Note: This is an installment in the Q&A series, reporting in the LDSBC Newsroom on informal meetings held with President and Sister Kusch and members of the College community. During the Q&A sessions, students, faculty and staff are invited to submit questions and engage in conversations with the Kusches about all that’s going on at LDSBC. Check out other Q&A articles here.
Students and faculty from the Health Professions program were invited to lunch with President and Sister Kusch this month. They were given the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered by the Kusches.
Here’s a summary of what transpired in the Q&A luncheon this month:
Question: How can we become capable and trusted disciples of the Lord? How can we help others to become disciples? How can we always be a trusted disciple throughout our life?
Answer: Sister Kusch: President and I had the opportunity to speak at a City Creek YSA Ward on Sunday, which was wonderful given that several of our students attend there. Your question was my topic. I shared with them an experience that we had at Christmastime. Our daughter and her family came home to celebrate with us and asked if she could invite a friend of hers and her children to dinner. We said of course.
I wanted to be able to recognize her and her children, so I found her on Facebook. I was in the kitchen when the family arrived. When I looked up, she didn’t look anything like the pictures I had seen on Facebook. She took a selfie with my daughter and posted it to Facebook later that evening. She then looked like all of her other pictures, but she did not look like the person that came to dinner.
I wasn’t familiar with the apps that allow you to change your face with filters. We had fun that night playing around with that app. We made our grandchildren look old and we looked young. It turned all of us into movie stars.
That was interesting to me. That there’s an app that can change you instantly into a more attractive version of yourself. There’s no app for sins though. For becoming a trusted disciple of Jesus Christ. This morning, I was began my week reading in the Come, Follow Me manual. The very first parable listed was the Parable of the Sower. There are so many different kinds of seeds that can be sown based on the amount of sunlight, water, etc. they get. We have to figure out what we can do to ensure that we’re a part of the seeds that are sown in deep soil.
If I asked you to quote to me Helaman 5:12, most of you could do it from memory.
“And now, my sons, remember, 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, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” – Helaman 5:12
The way that we do that is to study and ponder, pray, think about the Savior and emulate Him. You then become a better, spiritual version of yourself.
President Kusch: Something that I might add, that I shared at the beginning of my comments in my remarks yesterday – this is a time when you are making lots of decisions. You’re making decisions about things that you’re studying, where you’ll go to school after you finish here (if that is what you’re interested in doing), a job, relationships, children and families, etc. We tend to think that we just get these decisions made and go on with our lives. The truth is, you’ll be making decisions for the rest of your life. There will never come a time in your lives where you won’t need to make a decision. Maybe they won’t be as big as some of the decisions you’re making feel like now, but decisions will always need to be made.
The most important thing before us is to focus our eyes on the prophet and president of the Church and to follow his lead and example – even when we don’t fully understand why. There are far too many members of the Church who have stopped doing that. When we fail to follow the prophet, we put ourselves at risk. We only have to make that decision once: I will follow the prophet. What the president of the Church asks me to do, I will do my very best to do. Look at all of the wonderful things that President Nelson has accomplished in his time as prophet. I’m looking forward to what he’ll ask of us in April conference.
Q: As programs have continued to grow here at LDSBC, what kind of other implementations should we look forward to as students that will be coming in the near future?
A: President Kusch: One of the things that we’re very much involved with now is a redesign of our general education curriculum. I don’t know if we’ve finalized this name yet, but we’re calling it ‘Whole Soul General Education.’ I’m very excited about it. It’s based on principles found in Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants. We’re to the point now where we’re about to design the different courses. We’ve spent the last several months with a steering committee, who’s been architecting this. If you look at things we’ve introduced over the last little while, such as our subject-matter immersion and deep learning initiative, students are taking responsibility for their own learning. We’ve restructured our degrees so that they’re more transferrable, stackable and employable.
The last component of enhancing the educational experience of the students is a general education curriculum. We want to design something so that students don’t think of general education as something that you have to get done before you move on to other more exciting things. We want this to be so compelling that students might think this is one of the best parts of their education. It won’t be fully implemented until Fall 2020 because this takes time to do the right way. It will be very immersive. We’re really excited.
We are having some discussions with the Board around other programs that we might offer. We have a very close relationship with BYU-Pathway Worldwide. In our discussions with them, there could be some new things that they’ve asked us to do that we haven’t done yet. We talked about things in Health Care and Communications – it would be part of what we’re already doing with our Digital Marketing track. There are a number of things that we’re looking at. I’m hopeful that in the next few months we’ll have a clearer idea. In some ways we’re waiting for the First Presidency to get back to us on some of the things that we’ve discussed. We have ideas.
