By Study and By Faith

Featuring devotionals that blend disciplines with discipleship, the scholarly with the sacred

  • Accounting (1)

    • Kevin D. Stocks
      Good morning. I am thankful for the prayer that has been given and for the beautiful music. I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will continue to be with us. My Dad I would like to begin with a personal story. In 1988 I was visiting with my brothers and sisters when the conversation drifted to our father, who had passed away many years earlier. We shared our memories of Dad: his ways of doing things, his favorite sayings, our fishing trips (where all he did was bait hooks), and so forth. After enjoying the discussion for 10 or 15 minutes, I was surprised when my younges
  • Africa (1)

  • Agriculture (3)

    • This is a magnificent building constructed to further the study of the life sciences. The size and function of the building show how far BYU has come in this academic area. What is now the College of Life Sciences first became a separate college at BYU in 1954 with the formation of the College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences. The first dean of the college was Clarence Cottam, who served as dean for only one year before accepting a position at a wildlife refuge in Texas.1 It is clear that Cottam left, in part, because his expectations for the new college were not be
    • Terry B. Ball
      I became a seminary teacher in the Church Educational System at a time when a new paradigm for teaching the scriptures was being introduced. Our leaders felt that this new approach, which emphasized teaching each book from the standard works sequentially from beginning to end, would help students better know and love the scriptures. It was exciting to be part of that grand experiment. President Henry B. Eyring, who was then serving as commissioner of Church education, shared his feelings about what these efforts could accomplish. He said: I have a hunch that four or five years fro
    • Looking out over this group, I am reminded of a BYU devotional that I attended back when I was a freshman. President Ernest L. Wilkinson was conducting. Just like today, we were on the verge of spring. “Ah, spring!” President Wilkinson said. “What a wonderful season! Spring is that time when a young man’s thoughts turn to that which a young woman has been thinking about all winter long.” As you learned from my introduction, I am an agronomist. A considerable part of my career has been devoted to improving the production of corn. I begin my remarks with an insight that I have gained f
  • America (20)

  • Area Studies: Asia (1)

  • Area Studies: the Americas (1)

  • Area Studies: The Middle East (1)

  • Art (7)

  • Astronomy (3)

  • Athletics (9)

    • I pray that the Spirit will be with us to prompt our thinking as we join together today. It is an honor for me to be with you. Having my nephew Mike play the organ and my grandchildren Ashlyn and Drew give the prayers just adds to the joy. Looking on the Bright Side Our son shared a story told to him by a teacher at BYU recounting a family’s experience while hosting an apostle in their home during a stake conference weekend. The mother was anxious to prepare things as perfectly as possible for their respected vi
    • I would like to let my staff, my students, and my athletes know that I am just as surprised as you are to see me up here, but please don’t let it shake your testimony or your confidence in BYU. When I was about four years old, I fell out of my bed. My father heard me crying and came into my room to check on me. As he helped me get back into my bed, he asked, with all of the compassion of a loving father, why I had fallen out of bed. He always loved to tell me how I had looked up at him and said, with the eye roll of a rational four-year-old, “Obviously I
    • I would like to explain the sequence of how I was first contacted to speak at this devotional. It was on a Monday that I got a text message from a number I didn’t recognize. It had been a hectic day, and I didn’t read the text fully. Thinking it was a request to speak at an upcoming Church assignment, I texted back politely asking who the text was from. Matthew O. Richardson, BYU advancement vice president, responded that it was he who had sent the text asking me to speak at a BYU devotional. The first thought that popped into my mind was, “Are you crazy? Do you not realize th
    • Chad Lewis
      Shortly after accepting my job at BYU, I called Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s office to ask if he would do the voice-over for an athletics commercial during the height of Jimmermania. Because of my football career I had gotten to know Elder Holland, and I thought he would be the perfect person, with his distinctive voice, for the job. Then I had a meeting with Tom Holmoe, BYU’s athletic director, and I let him know how excited I was about the possibility of including Elder Holland in our project. I naïvely assumed that Tom would be thrilled about my phone call and invitation. I w
    • Brian Santiago
      As a young boy (I still think of myself as young), I grew up on the east side of Provo. Surrounded by the mountains, Rock Canyon, the Provo River, and Utah Lake, I often heard stories about “the greatest lake ever”: Lake Powell. Friends, classmates, teachers, neighbors, and pretty much every person I knew would relate stories of water skiing, cliff jumping, houseboats, jet skis, sunshine, and good food. I wondered if I would ever have the chance to visit. The years passed by—junior high school, high school, a mission, college, graduate school—and still no opportunity came. In the sum
    • Echo Hawk: that is the English translation of the name given to my great-grandfather, a Pawnee Indian who did not speak English. He was born in the mid-1800s in what is now called Nebraska. Among the Pawnee, the hawk is a symbol of a warrior. My great-grandfather was known for his bravery, but he was also known as a quiet man who did not speak of his own deeds. As members of his tribe spoke of his good deeds, it was like an “echo” from one side of the village to the other. Thus he was named Echo Hawk. According to accounts of the first white men who encountered the Pawnee people, the
    • I am pleased to be with you today. This is a very humbling moment. I can assure you that I have given much thought and prayer to this assignment so that I could say a few words that would be of benefit to you this morning. It has been my pleasure and honor to be at this great university for the past 40 years. My interaction with the students has been mostly as a coach. I did, however, spend seven-and-a-half years as a bishop and high councilor in a student ward and stake, which I consider the most enjoyable and rewarding Church assignments of my life. In the Doctrine and Coven
  • Biology and Life Sciences (13)

