Archive for the ‘Devotionals’ Category

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Doing Hard Things

Orchard, Linda

Published July 26, 2016

By Brandon Isle

“Our eternal progression, our capacity to grow and to learn to ‘become sons and daughters of God,’ is deeply coupled with our capacity to do hard things,” said Linda Orchard, who spoke during the BYU-Idaho Devotional on July 26, 2016.

Orchard shared a pioneer trek experience she had when she and her husband were in charge of their ward’s trek at Martin’s Cove in Wyoming a few years ago. Their ward had 120 youth and they wanted them to do a few “hard things” while there. Those things included starting their first hike at 7 p.m. They walked for a couple of hours and had a devotional. Then as the sun was disappearing, they were given glow sticks to go even farther. “We expected there would be some grumbling and complaining, but it never surfaced,” she said. ”The youth seemed to understand the difficulty and sacredness of sacrifice. It was an amazing site to see a line of yellow lights silently making their way along in the still, cool Wyoming night.”

Her daughter Rachel was among the youth at the Trek. At one point during the trek there is an experience called the Women’s Pull where no men are allowed to help the women and young women pull hand carts up a steep hill. Orchard’s daughter was physically ready to help in this pull. However, she was assigned to act as though she were sick and be carried in one of the handcarts. “When she read her assignment, with tears welling up in her eyes, she looked towards her dad (who also had tears welling up in his eyes). He had chosen her specifically for this assignment,” she said. “Rachel mouthed, shaking her head, ‘No Dad, don’t make me do this, don’t make me do this.”

Rachel did take the assignment, which was “harder for her than if she would have had to pull the carts by herself,” said Orchard.

During her talk, she also shared some of the “hard things” her students are going through. Things like coming to BYU-Idaho from another country and holding three jobs while going to school or giving up a soccer career to honor the wishes of a parent who passed away. “What I realized is that we all have hard things in our lives,” she said.

She said the hard things we go through now will prepare us for hard things in the future. During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Orchard said these trials are important, “Well, I think the trials are what make us who we are,” she said. “I think that as we go through the trials, we learn how to rely on our Heavenly Father and also when the next hard trial comes, I think that it’s our experience that makes us so that we can survive the next thing.”

You can listen to her full devotional below and click here for her interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Testimonies, Repentance

Crawford, Bill

Published July 12, 2016

By Brandon Isle

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Bill Crawford, a faculty member in the Business Management Department at BYU-Idaho, gave a devotional address about finding and building a testimony.

Crawford related a story about his time as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He said he flew a nearly 36 hour mission from Missouri to Iraq and back. He said the flight home was one of endurance, similar to our lives, which are “contests of endurance and perseverance.”

He said we must each navigate a life with trials and opposition, “We must learn great endurance if we are to fulfill God’s purposes in our lives,” he said.

Crawford talked about struggling to know if he had a testimony of gospel before he went on his mission to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He said he struggled with it for years until he realized something, “Over time I began to realize that it’s ok to believe the Gospel; that ‘a testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost (Doctrine & Covenants 46:13-14),'” he said. “That spiritual knowledge is different from physical knowledge, and that both are equally valid. You can trust your spiritual knowledge. It is every bit as valid as other kinds of knowledge we acquire.”

He cautioned that it’s okay to have questions, but you shouldn’t let those questions deter you from living the gospel. He said your answers may not come at once, so be patient. “When you struggle to gain knowledge for yourself, you will retain it better and longer,” he said. “Why should gaining spiritual knowledge be any different? As you persevere in the effort to gain or strengthen your personal testimony, your spiritual knowledge of the truth will grow.”

He also talked about the gift of repentance and counseled students to find the courage to repent, no matter what they’ve done, “Your teachers, bishops and parents rejoice in the soul that repents,” he said. “We know it’s hard to do. We’ve had to do it ourselves. When you allow others to help you repent, they will love you even more.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Crawford also talked about going through trials in our lives and finding a way to have joy, “For me, it’s giving myself permission to be happy even though I’m going through a hard time,” he said.

