BYU Speeches welcomes Elders Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Over the years, both have given inspiring counsel at BYU. Get to know them by reading excerpts from their BYU speeches. Access the full text by clicking on the article titles.
Gerrit W. Gong
Gerrit W. Gong was born in Redwood City, California, in 1953. He spent much of his career in international relations and education, serving at the U.S. embassy in China and as assistant to the president of BYU for Planning and Assessment. Called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 2010, he spoke at BYU in 2007 on the power of choice and living right.
Live Right Now
Given March 20, 2007
“Choice is as eternal as we are. Our opportunity to exercise moral agency in mortality is one of God’s great gifts. Yet we make many of life’s most important choices before we are constitutionally qualified to run for Congress (age 25)! Faith, marriage, career—these and other important decisions loom as large as an 18-wheeler barreling toward you at breakneck speed, and you have the uneasy feeling objects in the rearview mirror are even larger than they appear.
“Choices—we may put them off but we can’t escape them. Choices reveal, define, and refine us. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost. When we make mistakes—and we all do—there is always a way back. And the way back is the way forward. The Savior’s Atonement helps us see the Lord’s promises fulfilled in our lives.”
Ulisses Soares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1958. He worked as director of temporal affairs for the Church’s Brazil South Area before being called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He has served in the Presidency of the Seventy. Elder Soares has spoken once at BYU about our divine potential.
Becoming a Work of Art
Given November 5, 2013
“We all have the potential to become beautiful works of art in the Lord’s hands. In this sense, He is the sculptor and He uses a hammer and chisel to mold us through our experiences day by day. If we allow the Lord to shape us, the result will be wonderful. . . .
“Through our experiences and by properly using our agency, we can turn our lives in the direction of God and become like him. Or we can be distracted by the world and fail to achieve our potential as it was promised to us. . . .
“Generally speaking, temptation is very subtle. It comes to us undetected and deceives us. We are unable to see the consequences of it, and consequently we may make wrong choices. We become blind. We become prideful with a hardened heart, unreceptive to the will of God. The only weapon we have to avoid this distraction is to hold onto the iron rod.”