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Everyone makes mistakes, and life's trials and temptations should be viewed not as failures but as opportunities for learning, said a husband/wife lecture team Monday during the Church Educational System Education Week at Brigham Young University.

"What it's really all about is doing your best," said David Thomas, a Park City seminary instructor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Life is supposed to be hard, Paula Thomas continued, because daily trials round out the edges in a person's personality and character. Without adversity there would be no progression.

"You and I are not in the process of being judged by our Heavenly Father at this time," said Paula Thomas, a lecturer and homemaker. "We are involved here in learning."

Because of that, people need to worry less about making mistakes and concentrate more on learning from those errors. The Lord will not ask how many mistakes we made, she said, but instead will say, "Tell me, tell me what you've learned."

People need to look at mistakes in a different light, one that does not filter into only success and failure, David Thomas said.

"We do not fail in life, we have accidents."

Viewing mistakes as accidents allows for a less judgmental approach, one that takes learning into account instead of seeing each shortcoming as a failure, he said.

"We need to look at it in a more positive way, because our purpose is to learn from (the mistake)," David Thomas said.

"Our object in this learning experience is to get home," he said, referring to returning to live with God after mortal existence.

The Thomases also discussed various personal traits and characteristics that sometimes cause conflict between individuals. Differing expectations between the sexes and within family units make for some of the hardest trials in life, but patience and love will solve the problems, they said. The important thing is to be honest and not circumscribe others' behavior.

There were a few glitches with sound equipment during Monday's lectures, but overall classes went smoothly, said Sherie Rogde, Education Week coordinator. The main influx of people started Tuesday, but Rogde said officials don't anticipate many problems in accommodating the expected 33,000 people who will attend lectures through Friday.

Education Week is in its 72nd year and is believed to be the largest single-event adult education program in the United States. Subjects including family relations, religion, self-improvement, art, history, science and literature are presented in more than 1,000 classes.

A new schedule this year adds block classes so students can attend an entire lecture series in one morning rather than spreading it out over four days.


Additional Information

Price tags

Education Week runs through Friday, Aug. 19. Prices:

- Full event - $33; senior citizens $30 - Weeklong morning or afternoon - $14

- Weeklong evening - $17

- Single morning or afternoon - $6

- Single evening - $7 (one hour longer than morning or afternoon classes.)