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BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional

“If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear"

July 11, 2023
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My dear brothers and sisters, I am thrilled to be with you BYU-Pathway Worldwide students and share principles and doctrine of the Lord’s Church related to education. First, let me start by saying, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” 1 Our Heavenly Father is always available to us. He adapts to our level of understanding. “If He comes to a little child, He will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child.” 2
History, 1838–1856, volume C-1, p. 13, The Joseph Smith Papers,
President John Taylor said, “It is true intelligence for a man to take a subject that is mysterious and great in itself and to unfold and simplify it so that a child can understand it.” 3
John Taylor, “Discourse,” Deseret News, Sept. 30, 1857, 238
All truth comes from Heavenly Father and is designed for the good of His children. God wants us to educate our minds, improve our skills, and perfect our abilities to be a better influence for good in the world. President Nelson said, “As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to be examples of how to interact with others — especially when we have differences of opinion. One of the easiest ways to identify a true follower of Jesus Christ is how compassionately that person treats other people.” 4
Russell M. Nelson, “Peacemakers Needed,” Liahona, May 2023, 98
Russell M. Nelson, “Peacemakers Needed,” Liahona, May 2023, 98
As we become acquainted with truth from good sources of all kinds, we are better prepared to work in the world and serve in the kingdom of God. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life … he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” 5 The Lord has given each of us gifts and encourages us to improve upon them and seek other gifts. He has also instructed us to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” 6 Church leaders encourage members to engage in efforts to increase literacy, learning, and skill training.  President Gordon B. Hinckley told men to “work for an education. Get all the training you can.” 7
Gordon B. Hinckley, “Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry,” Ensign, May 1998, 48
President Thomas S. Monson urged the women of the Church to “pursue your education if you are not already doing so or have not done so.” 8
Thomas S. Monson, “Three Goals to Guide You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 118
Online education and working have become popular these days. I wish I had BYU-Pathway when I was a returned missionary and going back to school. Let me share with you a personal experience that will give you a context of how blessed we are in the Church, by having the resources to help us prepare to get a degree and a job that will allow us to provide for ourselves and our loved ones and serve in His Church.  

When I finished my mission over 40 years ago, I came to the United States to work and save money to start college at BYU. While working and preparing to start college, I had a strong impression of returning to my country in Mexico to study. The impression was so strong that I didn’t hesitate to return. 

When I arrived in Chihuahua, Mexico, my home state, to enroll in college, they informed me that since I had graduated from the Juarez Stake Academy, a Church high school in Mexico, which was not incorporated at that time into the Mexican educational system, it would not be possible to enter the university where I was applying. 

I moved to Mexico City to explore other possibilities at other universities, but unfortunately, none accepted my application. 

Disappointed by the impossibility of entering the university, I asked them for their recommendation. I was told I had two options: move back to the United States, where my high school studies were accepted, or study high school again. Guess what I decided? Yes! I decided to take the most complex life decision, to stay in Mexico, and start again. 

Due to the strong impression from the Spirit that came to me days before returning to my home country, I did not hesitate to stay in Mexico and return to high school. That meant I would have to study another three years before starting university. On the first day of school, I burst into tears in the back of the classroom. Those moments were challenging, as you can imagine. I hope none of you have had to receive two high school diplomas. 

At that time, I met my wife, Pilar, and I proposed to her while attending high school for the second time. She must have loved me very much for her to agree to marry a student not in college but in high school. After more than 40 years, I recognized that the impression I had to move back to Mexico came from the Spirit. 

The Lord helped me make the right decision. I met my wife, one of the greatest blessings of my life. I had adequate academic preparation and got an excellent job that would allow me to raise a family in the gospel and provide them with everything they needed. 

Two of my three children are working from home for international companies. David, the oldest with three children and serving in a stake presidency, has a prominent position in his company based in the United States. Fernanda, the youngest, works from her home for a company based in California. Both do their jobs from a computer back home in Mexico. I am mentioning these two cases so you can see that it doesn't matter where you live. You can strive to get your education, work from your residence, and accomplish your goals through technology. 

The Lord has given us the comforting assurance that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” 9 I commend to you to stay in the pathway of your covenants with the Lord, as well as BYU-Pathway, which will give you knowledge to take the many opportunities this life has for you. I bear witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, He lives, and He loves you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.