President and Sister Kusch

President and Sister Kusch

23 Apr. 2019

11:15 a.m. - Noon

Conference Center Little Theater

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Sister Alynda Kusch 
LDS Business College Devotional April 23, 2019 
“Developing and Strengthening Faith in Jesus Christ” 

Several years ago, President Kusch and I had the opportunity of visiting London.   

Every morning as we left our hotel to go to the subway station, we walked through Hyde Park. 

This is a beautiful area of the city and we very much enjoyed walking through the park each morning and evening. 

One night toward the end of our trip, we heard a terrible storm outside, with very strong winds. We could hear pieces of wood flying about and even the sound of glass breaking. 

The next morning, we discovered that during the night that part of England had experienced hurricane-force winds.   

There was considerable damage.  The most heartbreaking destruction that I noted, was in Hyde Park.   

Many of the trees that had provided shade from the sun and had stood for so long, had been uprooted by the wind and had fallen over.  It was a tragic thing to see. 

In the weeks and months that followed the storm, there was much excitement amongst experts as they were trying to discover what had caused these 100-year-old trees to give way to the wind and be destroyed. 

The consensus among the scientists was that although the trees had large root systems, they had grown close to the surface, traveling away from the trees in shallow ground.   

The force of the winds caused them to lose their grip on the earth and tumble over. 

The recommendation was made that a better tree to replant in Hyde Park, would be one with a root system that traveled downward, deep into the soil, anchoring the tree to the earth. 

There is a lesson here for us – in our journey through life, we do not want to find ourselves fallen and broken like the trees in Hyde Park. 

How can we avoid this from happening to us? 

Helaman teaches: “remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation, that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds…when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you ….because of the rock upon which ye are built...” Helaman 5:12 

To avoid becoming like the trees of Hyde Park – to be able to withstand the mighty winds of life – we need to be anchored to our Father in Heaven.

We do this by developing and then continually strengthening our faith in Jesus Christ. 

A young woman recently asked me this question as we were talking about General Conference. 
 
She asked, “For someone who doesn’t have strong faith, how can you know? I wish that I had faith like you because you have always believed.” 
 
About one thing she was completely correct. I do not remember ever not knowing who Jesus Christ is. I was taught by my parents about Him. I sang songs in Primary about his love for me and I wanted to be like Him. I have always known that. 
 
But about another thing this young woman was mistaken.  For me, understanding how the Savior’s loving Atonement could help me personally is something that I have not always fully understood or appreciated. 
 
My faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior has not come automatically, it has been born of much observing, searching, fasting and prayer. 
 
I wish that this young woman was here today because there are some others things that I would like to tell her in answer to her question - How can I know and believe? 
 
We would turn to the 32nd chapter of Alma and read not only his formula for faith but also his invitation to experiment, or try the things he suggests, so you can develop and build your own faith and hope in Christ.   

This is what he taught: 

Desire to know 

Let this desire help you let the word of God be planted in your heart 

Search for the truth of one thing 

Live your life as though you know this truth, until one day you realize that you believe and then know 

Then with diligence and patience, repeat the experiment 
 
This is how you can come to know and believe. 

I would like to share with you 3 places in which you can look for evidence that faith in Jesus Christ is not only essential, but also attainable. This is how I have developed and increased my faith in the Savior. 

First – 

I first have studied the scriptures.  They are full of examples of faithful and worthy men and women who have been blessed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. 

By faith Noah, being warned by the Lord, built an ark when there were no clouds in the sky. 

By faith the boy David looked into the face of the giant and said, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel.” We know how it turned out for Goliath. 

By faith a woman was healed by simply touching the hem of the Savior’s robe. 

By faith Lehi led his family from the comforts of Jerusalem into the desert. 

By faith the brother of Jared saw the finger of the Lord. 

These are examples of men and women who had great faith in Jesus Christ. 

By reading and studying about them, I realize that I can learn from them, the things that they did in order to know and to trust.  And then I can do those same things. 

Second - 

I turn to examples of faith from people I trust – in this case my family.  I have read about and watched my own people show great faith.   

In 1818 my great, great, great grandmother was sitting under the shade of a large tree reading her Bible.  Her daughters saw her sitting there and thought that she was asleep.  It was by faith that she called her daughter to come and said, “Elizabeth I have had a vision and the true gospel is not with us, but the Lord will reveal it before long.   I shall not live to hear it, but you shall, and when you hear of it, run and align yourself with the saints of God.” 

