Brother James Gordon, student success and retention director at BYU-Idaho, gave a talk titled, “Always Remember” at today’s BYU-Idaho Devotional.
He spoke about the purpose and importance of memories, saying he’s found three gospel-oriented purposes to remembering: creating connections, providing protection, and helping us look to the future.
Brother Gordon shared some spiritual memories he has and the blessings that have come to him as he remembers them.
“Recounting these experiences connected me with those Saints and has helped strengthen my commitment to my own covenants,” Brother Gordon said in his talk. “It has also helped me recognize my dependence on Jesus Christ for my own spiritual rescue.”
Brother Gordon reviewed the experience of the people of ancient Israel in his talk. He said their experience of being freed from the Egyptians served as a continual reminder of God’s intervention in their lives.
“This was a defining experience for Israel for years to come,” he said. “Remembering their deliverance helped connect the Israelites to their ancestors for generations.”
He also taught that memories—though sometimes painful—can serve as warnings to avoid repeating mistakes we’ve made in the past. In this way, he said, our memories protect us.
In addition, Brother Gordon shared how looking back for inspiration can help us move forward with faith. He shared the Book of Mormon story of Nephi praying to know if his father was inspired of God.
Brother Gordon said it was the spiritual confirmation Nephi received while praying that created a strong foundation of faith for Nephi. This helped turn Nephi into the spiritual giant that we now know him as.
“Diligently trusting in the Lord and seeking to learn from our experiences will strengthen our faith that God is always there for us; remembering the times He has lifted us will give us confidence to face life’s challenges and opportunities with faith,” Brother Gordon said.
In an interview prior to his devotional address, Brother Gordon expanded on what shaped his thinking as he prepared his talk.
He said, as he studied, he was impressed at how often Israel’s journey from bondage was recounted throughout all of scripture. It’s mentioned in all four standard works. Brother Gordon said that story can teach us much in modern days.
“That connection that the children of Israel made over the course of many generations—it’s really important and I think it’s a tactile reminder for us that we have reliance on our Savior in our lives,” Brother Gordon said.
He said that principle of remembering has much to do with renewing our covenants each week through the ordinance of the sacrament.
Brother Gordon also explained that in his own life, a prayerful mind and reflection help him to move forward with faith.
“Because I’ve had experiences in the past where the spirit has indeed guided me to answers, I have confidence that the spirit can help me no matter what challenge I face,” he said.