Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to students about individual accountability in a BYU devotional on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Elder Rasband began his address by comparing the gathering for the devotional to the gathering of King Benjamin’s people as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
“Hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view,” he read from Mosiah 2:9.
Elder Rasband said that the Lord is asking individuals to exercise their agency in this scripture. He specifically listed invitations to choose to listen, feel and grasp the doctrines of the gospel as they apply to students’ individual lives. He also said that an eternal perspective is critical to receiving revelation and fulfilling individual purposes. He encouraged students to think about “forever.”
“You are children of the light,” he said. “You must never let the darkness of today get in the way of your desire to be with God and become like Him.”
He also told students that they are not alone. “The Holy Ghost, who is a member of the Godhead, will be your constant companion guiding and directing in quiet yet perfect ways,” he said.
Elder Rasband went on to say that agency depends on robust religious freedom. He cited the eleventh Article of Faith, which states that members of the Church believe everyone should have the opportunity to worship in the way they believe.
He then shared what he called the three keys of religious freedom: the freedom to believe, the freedom to live one’s religion and the freedom to share one’s faith.
The apostle emphasized respect in students’ interactions with those whose beliefs differ from their own.
“What each of us brings to society is important, and as we work together and as we respect and honor the ideas and beliefs of each other, we are choosing to address our differences with harmony and love,” Elder Rasband said.
He concluded his address with an apostolic blessing and delivered his last words with tearful emotion.
“May you know and feel the importance of your life in the Lord’s kingdom here on Earth,” he said. “We love you. We thank you. We need you.”