Thank you for that beautiful song, for inviting the spirit, I appreciate that. Good morning my dear Brother & Sisters. It’s truly an honor to join President & Sister Kusch, my sweetheart Kristi and all of you here at the LDSBC Devotional. I understand many of you are far from home and yet we are all like a postage stamp. We get licked, we get depressed, we get stuck in a corner and get sent from place to place. But we always succeed and arrive in the right place if we just stick to it. As we continue to go from place to place in all our travels wherever that may be, I’m reminded that when we fly, I think of three things: Faith, Hope & Gravity. I love being back on the ground and being with my sweetheart and my family and loved ones. Thank you for coming today, you could have been anywhere else, but you came… and therefore, you are pressing forward with a perfect brightness of hope.
For a few minutes I would like you to imagine life without sound…. Not being able to hear the comforting voices of your family and friends. Not being able to hear the inspirational sounds of music as you just heard a few minutes ago, children laughing, or the birds chirping. Imagine how much different your life would be without sound?
>MUTE< For you, it might take some imagination, but for me I’ve lived it. I was born with a severe to profound hearing loss. For the first 2 years of my life, I lived in a world of complete silence. I was disconnected. I felt alone, isolated and hopeless. Finally, my parents noticed I wasn’t responding, so they immediately put on these hardware devices and for the first time in my life, I could hear my mom’s voice, I heard the beautiful music around me, I heard my dog bark and my all-time favorite… I could hear the toilet flush! It was life-changing and I was finally able to hear life’s precious sounds with my physical ears.
Now, let me twist the question just a little bit. Imagine your life without the fullness of the Gospel? Not being able to hear the comforting voices of the Holy Ghost. Not being able to feel and hear the inspirational music of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. Imagine how much different your life would be without the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We wouldn’t have a living prophet, a wonderful prophet President Russell M. Nelson, apostles & general authorities to lead us, guide us & walk beside us
We wouldn’t have Temples, Churches, Institute, Seminary, & we certainly wouldn’t have this wonderful institution of the LDS Business College and we wouldn’t be here today.
Without the Gospel, every one of us would be disconnected, isolated, lonely & even hopeless.
Without the Gospel we wouldn’t be able to seal our families and loved ones for all time and eternity. This picture of my family was taken on my birthday almost 2 years ago. The BEST birthday gift I could ever receive. After my wife and I tried to get our own family started for quite some time and it wasn’t going quite the way we had planned, we felt the Lord had directed us to the wonderful blessings of adoption. We ended up adopting these two little angles in our lives and now that we know we’re sealed to our precious little girls for all time and eternity, there’s nothing better!
Just like my hearing aid devices were able to help me hear life’s precious sounds with my physical ears…
Today, I’d like to share with you some other devices that will help us hear with our spiritual ears. Our Savior says it best, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
These 5 devices I’m about to share with you will also help us press forward with a perfect brightness of hope. Not just holding on to the iron rod, but moving forward, getting out of our comfort zone, going from place to place with faith, hope & charity.
Our 1st Device is: Having a pure knowledge that Heavenly Father loves you! Do you really know how much you’re loved?
When I think of the Savior’s love, I think of little children. There’s a reason why the Savior says, “Unless we become as little children, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” I think children represent that pure love of Christ. I came across a study done by some professionals where they interviewed little children and asked them what the definition of love means to them. As I read some of their responses, I want you to think in your minds… “What does the Savior’s love mean to me?”
Carrie, she is five years old, when they asked her “What does love mean to you?”, her response was this, “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and then they go out and smell each other.”
Bobby, at only seven, “Love is what is in the room at Christmas after you stop opening gifts, and listen.” Wow.
Nicki, only six years old, “If you want to get better at love, you should start with a friend that you hate.”
Noel is seven, “Love is when you tell a boy that you like his shirt, and then he wears it everyday.”
My wife told me she really liked this tie, so that’s why I am wearing it today.
Marrianne is four years old, says this, “Love is when your puppy dog licks your face after you left him alone all day.”
Karen is seven, “When you love somebody your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”
And one of my all time favorites, Jenny is eight years old, she says this, “There are two kinds of love, our love and Heavenly Father’s love, but Heavenly Father makes both of them.”
What does the meaning of love mean to you?
President Uchtdorf’s definition of our Savior’s Love: “Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that by an infinite amount. That is the measure of God’s love for you.” He continues and he says “God does not look at the outward appearance, I believe that he doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, he loves us completely. Though we are imperfect He loves us perfectly. And though we feel lost and without compass, God loves and comforts us completely.”
For me, my definition of our Savior’s love happened back in the day when I was your age in college… I was having a very bad day. I felt depressed, lonely, isolated, disconnected and hopeless. There are two things I like to do when I’m down: go four wheeling up in the mountains or go visit Temple Square. I love visiting the beautiful statue of our Savior at the visitor’s center. One day as I was standing to his right, pondering, meditating and praying, I noticed something I’ve never seen before. The Spirit of God trickled through my whole body and I felt our Savior’s Love like never before. This is what I saw. I don’t know if you can see it, but the Savior is signing “I love You.” I bear you my testimony that our Savior loves each and every one of you more than you can even imagine.