    • My great academic interest in life has been biology. I am not certain if it stems from my love of the outdoors or the fact that I was raised as one of ten children in a house teaming with life. There are many big questions encompassed by the study of biology. For example: What exactly is life? How do living things function? How was the great diversity of life created and how is it evolving? With the challenge of the great diversity of life, how do we classify life? I love each of these questions, but my favorite question is a combination of them: Wh
    • We are only about two weeks into the beginning of the spring term here on campus. Many of you are current students, and those of you who have completed this period of your life no doubt remember what it is like to walk into a fresh, new classroom. At the beginning of the semester or term, the gap between what you know now and what you need to know to do well in the course is often large—perhaps overwhelming. A university education requires that you learn about many different subjects, some of which will come naturally to you and some of which you will never quite feel confident about. Some
    • Alicia Stanton
      Hi, everybody! To all of you—graduates, parents, and other supporters—thank you so much for being here, and thank you even more for what you have done to get here. I also want to say thank you to those who have helped me get here. To my sweet husband, my parents, my siblings, and all my extended ­family, thank you for your wonderful encouragement and support. I will start by letting you all know that I do not feel particularly qualified to address you, much less able to give you any life advice. After all, most of us are pretty much in the same stage of life. So what I want to do tod
    • This is a magnificent building constructed to further the study of the life sciences. The size and function of the building show how far BYU has come in this academic area. What is now the College of Life Sciences first became a separate college at BYU in 1954 with the formation of the College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences. The first dean of the college was Clarence Cottam, who served as dean for only one year before accepting a position at a wildlife refuge in Texas.1 It is clear that Cottam left, in part, because his expectations for the new college were not be
    • Michael D. Brown
      As an anatomy and neuroscience teacher, I have the great privilege to study and teach about one of God’s greatest creations: the human body. I marvel every time I listen to a beating heart or watch an electrocardiogram measure a heart’s electrical activity. It is remarkable to me to watch skin slowly repair itself following a scratch or to think about where and how memories are stored in the brain. When I was a graduate student, one of my research projects was to study the proteins involved in cell division. I would often watch a set of recently fertilized frog eggs split from a sing
    • Jerald B. Johnson
      You heard in the introduction that I am a biologist. Not surprisingly, as a young child I had a fascination with catching animals. I went through several phases in this interest. I first fell in love with lizards and toads. I then moved on to turtles and from those to small mammals and birds and fishes. I even had a scorpion phase. That one ended quite abruptly after I caught about a dozen scorpions and brought them into the house. I wanted to preserve them, so I doused them with rubbing alcohol until they no longer moved. I then proudly set each one out on the top of our television set to
    • Paul Alan Cox
      When I walk to campus, my route takes me along the front of Heritage Halls. There, underneath some shady trees, the sidewalk runs along an irrigation canal, a relic perhaps of an earlier era when orchards rather than buildings graced the area. One day while walking next to the canal, I was rapt in thought about the pollination of the little aquatic plant Zannichellia palustris. How does the pollen move through water? I had been studying populations of the plant at Fish Springs in the west desert, about a three-hour drive from Provo. “Wouldn’t it be grand if Zannichellia pal
    • Thank you, President Lee and Sister Lee. We appreciate your limitless leadership and are grateful to acknowledge the presence of Sister Lee’s parents, Brother and Sister Griffin. I thank Brother Staheli and the singers for their wonderful music—it was beautiful. Dear fellow students and friends—beloved brothers and sisters—you look mighty good to Sister Nelson and me. We admire and respect you. Many of you attended the Sunday night fireside recently (7 February 1993) when President Howard W. Hunter spoke. We commend you for your conduct during that shocking confrontation by an advers
    • I invite you to ponder things magnificent. To assist, let us define the word magnificent. It is derived from two Latin roots. The prefix magni comes from a term meaning “great.” The suffix comes from the Latin facere, meaning “to make” or “to do.” A simple definition of magnificent then might be “great deed” or “greatly made.” Think, if you will, of the most magnificent sight you have ever seen. It could be a meadow in springtime filled with beautiful wildflowers. Or perhaps you have been awestruck, as I have, at the magnificence of a single rose with its
    • President Oaks, brothers and sisters, fellow students, it is an honor to return again to the campus of Brigham Young University. I am grateful for each opportunity I have to be among you. Every time I am privileged to come to BYU, I leave as a better individual. I am always inspired by the students here and by the great members of the faculty. I want you to know of my love and admiration for all of you. In responding to this request to share my innermost thoughts with you on this occasion, I sense my inadequacies; for I stand before you, not as a speaker or as an entertainer, but sol
  • Business (5)

