Skips to main content
Devotionals

President & Sister Kusch

By April 02, 2020
President Bruce C. Kusch began his Church Educational System employment as a member of the business management faculty at Brigham Young University–Idaho in August 2002.

Quotes


“Pray with Faith, Then Go and Do”

The winter of 1864 was brutal for the settlers of a small town in southern Utah called Panguitch. 

The spring before, 64 pioneer families had moved to the beautiful valley with the hope of establishing a thriving community. They planted crops in preparation for the coming winter, but the elevation in Panguitch is 6,600 feet, which meant that the weather was cooler, the growing season shortened, and it was a difficult place to grow crops.  

Deep snow came very early that year, and the settlers were left with wheat that had not matured and therefore was difficult to grind into flour. They tried boiling the immature kernels, but still they were barely edible. They also tried to hunt and fish, but they were competing for meat with the local Indian tribe.  

The situation grew dire, and the settlers began dying from starvation. A group of seven men from the pioneer settlement began a 40-mile trek up over a snowy mountain to the nearest town to obtain flour for their starving families.    

They were equipped with one wagon, two oxen and a few quilts to keep them warm as they traveled. They made good progress during the first part of their journey by wagon, until the snow became too deep for the wheels.  

At the mountain pass, they abandoned the wagon and the oxen and continued by foot. In their weakened state, the men struggled with every footstep as their legs sunk deep into the snow drifts.  

With little hope of progressing, all the while remembering their starving families at home, these men of faith decided they needed the Lord’s help if they had any chance of succeeding in their mission. 

They carefully laid a quilt down upon the crusty snow, knelt together and prayed for desperately needed assistance and guidance. You can imagine what that prayer was like. 

As they finished their prayer, they noticed that the quilt upon which they had knelt had supported their weight and did not sink into the snow. As they stood and walked across the quilt, they realized that the answer to their prayer had come. 

Inspired, they lay their quilts end to end on the snow. They completed their journey up over the mountain by doing just that, laying down the quilts, walking upon them and repeating this process until they reached the town of Parowan. 

There, they were able to acquire as many sacks of flour as they could carry. 

Once again, as they made their journey home, the men used the same process, laying down their quilts on top of the snow and walking across them. Only this time, they had the additional burden of heavy sacks of flour that they carried on their shoulders. 

It is estimated that their journey took about 14 days.  

Alexander Matheson, who at 19 was the youngest of the quilt walkers, entered this in his journal: "We decided that if we had faith as big as a mustard seed, we could make it and bring flour to our starving families. So, we began the quilt-laying in prayerful earnestness. The return trip was harder with the weight of the flour, but we finally made it to our wagon and oxen and on home. The whole settlement welcomed us because we had been gone longer than expected. There had been prayers, tears, and fears which turned to rejoicing and cheers." 

A statue of a faithful quilt walker has been erected in a beautiful park in the center of the city, and the residents of Panguitch have annual events to remember the quilt walk of 1864. 

You may be wondering what a journey through the snow, and a town you may have never heard of, has anything to do with you. There are many lessons to be learned and remembered from the quilt walkers, but there is one that I would like to mention this morning. 

Now, these seven men of great faith, when faced with a task that seemed less and less possible to complete, spread out a quilt, knelt in the snow, and pled with the Lord to help them know what to do. 

But what they did following that heartfelt prayer is the great lesson for me. They had the courage to get on their feet and act upon the inspiration they had received.  That intentional act literally meant the difference between life and death for them and for their families back at home.  

So, what does this mean for you and me? 

Well, we know that faith in the Savior is essential.  

We have faith in his divine role as the Son of our loving Heavenly Father.  

We believe that through his Atonement we can be freed from not only death and sin, but can also receive enabling power to accomplish that which seems worthy, but impossible.  

But we must do more than simply say who Jesus Christ is.   

So, what do we do when we need help from Heaven? The Bible Dictionary gives us the answer to this question.  

“Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”  

Faith in Christ, combined with prayer, can be very powerful.  

From the Guide to the Scriptures we read this: 

“[Prayer is] a reverent communication with God during which a person gives thanks and asks for blessings.  

The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others, blessings that God is already willing to grant, but we must ask for in order to obtain.” 

