BYU accounting professor encourages students to ‘call out to God for deliverance’


BYU professor Michael Drake, the K. Fred Skousen Professor of Accounting in the School of Accountancy at the BYU Marriott School of Business, spoke to BYU students on Oct. 4 and reminded them that deliverance will come.

Drake opened his address with a list of 15 of the highest-grossing films of all time. Asking students to identify a common thread, Drake mentioned these are stories of action, adventure and heroes. 

“To use language common in the Book of Mormon, these are stories of deliverance,” Drake said. “I think that we love films of deliverance because we are living in the ultimate deliverance story here on earth.” 

Drake told students that deliverance has been a recurring theme in all mortal lives from the beginning.  

He said, “I testify that hope comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ; there is a Savior. There is a Redeemer. There is One who is mighty to save. There is a Great Deliverer.”

Act One: The Bolivian Gas War; A Deliverance Story

“It is important to recognize that trials and challenges are what we signed up for,” Drake said. 

Drake illustrated this concept through three different stories, or self-described “acts,” first telling attendees the story of a modern miracle of deliverance. Drake said that in 2003, Bolivia was in the Bolivian Gas War, where citizens were upset with governmental policies about natural resources.

At the time, protesters scattered broken glass in the streets and put up barricades with the goal of shutting down transportation between the cities of La Paz and El Alto. According to Drake, several Latter-Day Saint missionaries were trapped in the city of El Alto and needed to get to the mission home in La Paz.

There were reports that gasoline had not come into the city of La Paz for the past five days, adding to the difficulty of travel.

Drake said that the Mission President and his wife, who were Drake’s parents, prayed and received the impression that if they left early in the morning, they would find gas. They were all able to fill up their gas tanks to travel and safely retrieve the missionaries from the designated rendezvous spots.  

“This powerful military escort was not only protecting the president of the country of Bolivia, but was also protecting the president of the mission,” Drake said. 

Drake emphasized the key lessons from this story, saying that there is power that comes from pleading with the Lord with “real intent.”

“The message is clear,” Drake said. “We need to call out to God for deliverance.”

Act Two: Wait, where’s my deliverance?

Drake told students that he knows that unfairness is a feature of mortality, especially when people may see others getting blessed before they do. However, Drake said there are lessons to learn while waiting for deliverance.

Drake retold several “jailbreak stories” from ancient scripture, including the stories of Peter as well as Alma and Amulek and the brothers Nephi and Lehi. Drake then told the story of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. 

Drake said that, while deliverance is sometimes delayed, there are two things that give him hope, such as knowing that “the unfairness will ultimately be for our benefit.” 

He said that the lessons learned while waiting for deliverance will help people draw closer to the Savior, and these lessons may not have been learned otherwise. 

The second thing that gives him hope, Drake said, is knowing that the Lord’s promises are sure, and deliverance will come. Quoting Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Drake reminded students that some blessings may not come until heaven, but they will come for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Act Three: Deliverers on Mount Zion

Drake reminded students of the promises and covenants they have made as disciples of Jesus Christ. “We have made promises to be deliverers,” Drake said. “And, all around us are people in need of deliverance.” 

Drake testified that knowing who to help and how to help them can come from prayer.

Recounting a personal story from when he was in college, he told students how he first ignored promptings to help out another student. However, when he decided to extend an invitation to the other student, he noticed a change.

“We were each delivered, even if just partially, from our own challenges,” Drake said. “I learned that when we see others the way the Savior sees them, we will not only be inspired to help, but we will be inspired to know how to help.” 

To end his address, Drake told students that they know how the movie of their mortality will end.

“I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior,” Drake said. “He is the Great Deliverer, and the Hero of each of our stories.”

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