From time to time BYU-Idaho students are privileged to hear from a leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the weekly devotional. This week Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency addressed the student body. Born and raised in Louisiana, Marriott brought her spirit, warmth, smiles and endearing accent to Rexburg.
Marriott chose to address the topic of the heart, specifically how important it is to have heart softening experiences that allow the Lord to work with and heal the broken-hearted. In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio about the inspiration that led to her devotional address, Marriott immediately thought about what the students of BYU-Idaho most needed to hear.
"As I was reading foundational addresses about the university, a phrase: ‘test of the heart' just floated off the page for me."
Marriott shared this was the very first time she and her husband David have visited Rexburg. She commented on the feeling of love and warmth for the university as expressed by BYU-Idaho graduates with whom she had come in contact, and expressed her pleasant surprise at the activity on the devotional discussion board.
Marriott began her devotional address with several questions: Do we see how our feelings may be coming from a heart that is often turned inward, focusing only on ourselves rather than on the hope and power of Jesus Christ? In a follow-up, she referred to the need she had to have a change of heart when she realized that many of her actions were focused on competing on attention with family members. That change of heart came as a 12-year-old girl singing hymns in a camp chapel.
"I had hardly begun to sing the lines ‘Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,' when a loving warmth simply bloomed in my heart, spreading outward to envelop me in the sweetest feeling I had ever experienced," Marriott said. "Even the chapel itself appeared to grow brighter and brighter as I felt this love flow in every direction."
In closing, Marriott reaffirmed that a softening of the heart allows the love of the Savior into our lives to change us. "Everything pales in significance when we feel this love and know of its source," Marriott said. "If we let him, the Lord will create in us a clean new heart and by making and keeping our covenants with him we will come to treasure his atonement and true gospel."
You can listen to the full devotional address below.