Very little can be said about the terrorist attacks on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, that hasn’t already been said. Thousands of people were killed as millions of people across the country and around the world watched in horror as the attacks unfolded. Anxiety and grief were among many of the emotions felt by Americans — even as far as Rexburg, Idaho.
“Brothers and sisters, this has been a most sobering and a most humbling morning for all of us,” then-BYU-Idaho President David A. Bednar told students before a scheduled devotional that day.
After reading a statement from the First Presidency, President Bednar — who three years later was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — informed the students that all missionaries in the New York City and Washington D.C. areas were safely accounted for. Twenty-one missionaries that had left Salt Lake City that morning headed for New York City had landed in Denver, while missionaries on other flights out of Salt Lake City had landed safely in the United States.
“There are undoubtedly many within the sound of my voice today who will be grateful to hear that news about the missionaries of the Church,” President Bednar said.
While the tragic events of the morning unfolded, a particular scripture came to his mind: Doctrine and Covenants 45:32. In context, verse 26 states, “ … and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them … .
“But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved … .”
President Bednar explained that the President’s Office had received many calls wondering if classes were canceled — they were not — and if the devotional would continue as planned — it did.
“On this, of all days, we as disciples of the Savior have the opportunity to gather together and stand in holy places. So it was our determination to move forward with classes and with the devotional,” he said.
Calling it a time for members of the Church to demonstrate faith in the Savior and unity, President Bednar continued: “It is not a time for fear. This is a time for us as disciples of the Savior to be concerned less with public demonstration and more concerned with personal, private devotion. This is a time for us as disciples of the Savior to carry on, not to halt nor to pause.”