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What a wrong cable and a trip to the jungle can teach about ‘those who know’

At Ensign College devotional, President Bruce C. Kusch invites students to use reliable sources and follow the prophets and apostles

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Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch speaks during a devotional in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sept. 13, 2022.

Lindsay Holcomb, Ensign College


In the fall semester opening devotional to students, Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch drew upon some of the things that President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, shared at the same pulpit during a devotional last May in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.

“He encouraged all of us to stay anchored in Jesus Christ and said, ‘I plead with each of you not to seek happiness in the glittering temptations and attraction of the world. Wickedness can never lead to lasting happiness and eternal joy,’” President Kusch said.

President Kusch also pointed out that President Oaks has been called to testify of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world. About that, President Kusch said, “May we seek the truth from those who know.”

Giving his purpose for his devotional address, President Kusch encouraged the students to seek solutions to their questions, worries, uncertainties and even their doubts from authentic and reliable sources — from those who know — and to trust and believe them.

Using a reliable cable

A few weeks ago, the USB port in President Kusch’s car stopped working. This port was where he plugged in his phone, thereby getting access to maps, driving directions, music and phone calls. 

But when he took the car to the dealer to get the USB port repaired, the service representative told him it wasn’t the port, it was the cable. He told him that using a cable not made by the phone’s manufacturer or by an approved supplier can lead to connection problems. 

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A broken phone cable is shown plugged into a USB port in the car belonging to Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch. President Kusch showed the photo during a devotional on Sept. 13, 2022.

Screenshot from Ensign College broadcast

When they plugged in the phone with the right cable, the connection to the phone worked. President Kusch learned several lessons from this experience:

  1. “Using resources — in this case a cable — that is not from reliable and authentic sources can lead to disappointment and frustration.”
  2. “In my stubbornness, I leaned unto my own understanding and thought myself wise in my own eyes.”
  3. “Trusting an unreliable source can cause you to completely overlook the simple solution of seeking help from and believing one who knows.”
  4. “As I saw the result of using an authentic and reliable cable, I trusted the information from the service representative, because he knew — and I did not.”

Innumerable voices compete for one’s time and attention every day, but in the end, there are only two voices: the voice of the Good Shepherd and the voice of the adversary.

“I have come to know, with a sure knowledge, that following the teachings of living prophets, trusting them and believing them helps us to respond to the unified voice of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as they invite us to follow Them and live with faith centered in and on Them,” President Kusch said.

Following an experienced guide

While on a trip to Brazil many years ago, President Kusch spent several days in the Amazon Jungle on the Rio Negro. They arranged a hike from the wide river into the jungle with an experienced guide named Moreno. 

“Deeper and deeper into the jungle we went. We truly had no idea where we were going and had no idea where we were, and we had no idea where our canoe was, for that matter,” President Kusch said.  

Deep in the humid and thick vegetation, Moreno asked them if they knew where water was. They could not see any — until he cut a vine and showed them the clear, dripping water within. 

Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch drinks water from a vine in the Amazon jungle

Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch drinks water from a vine in the Amazon jungle on a trip a few years ago with BYU-Idaho colleagues. President Kusch shared the picture during an Ensign College devotional on Sept. 13, 2022.

Screenshot from Ensign College broadcast

“We trusted and followed Moreno because we knew that he knew. He could see things that we initially could not because we did not know,” President Kusch said. “But in those few moments we came to see that life-sustaining water was everywhere — we just had to follow the instructions of one who knew.”

President Kusch testified that living prophets know. And President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s ordained Prophet to speak today. 

“I want you to know that I know that when we take the words of living prophets as our guide, the Lord will do more with our efforts than we ever could do on our own.”

Those who know

Last month, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Clark G. Gilbert, and President Camille N. Johnson spoke to more than 6,000 seminary students throughout Davis County, Utah.  President Kusch explained that Elder Holland’s basic plea was “please listen to us, because of our experience, and because we know.”

President Nelson has said people must have a firm spiritual foundation to withstand the perils and pressures of the latter days. This is done through temple attendance, scripture study, keeping covenants and observing the Sabbath day. 

“These all sound very familiar, don’t they?” said President Kusch. “Why would prophets continuously remind us of the importance of doing these things? It is because they know. And it is because it is their responsibility to teach, to testify and to lead us to Christ.”

The 80/20 rule

Sister Alynda Kusch shared with the students a lesson she has learned from a program on the History Channel, where survival experts live completely alone in a remote wilderness area. 

She spoke of one of the remaining contestants on the last season, Juan Pablo, who was running out of food and growing lethargic. He decided he would use the 80/20 rule — he would calculate which activities were the most important for his survival — like getting water — and that was what he was going to do with 80% of his time and energy.

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Sister Alynda Kusch speaks during an Ensign College devotional at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sept. 13, 2022.

Lindsay Holcomb, Ensign College

Sister Kusch said she has thought a lot about how this applies to her. 

“When I have considered this rule and my spirituality, I have asked myself, ‘Am I doing the essential things that will draw me closer to the Lord, or am I wasting my spiritual energy?’” she said.

As Juan Pablo had to survive by focusing on the essentials, Sister Kusch said she has found four essential things to do as she strives to be a better follower and believer. 

  1. Choose the way of truth. 
  2. Have “a fixed heart” (Psalms 57, 108 and 112).
  3. Be willing.
  4. Be in “everlasting remembrance” (Psalm 112:6).

Sister Kusch said as Juan Pablo focused on the most important things, he lasted longer than any other competitor and won the prize. 

“I pray we will live our own spiritual 80/20 rule; doing the most important things that will yield the greatest spiritual benefit,” she said. “Our happiness depends on it.”

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