Q: I want to have children one day and be able to stay home with them, but I also want to have a career. Is it possible to have both at the same time, or do I have to sacrifice one to have the other?
A: Sister Kusch: This is a really good question. This is something that you have to prayerfully decide with your husband. When children are small, they need their mom. When we were at BYU-Idaho, I taught in the culinary arts department. Our children were out of the home. When our son was old enough to be able to read or when he took a nap, I taught piano. I did that rather than work outside of the home because my kids came back from school and I could get them started on their homework before my piano students came. With what you are doing and the career path you’ve chosen with an Accounting degree, it’s possible that you could do something at home. Our youngest daughter is a single mother. She has to work. She’s the only provider for her children. She doesn’t have a choice. If she had a choice, she wouldn’t work.
There is no right or wrong. There is no ‘one size fits all.’ You discuss this with your husband. You talk about it and make a decision while taking it to the Lord. Then, He will affirm that decision for you and you move forward in faith. But, what you’ve chosen is something that you can do at home.
I was the keeper of my schedule when I worked. If there was an emergency with my child, or if there was a school activity, I could shift things around. I was in complete control of my hours and the days when I wanted to work.
Sometimes it’s more expensive to work than not to – depending on the cost of daycare, etc. So, you have to take all of those things into consideration when deciding with your spouse whether or not you would like to work and raise a family at the same time. You have to decide whether it makes sense for you and your situation to work and/or be at home.
President Kusch: We have to live in the world, but we have to make sure that the world doesn’t live in us. It’s really tempting, depending on where you go, to follow what the world does. We lived in San Francisco, and we’re glad we’re not there now – for a variety of reasons. It seems like everyone’s in pursuit of wealth, stock options and fancy cars. The housing prices were ridiculous. You have to work really hard to be Teflon and let that stuff bounce off of you and not stick. In one place where I worked, a lot of people weren’t married and were living together. It’s what people who aren’t members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do. You just have to be ready for that.
Q: How does LDSBC contribute to the state of Utah? What can we do to contribute more? What is the most important skill that students at LDSBC can refine?
A: President Kusch: What we contribute to Utah is you. Our employees. That’s what we contribute. What more could we contribute to the state of Utah? I really like that question. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot as well. Something that we don’t do very well is insert ourselves into the public’s eye. We’re trying to do some things to be more ‘out there.’ For example, we have a membership with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. There are some events I go to from time to time. I’ve been asked to serve on an International Committee with the Chamber. I’m excited about that. We’ve talked about some other strategies that we can do to get involved.
Sister Kusch: If we broaden that still, and say how does LDSBC contribute to the world? I want you to look around the room and see that we have students here from all over the world. As students come here and learn skills, they go away being committed disciples of the Savior. We send you back and have you take care of your families and grow the Church – not just in Utah, but the whole world.
Q: I like to keep pushing myself further and further. How have you seen that affect lives in both a good and a bad way? Am I pushing myself too far? Should I be willing to sacrifice something along the way?
A: Sister Kusch: I’m going to ask you a question: I want you to think about the people you know. I want you to think about your parents. Can you think of someone who has gone off the rails? Even as far as the Church is concerned? Someone who says they are completely and totally driven – that they will do anything for their job? It’s not safe.
I will tell you that when we were in Silicon Valley and President was a sales executive, traveling all over the world, we realized that in order for him to go beyond that – it would mean sacrificing family and the Church. We had to weigh that, and we realized that it wasn’t worth it to us. You have to re-evaluate everything going on in your life. All of that weighs into your decision. Being driven is wonderful. Having goals and striving for them and being the best version of yourself is great, but sacrificing a family and Church is not.
President Kusch: Being a bishop, mission president, stake president – any calling like that – none of it has to do with ambition. It has to do with being faithful, dependable and trustworthy. You might say that that’s the Church and work are different, and yes, that’s true. But if you just do your best and strive to keep your covenants, the Lord will work with you in ways you can’t imagine. When the things that matter most are the things that matter most to us, the Lord is going to help us.
All students, faculty and staff are invited to submit questions for President and Sister Kusch here. Those who have provided questions may be asked to future Q&A sessions. If you have questions or feedback about Q&A sessions, please contact the College public affairs team.