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Elder Valenzuela teaches BYU–Idaho students of what is vital to their spiritual, physical safety


Elder Valenzuela teaches BYU–Idaho students of what is vital to their spiritual, physical safety

After Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela finished his full-time mission service more than 40 years ago, he traveled to the United States from his native Mexico to work and save money to attend Brigham Young University.

One day, however, he received a strong impression he needed to return to Mexico. He obeyed, but soon found that his graduation from the Church’s high school, Juarez Stake Academy, was not recognized by the Mexican educational system. In order to go to college, he would either need to move back to the U.S. where his high school studies were accepted or restart his high school education in Mexico.

Because of the direction he had received from the Spirit, he made the difficult decision to stay in Mexico and spend three years going back to high school.

“The Lord helped me make the right decision,”  Elder Valenzuela, now a General Authority Seventy, recalled during a BYU–Idaho devotional on Tuesday, May 17. By staying in Mexico, “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.”

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Pilar Valenzuela, pose for a photo prior to him speaking during a campus devotional on May 17, 2022.

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Pilar Valenzuela, pose for a photo prior to him speaking during a campus devotional on May 17, 2022.

Credit: Michael Lewis

Speaking to students and faculty gathered in the BYU–Idaho Center on the Rexburg, Idaho, campus, Elder Valenzuela encouraged listeners to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in their daily lives and reiterated the promise made by President Russell M. Nelson to the youth of the Church in 2018.

“I promise you that if you will sincerely and persistently do the spiritual work needed to develop the crucial, spiritual skill of learning how to hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, you will have all the direction you will ever need in your life,” President Nelson said. “You will be given answers to your questions in the Lord’s own way and in His own time” (“Hope of Israel,” Worldwide Youth Devotional).

Elder Valenzuela taught that the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit, who witnesses of the Father and the Son and reveals and teaches “the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5).

The Holy Ghost’s communication carries far more certainty than any communication received through natural senses.

“As we strive to stay on the path that leads to eternal life, the Holy Ghost can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger,” Elder Valenzuela promised.

Through the Holy Ghost, individuals can receive gifts of the Spirit and know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is also through the Holy Ghost that others are able to believe the testimony of others.

The Holy Ghost is the Comforter, Elder Valenzuela continued. “As the soothing voice of a loving parent can quiet a crying child, the whisperings of the Spirit can calm our fears, hush the nagging worries of our life and comfort us when we grieve. The Holy Ghost can fill us ‘with hope and perfect love’ and ‘teach [us] the peaceable things of the kingdom’” (Doctrine and Covenants 36:2).

BYU–Idaho students gather at the I Center on Rexburg, Idaho, campus for devotional on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

BYU–Idaho students gather at the I Center on Rexburg, Idaho, campus for devotional on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

Credit: Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho

Through the power of the Holy Ghost, individuals are sanctified as they repent, receive the ordinances of baptism and confirmation and remain true to covenants, Elder Valenzuela said, sharing 3 Nephi 27:20. “Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.”

It is vital to an individual’s physical and spiritual safety to keep the gift of the Holy Ghost, he said. They do so by keeping the commandments, praying, reading the scriptures and keeping thoughts, actions and language virtuous. “We should worship our Heavenly Father in our homes, at church, and whenever possible, in the holy temple. Stay close to the Spirit, and the Spirit will stay close to you,” he declared.

While all honest seekers of truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, the fullness of blessings are only available to those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and remain worthy, Elder Valenzuela explained. 

In conclusion, he testified, “I know that the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead with a specific assignment to testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of Heavenly Father, and guide us in our decisions in our journey on this earth.”

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