Dean of education encourages students to believe in the testimony of others

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Richard D. Osguthorpe, the dean of the David O. McKay School of Education, delivers the BYU devotional address. Osguthorpe shared with students the power of believing the testimony of others. (BYU Photo)

David O. McKay School of Education Dean Richard Osguthorpe spoke to students about believing in the testimonies of others in his devotional address on June 7.

Osguthorpe shared a message about the value of developing the spiritual gift to “believe on the words of others” to ignite their own testimony and receive personal revelation.

Osguthorpe said many often misinterpret the lesson of Elder Heber C. Kimball when he said, “The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light.”

He agreed that individuals can’t live on this borrowed light from believing others alone. However, Osguthorpe said borrowing light can bring great spiritual strength and hope because of two powerful properties.

These two properties are: borrowed light doesn’t need to be returned and one can make borrowed light their own.

“In these two ways, believing on their words is like borrowing a flame to light a spiritual fire,” Osguthorpe said.

Osguthorpe said the light that is borrowed from others by believing on their words helps to ignite one’s personal testimony. Receiving faith-filled words from a witness through the Holy Ghost can help people be guided to personal revelation.

The David O. McKay School of Education dean went on to share three experiences of believing on the words of others which were essential to the strengthening of his faith.

The first experience he shared was during his experience as a missionary in Canada for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Osguthorpe said three months into his mission, he found himself on a path of doubt.

On a Sunday while washing dishes and contemplating leaving his mission early, he started to hear the singing of his mother in his head. Hearing words he had never sung himself, he was reminded of the Savior’s light.

“I could certainly hear her voice testifying of the Savior’s light, promising me that I only needed to: ‘look unto Him in every thought: doubt not, fear not,'” Osguthorpe said.

After this experience, Osguthorpe was able to find joy in his mission and have his faith strengthened through the words of his mother.

The second experience Osguthorpe shared took place during Christmas time with his family 20 years ago. Osguthorpe and his wife were under many stresses including the sickness of their daughter, finding a job and his wife emotionally recovering from giving birth.

On Christmas Eve, the family turned to 3 Nephi 17. Osguthorpe’s grandmother had read this chapter every Christmas Eve during Osguthorpe’s childhood. Listening to the verses helped him find the Savior’s love through his grandmother and the scriptures.

“I was promptly overcome with a profound sense that our Heavenly Father was keenly aware of me and my family,” said Osguthorpe.

Osguthorpe said the verses brought healing to him and his family through the words his grandmother insisted on sharing every Christmas Eve.

The third experience Osguthorpe shared was about the time he practiced a hymn with one of his daughters three years ago. This hymn was a favorite of his grandfather.

During that time, Osguthorpe said he was experiencing anxieties over his and his wife’s recent decision to uproot their family and move from Eagle, Idaho to Provo. Osguthorpe recalled feeling the presence of his grandfather as he practiced the hymn with his daughter.

“I was signing the words of his favorite hymn and he was speaking directly to me, imploring me to be strong and assuring me that I was on the right path,” Osguthorpe said.

Osguthorpe said heard the comforting words from his grandfather reassuring him of his decision. He said he felt love and peace for his family’s future from believing the words he heard from his grandfather that day.

Osguthorpe said that in these pivotal life moments he was able to receive personal revelation by listening to the testimony of loved ones and believing on their words.

“As I have continued to listen with both my mind and with my heart, that borrowed light has become my own,” Osguthorpe said.

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