April 2, 2019
Writer: Virginia Henry

“Heavenly Father has asked us to understand that component of our being. It’s an eternal component,” said Hyrum Conrad, a professor in the Theatre Department at BYU-Idaho. He was referring to the subject of emotions, which he focused on during his devotional address given at BYU-Idaho and in his interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

Conrad has worked as a theater professor at BYU-Idaho for 34 years.

“Being in the Theatre Department I’m fascinated by emotional expression and what it does to us as people to motivate us for good and sometimes to motivate us for bad things too,” Conrad said. “And so, I wanted to be able to address that in a clear scriptural way.”

Throughout his devotional, he uses scriptures to show how emotion was present before this life, and the essential role it will play from here forward.

He uses the story of Job to illustrate this concept.

“The Lord told Job that he puts wisdom in us, and gives understanding to our heart. It was true in the premortal world and is true today,” Conrad said. “You’ll have emotions after you die.”

He said he understands that people often want to run from or suppress their emotions. He explained that that practice often leads to an overflowing of emotions when you can no longer hold them back. Whereas if we would just learn to embrace and harness this part of our being we would be much more happy and eternally successful.

“Emotion plays an essential role in helping each of us achieve our goal of eternal life,” Conrad said. “To help us gain the fullness of all things, they have given us the gift of emotion to help guide us in our lives.”

He went on to show how the scriptures support the importance of emotion in our lives. Though the scriptures don’t use the word “emotion,” the word “heart” is used quite often.

“When the scriptures use the word ‘heart,’ they clarify that it is the ‘inner man’ deep inside of us, the ‘very center’ of our being,” Conrad explained.

Conrad expounded upon this by saying the heart is where we feel the Spirit and the influence of the adversary. This is why we need much more than just our heart to make it through this mortal journey.

Conrad referenced a teaching of Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when he was the president of BYU-Idaho, “knowledge comes to the mind, understanding comes to the heart, and wisdom is the righteous application of both types of knowing.”

Of course, not everyone is good and applying both their intellect and feelings in a balanced way. So, he offered suggestions for students on how they can better themselves according to the challenges they’re facing.

“If you view your emotions as a worry and burden, seek counseling to help adjust them,” he said. “If you want to understand them, get into a Psychology class. If you want to explore and conquer them, come and take an Actors and Emotions class in the Theatre and Dance Department. If you want to suppress

them, don’t. To help you develop ‘the heart of an angel,’ the Holy Ghost needs you to use your God-given gift of emotions.”