Elder David A. Bednar was the devotional speaker for Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the BYU-Hawaii CAC. From the beginning of his remarks, he let students know that his talk was going to be a little bit different than usual. He asked students to pull out their phones and told them to text him questions at a phone number he disclosed. He informed students he was going to receive their questions on his iPad, and he had worked it out in a way to were the phone numbers wouldn’t be traced, so students felt they could ask whatever they wanted without fear.
Coming out of the devotional, junior Taylor Dansie was still feeling the rush of excitement because one of the questions Bednar answered was hers - “If I have prayed earnestly to receive confirmation of the truth of the Book of Mormon and have not received it, what am I doing wrong? Am I the only one that is lost?”
After the event, Bednar was being escorted to a black Discovery Sport SUV on the north side of the CAC by the entrance of the bandroom. Students stood around a perimeter marked by student security guards, taking video with their phones and waving goodbye. Just before getting inside the car, he waved one last time and asked, “Did you get any answers?” Joe Eads, a junior and Dansie’s friend, spoke up, “You answered one of her questions,” referring to Dansie.
Bednar looked at Dansie and asked, “The one you submitted?” She confirmed, to which he responded with enthusiasm, “Is that right?” He then jogged over to her, fist bumped her, and walked back to the car. Eads had recorded the encounter on his phone.
Dansie, a marine biology major from Utah, said, “You can see in the video that he like jogs towards me and I just stand there for a second. I am like, ‘Wait is this really happening?’ So then I step forward, and I thought he was going to shake my hand, but then he fist bumped me instead. I was like, ‘Oh yeah,’ and then I just stood there with the biggest smile on my face and then Joe was like, ‘This is where you cry.’ And the adrenaline was just rushing so hard, it was crazy. It’s definitely something I am never going to forget.”
Eads, an accounting major from Maryland, said he ran into Dansie after the devotional. “My friend Taylor told me it was her question that got answered, it was the Book of Mormon question, and she was all excited. … I couldn’t believe it, and right when we were walking out of the CAC, I see this really nice Discovery car.
“I see Sister Bednar walking, going into the car and I realize, ‘Oh, Sister Bednar is going into the car, that means Elder Bednar is going to come out really soon too.’ So I just get this kind of feeling to take out my phone and start filming. I was just standing behind the car.”
Dansie wasn’t expecting to shake Bednar’s hand, but she said she was recording him walking into his car on her phone so she could send it to her parents.
But the fist bump alone wasn’t what made the experience so rewarding, said Dansie. Even though she’s from Utah, Dansie said she had never met a general authority. Since attending a college that’s far away from home, she said her testimony has been shaken and she felt she had been struggling.
“You are in a new place. … You are not really sure who you are. You are struggling with your identity, and it seems like when you come to college, your testimony is just another thing that takes the hit.”
Describing the moment when Elder Bednar read her question out loud, she said, “It was very emotional. As soon as he started reading out my question, I kind of panicked. I was blown away. I started crying.
“There was a ton of us there, and chances are there were multiple questions asked by people. I felt he was speaking directly to me. Clearly somebody upstairs told him, ‘She needs your help.’ And I’m sure multiple people had the same specific question and from above they were like, ‘They need your help, you need to direct your answer to them.’”
She also recognized there are people looking after her. “Things aren’t just coincidental, things happen for a reason.” She described this moment as being a wake up call. “It makes you realize you need to listen.”
Dansie said even when she lived in Utah she never met a General Authority. “It was kind of like a celebrity. … You could feel he was very genuine and he cared about all of us, and that if he had time he would’ve wanted to say hi to all of us and shake our hands. It is understandable that he is really busy since he is in Hawaii, and he probably has a set schedule for his entire week.”
Dansie shared the moment via text with her sister-in-law. The sister responded in text that the day was a “99 and 1 day” and explained, “Christ cares about the 99 sheep but He also loves and cares for the 1 and will go out of His way to show it.”
Dansie shared how she sincerely felt like the one sheep since this was a question she had pondered about for a long time. “It was really cool to have him answer my question and then not only answer it, but also notice me afterwards and come over and acknowledge that he had answered my question.”
Eads concluded, “I guess it was kind of meant to be.”