During the BYU-Idaho Devotional on May 2, 2017, Brother Ryan Gardner spoke with students about standing by and following the prophet. Brother Gardner's talk was titled, "Stand United in Tribute to the Living Prophet."
Before Brother Gardner spoke, however, the choir sang a special musical number, "How Glorious is the Voice we Hear." This song was specifically chosen because it was sung when President Harold B. Lee visited the university in 1973.
In an interview, Brother Gardner said the inspiration for his talk came when he heard about President Lee's visit. Ricks college students presented a plaque with the engraved "As sons and daughters of the living God, we stand united in tribute to the living prophet" to President Lee. When Brother Gardner heard that phrase he knew exactly what his next talk would be about.
"I found out about (President Lee's visit) when I was teaching a Presidents of the Church class," said Brother Gardner. "Something about that phrase just really grabbed me and I wanted to talk more about what that means and why that's important to us."
In his devotional, Brother Gardner shared another reason he chose to speak on this topic. One of his former students informed Brother Gardner observations regarding some BYU-Idaho students who chose not to stand united in tribute to the living prophet. The student talked about seeing many previous students of BYU-Idaho leaving the university who would start to wander and allow their testimonies to slowly diminish. This student made these observations in 2008. He returned to campus in 2016 where he noticed similar occurrences.
The student told Brother Gardner, "Now, seven years later, back at BYU-Idaho, I see the same people I saw before, just with different faces. I have heard these young students make comments that are the seeds of apostasy. I want to beg and plead with them to hold tight to the Iron Rod, which is not just the Book of Mormon, but every word of God spoken by the mouth of His prophets."
Brother Gardner explained that the student's feelings were similar to his own.
"I share this student's experience to again invite each of us to consider out current commitment to 'stand united in tribute to the living prophet,'" said Brother Gardner. He then spoke about how God has used prophets in times of old, showing pictures of Noah, John the Baptist, and Samuel the Lamanite.
"Through study and experience, "said Brother Gardner, "I have come to see the wisdom of God in using prophets to teach and lead his children on the earth."
Brother Gardner gave two specific reasons to stand united in tribute to a living prophet. "The first compelling reason for us to be united with the living prophet is so the Church collectively can accomplish its divinely appointed work and mission in this dispensation," said Brother Gardner. "The second pressing reason we need to stand united with the living prophet has to do with our individual spiritual progression."
Brother Gardner finished his address by reading the lyrics to "How Glorious is the Voice we Hear."
How Glorious Is the Voice We Hear
How glorious is the voice we hear from heaven!
Now prophets drive the darkness from our lives.
Hearken to their counsel; honor their priesthood;
Receive the words our loving Father gives.
Our prophet speaks to show the way to Zion,
A refuge for the saints whose hearts are pure.
Follow his example; treasure his message;
Sustain his call and love will cast out fear.
His voice now calls to every tongue and nation.
Each ear shall hear and every eye shall see.
Listen to the Gospel; keep the commandments;
Forsake the world. His truths will make you free.
He concluded with his testimony of the importance of listening to, following and standing united in tribute to a living prophet.
"The more we are aligned with the living prophet of God and the inspired revelations given through his to the Church, the more clear and reliable will be our own personal revelation through the gift of the Holy Ghost," said Brother Gardner. "I count it one of the greatest blessings of my life to have found the true messengers of the Most High God, who hold the keys of the priesthood, and guide us in the work and way of salvation in this dispensation."
Click below to hear Brother Gardner's full devotional address. You can also click here to watch the video or read the transcript.