Presenters, attendees 'rejoice' at Southern Virginia's 17th annual Education Conference

By Hannah Benson Rodriguez

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, June 12 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

“Sometimes we neglect the power within us, as (he) had not thought of his priesthood keys to call down the powers of heaven,” Hanson said. “We may be the ones keeping the heavens closed because of our not understanding the power within us.”

After exploring a few basic questions about the conference’s theme, Rasmussen said that he was “most eager” to emphasize that “we are to rejoice.”

“Open heavens are communicative heavens. Revelation is real. So let us rejoice,” said Rasmussen. “We can be happy, we can be downright delighted, right now, with our understanding that all that is heavenly, is — through the Father’s love, the Savior’s grace and the authorized ministries of the duly ordained — marvelously, if not startlingly, accessible.”

He then turned his remarks in “a more applied direction.”

“What is so desperately needed by so many is the assurance that the heavens will remain open to us, to you and me, the rank and file, the diaper changers, the breadwinners, the workers, the wonderers and the worriers. We will need this assurance as we find ourselves drawn ever deeper into the drama of the last days.”

Rasmussen read Moses 1:1-7 and said that Moses’ qualifications to receive revelation included his circumstances, his disposition, his identity and his work.

“Moses was qualified to receive revelation in part because of his circumstances,” said Rasmussen. “He was in the appointed place at the appointed time … as we do what we are supposed to do and are where we are supposed to be, we will be met with opportunities to hear the Lord’s voice."

Donaldson discussed the “current excitement about missionary work” after the inspired change in the ages at which missionaries may serve.

“The world changed in just such a dramatic way,” said Donaldson. “Currently at the Provo MTC, 45 percent of the missionaries are sisters. One mission president I was working with, he went from 16 sisters, three transfers later, he had 102. … We think one year after the announcement, it will be around 85,000 missionaries in the field, which has caused a significant change in the work.”

Donaldson discussed the history of missionary work since the time of Joseph Smith. In recent years, he said that the publication of “Preach My Gospel” (which was “reviewed and written and processed by seers and revelators”), new pamphlets and social networking have all helped to “accelerate the work in a great way.”

“The world is now connected in a way that it’s never been connected; this is now a hastening of the Lord’s work,” said Donaldson. “With the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for his children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace, but around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.”

Donaldson showed pictures and video of the LDS Church’s “I’m a Mormon” campaign in New York and in the United Kingdom and asked attendees to “make a profile” and link to it from their Facebook pages.

Full audio recordings of the speeches are available at

Hannah Benson Rodriguez received a bachelor's degree from Southern Virginia University in April 2013. She is a communications and marketing assistant at Southern Virginia and currently resides in Buena Vista, Va.

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