Use Technology to Build Up Others, Students Told

Contributed By By Kaisey Skipper, Church News contributor

  • 27 March 2014

Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe, Sunday School general president, speaks to BYU–Idaho students during a campus devotional on March 18.  Photo by Leanna Davidson, Brigham Young University–Idaho.

Article Highlights

  • Use emails and text messages to build up and thank others.
  • Use phones “as a tool for learning and teaching” and as a “new way to learn and teach.”

“Do all you can to build up another soul,” Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe, Sunday School general president, told students and faculty during a Brigham Young University–Idaho campus devotional on March 18.

Brother Osguthorpe began his address by defining the word “edify.”

“To edify literally means to build up, to lift one another,” he said.

Drawing from BYU–Idaho’s fifth learning-model principle, Brother Osguthorpe said, “Learners and teachers at BYU–Idaho love, serve, and teach one another.”

“If you make a concerted effort as students and faculty to follow it and to live it, I promise you that the Lord will bless you in unimaginably positive ways,” he said. “The reason you have this model is so that you can strengthen each other as learners and teachers. The model is a method to help us build up each other’s souls.”

Brother Osguthorpe talked about Peter’s struggles and about how the Savior came to help in order to build Peter up. He said that Christ was trying to build up Peter’s soul to prepare him for what was ahead.

“We came to this earth to prove ourselves,” he said. “But we can’t go through this test alone. We’re in this complex, mixed-up world together. … A loving Heavenly Father told us that His Only Begotten Son would save us from any calamity that might befall us.”

He said that neither mortality nor salvation is a solo journey. Mortality, like salvation, is “something we work on together” and is the reason we have families: to “gain the strength we need to reach out and help others.”

Brother Osguthorpe said that one of the most basic needs of humans is the need to feel loved. He said that everyone has someone who could use a message of thanks.

Brother Osguthorpe invites his wife, Sister Lolly Osguthorpe, to the podium to share her thoughts. She was speechless because of the joy she felt after listening to the choir. Photo by Michael Lewis, Brigham Young University–Idaho.

He asked the students to take out their electronic devices and look at them.

“Try to think of this not just as a communication tool or a music player but as a tool to build up another’s soul,” said Brother Osguthorpe. “So I ask you, can you pick up your phone—without checking one single message—and think of someone you might thank for something?”

Brother Osguthorpe said he recently read that about 300 billion emails are sent per day, which is about 3 million emails per second. He also mentioned how Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 send about 88 text messages per day. He asked students to think how many of their messages edify others.

Russell T. Osguthorpe, Sunday School general president, greets students and employees after a campus devotional on March 18. Photo by Michael Lewis, Brigham Young University–Idaho.

“We can all send more messages of thanks and praise,” he said. “But these phones can also be powerful tools to learn and teach. They are tools for you to follow the principles in your learning model here at BYU–Idaho. We can learn new things every day on our phones.”

He challenged students to use their phones “as a tool for learning and teaching” and to use them in a “new way to learn and teach.”

He said that everyone has a divine duty and obligation to share what they are learning with others because “learning is a sacred privilege [and] an act of wonder.”

Brother Osguthorpe used Moses 7:18 to demonstrate when people lifted one another up:

A men’s choir presents the musical number for a campus devotional on March 18. The choir will be singing during the priesthood session of general conference in April. Photo by Michael Lewis, Brigham Young University–Idaho.

“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.”

The reason they became people of Zion is because that’s what they wanted to become, Brother Osguthorpe said. The greater will and desire they had to become Zion caused them to draw closer together, and they built each other’s souls up.

He told students to seek opportunities to thank, praise, learn, and teach in order to help build each other up.

“Keep looking at your phone as a tool to lift someone else,” Brother Osguthorpe said. “We can all send a message that will strengthen and build up another person’s soul, a message that will make them feel more competent, more loved, [and] more able to meet the demands of life.”

Students and faculty meet in the BYU–Idaho Center to listen to Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe, the Sunday School general president, speak during a campus devotional on March 18. Photo by Michael Lewis, Brigham Young University–Idaho.