Featured Stories

Trust Prophetic Words, Ensign College Leaders Say

‘Prophetic promises always follow this pattern of teaching and testifying, warning, inviting and promising,’ President Kutch says

Kutch Ensign
Kutch Ensign
Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch speaks during a devotional held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square on April 19, 2022. Image is a screenshot from the broadcast, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Valerie Walton, Church News

Elder Jose Martinez from Guadalajara, Mexico, was what his mission president, President Bruce C. Kusch, described as “everything a ‘Preach My Gospel’ missionary should be” — obedient, happy and successful.

During Elder Martinez’s final interview with President Kusch before returning home, President Kusch asked him what he did to be so successful, even on the days when every appointment fell through, no one wanted to talk to missionaries, he and his companion got chased by dogs or there was no water in their apartment.

“His answer humbled me,” President Kusch said. “It changed my mission, and it changed my way of thinking forever. He said, ‘President, I never had a bad day my entire mission.’”

What was the difference between Elder Martinez, who certainly experienced every one of those negative experiences and more, and others?

“It was his attitude. It was his faith and trust in God. It was blessings he had received because of a sincere desire to do what the Lord wanted him to do and to be as one of His set apart instruments,” President Kusch said.

In the first Ensign College devotional of the Spring semester, President Kusch and his wife, Sister Alynda Kusch, spoke to students and faculty gathered in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and those watching via a livestream broadcast on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, on April 19.

Prophetic Pattern

The world today is full of troubles and trials that could cause someone to “dive into a deep depression, sitting on the couch, eating pizza and watching all of Netflix,” President Kusch said. But in spite of COVID-19 variants, international conflicts, fast-rising inflation, and cultural, political and social divides, each and every person has been promised a list of blessings of peace.

“The power and strength to deal with temptations, struggles and weakness. Miracles in your life. The capacity to have joy even if worldly turbulence increases. More personal peace of mind and freedom from fear.”

These were among 10 promises President Kusch listed, each one of them capable of easing worry, concern, questions, doubt and fear.

“These are prophetic promises that have been made to all of us by President Russell M. Nelson in general conference since he became the President of the Church on January 14, 2018,” President Kusch said.

There is a prophetic pattern that can guide one’s study, understanding of and application of the words and teachings of prophets, both living and in scripture, he said.

“In this pattern, prophets teach and declare doctrines and principles. They may warn, they invite us to act, and they promise blessings for trusting obedience. If you are ‘quick to observe,’ you will see that prophetic promises always follow this pattern of teaching and testifying, warning, inviting and promising.”

President Kusch invited students to practice listening for the pattern of teaching, warning, inviting and promising by reading lengthy quotes from two of President Nelson’s recent general conference messages. He then gave them questions to ponder.

“What did President Nelson teach? What did he invite us to do? What did he plead with us to do? Why would he plead with us? He has used this word often. And what did he promise?”

Prophets have the responsibility to teach, testify, warn, invite and promise. “They act as the ordained special witnesses of the name of Jesus Christ in doing so. Their words are the Lord’s words,” President Kusch explained. He testified that the 15 men who are members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers and revelators, and as “we listen to their words, we can testify that we have heard [the Lord’s] voice.”

“I further testify that as we hearken to the teachings, warnings and invitations of President Nelson, trusting in his prophetic promises, every personal worry, concern, question, doubt and fear will be resolved. We will go forward with greater faith in the Savior, and greater strength to resist temptation, ‘armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory’” (1 Nephi 14:14).

Kutch Ensign
Kutch Ensign
Alynda Kusch, wife of Ensign College President Bruce C. Kusch, speaks during a devotional held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square on April 19, 2022. Photo is a screenshot from the broadcast, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

Spiritual Vision

A few months ago, Sister Kusch drove her husband’s truck to an appointment following a snowstorm. Although she had managed to clear off the snow from the windshield and side windows, snow from the top of the cab slid down, covering the windshield completely, right as she was about to turn left.

“There I sat in the middle of the intersection, my vision completely obscured by a solid sheet of white.”

After several attempts, the windshield wipers were able to remove enough of the snow for her to see and safely make the turn.

Eyes and sight are frequently mentioned in scriptures, from “Blessed are your eyes, for they see,” in Matthew 13:16 to “An eye single to the glory of God,” in Doctrine and Covenants 4:5.

Sister Kusch explained that spiritual vision is “the ability to see with spiritual perception through the Holy Ghost beyond what our mortal eyes can see.” Those who have spiritual vision can see and feel truth, hear the Spirit and recognize answers to prayers.

It is possible to see something with spiritual eyes but not with physical eyes. For instance, in 2 Kings during a battle between the Israelites and the Syrians, one of the prophet Elisha’s young servants was frightened by the large Syrian army. In response, Elisha told him, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16). The servant’s spiritual eyes were then opened and he was able to see that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire — heavenly legions who had come to the rescue.

“It is clear from the example of Elisha and his servant that great are the things we can see when we look spiritual, through the lens of truth and light,” Sister Kusch said.

At times, however, one’s spiritual vision becomes blurry from pride, greed, jealousy, criticism and sin, and viewing life through Satan’s eyes. “He knows that viewing life only through his lens will keep you from developing your own spiritual vision so that you cannot see what God can and will do for you,” Sister Kusch said.

“Don’t let the adversary spiritual blind you.”

She gave three ways to improve one’s spiritual vision.

First, trust the spiritual seeing experts. Two weeks ago, those who participated in the Saturday afternoon session of the April 2022 general conference raised their hands to sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelves Apostles as prophets, seers and revelators.

“They are trusted spiritual seeing experts,” Sister Kusch said. “Listening to and following them will help improve your own spiritual vision.

Second, look in the right place. She explained that her glasses have three different prescriptions. Depending on which area of her glasses she looks through, she can see objects up close, far away, or somewhere in the middle. To see clearly, she has to look through the correct part of the lenses.

It is the same way with spiritual sight, she explained. “Are there some things that you are looking at, focusing on, that are preventing you from improving the use of your spiritual eyes? Spiritual seeing experts tell us to be careful what we look at.”

Third, spiritual lenses need to be cleaned — not with a special cleanser or microfiber cloth like Sister Kusch would use on her own glasses, but with repentance.

“If your spiritual vision is not clear, then do something about it,” she said. “If you need to clean up your life, clean it. … If you need to do some changing, change.”

Unlike mortal eyes, one’s spiritual eyes can always be repaired and brought back to focus.

“Don’t settle for seeing poorly that which Heavenly Father would have you see with clear, spiritual and true lenses,” Sister Kusch said.

Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.