There may be times that we feel as though we are trudging through trials that seem like we are waist deep in snow struggling for every step forward. Perhaps, instead we have a problem to face that seems just too difficult, or a task or assignment that appears too hard to even know how to start. 

What can we do when we are faced with a snowy mountain to cross and all we have are our feet and a quilt? 

Our loving Heavenly Father does not want us to lay down in the snow and give up. He loves us and wants to help us.  

How then, can we access the blessings that God is desirous of giving to us? 

We understand from the quilt walkers that faith in Jesus Christ, coupled with prayer, can yield the answer to a difficult situation. But there was something else they were required to do. Once the answer came, they had to act upon the inspiration they had received. 

Elder Bednar taught us about this connection between faith in Jesus Christ, asking, and then doing. This is what he taught: 

“Please notice the requirement to ask in faith, which I understand to mean the necessity to not only express, but to do, the dual obligation to both plead and to perform, the requirement to communicate and to act.”  

What do you think would have happened if the quilt walkers, after having received an answer to their heartfelt prayer of what to do to be able to get food for their families, had risen from their knees, rolled up their quilts and then continued on doing what they had been doing before, trudging through waist-deep snow on foot? A great tragedy would most likely have been the outcome. 

Prayer is powerful, but if we do not approach the Lord with the sincere intention of doing what He inspires and directs us to do, then we are kept from reaping the answers and blessings that the Lord wants to give us. 

When we understand and know this, our prayers become more meaningful, and we are resolute about following what we are then directed by the Spirit to do. 

The pattern is simple: 

First, increase your faith in Jesus Christ. Our prayerful study of the Book of Mormon this year can help us do this. 

Second, pray with the remembrance that you have been heard in the past and with the understanding that your loving Heavenly Father is desirous to inspire and bless you. Pray with the intention of following the answer that you are given. 

Third, follow your sincere prayer with acting upon the inspiration and direction that you have received.  

Let’s look at how this pattern helped the quilt walkers: 

Knowing that they were in desperate need of help from Heaven, having faith in Jesus Christ, they spread out a quilt and knelt upon it in the snow.  

I would imagine that as these faithful men ended their heartfelt prayer, the answer that came was not what any of them could have imagined, especially as they had been up to this point trudging through snow up to their waists. I could not have imagined that a quilt spread out upon the snow would support the weight of seven men, but the Lord knew that it would. 

Can you imagine their looks of surprise and relief as they realized that a previously unimaginable answer had come? They arose from their prayer, lay down their quilts on the snow and began to walk.  

The winter of 1864 could have had a very different outcome if the quilt walkers had ended their sincere pleading with the Lord and then simply sat down upon the quilts, waiting in the snow for angels to come and lift them to safety. No, they were required to put into action what the Lord had inspired them to do. 

My dear brothers and sisters, in the same manner as the quilt walkers, you can receive help with the things that matter to you, whether it be a school assignment, a difficult situation at work, a job search, a relationship, or your church assignment. The things that are important to you, are important to the Lord. 

As you have faith in His divine Son and with real intent call upon Him, Heavenly Father will guide and inspire you. He will answer your prayers. Your responsibility will be to then get on your feet and walk upon your personal quilts to safety.   

The Lord will help you do this. From my own experience, I testify to you that this is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

 

"Simple, Powerful, and Personal: A Declaration of Faith"

Brother and sisters, as I begin my remarks this morning, I would like to testify to you that Sister Kusch is a woman of faith just like those quilt walkers. It has nothing to do with her ability to make beautiful quilts, which she does, but she is a woman of great faith. 

I always marvel at the blessing it is to gather on Temple Square each week for devotional. I know that when we come prepared, and with a desire to learn, you and I will be taught by the Holy Ghost in important and very personal ways. Devotional should be a time of personal revelation. 

Now, if you were here last semester, you may remember the video several students and I made to encourage weekly devotional attendance. It had a little something to do with scooters. If not, you can find it on our website as part of the opening devotional of fall semester. Well, we have made another one, and we would like to show it to you this morning. We included Sister Kusch this time. 

 

I’m told you would know what that’s about.  

So, truly welcome to devotional, and please do your best to assemble and make attendance a part of your personal weekly worship. And isn’t it great that the place where we hold our devotionals is called the Assembly Hall? I think that’s pretty cool.  