Listen to his interview here or to the full devotional address below.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Outlines Characteristics of Discipleship

Williams, Kyle

Published July 5, 2016

By Brandon Isle

The BYU-Idaho Devotional speaker for Tuesday, July 5, 2016, shared a message to help students understand what it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and to remain worthy of the Spirit.

Kyle Williams is the Facilities Management Operations Director at BYU-Idaho. In his devotional talk he said members of the Church, or disciples of Christ, should be high-output, low maintenance. To illustrate the idea he contrasted incandescent light bulbs to LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are low-output, high-maintenance because they easily break, last only about 1,200 hours and have a high energy cost. LEDs, however, are high-output, low maintenance because they are durable, last about 50,000 hours and have a low energy cost.

“Today’s disciples should be similar to LED light bulbs in the sense that the Lord needs high-output, low-maintenance members of the Church that can run on a low consistent amount of input over an extended amount time,” Williams said.

Using this analogy, he called members of the Church Light Emitting Disciples, “We need the greatest generation of Light Emitting Disciples,” he said. “We need them prepared to leave this Disciple Preparation Center on a path of Discipleship prepared to report to a family ward where a bishop can see their desire, willingness and worthiness. We need them prepared to receive callings and serve diligently in the kingdom of God on the earth.”

He said characteristics of Light Emitting Disciples include: 1. always be worthy; 2. never turn down an opportunity to serve; 3. learn how to work; 4. be diligent. “These disciple characteristics will help you be strongly connected to a reliable power source, emitting the Light of the Savior,” he said.

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio he explained why his list started with always being worthy, “The key to our discipleship, the key to kind of anything in the Church is remaining worthy, the worthiness side. If you’re not worthy, you can’t call upon the powers of heaven. It’s incorporated around discipleship but also how we can remain worthy because that worthiness allows us to do certain things within the Church. It allows us to bless people, not only through service, but by the power of the priesthood. And to bless the lives of others you need to be worthy and listening to the spirit.”

You can listen to that interview by clicking here.

Listen to the full devotional below.

Angela Watkins Talks About Looking Up in Faith During BYU-Idaho Devotional

Watkins, Angela

Published June 28, 2016

During the BYU-Idaho Devotional on June 28, 2016, Angela Watkins, a faculty member in the Health, Recreation, and Human Performance Department at BYU-Idaho, talked about principles of looking back, looking around and looking up in faith.

She took her topic from a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson where he says, “sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up.” She said he was partly wrong in the poem, “I know our Heavenly Father wants us to look up to Him and our Savior, Jesus Christ, in faith,” she said. “But I also believe Heavenly Father wants us to look back other than in times of sorrow, and to look around more than in times of worry.”

She gave examples of times we look back, like in the Book of Mormon when Lehi sent his sons back to Jerusalem to get the Plates of Brass or when we read the scriptures or learn family history lessons, “The experiences of your loved ones can provide the encouragement you need to weather storms of temptations, trials, and sorrow,” she said.

Sister Watkins also related a story of going on a pioneer trek with her stake last year. She said as she and the other women and girls participated in the women’s pull on a very hot day. “The men were not allowed to touch the handcarts or help the women in anyway as we labored up the 20 percent grade,” she said. “It was hard! What got me up that hill was looking back. I do not mean looking back at the sisters and handcarts behind me, but looking back and thinking about my pioneer ancestors.”

While talking about looking around she shared a story about zip lining in Cabo San Lucas. She was with her 10-year-old son and they got stuck in the middle of a long line. She said they were upside down and backwards. She tried to get them to the other end, but her strength gave out. “My son and I hung there, hundreds of feet off the ground, scared, and knowing that if something went wrong with the cable or the carabiner, we would plummet to certain death,” she said. “Although it seemed like an eternity, in reality, within a couple of minutes, our guide hooked himself to the cable and came to rescue us. He wrapped his legs around me and Wynter and quickly pulled us to safety.”

