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Elder Bednar addresses Utah Valley Institute of Religion students

OREM, Utah

Some 4,000 young adults gathered at a Nov. 3 devotional held in the Utah Valley Institute of Religion to receive instruction from Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan Bednar.

Approximately 7,000 students are enrolled in the institute, director David T. Durfey said, which boasts the largest enrollment of any educational institution in the state.

After brief introductory remarks, Elder Bednar invited those attending to ask questions. The young people submitted their questions via text messages, and Elder Bednar received the questions on his tablet at the pulpit. Elder Bednar commended the young adults for the spiritual maturity, appropriateness, and depth of their questions, and he and Sister Bednar responded to as many as time would permit.

Following the devotional, some of the students responded to this question posed to them: “What did the Holy Ghost teach you while you were listening to the devotional today?” Here are some of their responses:

“I think a lot of students and young adults and youth are caught up in being perfect,” said Abigail Bretey, a sophomore from Lehi, Utah. “But you don’t have to be perfect in everything you do, just continually try a little harder to be a little better and love this stage of life that you’re in. This stage of life is beautiful and good. If we try to do better, the Holy Ghost and Savior will help us.”

Also responding to the question were Sterling and Lacey LeBaron, a young married couple living in Orem as they attend the university, he as a sophomore and she as a junior.

They mentioned one of the questions that had been posed during the devotional: “What advice would you give to a newly married couple on how to foster a lifetime of love in the gospel?”

“You don’t find it, you create it,” Sterling LeBaron said. “You don’t find the perfect relationship, you create it. Even though I’m married and have found a spouse, I need to create that love and be the person that my wife needs me to be so that we can have a Christ-centered home. We need to create it; it doesn’t just happen.”

Lacey LeBaron said, “God is there for all His children. He loves each and every one of us and He wants us to feel that love even when we’re going through hard times.

“We’ve had an interesting couple of months with my health. It has been hard to love the situation I’m in.”

She said she had developed hope during the devotional.

“One of the things I learned today that wasn’t necessarily spoken was what I could do better in attending the temple,” said Tiani Orr, a junior from South Jordan, Utah.

“That is to make more time on my knees to ask for the questions I need to ask going into the temple. Sometimes I don’t know what I need to ask, and He knows.”

Christian Ownsbey, a sophomore from West Jordan, Utah, and a recently returned missionary, said he has been struggling with trying to be perfect and failing miserably. “I learned today not to be so hard on myself and to understand the Atonement better,” he said.

Sean Firmage, a junior from Idaho, said he gained insights on the doctrine of moral agency, “to be sure I’m acting as I should be.”

“I’m trying to do the best I can in following the commandments,” he said, “but sometimes I feel there is a bit of a disconnect between the things that I’m doing and whether or not I’m acting to the point I could receive more revelation.”

Amber North, a senior from Riverton, Utah, said she felt strongly impressed that “no matter where you are in life you’re always loved.”

Observing the love that Elder and Sister Bednar have “for us as well as each other is super precious,” she said. She gained the impression that “your questions are always heard, no matter if they’re spoken or not.”

Jacob Southwick, a senior from Kaysville, Utah, said he gained the insight that “as we develop, we develop a love for God, we’re going to grow closer to each other.”

“Eventually one day I’ll get married, and I’m going to grow closer to whomever I marry through getting closer to God. We do that line upon line, precept upon precept, like studying the scriptures, praying, fasting, doing those little things that are going to get us closer to our Savior and our Heavenly Father. In that way, we will get closer to each other as brothers and sisters, and as future husbands and wives with our families.”

Brenda Blair, a freshman from Provo, Utah, said, “It hit me hard that there are a lot of people I probably rely on for my testimony, but there are so many things I need to know and gain for myself.”

Karli Bouck, a junior from Provo, noting that Elder Bednar had emphasized the point that all sons and daughters of God are agents unto themselves, said, “It brought it home to me that I am not an object, I am an agent and that I can learn things for myself with the help of Heavenly Father, but I need to search them out.”