Why Elder Bednar Didn’t Want Students to Remember His Words at This BYU-Idaho Devotional

Looking out among 15,000 students in the BYU-Idaho Center here on Sunday, Sept. 22, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles moved his finger across the screen of his iPad and read a question.

It was one of approximately 11,000 anonymous questions texted to him during the devotional. 

Addressing young adults in the congregation — as well as those listening on the radio or via live internet streaming — Elder Bednar had started his evening address by inviting the students to “exercise faith in Jesus Christ by acting” and submitting questions.

Then he insisted they not focus on his answers. 

He told them he hoped they wouldn’t remember his words or the words of his wife, Sister Susan Bednar — who would soon join him at the podium. Pay attention, the apostle emphasized, “to what you hear and feel by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

 “Sister Bednar and I are incapable of answering the questions you will ask,” he said. “But we will exercise faith and try to do our best as you exercise faith and try to do your best.”

The discussion would become a promised blessing from an invitation found in Doctrine and Covenants 88:122. “Appoint among yourselves a teacher and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.”

The pattern — one he has replicated countless times across the globe — always works, he said. It involves teaching doctrines and principles, issuing invitations and expecting promised blessings. All individuals are students learning from the ultimate teacher — the Holy Ghost. 

Story by Sarah Jane Weaver; lead image by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

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