Business College Devotional
Recently I have been thinking a great
deal about the word “Remember” and how the act of remembering plays an
important part in our lives.
Elder Marlin K. Jensen said, “If we pay
close attention to the uses of the word remember in the holy scriptures, we
will recognize that remembering in the way God intends is a fundamental and
saving principle of the gospel.” [Marlin K. Jensen,
“Remember and Perish Not,” Ensign, May 2007, 36-38]
Elder Jensen went on to say that when prophets
admonish us to remember it is frequently an invitation to action: to listen, to see, to do.
In April of 2004, Elder Neal Maxwell spoke in the
Priesthood session of General Conference.
His talk was filled with what he referred to as “a few remembrances and
life’s little lessons”. He passed away a
few months later in July of that year. I
think it is significant that his remarks centered on seemingly small and what
many people might have felt were insignificant experiences—each experience a
witness to him of God’s hand in his life.
“. . . there are clusters of memories embedded in
each of your lives. And these can help
us to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been (Moroni 10:3) [Neal
A. Maxwell, “Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been”, Ensign, May 2004,
It has been said that when we remember the Lord it
nearly always increases our gratitude for all he has done for us as we begin to
recognize his hand in our lives.
Henry Ward Beecher wrote: “If one should give me a dish of sand, and
tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes,
and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but
let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and how it will draw to itself the
almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction. The thankless heart, like my finger in the
sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day;
and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly
In the hymns we are told to “Count your many
blessings . . . / And it will surprise
you what the Lord has done.” (Hymns, no. 241)
I guess that’s why it has been said that the better in math you are, the
happier you are . . . because you’re an expert at counting your blessings.
The Psalmist put it this way: Psalm 103:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who
healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth
thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.
Who satisfied thy mouth with good things, . . . The Lord is merciful and
gracious. . .”
When Elder Henry Eyring was First Counselor in the
Presiding Bishopric, he gave a talk titled “Remembrance and Gratitude”. He spoke of the problem of not remembering .
. . “we so easily forget that we came into life with nothing. Whatever we get soon seems our natural right,
not a gift. And we forget the
giver. Then our gaze shifts from what we
have been given to what we don’t have yet.” [Henry B. Eyring,
“Remembrance and Gratitude,” Ensign,
Nov 1989, 11]
Several years ago I heard Mary Ellen Edmunds tell a
story that she said changed her life.
The story is:
Two little children were put early to bed on a
winter’s night, for the fire had gone out, and the cold was pouring in at the
many cracks of their frail shanty. The
mother strove to eke out the scantiness of the bed covering by placing clean
boards over the children. A pair of
bright eyes shone out from under a board, and just before it was hushed in
slumber a sweet voice said, “Mother, how nice this is. How I pity the poor people who don’t have any
boards to cover their children with this cold night.”
Sister Edmunds said, “This little story stopped me
in my tracks. I thought about it over
and over again, coming to the realization that I had spent far too much time in
my life thinking of all I didn’t have instead of all I did have. Here was a little unknown child who taught me
a great lesson: she was grateful for present blessings. She was looking at everything from the
perspective of what she had.” [A Singular Life: Perspectives
on Being Single by Sixteen Latter-day Saint Women edited by Carol L. Clark
and Blythe Darlyn Thatcher. Deseret Book Co., c1987]
Children seem to have an amazing ability to show
their appreciation in honest and direct ways.
Here is a letter from a little girl to God: “Dear God, Last week it rained for three
days. We thought it would be like Noah’s
Ark but it wasn’t. I’m glad because you
could only take two of things, remember . . . and we have three cats. Donna.”
As we grow older and life gets more
complicated and our future often seems uncertain it helps us to remember and
recognize the blessings we have received in the past. A humorous little poem puts it this way:
There was a Daschshund once so long,
He hadn’t any notion
How long it took to notify
His tail of his emotions.
And so it happened
While his eyes were
Filled with woe and sadness,
His little tail went wagging on
Because of previous gladness.
Just like the little Daschshund
remembering “previous gladness” can give us . . . strength to meet present
challenges.” [Jeanie McAllister, A Singular Life, Deseret Book,
Before meeting Goliath, David looked
back, saying, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out
of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of the Philistine.”