  • Chemistry (4)

    • Jennifer B. Nielson
      I have to tell you how much I love working and living in a college town, where I get to know so many wonderful students. When our youngest, Rob, was about five, we were out shopping, and I bumped into a bunch of students, as frequently happens. It was great because he looked up at me kind of wide-eyed and said, “Mom, every place we go people know you. Are you famous?” Of course I said, “Yes.” I may not be famous, but I am blessed to work with so many fantastic colleagues and friends and to have so many great students; they inspire me in many ways. Many of my students are here
    • Gregory F. Burton
      As a scientist, I make observations that help me develop explanations for what I see in the laboratory. These explanations are called hypotheses, and they can be tested in the laboratory to determine whether or not they are true. An example of a hypothesis that I might make is “because chemicals A and B are known to be reactive, I reason, or ‘hypothesize,’ that if A and B are mixed together, they will react and form product C.” One of the first challenges that we as scientists face in testing our hypotheses is to determine the “definitive test,” or the analysis that allows us to uneq
    • One of the key issues in the Council in Heaven—and one of the key differences between our Heavenly Father’s plan for us and the plan advocated by Lucifer—was whether or not we would be given agency, or the ability to make our own choices. Lucifer argued that he could return us all to our Father without any need for agency on our part. Lucifer said: Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But our Elder Brother said: Father, thy will be
    • It is frightening to be asked to speak to you today. It is even more frightening when I hear those who have sacred callings in the Church—those much closer to the Spirit than I—acknowledge the great responsibility they feel when asked to speak at a BYU devotional. I don’t know that I will say anything profound today, but I will tell you a few things I have learned from others and from my own experiences, especially experiences I have had at BYU. Forty years ago last month I became a freshman at this university. I came from a simple background in a small community with a small high sc
  • China (2)

    • Su Ge
      Dear Elder Clayton, President Worthen, ­faculty, fellow students, and friends: two months ago President Worthen kindly informed me of an invitation to receive an honorary doctorate degree in recognition of “outstanding life and contribution to society and the world.” Aware that this is the highest honor that the university confers on individuals, I replied in my email, “With full appreciation in my heart, the only uneasiness in mind is whether I have done enough to deserve this singular honor.” Then my daughter exclaimed, “What? I always thought that honorary doctorates were g
    • At the close of his earthly ministry, our Savior, Jesus Christ, said to his apostles: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [Matthew 28:19] Almost everyone in this audience has participated or will participate in the fulfillment of that divine direction. The Church of Jesus Christ is a missionary church. It was so in the beginning, and it is so today in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The most populous nation in the world today is the People’s Republic of China. It
  • Classical Studies (1)

    • When I received the call to give a devotional, I accepted the invitation, got off the phone, and knew immediately what—at least some part of what—I would be speaking about today. Then I second-guessed this first impression and considered a whole variety of intellectually provoking things that I might talk about, and I realized that, whatever interesting ideas I might have, they were not the things the Lord was trying to inspire me to speak about. Maggie, who just offered the prayer, left me a note from some students who had taken a Freshmen Academy class from me a couple of years ago
  • Computer Science (3)

