Baby Mindy crawled on the tables and chairs in the foyer of the BYU-Idaho Center where her parents brought her to watch devotional. As she moved from the table to climb on the chair where her parents sat, the words of Sister Lisa L. Harkness, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, played from a TV monitor.
Her parents bring her each week in hopes that this will set a spiritual pattern for her.
“I want her to get the consistent exposure to spiritual principles,” said her father, Colter May, who studies art.
They recognize that while she might not understand the words of the devotional speakers, it can help her learn the importance of making choices to increase her spirituality.
“I want her to eventually know or be able to look back on this time and say ‘my parents love the Lord, and they’re doing things every week to try to increase that love of the Lord,'” said her mother, Bobbe May, a Southern Virginia University graduate. “As she is able to attend devotional in the future, hopefully, she can have positive memories of it and know that she can bring her friends to it or use it as a way to help other people come unto Christ. (We hope) she’ll seek that spiritual learning as a priority in her education forever.”
Just as baby Mindy’s parents hope her choices will lead her to choose spiritual things, Sister Harkness emphasized the role that choices can have in our daily life. Using scriptures, quotes from the prophets, tumbleweeds and Joshua trees as examples, she shared that the ability to choose can be both nerve-wracking and wonderful.
Hannah Hein, a junior studying biology, liked the comparison between tumbleweeds and the choices people make. Sister Harkness compared the tumbleweed being blown around to situations when people lose their agency and are “blown by every wind of doctrine” like the apostle Paul taught.
Just like dried out roots can lose their connection with the earth when the wind comes, people can lose their connection with God.
“Depending on where you go and what you do with your life, especially if you nourish your testimony, you can maintain that connection,” Hein said.
Sister Harkness encouraged students to “stand and be not moved” from their faith, personal revelation, keeping covenants with God and the work Heavenly Father has sent us to do.
“Heavenly Father rejoices when we exercise our agency with intention and faith,” Sister Harkness said. “I urge you to use it daily to turn to Him through repentance and serving others.”
Information on future devotional speakers and Sister Harkness’s full remarks can be found on the devotional webpage.