"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
February 24, 2014
All Things Bear Record of Me
by Ami Chopine

A few weeks ago I was in a parking lot grungy with month-old road snow and air so thick with smog that even healthy people were advised to stay indoors. Of course, that’s impossible with the need to do things like go to work or acquire food and toilet paper.  

As I trudged through on my errand, I realized the air was sparkling. Tiny drifting crystals had condensed in the pollution-based fog and reflected the light of a scarcely seen sun.  Suddenly, my mood changed from a stoic focus on the task to a sense of awe and beauty.

Why did that happen?

Why did the crystals form, why did I find them beautiful, why did the beauty inspire awe and joy? Why did the awe and joy lead to contemplation of God? (Dear and exasperated friends have sometimes asked me why I am even asking these questions.)

There are good mechanical explanations. The scientists will tell you about physical and chemical processes. The spiritual will tell you it was a miracle. They’re both right.

And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me. (Moses 6:63)

Notice the repetition and emphasis on everything. It doesn’t matter where or what it is. Moses probably didn’t know about black holes or neurochemicals or electrons, but I get the sense that this verse covers those things. Because the world was created through God’s command it can’t help but to reveal God and all of God’s will. The universe is at its core a True Thing.

This is why even those who are unbelievers love beauty and goodness. It’s why the same laws and ethics appear in religions and cultures related only by the fact that their adherents are human and live on this planet. It is also why even the wicked create things of beauty and spiritual illumination. They cannot escape reality.

The scientific method works because of this. If we study nature with integrity, we can come to know what we as individuals and communities need to thrive. And surprise, surprise — we’ll find out that the prophets have been teaching us those principles since the dawn of history.

Jesus was fond of saying “Who hath ears to hear, let them hear.” (Matthew 11:15; Matthew 13:9, 43; Mark 4:23; Mark 7:16.) I wonder how many other times he said that phrase. The closer we are to truth, the easier it is for us to see it in everything around us.

The sparkling of the tiny ice crystals in the air that day gave me a moment of sweetness and light. By itself, that was a good thing. But if I wanted, I could learn more from the experience.  Those crystals seen in that bleak parking lot were like the sparks of joy and beauty that fill our lives in the midst of trials. Look for the good and resolve to be sparks of joy in others’ lives.  

You might see another metaphor in the experience because you are different than I am. And you’ve had your own experiences where the Spirit, expectedly or not, taught you or reminded you of gospel principles through ordinary occurrences, if anything can be thought of as ordinary.

It’s one of the reasons bearing testimony to each other and writing in journals is so important. We’re never in the same location in space or time or attitude. We have a lot to teach each other.

When we pray for understanding and have made ourselves open to it, the Spirit can use anything around us as a teaching moment. The world is encoded with them. It’s up to us to seek after those things.

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About Ami Chopine

Ami Chopine started out her mortal existence as a single cell. That cell divided into a collection of cells that cooperated enough to do such things as eat, crawl, walk and eventually read a lot and do grownuppy things.

When she was seven years old, hanging upside down on the monkey bars, she decided she wanted to be a scientist when she grew up. Even though she studied molecular biology at the University of Utah, that didn't quite come to pass. She became a writer instead. Still, her passion for science and honest inquiry has remained and married itself to her love of the Gospel. 

Ami is married to Vladimir and together they have four amazing children -- three in college and one in elementary school, where Ami is president of the Family School Organization. Vladimir is the better cook, but Ami is the better baker. She also knits, gardens, stares at clouds, and sings. She can only do three of these at the same time.

Besides two published computer graphics books and several magazine tutorials, she writes science fiction and has a couple of short stories published. You can find her blog at www.amichopine.com.

Ami was surprised to not be given a calling as some kind of teacher the last time she was called into the bishop's office. She currently serves as the Young Women Secretary -- somewhat challenging for the girl whose grandmother used to call the absentminded professor.

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