She also talked about the importance of looking to God with faith when we are struggling in life. “Looking up takes strength. Having faith takes discipline, practice, and endurance. Increasing our spiritual capacity takes as much training as increasing our physical capacity,” she said. “It is easy to say you have faith when life is smooth. It is much different to actually possess the spiritual strength, which enables hope and trust in our Savior’s grace, when you are facing a trial and questioning how you will ever endure it.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, she said she considered talking about another aspect of faith. She said she has many female students who are torn between the prospects of a career and motherhood. Sister Watkins worked before having her first child, but became a stay-at-home mother for 15 years before returning to work. “I counsel them, get all the education you can, get all the experience that you can, and then between you and the Lord you make the decision,” she said.

You can listen to the full interview with Sister Watkins here.

Listen to her devotional address below.

Darryl Foutz, Devotional Speaker

Published June 21, 2016

by Dale Spaulding

REXBURG, Idaho – The chair for the Accounting Department on campus speaks at devotional, speaks with student reporter for exclusive interview.



As this week’s devotional comes and goes, the words shared by Brother Darryl Foutz still ring true. He spoke at the campus-wide devotional Tuesday, June 21.

He said he wanted to speak to those who were going through hard trials, and wanted to help them feel hope for the future.

He also said he wanted to include more examples for his points, including the Prophet Joseph Smith, who faced much adversity with the early Latter-day Saints.

To hear more about what Brother Foutz couldn’t share at devotional, click here for a one-on-one interview. 

The full devotional address is below.


Elder Von G. Keetch, Seventy, Speaks at Devotional

Published JKeetchune 14th, 2016

by Dale Spaulding


REXBURG, Idaho – A general authority seventy for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about being an example of the believers at the BYU-Idaho devotional.

As a former lawyer, Elder Von G. Keetch is accustomed to disagreements. He’s noticed that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, among other groups, sometimes have disagreements with individuals or groups of different opinions and beliefs.

It’s that contentious behavior Elder Keetch addressed during his devotional talk on June 14. He began by offering a story of a military unit on a dangerous mission.

“As they found themselves surrounded and began to suffer withering fire, the members of this small army unit looked up to find their commander standing upon a rock, exhorting them. Looking at his men, the commander yelled: ‘Men, we’ve got them right where we want them. Just fire in any direction!'”

Elder Keetch connected this back to the idea that, in our day, we can feel like this military commander, spraying bullets, spiritually speaking, at anyone that appears threatening.

He then used a video of two young women, at odds with each other over their opposing views, to illustrate getting into and out of sticky situations. He offered a few observations to help alleviate tension and connect with someone who feels threatened by us, or who might be threatening to us.

He spoke first about having spiritually prepared for our encounters with such people. Speaking of the two girls from the video, Elder Keetch said the first girl, Samantha, “has the most success when she engages Miki [the second girl] one-on-one.” He also offered that Samantha sought to “respect [Miki] as a person and to understand her views.”

Elder Keetch pointed out, while the girls didn’t agree, the ideas of bigotry and hatred were gone from their conversation and attitudes. He quoted Elder Dallin H. Oaks next;

“Our tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs does not cause us to abandon our commitment to the truths we understand and the covenants we have made. . . . We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them. This inspired caution reminds us that for persons who believe in absolute truth, tolerance for behavior is like a two-sided coin. Tolerance or respect is on one side of the coin, but truth is always on the other.”

Elder Keetch testified of the ability we have to stay true to what we know is right, while also respecting the views of others.

During an interview with Elder Keetch before his devotional, he said it’s crucial to avoid contention in our interactions with each other, especially our family members.

