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Watch: What Sister Sheri Dew learned when her stolen briefcase was returned

BYU Speeches publishes Inspiring Short of Sister Dew’s 2003 talk ‘You Were Born to Lead’

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In a BYU Speeches video titled “Inspiring Short: You Were Born to Lead,” an actress portraying Sister Sheri L. Dew looks at her temple recommend in her briefcase. The briefcase was stolen and then returned to her by a man who noticed her temple recommend.

Screenshot from YouTube


Several years ago, Sister Sheri L. Dew went out to her car one evening to find the passenger window smashed and her briefcase stolen — including money, credit cards and identification. 

“I was absolutely beside myself,” recalled Sister Dew, relaying the experience during her Brigham Young University address titled “You Were Born to Lead” in 2003. BYU Speeches published an Inspiring Short YouTube video of the story on July 28. 

Sister Dew, a former member of the Relief Society general presidency who was then president and CEO of Deseret Book Company, told BYU students that she and a friend spent all night prowling area dumpsters hoping to find something. But they found nothing. 

The next day she began the tedious process of replacing the contents. Two mornings later, her phone unexpectedly rang at 3 a.m. It was a Church operator who asked if she had lost a briefcase. Sister Dew responded affirmatively.

“I have a man on the line who says he found it in a dumpster behind a bar. Been to any bars lately, Sister Dew?” Laughing at her own joke, the operator connected Sister Dew with the man whose pickup truck, as it turned out, had been robbed that night and who had been going through dumpsters. In one he had found a briefcase — her briefcase. 

When Sister Dew asked how he had tracked her down, he replied, “When I looked inside the briefcase and saw that Mormon recommendation, I knew this must be important.” 

He was referring, of course, to her temple recommend. He had then called the Church number, where the operator on duty knew how to reach Sister Dew.

Sister Dew told BYU students that the phrase “Mormon recommendation” instantly reminded her of Mormon’s tender words to his son Moroni: “I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved” (Moroni 9:22).

“I have often pondered these words and wondered what it would mean to be recommended to God,” she continued. “You were recommended to help run the last leg of the relay that began with Adam and Eve because your premortal spiritual valor indicated you would have the courage and the determination to face the world at its worst.

“You simply must understand this, because you were born to lead. By virtue of who you are, the covenants you have made, and the fact that you are here now in the 11th hour, you were born to lead.”

The video concludes with questions Sister Dew asked her audience: “Will you increase and exercise your faith? Will you repent and obey? Will you diligently seek? Will you learn to access the power of God so that you can live up to the heavenly recommendation that placed you here now? 

“And will you do what you were born to do?”

Watch the Inspiring Short here and read Sister Dew’s full devotional address here

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