News Release

Sister and Elder Bennett Teach Faith and Divine Nature in Special Thanksgiving Devotional

Sister Shelley Bennett with her husband, Elder Randall K. Bennett of the First Quorum of the Seventy in front of Main Hall.

Buena Vista, Va.—On a rare, 70-degree November day in the Shenandoah Valley, the Southern Virginia University community gathered in front of Main Hall for a Special Thanksgiving Devotional with featured speaker Sister Shelley Bennett. Accompanied by her husband Elder Randall K. Bennett of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the couple each shared uplifting messages on faith, individual worth, and service.

Sister Bennett began her remarks sharing a faith-growing experience about receiving spiritual confirmation to marry Elder Bennett 45 years ago. She testified of prayer, the holy scriptures, and latter-day prophets—gifts from Heavenly Father that can aid us in our choices.

“If we will be obedient, the gift of the Holy Ghost will be a conduit to Heaven to seek inspiration and revelation for the questions we have,” said Sister Bennett. “If we feast upon the words of Christ [2 Nephi 32:3], they will tell us what we should do.”

“I got the answer that I was supposed to marry Rand [Elder Bennett]—but just because I had an answer doesn’t mean I was free from doubt or fear,” Sister Bennett continued. “Acting in faith is not easy. But it is always worth it.”

Following that story, Sister Bennett invited Elder Bennett to stand beside her and said, “Taking the covenant path back to Heavenly Father is really a wonderful path. Taking it together is so much more fun.”

Elder Bennett then added a few remarks and testified of the students’ eternal identity.

“You are remarkable,” said Elder Bennett. “There’s a different spirit here than other institutions, and I believe that’s because of who you are.

“I want to encourage you to focus on your eternal identity as children of God. Don’t label yourself like the world labels you. Sisters, if you must use a ‘label’, your label is a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father. Brothers, yours is a beloved son. That’s the only label that counts and has any meaning.”

Sister Shelley Bennett with her husband, Elder Randall K. Bennett of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

In addition to the couple’s remarks, Sister Bennett issued a challenge to the campus community.

“I challenge you to reach out and lift someone,” said Sister Bennett. “We’re all on this path together and we’re here to help each other home. I promise as you lift others, you will be lifted. You will grow closer to the Savior and you will feel the Spirit.”

Elder Bennett seconded the invitation and promise and concluded by bearing his witness of the Savior and the love Heavenly Father has for His children.

The event also featured a performance of “Wondrous Love” by student soloist Emma Vasquez and a Chamber Singers performance of a “Love One Another,” arranged by Assistant Professor of Music Kyle Nielsen.

At the conclusion of the devotional, Professor Scott Dransfield offered a special prayer of thanks and thanksgiving.

Sister Shelley Bennet with Southern Virginia University students.