(1 Samuel 17:37)
Ammon recalled God’s mercy to him during
his mission to the Lamanites, “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were
about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy
brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will
give unto you success . . . . Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits
of our labors, and are they few? I say
unto you, Nay, they are many . . . . blessed be the name of my God, who has
been mindful of us.” (Alma 26:27, 31, 36)
President Eyring teaches a simple yet
profound principle that each of us may practice to help us increase our ability to recognize how
merciful the Lord has been in our life in this Mormon Message. Elder Eyring: O Remember, Remember
“When our children were very small, I
started to write down a few things about what happened every day . . . I wrote
down a few lines everyday for years. I
never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start
the next day. Before I would write, I
would ponder this question: “Have I seen
the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family
today? As I kept at it, something began
to happen. As I would cast my mind over
the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not
recognized in the busy moments of the day.
As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to
remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.” [Henry
B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember”, Ensign,
Nov 2007, 65-69]
Sister Chieko Okazaki related the story
of an old missionary couple from a Protestant denomination who had been working
in Africa for many years and were returning to New York City to retire. With no pension and broken in health, they
were discouraged and fearful of the future.
They happened to be booked on the same ship as the President of the
United States [Teddy Roosevelt] who was returning from a big-game hunting
expedition. They watched the passengers
trying to glimpse the great man, the crew fussing over him . . .
At the dock in New York a band was
waiting to greet the President . . . But the missionary couple slipped off the
That night in a cheap (apartment) flat
they found on the East Side, the man’s spirit broke. He said to his wife, “I can’t take this. God is not treating us fairly.” His wife suggested he go into the bedroom and
tell the Lord.
A short time later he came out of the
bedroom with a face completely changed.
His wife asked, “Dear, what happened?”
“The Lord settled it with me,” he
said. “I told him how bitter I was that
the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met
us when we returned home. And when I
finished, it seemed as if the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and said, “But
you’re not home yet.”
Elder Maxwell said that God “is in the
details of our lives”. “He knows you
perfectly, just as Jesus knew the woman of Samaria, whom he quizzed as to her
belief in the Messiah. She said, “I know
that Messias cometh . . .” when he is come, he will tell us all things.” And Jesus said, “I that speak unto thee am
he.” And she went back to her village
all excited and said she’d found the Messiah, and then, significantly, she said
to the villagers, “He told me all that ever I did.” (See John 4:25-26, 39-42) [Neal A. Maxwell,
“Called to Serve” 27 March 1994 BYU Speeches]
“I testify to you that God has known you
individually . . . for a long, long time (see D&C 93:23). He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars,
He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys” [Neal
A. Maxwell, “Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been”, Ensign, May 2004, 44-46]
When I was in my early 30’s I was what I
liked to call an “unclaimed treasure”.
Others, less sensitive probably referred to me as an “old maid” – the
stereotypical “Marian, the librarian”. Around this time my parents were called
to serve a temple mission in Washington, D.C. After they had been there for a
while they were so excited to call and tell me about a temple worker, a lady in
her 70s who had never married. While
serving in the temple, she became acquainted with another temple worker about
her same age, a widower. And they were
going to get married. All of sister
temple workers gave her a bridal shower – it was so cute. My Dad could never understand why I was not
comforted by this story.
Years later someone at LDS Business
College listened to the promptings of the Spirit and introduced me to the man
who would become my husband. I was a
little younger than 70. After I got
married many times when I would be talking to my mother on the phone she would
ask me, “Are you happy.” I would reply,
“Yes, Mother, I’m happy.” There would be
a brief pause and then she would say, “Are you really happy?” Maybe it seemed like a miracle to her that
what she had prayed for for so many years had finally come to pass. It seemed like a miracle to me too. But it shouldn’t have. All through my life I have experienced
miracles—answers to my mother’s prayers for me.
When I was in College I took a speech
class. I was always a very shy person
and standing in front of the class to give a speech was hard for me. The teacher would fill out an evaluation of
the speech and assign a grade giving us the sheet as we finished. The highest grade I had received for a speech
in the class was a B+. I shared with my
Mother the desire I had to get an A on one of my speeches. One day when I knew that I would be giving my
next speech, Mother asked me what time my class would be. She told me that she would say a little
prayer for me at the beginning of the hour.
I was the last person to give my speech
at the end of the class period that day.
When the teacher handed me the evaluation sheet with the grade I saw
that he had given me the grade of B+ and then crossed it out changing the grade
Later when I told my Mother about the
grade I had received she told me that she looked at the clock and realized that
she had forgotten to pray for me at the beginning of the class period. She quickly offered a prayer for me at what
would have been the end of the class period at the time the teacher was
assigning my grade. I felt very strongly
that my A- was a result of my Mother’s prayer.