It was by faith that my grandfather in 1873, at the age of 14, left his father and boarded a ship with only his younger brother and sailed from Sweden to join his mother whom he had not seen for 2 years, who had previously traveled to Utah – to be where the Savior’s church was established.  His father followed 2 years later, after he saved the additional money needed for his passage. 

It was by faith that my father, after years of sickness and pain, rather than becoming bitter and mean because the physical problems he had endured – which were many, allowed those experiences to soften and change him so that in the last years of his life, the Lord could use him as a Patriarch to bless many lives.  It is because he believed and trusted in the gift and power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

These are people who understood that deep faith in the Savior is what would help them.  I can learn from their examples.

Third -  

I have looked back on experiences that I have had personally, that have helped me see how the Savior has blessed, strengthened and lifted me.   

With 3 very young children, it is by faith that I could say to our Stake President that I could and would support and sustain my then 26-year-old husband to be the bishop of our ward.  

And then when I got home, I wondered – can I really do this? 

During this time of service, I came to understand that the Lord knows us completely and that He will sustain and help us perfectly. 

As we were preparing our daughter to serve her mission, a neighbor became very interested in the process and asked me many questions. 

As I answered those questions (how long she would be gone, how many times she would come home to visit, how many times I would go visit her, questions like that) my friend finally said, “This is too hard of a thing to ask anyone to do.  How can you do this?” 

In that moment I had to decide what to say. 

I knew in my mind and heart that it is by faith in Jesus Christ that I could send my daughter into the mission field. And so, I opened my mouth and that is what I said. 

As I uttered those words to my neighbor, the Holy Ghost confirmed to me once again that yes, it is by faith in Jesus Christ that hard things are made possible. 

It is by faith that I left everything behind (children, grandchildren, home, job, and friends) to serve beside my husband in Mexico for 3 years. A country that was far away where I did not speak the language. 

I could do this because I believed the Savior when he said, “I will go before you; and I will be in your midst.”  (D&C 49:27) 

And he did that for me.  I recorded the many times when the Savior lifted and sustained me during our mission, when my prayers were answered, when I felt His love and strengthen and carry me, when I did more that I had thought was possible. 

Through these experiences and many others, I can say that I know that faith in Christ is what gives us the strength to sink our spiritual roots deep in the soil of the Gospel. It is what will help us in times of trails and difficulties and it allows us to live happily even when life is uncertain.  

And so, my friends - 

Look to the scriptures as a source of examples of those who understood how faith in Jesus blessed them. 

Look to the circle of people you trust, for me it is my family, for some of you that may not be the case, it just may not be possible. So if it may not be your family, then look to your Priesthood leaders, your teachers and good friends. 

Look back at your own life  

I invite you to record your own faith experiences.  I believe that as you do so, you will discover that your faith in Christ has been increased in ways that you may have forgotten. 

  • Make note of the things that you have done to increase your faith. 
  • Record those experiences so you can refer to them later. 
  • Remind yourself of the things that you have already accomplished with His help. 

This list will be your personal “by faith” account.  

How wonderful it is to look back and see what we have been able to do because of our faith in Christ, which allows us to anchor ourselves more firmly to God.

May we all go forward with roots sunk deep into the soil of faith in Jesus Christ who is our beloved Savior and friend. I am part of the group that the Savior described when He appeared to the apostle Thomas. And what He said to Thomas was, “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I have not seen Him, but the Holy Ghost has witnessed to me that He is exactly who He said He is. He is the Son of God. He lives. He is the Savior and Redeemer for all of God’s children. And He is my personal Savior and Redeemer. And especially, He is my friend. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

President Bruce C. Kusch 
LDS Business College Devotional April 23, 2019 
"Silver Bullets and the Pure Love of Christ"

Brothers and Sisters, after that beautiful music I would like to witness and bare my testimony that I know that you are each dear to the Shepherd. If each of us will anchor our lives on Him with the kind of faith Sister Kusch just taught us so powerfully just now, we will live lives of happiness and joy that will help us eventually return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and the Good Shepherd.

Human nature is such that we always seem to be looking for a quick fix, an easy solution, or that “silver bullet” to solve every problem or satisfy every desire known to mankind. It might be an easy and guaranteed path to wealth, or losing weight, or becoming more physically fit, or one that always tempts me: how to grow back your hair. You can even buy a robot that vacuums your floors.

Have you ever picked a class and a teacher because you’ve heard it’s “an easy A?” Or, have you wished there was an easier way when you’re just plain stuck in the middle of homework or projects in that anatomy & physiology class? Or that intermediate accounting class? Or that statistics class? Or that database class? Or that English class? My guess is that many of us would answer, “yes, yes, yes!”