The 2nd Device that can help us hear with our spiritual ears> The Knowledge that we are truly sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. When I was a junior in High School, I was living in Branson, Missouri. My siblings and I and some of my cousins were the only members of the Church in our school. One time, we had an opportunity to sing a song of our choice at our school assembly. Thanks to Primary, the only song we had memorized was “I am a Child of God.” Up to this point in my life, I’ve always taken the lyrics of that song for granted. But after we sang all three verses of that beautiful hymn, I’ll never forget… the students, the faculty, the superintendent were so moved and touched by this song. They loved the thought that we were children of God. That we are brothers and sisters. That we had a Heavenly Father who loves us. They loved it so much, that they decided to make ‘I am a Child of God’ our school song… and they made it our school motto and put it on the front cover of our school year book. “I am a child of God.” I have never taken that hymn for granted ever since and every time we sing that song today, I know we are truly daughters and sons of a loving Heavenly who loves us so much!
I can’t think of a better example than Joseph Smith, when he came to find out who he really was. At 14 years old, he didn’t have seminary, a YM advisor, a Bishop, or even a living prophet at the time, but he came across a device that would open up to the whole world who we really are: Prayer. As a result of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, we now know that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. Join me as I take you on a journey to JS First Vision in American Sign Language.
The 3rd Device to helping us hear with our spiritual ears and to continue pressing forward… Serve others. Gordon B. Hinckley says is best, “The most miserable people I know are those obsesses with themselves: the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others… The most effective medicine for the sickness of self-pity is to lose oneself in the service of others.”
My wife and I have had the privilege of traveling the world helping deaf children with the gift of hearing. It’s something we love to do, and just like Gordon B. Hinckley says, it makes us so happy! I’d like to share a short video with you that changed my life. Every time I see this little deaf boy in India light up like a Christmas tree and hear for his first time, I’m reminded of when I heard my mom’s voice for my very first time. Every time I watch the video I am reminded of when I first heard my mother’s voice.
Earlier in this boy’s life, he was disconnected from the world, isolated, lonely and hopeless. Now with his new hearing devices, he can hear life’s precious sounds with his physical ears and is now connected and full of excitement, happiness and hope!
Just like this little boy, who’s happiness and joy was lit from within because of his new hearing device… may we light the fire within each one of us as we turn on the device of service and hear with our spiritual ears.
The father of this young boy taught me a lesson I’ll never forget… “I hope you never measure your life by the days you have lived, but by the smiles you leave behind.” My young friends, whatever profession you end up doing, make sure you always serve others and as a result, you will leave smiles behind.
To prove Gordon B. Hinckley's point on service generating happiness, I’d like to invite Brother Santos to come up and play the organ for me. I’d like to share the difference between someone who serves others and someone who doesn’t. Let’s take someone who is not perfect by any means, but he’s obsessed with himself and doesn’t lose himself in the service of others. This is what this person sounds like….. Now let’s take another individual. He’s also not perfect. He makes many mistakes, but… like Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said in a recent conference address, “He gets credit for trying.” He loses himself in the service of others and helps anyone and everyone he comes in touch with… This is what he sounds like…
I think you would agree with me that every time we hear our beloved prophet speak, this is what he sounds like. May we continue to lose ourselves in the service of others, so that the Spirit of God may shine forth and touch the hearts of every one we associate with.
4th Device: I love this quote from Gordon B. Hinckley “In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed… not just endured.” This type of mentality and perspective tells us that we can control the quality of our lives, just by how we think and act towards life’s challenges.
I’d like to share a true story about my family and how this can teach each of us to enjoy life when things don’t always go our way.
My dad was only 8 years old at the time and he and my uncles formed a barbershop quartet called the Osmond Brothers. They practiced hard every day to be the best little boy harmony group out there. One day, they had an opportunity to audition for the Lawrence Welk Show.
For all you young people out there who’s never heard of the Lawrence Welk Show, this show is equivalent to what the TV show, “American Idol” is today. It was a very popular show back in the day. My Grandpa George got his 4 little boys in their station wagon and drove all the way to LA from their little humble abode in Ogden, Utah. When the big day came for their audition, they found out that there was no more room on their show and they wouldn’t take in any more applicants. As you can imagine, my dad and uncles were heart-broken. Their dreams were shattered and crushed. My grandpa could have easily got his boys back in the car and driven all the way back home to Utah, putting themselves in a bitter, depressed state of mind. But instead, my Grandpa followed President Hinckley’s advice and took his boys to Disneyland.
While enjoying their time at Disneyland, they came across a bicycle built for four and they witnessed the famous barbershop quartet called, “The Dapper Dans.” At this time, my dad and uncles idolized these guys and they wanted to be just like them.