“We, as followers of Jesus Christ, have to avoid that at all costs. At some points, during the conversation we may have to take a step back,” he said. “Sometimes we will feel, as we talk to other people, un-Christlike feelings of anger of frustration, and sometimes we’ll have to take a big step back so that we really react to a situation like Christ would react. And I’m convinced, the more we can do that, the more we can act like He would act, doing those two things – firmly defending the doctrine of our Heavenly Father and of the doctrine of Jesus Christ and never making excuses for it, but at the same time, in a respectful, understanding, loving way – the more we can do that, the more we can unite and click with those – whether it be in our family, our quorums, in relief society where ever it is – so we can have a better understanding of what each other thinks, and respect that as we do so.”

To hear the interview with Elder Keetch about his address, click here.

Listen to the devotional address below.

Gwenaelle Couliard Speaks About Overcoming the Natural Man During BYU-Idaho’s Devotional

Couliard, Gwenaelle

Gwenaelle Couliard, a counselor in the Counseling Center at BYU-Idaho, spoke to the students at BYU-Idaho in the weekly devotional about overcoming the natural man.

She told a story about impatiently waiting at a traffic light on her way to work, being upset about how long it was taking, until she realized the delay: a blind man crossing the street. “”

Couliard said in her line of work students sometimes get upset at themselves when they’re less virtuous than they hoped they could be. “This attitude is comparable to pouring pickle juice on a finger paper cut, or fanning blazing flames,” she said. “The natural man cannot be put off with more of its own foibles. Only light overcomes darkness. Be kind with yourself, seek to understand, without judging, what the trouble is. Repent if you need to, and then, strive to do better.”

She said to put off the natural man we have to recognize how we give into the natural man in our lives. “When you look inside yourself, do so with curiosity, humility, and an open mind; invite the Lord to accompany you in your reflection. Then, watch how darkness dissipates as the light of your humble gaze shines upon it.”

As we invite the Lord, ask him for gifts of the spirit to become better and overcome our natural man tendencies. “As we earnestly work on putting off the natural man the Lord’s way which is to enlist his divine assistance, something extraordinary and wonderful happens: We begin to know first-hand that He lives, and that He knows, understands, and loves us individually,” she said. “What a precious gift that is!”

During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio about her talk, Couliard said you have to have help from the Lord to overcome the natural man. “Sometimes it takes power beyond our own to be able to walk away from the temptation or see that we are on the downward spiral of false beliefs being manifested in the mind,” she said. “That amazing, enabling power of the Savior is what helps people really make progress really fast.”

Listen to her devotional below or click here for her full interview.

Elder Clarke Shares Four Principles He Wishes He Knew as a College Student

Clarke, Don R

Elder Don R. Clarke, an emeritus General Authority and Director of Church Hosting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talked in a BYU-Idaho devotional about four things he wishes he knew or understood better when he was in college.

His list included the following topics: the most important organization in time and eternity is the family, and at the core of that organization is marriage; developing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and living a Christ-centered life are diving principles; the companionship of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift that mortal man can enjoy; and we should spend time on the things that matter most.

He told personal stories, stories from others and shared quotes from general authorities of the Church about the topics. When he talked about family and marriage he said he wished he had written the phrase, “The most important organization in time and eternity is the family” at the top of his scriptures. “Then I would have looked around at the people I knew and I would have carefully observed the great marriages and great families that I admired,” he said. “I would have taken the time to meet with the parents of those great families and asked for suggestions on how to create a great marriage and a great family like they had. What advice did they have for me? What specific practices and traditions did they have in their families that helped them to be strong? I would have listened to their wisdom, and I would have recorded it in my scriptures. Then I would have reviewed that list regularly.”

While talking about living a Christ-centered life he said we should have a picture of Christ in our living rooms. “Having a picture of Christ in our living rooms will help us to live lives that are Christ-centered,” he said.

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Elder Clarke expounded on the picture he has in his living room and how he reflects on the picture. “For me personally, what it has done for me, is I sit there sometimes and look and reflect upon that, it makes me make decisions as it relates to our home and the things that I’m doing, that I wouldn’t do if I wasn’t looking at him,” he said. “Without thinking about Him, we end up doing things that are less meaningful, don’t have as much value and certainly don’t help us on our road to become more like the Father and the Son.”