The truth is, there are no silver bullets for solving the myriad of challenges we face in life – but my message this morning is quite simple and my purpose is to share principles from the scriptures that can change everything about your experience here AND bless your life long after you have left LDS Business College. Now, this could sound like I am speaking only to the students, but these principles apply to every one of us – students, faculty, staff and administration. If each of us will strive to diligently apply these teachings in our individual lives, they will become a collective institutional strength and attribute – and a characteristic of the spirit of the LDS Business College experience, and something for which we will be known. I speak of the gift of the Christ-like attribute of charity.

We could spend much longer than we have this morning discussing the doctrine of charity. But I will focus on five principles: 

 

  1. If you think you are the smartest person in a meeting, or in a class, don’t act like it. And, if you really ARE the smartest person, be humble about it. (1 Cor 8:1) 
     
  1. Be kind (Moroni 7:45) 
     
  1. Charity is possible only when we are pure of heart (1 Tim 1:5) 
     
  1. When filled with charity, we will be just as concerned for the success of others, as we are our own (2 Ne 26:30, Mosiah 4:16, D&C 43:8, D&C 84:106, Ephesians 2:19) 
     
  1. The pure love of Christ changes us as we experience it, and as we extend it to others (Moroni 7:47) SLIDE 17 
     
     
  1. If you think you are the smartest person in a meeting, or in a class, don’t act like it. And, if you really are the smartest person, be humble about it. (1 Cor 8:1) 
     
    The apostle Paul taught the Corinthians that an unbalanced obsession with knowledge causes us to be “puffed up,” but it is charity that edifies. Think about a balloon. Balloons fascinate us when they are either inflated properly or filled with just right amount of water. But when we exceed the balloon’s capacity, the balloon will burst and then it becomes good for nothing at all. 
     
    You will be much more effective in your life as you live with humility. The time may come when you are blessed with wealth, or position, or other honors. As you remember where your talents, and gifts, and abilities come from – never forgetting that God is the Source and Giver of every good gift – you will live a life of humility. You won’t be puffed up and you won’t burst by filling your mind and heart with your perceived self-importance. 
     
  1. Be kind (Moroni 7:45) 
     
    Moroni beautifully captures the teachings of his father, Mormon, about charity in chapter 7 of Moroni. As he lists the characteristics of charity, Mormon teaches that charity is kind. 
     
    Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught that: “Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes... Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions...” 
     
    I hope we might each reflect on someone who has been kind to us – particularly in a moment of need – and how it affected us at that time. Or perhaps you were the giver of kindness in a moment of stress. Remember that “grievous words stir up anger, but a soft answer turneth away wrath.” (Proverbs 15:1) 
     
  1. Charity is possible only when we are pure of heart (1 Tim 1:5) 
     
    Counseling and teaching his young friend Timothy, Paul reminded him that charity and love for others was the result of a pure heart, and may have influenced the Prophet Joseph’s teaching that we should, “...be full of charity for all men,” and let virtue should garnish our thoughts unceasingly. (D&C 121:45) 
     
    Because charity is a gift of the Spirit, we must remember that the ministry of the Holy Ghost is contingent on our worthiness and purity. As we more fully cleanse the inner vessel, being filled with charity will become part of our nature and who we are as disciples of Christ.
     
  1. When filled with charity, we will be just as concerned for the success of others, as we are our own (2 Ne 26:30, Mosiah 4:16, D&C 43:8, D&C 84:106, Ephesians 2:19) 
     
    Nephi teaches us that the Lord has commanded that all men should have charity, and that if we have charity we would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish. Now, let me restate that for us. As a student, if I have charity, I will not suffer that another student in my class will fail or struggle.  
     
    King Benjamin taught his people to “succor those that stand in need of your succor,” and to “administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need.” 
     
    To fulfill this charge requires us to be “quick to observe” and suggests we should seek the gift of discernment to know who might need our help. We may not immediately know – but the Lord does and He will inspire us, if we seek to share our substance. And, by that I do not necessarily mean physical substance, although there may be times when you do that. Your substance might be a kind word, or an inspired thought you share in class, or an offer to help a fellow student you sense is struggling. However, sharing your homework is not substance that you should offer! 
     
  1. The pure love of Christ changes us as we experience it, and as we extend it to others (Moroni 7:47) 
     
    Mormon teaches that the pure love of Christ is an eternal gift, and promises that if we are found to possessed of it at the last day, it will be well with us. We should each accept that promise with great faith and expectation of celestial blessings. 
     