Disneyland has continued to this day, the wonderful legend of ‘The Dapper Dans.’ As the Dapper Dans performed their musical songs, they couldn’t help but notice 4 little boys sitting in the front row staring at them like deer in headlights. They too dressed alike. In fact, they dressed almost identical to the Dapper Dans.
The Dapper Dans invited them up on stage to sing a few songs. One song led to the next and with people applauding, and you’ll never guess who was sitting in the audience watching these young boys perform… Mr. Walt Disney himself. He invited my dad and uncles into his office and there Mr. Walt Disney gave our family our big break. In life, you never know who could be watching. It could be a Mickey Mouse who is watching.
“All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” - Walt Disney
What would have happened when my Grandpa was rejected, declined & had a door slammed in his face….? What do we do when we find ourselves in a similar situation when we are rejected and things don’t go as planned? My Grandpa could have gotten back in the car and drove all the way back home to Utah, but instead, he followed his heart & had the positive attitude of enjoying the journey and remembering the important lesson that when one door closes, another door always opens. I know many of you out there today can relate to this in some way in our own personal lives. Sometimes our plan isn’t quite what Heavenly Father has in mind.
To take it even a step further… Jeffrey R. Holland says this: “God is anxiously waiting to answer your prayers and to fulfill your dreams. But he can’t if you don’t pray and he can’t if you don’t dream.” May we continue to pray and dream and then enjoy the journey despite all the challenges that will come our way.
There are many devices and tools out there that can help motivate us to move along the iron rod, but I’d like to share one more with you. This last device is what gets me out of bed every morning. This is what gets me through the hard times. I know everyone is different and we all come from different walks of life, therefore you need to find what moves you, motivates you, presses you forward, and lights the fire within you.
It’s the redeeming power of the Atonement. When our Savior comes again… I hope with all the energy of my heart, that I can be worthy enough that he will touch my ears and I will be healed. Either way, it’s a win/win because we ALL have the promise that each one of us will be resurrected with a perfect & glorified body.
What are the spiritual devices in your life that motivates you? I know that as we apply these devices in our lives we will not only be able to hear with our spiritual ears, but we will be able to press forward with a perfect brightness of hope.
In conclusion I would just like to bear you my testimony I am so grateful to be a member of this church. We live in exciting times, but also perilous times. I know that we can apply these devices and turn on our spiritual hearing aid devices. We will be able to see the gospel in amazing action. Thank you for letting my wife and I to be here with you guys here today. It’s so great to be a member of this church, I am grateful for the gospel and the come follow me manuals, all of these devices at our fingertips. All we need to do is use them, utilize them. As we do so Heavenly Father will bless us with joy and happiness. And I leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Justin Osmond was born with a severe/profound hearing loss. Diagnosed at the age of 2, he finally got to hear life’s precious sounds for his very first time. Considering the fact that he was a couple years behind his peers, he has shown through a series of intense dedication and mental/physical exertion, that nothing can stop him from going after his dreams and aspirations.
After 12 years of intense speech/listening therapy, he can now speak with passion and hear with conviction. There were many obstacles and challenges that represented stumbling blocks, despair and lack of hope. But his will-power, determination, desire, and hope surpassed all hurdles that stood in his way.
Despite the inevitable, and with a 90% hearing loss, Justin pressed forward with a perfect brightness of hope and a love for all humanity. He went on to play the violin, viola, piano, and drums. He has received numerous awards such as the prestigious sterling scholarship in music, academic scholarships, honorary achievements, and many athletic titles in soccer, football, basketball, and track. He is also proud to represent the Boy Scouts of America as an Eagle Scout and he currently has his (MBA) Masters in Business Administration.
Justin currently runs the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, a charity that helps deaf and hard of hearing children around the world with the gift of hearing. Recently, he challenged himself to an "impossible" feat of running 250 miles in just 7 days in order to raise awareness and funding in honor of his Grandmother Olive, and to help raise funding for hearing devices for 25 deaf children. It's been his hardest challenge to date, but also the most rewarding. Many life lessons were learned and applied as he trained for and completed this solo run and felt the love and support from others. His focus is to help motivate and be a bridge builder, which encompasses the needs for the deaf & hard-of-hearing and their families around the world.
Justin served a full-time missionary in the British Sign Language (BSL) program which covered 4 different countries within the United Kingdom. After serving in the Manti Temple as an ordinance worker for 2 years and on the Stake High Council, he moved to Hurricane where he currently teaches the young men & women in Sunday School. He and his wife Kristi recently adopted twin babies, Emma and Eve who are their absolute delight and bundle of joy and bliss.
Justin knows first-hand what it is like to live in a world without sound. In his recently published book “Hearing with my Heart” he shares his story with the world in order to help all people understand the struggles of having hearing loss and how to overcome them. Nothing gets him down and he loves inspiring others to go after what they want in life and that NOTHING is impossible. He lives every day by his personal motto: “I may have a hearing loss, but that hearing loss does not have me.”