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Having Fun but Feeling Empty

Meet Dylan Burnside, a 25-year-old less active young man wandering through life and having a lot of fun, though overall a good kid. Dylan was having the time of his life hanging out with friends, camping on the weekends and living what he called the “good life”. Ironically enough, his life really wasn’t that good. Dylan described this time of life as “nonstop fun but not happiness.”

Dylan admitted, “I would go to a scripture study group every so often and the occasional baby blessings and homecomings and institute, but I’d never really go to church.”

One day Dylan was sitting in an institute class at the Salt Lake Institute and the class happened to end early. Instead of letting students go, the teacher decided to have the students choose hymns to sing as a class. Dylan raised his hand and suggested the class sing “A Child’s Prayer” from the Children’s Songbook.

Dylan always loved the song growing up and for some reason wanted to sing it that night. “As soon as the piano started playing I was overcome with emotion,” he said, “I had been touched in a way that I hadn’t been in a long time.” That night Dylan knew he needed to make a change in his life, he just didn’t know how.

“No changes immediately happened. I didn’t go to church the next Sunday,” he explained, “but I still look back on that day and it was the first time I realized what a void I had by not having that type of influence and feeling in my life.”

With time and help from friends and family Dylan went from less active to very active over the course of six years. He now describes his life as “happy, healthy and full of family.”

Dylan has since gone through the temple to receive his endowment and is currently teaching the 6 and 7-year-old primary class in his ward.

“Institute played a big role in turning my life around,” he explained, “I would’ve probably watched TV that night rather than go to institute, but I wouldn’t be able to recall the television program like I can recall my institute experience from that night.”

He encourages young adults to attend institute wherever they are and poses this question: “The most you have to lose by going to institute is an hour and a half of your night. What else would you be doing at that time that would be better than going to institute?”