I hope we all have an appreciation for appropriate and beautiful music. It is powerful. It is moving. It can be motivating. It can be sacred. It can make us laugh. Think of your favorite hymn and how it makes you feel. During our service in Mexico we sang “Hark All Ye Nations” at the conclusion of every meeting because we wanted our missionaries to remember what they did and felt as servants of the Lord for the remainder of their lives whenever that hymn was sung. A friend performed a song at our wedding reception and every time I hear it played I go back in time… 

I’m a 22 year-old again standing in a reception line with my beautiful new bride in the cultural hall of the chapel where I grew up. 

Now, I recognize there may be some here today that did not have the opportunity to attend Primary when you were younger. However, for those who did, my guess is that you still remember many of the songs you learned. And, I would guess that every time you hear one of those songs, in your mind’s eye, you’re back in Primary, sitting on little chairs, in a wiggly little body, or in a chapel somewhere participating in the annual Primary sacrament meeting program. 

I have asked Brother Decker and the choir to help me this morning with one of those Primary songs. It is a short, four-stanza song, with only one verse. But, it is a declaration of belief – nine things that every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares. As it is sung, please listen carefully. Please have your journals ready to record any thoughts or impressions that come to your mind. Please listen carefully to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. After we hear the song, I am going to ask some of you to help me as we learn together. 

 

SONG – THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST 

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

I know who I am 

I know God’s plan 

I’ll follow Him in Faith 

I believe in the Savior Jesus Christ 

I’ll honor His name 

I’ll do what is right 

I’ll follow His Light 

His truth I will proclaim 

 

A simple, powerful, and personal declaration of faith.  

Thank you, Brother Decker and to the choir.   

Now, here is where I will invite some of you to help me. I am going to ask questions associated with each of these nine declarations. I will invite someone to respond to the question. Now, this will be an act of faith on your part because you will not know the question before I ask it. It will be an act of faith on my part because I have no idea what the answer is that you will give. But I wish I can call on many of you to answer the question, but in the interest of time, I can only ask one person to answer each question. So, I am asking for nine faith-filled volunteers. Five on this side, four on this side. As I ask these questions of those who will respond, I would ask all of you to ask them of yourselves and listen carefully as the Holy Ghost will teach you. 

“I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” 

In the October 2018 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson taught the Church and the world about the correct name of the Church. He said: 

“When we omit His name from His Church, we are inadvertently removing Him as the central focus of our lives…I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen.” 

Now, I should also say, brothers and sisters, in the interest of time you should keep your answers fairly brief. There will be more that you will want to say than we have time.  

So, here is the question: 

How can following President Nelson’s counsel help us have the Savior as the central focus of our lives that we may be the recipients of the power and blessings He promised? 

#1 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“Simply by keeping Christ’s name within the Church and within all things that we talk about: the Church, the gospel, we are reminded that He is the center. When we take Him out we forget. I’ve seen that in my own life. Just remembering to say the name Jesus Christ has brought Him more into my life.” 

Wonderful, thank you very much. 

I know who I am 

The scriptures clearly teach us that God is the father of our spirits, and that we are created in His likeness and in His image. 

So, here is the question: 

What has helped you remember that you are truly a child of God – especially in moments of difficulty and doubt? 

#2 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“I think for me, especially while I was on my mission and teaching that so much to people – telling them who they were, I think that really made me have to think of who I was and that I was doing His work. That definitely really did help me a lot to be able to just feel that comfort that He loves me and was wanting me to share that knowledge with others.” 

Wonderful, thank you very much.  

I know God’s plan 

The fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring about our immortality and eternal life. It includes the Creation, Fall, and Atonement, along with all God-given laws, ordinances, covenants, and doctrines. This plan makes it possible for all people to be exalted and live forever with God and with the Savior. 

So, here is the question: 

The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How has your study of the Book of Mormon helped deepen your understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan and helped you receive the power of the Savior’s Atonement in your life? 

#3 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“I know when I read through the Book of Mormon super fast, I recognize how many times it just simply says ‘keep the commandments.’ I know that, it inspires me. I know it's important to Heavenly Father. They say it so many times in this book - keeping the commandments is the greatest way to grow close to Heavenly Father and be on His covenant path.” 

Thank you.  

I’ll follow Him in faith 

Faith must be centered in Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father in order for it to lead a person to salvation. Strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

President Henry B. Eyring taught, “However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strengthen it continually and keep it refreshed constantly…great faith has a short shelf life.” 