On another occasion when I was in my 30s
and living far away from my parents as a single adult, I was going through a
time of feeling depressed. For some
reason I was not able to shake off the
sadness and had spoken to my mother about my feelings. For a period of time I had felt as if I were
walking around under a cloud. One week
for the first time in many weeks I felt as if the cloud was lifted and for the
first time in a long time I felt happy and peaceful. After a few days I had the impression that my
Mother had been praying for me that week and that this was an answer to her
About the middle of the week, I called
her on the phone and asked, “Mother, have you been praying for me?” She said, “Karen, your dad and I pray for you
every day.” I told her I knew that but I
wondered if she had been praying for me more than usual that week. Then she told me that every time she had
thought about me that week, she had stopped what she was doing and offered a silent
prayer for me. I told her that I could
feel the influence of her prayers and that the cloud of depression was gone.
Then I had an impression come to my mind
that someday my Mother would die but that she would still be praying for me on
the other side of the veil and that I would be able to feel the influence of
I believe that God hears and answer
prayers and that the unselfish prayer of a mother for her child is always
There is story that helped me to have
patience and faith at a time in my life when I wondered if God was aware of my
heartaches and my unfulfilled dreams.
Story of the three trees
Three young trees lived together on a
hillside. They often talked about what
each would like to be when he grew up.
One said, “Babies are the sweetest
things in the world. I should like to be
a baby’s cradle.”
The second spoke, “That would not please
me at all. I should like to be a great
ship so I might cross many waters and carry cargoes of gold.”
The third tree stood off by himself in
deep reflection. “Have you no dream for
the future?” asked the others.
“No dream,” he answered “except to stay
on this hillside and point men to God.
What could a tree do better than that?”
passed, and the three small trees grew up to be tall and beautiful. One day men came to the hillside and cut down
the first tree. But he was not made into
a cradle. Instead he was hewn
into rough pieces and carelessly put together to form a manger. “This is not what I planned to be,” he sobbed
heartbrokenly, “Shoved into this dark stable with no one but the cattle.”
But Heavenly Father, who loves trees,
whispered, “Wait, I will show you something.”
And he did.
For one night when God’s only Begotten
Son was born, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger. The manger quivered with delight. “In all my dreams I never thought to hold a
baby like this,” he said. “Why, I am
part of a miracle. Truly, this is better
than all my planning.”
Years passed. And men came to the hillside and cut down the
second tree. But he was not made into a
great sailing vessel. Instead he became
a tiny fishing boat owned by a man named Peter.
“To think that my life has come to this,” he complained unhappily. “Just a fishing boat.”
But Heavenly Father, who loves trees,
whispered, “Wait I will show you something.” And he did.
For one day on the Lake of Gennesaret,
Jesus sat in the little boat and spoke to the multitude on the shore. He spoke words of such wisdom and light that
the little boat listened eagerly. “Why,
I am part of a miracle,” he whispered, his heart full of wonder. “In all my dreams I never thought to carry a
cargo like this. Truly, this is better
than all my planning.”
Months went by, and men came to the
hillside to cut down the third tree. “I
don’t want to go into the valley,” he wept, as the axe cut into his heart. But the men tore away his branches, hewed him
apart, and fashioned his pieces into a crude cross. “This is terrible,” he quivered. “They are going to hang someone. Oh, I never wanted this to happen to me. I only wanted to stand on the hillside and
point men to God.”
But Heavenly Father, who loves trees,
whispered, “Wait, I will show you something.”
And he did.
For one day Jesus took up his cross and
was led to a place called Golgotha where he was crucified between two
thieves. Afterwards, his body was laid
in a tomb. But at dawn on the third day
when Mary Magdalene and the others came to the sepulcher, an angel met them,
saying “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:6)
And the cross began to understand, “Why,
I am part of a miracle,” he marveled.
“Jesus’ great mission was to give his life so that all who have ever
lived on earth can one day return to God and live with him again. In all my dreams I never thought to point men
to God in this way. Truly this is better
than all my planning.”
The month of July is a time we remember
and honor the Mormon pioneers who made so many sacrifices that we might enjoy
the blessings we have today. My pioneer
ancestor is my father. When I was a
little girl, missionaries taught my family about the restored gospel of Jesus
Christ. My dad was a very humble man and
in his mid-forties he embraced the gospel with all his heart and made the
choice to leave his old way of life and his old habits to become a member of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A few years later when I was old enough,
I was baptized. One of the memories that
is embedded in my life is the day I was baptized. I can still remember how clean I felt when I
came up out of the water. And on the
following Sunday when I was confirmed a member of the Church and received the
Gift of the Holy Ghost, I can still remember how I felt. A couple of years after I was baptized my
mother who was what she called “a hard shell Baptist” was finally
baptized. She had already been attending
church with us and even had a calling in our little branch.