You can listen to the full devotional talk below or click here to listen to his interview.

BYU-Idaho Devotional Speaker Talks About Enmity

Delton, Yohan

Yohan Delton, a faculty member in the Psychology Department at BYU-Idaho, gave the BYU-Idaho Devotional address May 24, 2016. He talked about enmity.

He told several stories to help illustrate the concept of enmity. The first story was from “Letters from my Windmill” by Alphonse Daudet. The story was about a village in southern France covered with windmills. People would take their wheat to those windmills until entrepreneurs from Paris built steam-powered mill-plants in the area.

One windmill operator known as Master Cornille, kept his windmill turning. By all appearances he was still grinding wheat. One day his granddaughter found out the windmill was empty. She told the town and they came to his rescue and kept him in business until he died.

“Enmity, you see, is a wedge that we sometimes place between people,” said Delton. “Enmity is strongest when we choose to hate. Enmity is the end of goodwill towards others… (the) villagers did not choose misplaced enmity; they, instead, chose to love.”

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio Delton said he chose to talk about enmity after seeing the terrorist attacks in Paris. “I think sometimes when we have ruffles with other people, or we perhaps dislike other people we nurture that hatred,” he said. “And when we do this we put so many great barriers including our hands and willingness to help others. So we start to blame others, we start to have favorite names for others and that just breaks relationships and it’s unhelpful in my view.”

You can listen to his full interview by clicking here. You can listen to the full devotional below.

Sheri Dew Invites BYU-Idaho Students to Ask God Questions

Dew, Sheri

Sheri Dew, the CEO of Deseret Book Company, spoke on the campus of BYU-Idaho during the weekly devotional Tuesday.

Dew spoke about idea of asking the Lord the right kind of questions and having a wrestle, or sorts, with him while learning the answers to those questions. “Questions are good if they are inspired questions, asked in faith, and asked of credible sources where the Spirit will direct and confirm the answer,” she said.

She told contrasting stories about two young women she knows who had questions of faith. One sought out help and was able to find greater faith and understanding in the gospel. The second did not reach out. “One girl’s questions propelled her to become a seeker of truth,” she said. “The other girl used her questions to justify her immorality.”

Dew explained the Lord wants us to ask questions, that is how we learn. “The Lord wants us to ask every probing question we can muster because not asking questions can be far more dangerous than asking them,” she said.

She gave examples from the scriptures of prophets who asked questions and received greater knowledge, like Nephi and Enos from the “Book of Mormon.” “Questions are not just good, they are vital, because the ensuing spiritual wrestle leads to answers, to knowledge, and to revelation. And it also leads to greater faith,” she said.

Dew cautioned that even when we have questions, we can still have a testimony of Jesus Christ and of his restored church. “Once you have received a spiritual witness of the truths that form a testimony, even your thorniest questions about our doctrine, history, positions on sensitive issues, or the aching desires of your hearts, are about personal growth,” she said. “They are opportunities for you to receive personal revelation and increase your faith.”

She said there are two questions to help you get started: ask the Lord to teach you what it feels like and sounds like when he is speaking to you through the Holy Ghost and to ask the Lord how he feels about you. “In time, He will tell you, and as He does, you’ll learn more about speaking His language,” she said.

During an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Dew emphasized the importance of asking the right question and being in the right place to receive an answer. “I think any question is a good question if it’s asked, if it’s an inspired question, meaning, it’s a sincerely good question asked in humility and asked in faith,” she said. “And then posed, you got to ask the question in a place where there’s a good chance you’ll get the right answer, right? So social media may not pull through for you on that one. But the Holy Ghost will, and the scriptures will and the prophet will and there are different places we know to go. If you’re going to the right place with a humble heart, really wanting to know it’s true I think pretty much all questions are good.”

You can listen to the full interview here and to the devotional talk below.