Devotional Speaker Advises Trusting God, Even “Into the Burn”


Students should discover who they should trust and will choose to follow in the face of obstacles, said Val Anderson, Tuesday’s Devotional speaker.

[media-credit name=”Photo by Jamison Metzger” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Val Anderson, chair of Plant and Wildlife Sciences, speaks Tuesday morning at Devotional.
Anderson, a life sciences professor, shared personal experiences with students in the de Jong Concert Hall about how he learned who he should trust. He said while fighting a forest fire he was commanded to run through the fire to the safety on the other side.


His leader shouted, “She’s blowing up, she’s blowing up. Into the burn” and Anderson followed, despite his instinct to turn and run the other way.

Anderson said this experience was extremely influential.

“This was an intense lesson that helped me to understand the importance of knowing in advance who you should trust and follow without hesitation, especially when the correct choice may be obscured by your own limited experience or instinctive bias,” Anderson said.

Anderson also shared an experience he had in Australia, where he followed someone he could not trust.  He began climbing a large sandstone dome, only to discover toward the top that he was unable to find a solid grip because of the fragile sandstone.  Anderson panicked and his legs trembled.  It was then Anderson offered what he called a “deal-making prayer,”  immediately feeling peace and comfort afterward.

“That was one of those moments in life where you receive an infusion of spiritual reality and gain a sense of who you can really trust in every place and in every circumstance,” he said.

Anderson emphasized the importance of trusting and following the Lord’s chosen servants.  Paying tithing, serving in wards, stakes or full-time missions were among the counsel stated. Anderson also mentioned the importance of following and trusting the prophet, even with newly revealed truth.

Anderson said his family has lived by their own motto: when the prophet speaks, the debate is over.

He advised students  if they want to find success in their pursuits at BYU and in the future, they should follow the advice given in Matthew 6:33, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

In closing, Anderson emphasized the importance of knowing beforehand who you can trust and follow in the face of adversity.

“The time will come when God, by his own voice or that of His prophets will command, ‘Into the burn,'” he said.


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