News Release

Elder K. Brett Nattress Encourages BYU–Hawaii Students to ‘Move to Higher Ground to Avoid the Spiritual Tsunamis of Life'

Elder K. Brett Nattress, of the Seventy, and First Counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to students and faculty of Brigham Young University–Hawaii on Tuesday 5 October.


Elder Nattress and his wife, Sister Shawna Nattress, are visiting the campus before travelling to American Samoa, where Elder Nattress will preside at the ground-breaking for the Pago Pago American Samoa Temple, ahead of its construction.

In his remarks at BYU–Hawaii on Tuesday, Elder Nattress recounted the experience of two young missionaries who woke up one morning in their Samoan fale 12 years ago to find that a tsunami was coming towards their village. As they ran for higher ground, they saw three young children under a tree in the path of the fast-approaching floodwaters.

The missionaries acted quickly, lifting the children into the branches of the tree, before joining them in the safety of the lofty boughs.

Elder Nattress then shared other experiences of individuals who trusted in Jesus Christ, who followed the counsel of prophets and apostles, and who acted with faith and courage to get to spiritual higher ground. In the process, they also helped others reach higher ground.

He testified of the power of using the name of Jesus Christ appropriately and thoughtfully in our lives, and the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also spoke about “the healing, cleansing and sustaining power of the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ.

“Prophets see the horizon and stand as watchmen on the tower to protect us from the spiritual tsunamis that can threaten our foundation, our purpose and our very lives,” Elder Nattress said.

“I have learned that the key to happiness, peace and safety in this troubled world, is to heed the words of God’s chosen servants – His prophets and apostles.”

Elder Nattress said that his experience has been that “the greatest sermons of these brethren are found in their exemplary lives. They are devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. When I am honored with the blessing of being in their presence, without exception, I am lifted and inspired by their example, strengthened by their testimony and feel the love of the Lord. They are special witnesses of the name of Jesus Christ to all the world, foreordained to that special calling."

Speaking to young people who may have doubts or concerns, he said: “Many of you might say, ‘But what if I feel unworthy? What if I have been swept away by temptation and have strayed from the covenant path? Is there any hope for me?’”

“The answer,” Elder Nattress said, “is a resounding yes!”

“President Nelson taught: ‘Without the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind would be irretrievably lost.’”

Elder Nattress said that none of us “are lost to the Lord. He stands at the door to lift us, to strengthen us and to sustain us. His way leads to peace, happiness and eternal life.”

“We may be faced with tsunamis. We may be faced with very difficult circumstances where being faithful to the Lord and His prophet are our only way to peace and safety. We may find ourselves in places we should never be, or should have never been. During these times of great alarm and during times of trial we must build our foundation ─ a sure foundation in the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

A transcript of Elder Nattress's address will be published on the BYU–Hawaii website in coming days.

Watch the devotional here:

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