Following the announcement of the new resources for Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families at the October 2018 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson concluded: “The new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families. I promise that as you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning … changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining” (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 113).
Nothing could have been truer for Jeremy and Devon Walton.
Jeremy Walton and Devon Durocher began dating in 2016, following many years of friendship. Their dating experience was tricky and creative as Devon lived in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada while Jeremy lived in Nashville, Tennessee. Their courtship and relationship intricacies prepared them for the determined and tenacious experiences they shared as together they strengthened their testimonies of Jesus Christ.
Striving to Become of One Mind
Each of them had very different experiences with religion in their homes as they grew up. Devon was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and had a strong testimony but had not been attending church for many years when she started dating Jeremy. Jeremy had been a member of a different faith as a child and teenager. He had a strong belief in God and a great knowledge of the Bible, but he no longer believed in most of the tenets of his faith.
Devon and Jeremy were married in a beautiful outdoor setting in the summer of 2018. Because immigration paperwork was complex, they lived apart until September 2020 when Jeremy was finally able to become a permanent resident of Canada and move to Lethbridge, Alberta.
In January 2019, Devon happened to read that the restored Church of Jesus Christ had introduced the Come, Follow Me curriculum for individuals and families. She quickly did some research and was immediately interested. Just weeks earlier, they had spent Christmas together in Nashville and had visited the temple grounds of the Nashville TennesseeTemple on Christmas day. As they stood together looking at the temple, Devon felt prompted to offer a silent, heartfelt prayer that somehow, someway they would return there one day to be sealed for time and eternity.
Knowing there were many steps that had to happen first, this new home-centered study source seemed like a perfect fit. She was especially grateful to learn that the first course of study was the New Testament as Jeremy was already so familiar with it. Feeling spiritually prompted, she asked him if he might be interested in studying the New Testament together online. He agreed!
Fostering Personal Worship
What followed were experiences that changed their lives little by little, across time zones, and through phone lines. While still physically separated, their hearts grew even more enmeshed as they made the intentional effort to study together. They had insightful conversations, experienced tender mercies, and Devon was able to share her strong testimony of the truths she had learned as a child. Through the Lord’s Spirit and timing, their marriage was strengthened. They studied, discovered—and rediscovered—their faith in Christ together.
When the curriculum changed to the Book of Mormon in 2020, they were about halfway through the New Testament. Devon was unsure how to move forward and not cause discontent. Feeling spiritually prompted, Devon suggested that they switch their course of study to the Book of Mormon, and Jeremy again agreed.
He had come to realize that each time he had a question, he always found an answer through their study of the scriptures. He was anxious to see that pattern continue as he firmly believed that whatever effort he put in, the Lord magnified. Devon later commented that the spirit often whispered encouragement to her and helped her know, “You cannot stop this stone from rolling!”
It was at this point that they started to pray together as part of their Come, Follow Me studies. Eventually they took turns praying, and they felt a strong belief in the words of Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Heavenly Father was there with them in those tender beginning moments as their beautiful, spiritually defining story was unfolding. At his baptism many months later, Jeremy expressed that it was during these times that he became able to recognize the character of Christ by hearing the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Devon’s words and insights also helped him find answers to his prayers.
“Feed the Missionaries”
While studying Doctrine and Covenants 2021: Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families in April 2021, Devon felt like they had hit a wall. They still had amazing conversations related to their studies, but it seemed like more was required. Devon felt strongly that the steps needed were to start attending Church meetings together as well as changing some of their lifestyle habits.
On a spring evening in April, her fervent prayer was one of desperation. She found herself pleading with the Lord to know what to do. Her answer came clearly: “Feed the missionaries.”
Knowing if they fed the missionaries that visits with them would most likely follow, Devon kindly asked Jeremy if he would mind if they made that offer. He readily agreed with the understanding that they would take it one visit at a time. They arranged a brief meeting in the Church parking lot to share the leftovers from their Easter dinner. Devon said they were “the nicest and warmest missionaries” she had ever met. This was the beginning of Devon’s and Jeremy’s miraculous connection with the missionaries.
It had taken three years in their faith journey to involve missionaries. Once they started their visits with the missionaries, they also received fantastic fellowship from ward members. It was a brief three months until Jeremy was baptized on July 24, 2021. How fitting that on Pioneer Day, he took that significant step as a pioneer in his family on the covenant path towards Jesus Christ.
Jeremy’s baptism was remarkable. The Spirit blanketed each person in attendance. This confirmed that the Saviour is real and aware of us individually. Devon bore powerful testimony of the many tender mercies that she said were “night lights” of knowledge and spiritual promptings that had guided their spiritual journey.
Moving Forward with Gratitude
Devon and Jeremy plan to be sealed in the Nashville Tennessee Temple in the summer of 2022—working towards that spiritual prompting Devon felt in 2018 on Christmas night. Devon has since shared: “We are so grateful for Come, Follow Me and know without a doubt that it is inspired of God. Not only for the worldwide Church but that it was inspired for the Walton’s too. It was exactly what we needed at the right time, and it propelled us forward until it was time to meet the missionaries.”
They both agree: “Heavenly Father really does know each of us individually and intimately. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows our hopes and our fears. He will 100% meet you where you are and inspire you to move closer to Him. We know without a doubt that we have a Savior who will leave the 99 to rescue the one because we were that one who needed rescuing.”
This faithful couple are now an active part of their ward. Jeremy has received the priesthood and serves as the Sunday School secretary. Devon serves as a Relief Society teacher. They are currently enjoying their Come, Follow Me study of the Doctrine and Covenants. As President Nelson had assured in October 2018, “[This] new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families” (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” 113).