So, here is the question: 

What counsel would you give a close friend or family member who says, “My faith in Jesus Christ is not very strong right now?” 

#4 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“What I would say is, like Alma gave his counsel, faith is like a seed. You have to nourish it, you have to keep it growing. You have to be obedient to the laws. You may not know yet what’s going to happen, but as you work on it, your faith will grow and you will know that Jesus Christ loves you.” 

Wonderful, thank you very much.  

I believe in the Savior Jesus Christ 

In Mosiah 4:2-3 we read about the people of King Benjamin as they responded to the King’s powerful address. It is written: 

“And they…viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God…And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience…” 

Here is the question: 

How can having a belief in Jesus Christ give us courage to repent and seek forgiveness of our sins? 

#5 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“I would have to say that knowing that He has gone through what I have gone through and that He understands perfectly all that has happened in my life, some of the mistakes I have made and what has happened, that I am able to turn to Him because He gives that repentance and I am able to be forgiven of my sins and I am able to become whole.” 

Thank you. 

I’ll honor His name 

As we entered the waters of baptism, we did so taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ, with a covenant to keep His commandments, and always remember Him. 

Here is the question: 

How does worthily partaking of the sacrament each week, strengthen you to always remember Christ, and live in such a way that you honor and respect His name? 

#6 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“To partake of the sacrament meeting every Sunday we need to remember the sacrifice that He did for me. Such a great sacrifice that He did. Someone that I have not seen. I cannot believe that someone could love me that way. That gives me the opportunity to try again, to remember that someone could do that for me. I will honor forever His name.”  

Thank you. 

I’ll do what is right 

Samuel the Lamanite taught that: “…ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God…hath made you free…He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose.   

So, here is the question: 

A commitment to do what is right, every single day, is a choice that we make. Every single day. What have you learned about the blessing of moral agency as you have exercised it righteously to make good choices? 

#7 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“In my personal example, growing up, I would always have these problems where I would want to control others, but then as soon as I read the war in heaven, the Lord’s plan to let us have agency, and there was Lucifer’s plan to force everybody to be righteous, hearing that kind of helped me with agency and then doing service with that has just shown me, again, the blessings of agency and how to use it wisely.” 

Thank you. 

I’ll follow His light 

Elder David A. Bednar has taught about light and revelation, and likened it to the light that comes as we turn on a light switch in a dark room, or the light which gradually comes as the sun rises in the morning. Spiritual light and revelation can also come in these two ways. Most of the time this light of revelation comes gradually and almost imperceptibly. This phrase of the song is a promise to follow the light of revelation that comes.  

So, what are important things that we should avoid, and what are things we should do to make certain the clear light of revelation is present in our lives each and every day? 

#8 STUDENT RESPONSE 

"I think we need to surround ourselves in places that light can be. If you are trying to read a book, you don’t go find a dark room and open it up. You need to be somewhere where light can be that will allow you to receive that revelation and to be able to improve yourself and help others improve to have good friends, good examples, and good leaders to look up to for guidance for example."

Thank you. Last question.

His truth I will proclaim 

On New Year’s Day, President Nelson extended a special invitation to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “We invite you to be a major part of sharing the message of the ongoing restoration of the Savior’s gospel…you can start today by acting on the invitations I extended to you at last General Conference to immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration.” 

So, Isaac, here is the question: 

Besides being a great example of a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ every day, what would you say to help us each follow the invitation from our prophet? 

#9 STUDENT RESPONSE 

“I would say have courage to do it. Seek to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and when you receive them, just do it. I think that is the main issue with most people that want to preach the gospel but don’t do it. I just think we need to increase our faith to act.” 

Thank you. 

Brothers and sisters, this Primary song is simple and powerful. The gospel, as we strive to live it, may not seem so simple, but the things that we can experience in our lives are powerful as we do so.  

I testify that as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know who we are, we know God’s plan, we can follow Him with faith. I know that we gather this morning as believers in Jesus Christ, to honor His name, to do what is right, to follow the light that is given to each and every one of us through the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to proclaim His truth as we have opportunity to do so, by word, by example, and by deed. I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on the face of the earth. We are blessed to know these things. They are true. I so witness and testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.  

BACK TO DEVOTIONALS