Several years ago Lavell Edwards spoke
at a devotional at LDSBC. I remember
that he talked about “defining moments” that he said present us with
opportunities to learn something important.
Many of the defining moments in my life center around that little congregation
of the Church in my hometown in Southeast Missouri. We met in the upstairs of a two-story
house. The downstairs was a doctor’s
office and the doctor rented first one room, then two and finally all of the
upstairs to the church members.
One of the members had purchased some
seats that came from an old movie theatre that we used for our meetings. He had also purchased an old fashioned pump
organ. But the organist didn’t have to
pump the organ with the pedals because he had installed the motor from an old
vacuum cleaner. When it was time for the
hymn, the organist would flip a little switch and the sound of the motor would almost
drown out the organ.
When I was about 12 years old, I was
called to be the branch organist. I could
play two or three hymns and we sang the same ones week after week until I was
able to add to my repertoire.
Remembering those experiences is a testimony of God’s mercy to me for he
truly blessed me beyond my abilities.
One of the things that my husband and I
have in common is that we both had the experience when we were growing up of
attending very small congregations of the Church. He grew up in southern California and often reminds
me that California Mormons are cool. Or
in other words, they are cooler than Missouri Mormons.
On several occasions in the past few
months we have had the opportunity to visit the Church History Library just a
few blocks away where we have been able to look at old records from our
respective branches during the time period when we were growing up. These records are part of our individual and
family heritages. They help us to remember how merciful God has been to us in
our lives. (“Many of the Church’s
greatest stories are contained in personal and family histories, and these are
part of our individual and family heritages.” [Marlin K. Jensen]
“On April 6, 1830, the day the Church
was organized, the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Behold, there
shall be a record kept among you” (D&C 21:1). On that day the Prophet learned how important
it is to the Lord for a history of the Church to be kept and he soon called Oliver
Cowdery to be the first Church historian and recorder. In the beginning Oliver recorded minutes of
meetings, patriarchal blessings, membership information, and certificates of
priesthood authority. He also began what
might be called a narrative history of the Church.
Record keeping began with a commandment
from God and continues to the present day.”
[Marlin K. Jensen, “There Shall Be a
Record Kept among You”, Ensign, Dec
The Church historian today is Elder
Marlin K. Jensen. He has stated that:
“The primary purpose of Church history
is to help Church members build faith in Jesus Christ and keep their sacred
covenants. . . . we are guided by three
First, we seek to bear witness of and
defend the foundational truths of the Restoration.
Second, we desire to help Church membersremember the great things God has
done for His children.
Third, we have a scriptural charge to
help preserve the revealed order of the kingdom of God . . .
[Marlin K. Jensen, “There Shall Be a
Record Kept among You,” Ensign, Dec
Yesterday a student asked me, “Are you
going to talk about libraries tomorrow?”
Well, I have mentioned the Church History Library. And I wouldn’t be true to my profession as a
librarian if I didn’t recommend a good book.
One of my favorite books is by Michael Wilcox and is titled House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning In The
We have been taught that LDS Business
College is a temple of learning and there are many parallels with how we learn
in the temple and how we learn at the College.
“ In the Doctrine and Covenants the
temple is called a “house of glory”. . . . We know that “the glory of God is
intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” (D&C 93:36.) [Michael
Wilcox, House of Glory, Deseret Book,
As I was pondering the meaning of the
word “remember”, I thought about a story from the book House of Glory that involves remembering. It is the story of
Michael Wilcox’s 4th great grandfather, Jean Combe, who lived in the
Piedmont valleys of the Alps. He was a
religious man and went regularly to church hungering to be spiritually fed but
came away unsatisfied and would sometimes comment on the difference of the
teaching of the day to those of the Savior and his apostles.
When he was on his death bed, he said to
his granddaughter, “The old folks may not, but the young will see the day when
the gospel shall be restored in its purity and powers; and in that day, Mary, remember me!”
Shortly after John Combe’s death,
Lorenzo Snow and several other elders came to the shores of Italy. They were directed by the Spirit to the
valleys of the Alps, to the village where John Combe’s family lived. After hearing the truths of the restored gospel,
they were the first family to join the Church in Italy.
Jesus told his apostles on the night of
the Passover when the sacrament was instituted at the Last Supper that “the
Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he
shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever
I have said unto you” (John 14:26)
Elder Eyring said that “The Holy Ghost
brings back memories of what God has taught us.
And one of the ways God teaches us is with his blessings: and so, if we
choose to exercise faith, the Holy Ghost will bring God’s kindnesses to our
remembrance.” [Henry B. Eyring, “Remembrance and Gratitude,” Ensign
, Nov 1989, 11]