Elder Randall K. Bennett and Sister Shelley Bennett: "Our Greatest Desires and Highest Priorities"
Contributed By Mike Price, Church News contributor
- Study the gospel to truly understand your divine identity.
- Evaluate your greatest desires—do they keep you on the path to exaltation?
- Follow the Spirit when deciding your top priorities.
“Your greatest desires during your premortal life were returning to live with your Heavenly Father, being exalted, and becoming like Him. We invite you to make these your greatest desires now.” —Elder Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy
“We should change our goals if they are not leading us to eternal life,” Elder Randall K. Bennett, General Authority Seventy, said during the campus devotional at BYU–Idaho on February 23.
Joining Elder Bennett to speak during the devotional was his wife, Sister Shelley Bennett. Speaking on “three eternally significant questions,” Elder and Sister Bennett addressed the topics of divine identity, personal desires, and priorities—all of which should be centered around obedience to God’s law.
“Who am I?” Elder Bennett asked. “We don’t mean, who does the world say you are or should be, but who are you really and who were you before you were born?”
All are children of God, Elder Bennett taught.
“Each of you has a divine nature, identity, and destiny,” he said. “Before being born on this earth, you grew and progressed and you learned to love eternal truth. You rejoiced in your Heavenly Father’s plan, by which you could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately become like Him.”
Sister Bennett shared how understanding their true identity helped her and Elder Bennett through difficult situations in their lives.
“My mother was baptized three months after I was born, but my father never joined the Church,” Sister Bennett said. “My father died when I was 17, and my beloved oldest brother died four years later. My husband’s parents divorced when he was a young man. We both have siblings who are not active in the Church today.”
Sister Bennett said individual circumstances and the false teachings of the world can make it difficult to distract from one's true identity as a child of God.
“When we were your age, we tried to stay focused on who we really were,” Sister Bennett said. “We decided not to be limited by our circumstances. We also established new traditions and patterns of gospel living for ourselves and our eternal family.”
Elder Bennett asked the question “What are my greatest desires?” He then testified of “your greatest desires” before coming to this earth.
“Among your greatest desires during your premortal life were returning to live with your Heavenly Father, being exalted, and becoming like Him,” Elder Bennett said. “We invite you to make these your greatest desires now.”
Elder Bennett said he asked his wife to marry him four times before she said yes.
“At no time was he overbearing or claiming to have received revelation for me,” she said. “He was simply an undaunted returned missionary—and he knew I had to receive my own answer.”
After Elder Bennett’s fourth attempt and much scripture study, prayer, and fasting, Sister Bennett said she received the impression to accept his proposal.
“I still felt determined to serve a mission, but marrying in the temple was a better decision—the best decision for me—and even though I still had fears, I trusted we would eventually serve missions together,” Sister Bennett said.
Recognizing that every story is different, Elder Bennett stressed the importance of listening to the Spirit. “As you always remember who you truly are and follow the Spirit, you will be guided along a path tailored precisely for you.”
Elder Bennett taught that among your highest priorities during the premortal life were obeying Heavenly Father and following Jesus Christ.
Elder Bennett used the example of Christ and the pattern by which He lived His life—a pattern that He has invited all to follow.
“Jesus Christ loved and trusted His Father in Heaven and had perfect faith in Him,” Elder Bennett said. “His faith in His Father gave Him strength and power to submit fully to His Father’s will and live a perfectly obedient life. To fully obey and show us the way, Jesus was baptized. The Savior then perfectly persevered until the end of His earthly life. His life shows us the pattern, the covenant path that we must follow.”
Elder Bennett said that by living the pattern Christ has given, our hearts are changed, we are gifted with greater faith and are able to draw closer to God.
“If, however, we choose to follow the philosophies, teachings, or values of the world, we will fall and descend,” taught Sister Bennett. “If we don’t stop our descent by taking small faith-filled steps upward again, we will descend into more and more darkness and misery, which separates us from God’s influence. …
“Don't let any desire, plan, priority, or goal—even if it is an interesting academic or professional one—get in the way of your exaltation and eternal life.”
It is through following the promptings of the Spirit and faithfully waiting upon the Lord that individuals are able to press forward in faith.
“I promise you that living Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ are on the earth today,” Elder Bennett said. “I promise that they are doing exactly what the Savior is directing them to do.”