    In a quiet moment of reflection, I imagine that every one of us could remember feeling the Savior’s love, as a result of the actions of another, and how we felt as we did the same. 

As I mentioned, when seeking any gift of the Spirit, we must be worthy of it. I want to address an issue that is a regular topic of discussion in a variety of settings on our campus. It can even be an occasional source of contention – it certainly is one of some angst for us as faculty, staff, and administration. The matter I speak of is adherence to established dress and grooming standards. 

You might ask, “What in the world does this have to do with charity?” I am not going to answer that question directly but instead I invite you to seek your own answer. It may be today during my remarks, or later today, or next week. But I know that if you sincerely seek for an answer to the question, the Holy Ghost will teach you what you should know and need to know.

I am going to borrow from and paraphrase comments made by President Dallin H. Oaks from the first talk he gave as President of BYU, likening them to us.

The first and most important thing to remember about our standards of dress and grooming is that they are specified by the Board of Trustees of this College. They are not the requirements of the President, the dean of students, the faculty, or anyone else. And, you should know that seven members of the Board of Trustees are The First Presidency, and four members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Men we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. 

We all likely agree that dress and grooming standards are not the most important standards required of those who attend LDS Business College. But they are among the very most visible as we associate with one another and as we come under the eyes of those who visit our campus. Consequently, these matters have been emphasized, and will be emphasized, to an extent beyond their intrinsic importance. Those who take exception to this emphasis should remember that while most of these standards are not vital matters of personal morality, neither are they burdensome. Like the Word of Wisdom, the requirements are “adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.” (D&C 89:3.)

For a man, there is nothing inherently wrong or unworthy about being unshaven or having a beard. Although I did read an interesting article in USA Today last week citing the results of a recent European study about beards which was also published in the Deseret News. The study found that a man’s beard might actually have a higher bacteria count compared to dogs! 

Brothers and sisters, I encourage and invite each of us to think about where we learn and serve at LDSBC, and realize it is more than a school building. It is a building that is provided by sacred tithing funds. Your education and our compensation are made possible by those same funds. As costly as tuition is, before any student receives a scholarship, or any other form of financial aid, the Church has already contributed nearly 50% of the cost of your education, all of it coming from tithing funds. So that makes attending this, or any other Church school, not just a school. It’s a sacred place, made possible because of sacred funds that merits our respect. Part of that respect is demonstrated in how we dress and behave – particularly when we are on campus.

Speaking to holders of the priesthood at the recent General Conference, President Nelson taught:

Your body is your personal temple, created to house your eternal spirit. Your care of that temple is important. 
Now, I ask you, brethren, are you more interested in dressing and grooming your body to appeal to the world 
than to please God? Your answer to this question sends a direct message to Him about your feelings regarding 
His transcendent gift to you. In this reverence for our bodies, brethren, I think we can do better and be better.

To the extent that we seek for the ministry and influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, it is essential that we demonstrate our willingness to live lives of obedience and honor. One of the best outward demonstrations of our inward commitment to do that is how we observe approved dress and grooming standards.

In Mormon’s concluding instruction on charity he exhorts us to pray with all energy of heart to be filled with this love, which is a gift bestowed upon all who are true followers of Christ. I am confident that every one of us here today has a desire to be more like Jesus. We become more like Him when we are humble as He is humble. We become like Him as we are kind, as He is kind. We become more like Him as we purify our lives, as He is pure. We become more like him as we seek the welfare of others, as He seeks our welfare. We become more like Him as we are changed by His love, and as we extend that love to those around us.

May this be our sincere desire.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Bio

President Bruce C. Kusch grew up in Southern California in a part-member family. After graduating from high school, President Kusch enrolled at California State University in Long Beach. He served a mission in the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission.

After completing his mission, while attending university and institute classes, he met Sister Kusch in the institute choir. A little less than a year later, they were married in the Los Angeles California Temple. Then, just four years later, President Kusch was called as bishop of their ward, the same ward he grew up in.

Eventually, they moved to Northern California where President Kusch worked and consulted in the high-tech industry before deciding to move to Rexburg to teach at BYU-Idaho. President and Sister Kusch both taught at BYU-I, and President Kusch also went on to serve for four years in the administration at the school. He also served as a stake president in Rexburg.

In 2012, President Kusch was called to preside over the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission. After their mission, the Kusches returned briefly to BYU-Idaho before President Kusch accepted the position of chief academic officer at LDS Business College in 2016.

In April 2017, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf announced that President Kusch would become the 13th president of LDS Business College.

President and Sister Kusch are the parents of four children and have 17 grandchildren.