Latter-day Saint Life

The Powerful Lesson Elder Rasband Learned About Marriage After Deciding Not to Complete College


In 1976, I was the elders quorum president in my campus ward, and Brother Jon Huntsman was the high council adviser. He was already successful in his plastics business. I even remember him slipping me a personal check for $1,000 with these simple instructions: “Use this to help those who are in need in your quorum.” They were never to know where the money came from.

After a year of working with him in that ecclesiastical setting, I was surprised one day when he asked me to come to his office. There I was in plush, professional business surroundings—me, the son of a truck driver—when Jon invited me to join his company working in marketing and sales. I was honored. Sister Rasband and I had been praying for meaningful employment after graduation. We had a young family, and we were living on meager funds.

Jon explained that he was not interested in my academic credentials—which were not stellar—but that he had seen my strengths of leadership and character that were a good fit for his business. Those traits he observed were a strong work ethic and an ability to juggle the pressures of family, education, work, and Church service. I learned that they were his best traits.

I immediately responded that his offer was an answer to prayer and that I would love to join his company after graduation in the spring. My college degree was so important to me, my wife, and my parents.

He smiled and then said, “I need you now.” Next week, he explained, he would be in Troy, Ohio, at one of his packaging plants to negotiate with a major customer. If I wanted the job, I needed to be with him as the new account manager. That was it. The job was next week or no job at all.

That night, after seeking counsel from loved ones and friends, Sister Rasband and I prayed earnestly for direction. My dear wife, Melanie, was inspired with our answer. “Isn’t this what people go to college for, to find an opportunity like this one?” she asked.

We agreed that it was. The Spirit confirmed our decision, and we took the job in Ohio.

I left the campus of the University of Utah just two semesters short of receiving my degree. Eleven years later I was surprised and humbled again when Jon Huntsman appointed me president of his global corporation, with thousands of employees and billions in revenues—and still without that college degree! I am not recommending that anyone skip that last, important step in his or her education. But this should suggest that there is a masterpiece within each one of us, and when spiritually nurtured, carefully mentored, and loyally engaged in building up our families and the Lord’s kingdom, all things are possible.

What did I learn from that beginning? I learned that marriage is a partnership and that you and your wife or husband are facing life together. For each of you, your spouse will sometimes get the inspiration for both of you. That is what happened in this launch of my business career. Sister Rasband and I learned early to counsel together. That spiritual aspect of our relationship, and our trust in the Lord, has been our foundation for many years.

Lead image from Led by Divine Design

In this beautiful book, Elder Ronald A. Rasband shares timely counsel and personal stories about recognizing the hand of the Lord in our everyday pursuits. Through his own experience, Elder Rasband helps us learn first how to seek the Spirit and then how to recognize and respond to divine guidance in our families, with friends and colleagues, in our Church service, and during times of trial.

Each of heartfelt stories, brief messages, and inspiring quotes is an important reminder that the Lord is in the small details of our lives. Elder Rasband demonstrates repeatedly that we are led according to His divine design. Our Father in Heaven is interested in our success and eternal happiness, and He has provided the Holy Ghost to help us choose wisely so we can return to Him one day.


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