Stressing the importance of listening to the spirit while making decisions, Managing Director Brent W. Roberts and the head of the Special Projects Department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke at the BYU–Hawaii devotional on Nov. 6.
Roberts’s wife, Ramona Roberts, introduced her husband to the audience and explained his contribution to the Church. She discussed their joint professional history and the extensive service they provided for the Church. This included overseeing the processes and planning, designs, site acquisition, construction, and maintenance of all temples worldwide and other special construction projects.
Ramona Roberts said it was due to their choices to serve missions that they found each other and both decided to live a life in continuing to serve the Lord.
Brent Roberts said in the beginning of their marriage they “obviously didn’t have the answers to build a successful life, although I thought I knew more than I really did. We had strong testimonies in the lord Jesus Christ.”
“We firmly believed we could and would prosper both temporally and spiritually if we kept the covenants we made in the temple that day.” Roberts maintained this as a “defining decision within the course of life.”
He cited Mosiah 2:41 from the Book of Mormon, saying, "For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”
Brent Roberts continued, “Moving forward… requires great faith, at times making significant decisions based on that faith and the influence of the Holy Ghost without fully seeing the outcomes of those decisions.”
He illustrated this principle of the scriptures by relating a story. He read, “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to tour the Gilbert Temple. The building was wonderful. I felt something I had never felt before. I was touched. When we went through the room where it was identified that marriages were performed I broke down, you see, twenty years earlier my only daughter, who had become a member of your church elected to be married in the Mesa Temple, not allowing me, her mother to be there.
“Imagine, one of the greatest days in a mother’s life, and now I would be denied the opportunity. I was heartbroken, then my sadness turned to anger and spite. Because of this incident, my daughter and I have been estranged for over twenty years. Tonight I plan to go to her house and ask for her forgiveness, you see, if she elected to be married in a holy house like Gilbert then it must have been the Lord’s will. I want to be a part of her life and feel what she feels.”
Following the story, Brent Roberts took on a more personal note, explaining how he and his wife had changed their majors when they were nearly graduated.
“We together fasted, prayed and made the decision to change our major. At that time we knew it was significant but didn’t fully understand the impact of this defining decision.”
It was not until over a decade later he started to work for the Church, enabling them to “be blessed with the opportunity to work with prophets, seers, and revelators.”
According to the Roberts’, none of these opportunities would have been theirs had they not followed the spiritual promptings and made the defining decision for their lives.
Seeking to emphasize the importance of proper decision-making, Brent Roberts quoted President Russell M. Nelson. “The Lord’s way is the only way for us to experience enduring happiness. His way brings sustained comfort to our souls and perennial peace to our homes. Best of all, his way leads us home to him and our Eternal Father, to eternal life and exaltation.”
Brent Roberts said, “Aligning our decisions with the will of the Lord is a lifelong process and one of great importance. The will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.”
He concluded, “Young friends, be of good courage, practice faith, make the defining decisions in accordance to the mind and the will of the Lord.”
Students said they left devotional with a mix of lessons learned. “Brother Roberts supplied doctrine from authorities, and expounded upon them through his personal experiences which testified of their truth,” said Emily Peterson, a sophomore studying social work from Colorado. “I think he was trying to illustrate how important it is for us to remain optimistic and keep faith, especially when you’re making important decisions.
“In the end, whatever you take from the speaker is up to you. They can only do so much.”
Nicole McLaughlin, a freshman studying biology from Arizona, thought, “The personal anecdotes he shared were very powerful. I could feel the spirit. It was underlying the entire devotional.
“The Roberts’ testimonies are powerful because they are based on events that are real and relatable. Knowing these principles have been put into action helped me to internalize them.”