Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Ronald Rasband

PROVO — From receiving a new suit to opportunities to serve in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, friends and mentors have played an important role in the life of Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy, he said during a Church Educational System fireside Sunday evening.

Speaking to young adults gathered in Brigham Young University's Marriott Center and to others watching via satellite broadcast or the Internet around the world, Elder Rasband said, "My message tonight centers on the importance in each of our lives of righteous friendships."

He spoke of the friendships he has developed in his life and how they have given him peace and strength.

"Why do I emphasize that?" he asked. "Because in today's world, so many people willingly trade those friendships for video characters and quick text messages. ... They are choosing to 'hang out' rather than commit to a deep and meaningful relationship that can be sealed in the temple for eternity. Think about it. True friendships are based on love of God and sharing that love with others."

Elder Rasband said, "Some friends are wise and trusted mentors. They are a special kind of friend. They have gone before us, and they know the way ..."

He continued, "I have been blessed to have such dear friend mentor relationships in my life with Elder Jon M. Huntsman Sr., Area Seventy, philanthropist, benefactor, founder of the Huntsman Group of Companies and my friend."

Elder Rasband met Elder Huntsman, he said, when he was an elders quorum president and Elder Huntsman was his stake high council adviser.

Elder Rasband was offered a sales position by Elder Huntsman, and one of his first accounts was Avon, headquartered in New York City. Elder Huntsman personally accompanied him to his introduction to this important client.

Wearing a brown suit and shoes, Elder Rasband met Elder Huntsman at the airport in New York. Elder Huntsman said they would have to make a stop before arriving at Avon. That stop was at a men's clothing store where Elder Huntsman bought his new salesman a gray pinstriped suit, new shirts, ties, belts and other accessories, and "my very first pair of wingtip, black dress shoes."

Elder Rasband said his employer showed him how to dress and how to act as a salesman in the Huntsman business, mentoring him in a new way of thinking.

Elder Rasband said that, later, Elder Huntsman mentioned him as a man of good qualities to the president of the University of Utah stake. Elder Rasband was subsequently called as a member of the stake high council and as a bishop in one of the stake's wards. Later, he was called as a mission president and to his current position as a general authority.

Elder Rasband told the young adults, "Sometimes, we are reluctant to receive counsel; we push back from someone offering us suggestions. We get the notion that we already know what we need to know; pride gets in the way. When that occurs, we forfeit the wisdom, information or experience which would otherwise bless our lives. Imagine the difference it might have made in my relationship with Brother Huntsman, or in my career, if I had been too proud to accept his generous offer of a new suit."

Elder Rasband said, "A very important element of your experience in the gospel is the friends you make and the mentors you follow."