Eva Witesman reacts to her BYU devotional’s popularity

Marriott School associate professor Eva Witesman speaks at the BYU devotional on June 27. (Ari Davis)

Marriott School associate professor Eva Witesman’s devotional “Women and Education: ‘A Future Only God Could See For You’” has been viewed over 47,000 times since it was given June 27 and was the most viewed BYU devotional for July.

In her speech, Witseman encouraged women to be emboldened by the plan God has for them and to seek out personal revelation to direct their path.

“The message, and especially the best parts of the message, are all things that have been said before,” Witesman said.

Witesman referenced other devotionals and LDS General Conference talks given addressing similar themes to build the foundation of her message, including Erin Holmes’ address, “Waiting Upon The Lord: The Antidote to Uncertainty.”

Witesman said she is unsure, with so many similar messages, why her devotional is receiving so much attention. 

“I just want to emphasize it’s not my message — it’s the Lord’s,” Witesman said. “He loves his daughters so much, and to have been able to deliver that message was a powerful experience for me.”

Witesman said she believes the greater message behind her devotional is the paths and choices women have before them, and how staying close to the Spirit will lead them down the right path.

“It was important to include education as one of those appropriate paths,” Witesman said. “A breadth of knowledge is important for having a full range of tools for the Spirit to use to speak to us. The more knowledge we have, the more we have to draw on in our spiritual lives.”

Witesman said focusing on the pattern of revelation and being aware of principles, such as stewardship and individual purpose, will help dissipate a culture of judgment.

“The trouble happens when people start looking at other people’s paths and saying they are on the wrong one,” Witseman said. “Instead of talking about the decisions they’re making or the paths they’re choosing, we should strengthen others’ ability to feel the Spirit. That way we can work together.”

The opportunity to prepare and speak in devotional was a new step in her spiritual development, Witseman said, and she’s beginning to actively seek environments and activities to invite the Spirit. She said her habits changed as a result.

“I realized there is the potential for more constant companionship with the Spirit and more closeness,” Witesman said. “It was humbling to realize that there was more that I had to both give and receive despite all the things I thought I was doing right.”

Listen to the devotional here.

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