I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes referred to as “the Mormon church.” One night, I was reading the Book of Mormon, which is a record of the ministry of Christ in ancient Central America, and I came across this passage. In the book 1 Nephi, the man Nephi is on a journey through the wilderness with his family because God told his father, Lehi, that they needed to leave Jerusalem or be destroyed. While in the wilderness, they must hunt and forage for food. Nephi comes across a problem. “And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food” (1 Nephi 16:18). The entire family was forced to go hungry, and they began to complain and murmur against God. Nephi, however, does not complain. He does not wait around for the Lord to do something about their problem. He doesn’t even ask the Lord what he should do. Nephi goes and makes a new bow with new arrows, then asks his father where go hunting for food. Nephi acts. His whole family complains and waits around for something to fix the problem. They do not act. In my religion class at BYU, we learned in the scriptures the difference between acting and being acted upon. Acting means that you are proactive, take matters into your own hands, and try to make the best of a bad situation. Being acted upon means that you wait for something to happen, either because you are too lazy to do it yourself or you don’t know how. Nephi acts and saves his family from starvation. His family is acted upon by hunger, and they begin to complain because they are hungry. They do not go out and try some of their own hunting, or pray for the Lord to feed them. They complain and murmur against him.

Proactively studying

At school or work we can act to improve our situation.

There are times in your life when things aren’t going too well. It seems like the world is out to get you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. That is a lie. You can always act. There is always a choice, to act or be acted upon. If you get a bad grade on the test, you can gripe and complain about how it wasn’t a fair test, or that you were tired, or the grader stinks, etc. Or you can act. You can go to the teacher, ask if there’s any make-up work to do, and study harder for the next test. Which one seems to be more productive? Which one seems easier to do? It is usually easier to be acted upon, but a lot less helpful. I know how difficult some challenges in your life can be. But if you just find a way to act on those challenges and learn from them, then you can be better prepared for the next ones. The Lord wants you to be able to make your own choices, so make the right ones.

By Alex D.

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