelous man.
I don’t know that Jasmine believed what I told her, but perhaps I planted a seed that will sprout someday. One thing I do know for certain, though, is that reading a biography on Joseph Smith was definitely one of the most meaningful school assignments I have ever completed.