It was a packed stake center in Tallahassee on Friday night as the team held its traditional pregame fireside, featuring talks by sophomore running back Mike Hague, senior defensive back Brandon Bradley and head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Mike started by retelling the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and the covenant they made with the Lord to bury their weapons and refrain from killing. Even when they were attacked by the Lamanites, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies held true to their promise, a great sign of obedience and faith.
"There is a great power in that example," said Mike. "True discipleship requires a change of heart. Not only did they have a change of heart--they also obeyed their covenant."
While serving in the Tennessee Knoxville mission, Mike had a similar experience with one of his investigators. The investigator was a smoker, but after learning about the word of wisdom, he decided to bury his cigarettes in a 6-foot deep hole in his backyard.
A native of Tallahassee, Brandon was the second speaker of the evening. He shared several experiences that have had significant impacts on his life. He pinpointed three key areas that help develop true disciples of Christ: faith, humility and endurance.
While being recruited by Louisville in high school, Brandon was nervous to tell the coaches about his plans to serve a mission following graduation. His mother offered the advice, "You have to have faith in the Lord. He has given you the change to play college football and won't take it away if you serve him."
After returning home from his mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil, Brandon's attention returned to football. He had high hopes for his career at BYU, but those were derailed when he suffered a season-ending knee injury prior to his first fall camp. Even though he was frustrated at the time, looking back he realizes there was a different plan for him.
"Everything happens for a reason," said Brandon. "I have a great wife, daughter and education. I wouldn't change anything for those opportunities."
"Our Heavenly Father puts us through ups and downs," said Brandon. "They all have a purpose and help prepare us to be disciples of Christ."
After Brandon's talk, the congregation heard junior defensive back Travis Uale and sophomore offensive lineman Walter Kahaiali'i sing "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy".
Coach Mendenhall followed the musical number and opened his talk by sharing 2 Nephi 2:11.
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."
"On the verge of every great opportunity is the adversary, trying to get in the way," said Mendenhall. "We signed up for the chance to come to Earth. The greatest thing we have is agency."
2 Nephi 10:23 reads: "Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life."
Mendenhall shared one final scripture, 3 Nephi 12:16 before closing his talk.
"Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."