REXBURG — David A. Bednar, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke Tuesday during a Devotional at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he delivered an apostolic warning and promise.
Bednar, a member of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, focused on the importance of repetition in learning, teaching and receiving spiritual revelation.
He explained in detail an account in Joseph Smith-History, a segment of LDS Scripture, in which Joseph Smith is visited four times by the angel Moroni. Bednar noted a pattern in the text: that the angel delivered the exact same core message, but added a personalized warning or instruction during each appearance.
Bednar said repetition in teaching is a hallmark for religious leaders and showed examples of this in his own life.
He said many members of the church hear repetition of topics or messages in Sunday meetings or General Conference and don’t see the value in the repetition. But he encouraged appreciation for it.
He went on to point out how key ordinances of the church, like baptism, use repetition. He said the Holy Spirit can help enhance knowledge already obtained and bring new knowledge.
Bednar then repeated a warning and promise he had delivered before on two separate occasions: once in 2006 and once in 2010. He said he visited the newly built Taylor Building on campus with Henry B. Eyring, first counselor of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and watched as Eyring looked thoughtfully over the new chapel.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked.
Eyring responded, “I am thinking about how much we do for so few and how little we do for so many. The tithing of the people I just visited in South America and from good people all over the world paid for this facility. And most of the people who have made this beautiful facility possible will never see or step foot in a building like this. That is what I am thinking about,” Eyring said.
Eyring’s comments on that day led Bednar to his warning and promise to BYU-Idaho students and faculty members.
He entreated the students not to take for granted the resources, associations and campus to which they have access at BYU-Idaho and to be grateful for the chance to be and work at BYU-Idaho.
“In the authority of the holy Apostleship, I now raise a voice of warning, and I make a solemn promise. If the day ever were to come that intellectual arrogance, a lack of appreciation, and a spirit of demanding entitlement take root on this campus — among the students, the faculty, the employees, the administration or within the community of Rexburg — then in that day the Spirit of Ricks will be well on the way to being extinguished. And the heavenly influence and blessings that have prospered this institution and the people associated with it will be withdrawn,” Bednar warned. “Conversely, as long as intellectual modesty, humility, gratitude, obedience, and frugality continue to characterize those who learn and serve at Brigham Young University-Idaho, then this university will shine forth ever brighter as a beacon of righteousness and of inspired educational innovation.”
He said the audience was probably wondering why he would deliver this message a third time. He explained that he is not the same person he was in 2006 or 2010. He said in a way he is the same, but he has had a variety of different experiences since then that have changed him, making his message this time more focused and intense than before.
He also explained that the campus is different than it was then. He said so much has been accomplished in a short period of time.
“A warning is most needed when we do not think we need to be warned,” he added.
He encouraged those who were listening to examine their lives and seek to correct any intellectual arrogance, lack of gratitude, entitlement or self-absorption. He called these “insidious spiritual flaws” that develop subtly within a person.
He encouraged them to think and identify what they are doing well, in addition to what corrections they may need to make in their lives.
“I love you, and I love BYU-Idaho,” Bednar said. “I invoke the Lord’s blessings upon you, both individually and collectively.”