    • Bonnie Anderson
      Good morning. I am honored to have the chance to speak to you today. As you probably know, we are under attack by hackers and others seeking to steal our online identities or information. Some attacks in the news recently included Target, Home Depot, Sony, and the IRS. In one of the largest attacks, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reported the theft of sensitive information from twenty-two million people—virtually anyone who had undergone a government background check in the last fifteen years. In addition, there are lots of online scams just waiting to trap us. We are
    • Thank you for coming out to hear me this morning. I appreciate your attendance, and I hope to make it worth your while. This is a marvelous setting—it makes me want to be reincarnated as a basketball player and hear the cheers of the crowd as I dunk the ball. But I’m afraid that wasn’t to be my lot. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and as a child you often wonder what adults do. You form opinions based on those adults you see around you. On my street—I lived on a dead-end street at the outskirts of the suburbs—they kept building new houses. I would see carpenters working, and w
  • Constitution (4)

    • I am very happy to be with you today. As a graduate of BYU, may I pass along some advice as you begin a new semester or as you begin your college career? I have two daughters here today who fall into those categories. Tori Strong is a senior beginning a new semester. Tanne Cait Griffith is a freshman starting her college career. I will say to all of you what I have said many times to them: make attending devotional and forum assemblies the backbone of your academic week. Sometime soon after I arrived on campus to begin my studies forty years ago, I read an interview of an upperclassm
    • This morning I want to talk to you about a very important relationship that exists between, on the one hand, our lives, our practices, and our beliefs as participants in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and, on the other, the Constitution of the United States. In one sense, this topic is a timeless one, because the Restoration and the Constitution trace their beginnings almost to the same point in time, and over the intervening two centuries have grown and flourished side by side. And yet, in another sense, the subject is not only timely, but also time-driven. Today’s devotional i
    • A Memorable Event At two o’clock this afternoon, throughout all of the United States, bells of all shapes, sizes, and sounds will ring. Two hundred years ago today, at approximately two o’clock our time, delegates to the Grand Convention in Philadelphia started queuing up to sign their proposed constitution of the United States. It would still require nine months before it could really be called a constitution. This happened on 21 June 1788, when New Hampshire, the ninth state, ratified it. During that hot and humid summer of 1787, the delegates labored nearly four mo
  • Dance (2)

    • You might recall in the beloved Dr. Seuss children’s book Horton Hears a Who! how Horton, who was an elephant, had a chance encounter with a speck of dust, from whence a voice, barely audible, called out for help. Horton recognized that the voice was coming from the speck of dust and proceeded to do all he could to protect and defend this colony of Whos, who were “too small to be seen by an elephant’s eyes.” Horton perceived that someone was in distress and realized that he could help. Instead of discounting his newly discovered friends, and amidst scoffs and scorn from
    • Lee Wakefield
      In the late 1940s a young man named Tom was at a dance for the freshman class at the University of Utah. As he was dancing with a girl from West High School, a young lady from East High came dancing by. Tom took one look and decided that there was a young lady he needed to meet. However, she danced away and the evening concluded before Tom could dance with this mystery girl, much less find out her name. Several months later, while waiting for a streetcar at Thirteenth East and Second South in Salt Lake City, Tom looked up and could hardly believe his eyes! There was the young lady he had se
  • Design (1)

    • In recent years there have been glowing, breathless reports appearing in the media that speak of a new approach to problem solving. This method promises a competitive edge for businesses, organizations, and governments alike. Innovation consultants use the approach to tease out new ideas, collecting hefty fees in the process. Time magazine, Harvard Business Review, and a new binge-worthy Netflix series all extol its virtues.1 In the corporate boardroom, the CDO, or the chief design officer, has joined the ranks of the CEO and the CFO. Design-driven companies
  • Economics (6)

    • President Worthen, distinguished guests, faculty, graduates, ladies, and gentlemen, I acknowledge with gratitude the privilege of receiving an honorary degree from this great university and, likewise, the opportunity of briefly addressing you today. My congratulations to the graduates. I am especially pleased to see parents here. Some years ago, one of our children was graduating with a bachelor’s degree. He said, “They want $69 for the cap and gown. I am not going to walk.” I said, “What? You need to go to the ceremony! It is a rite of passage. You will value your grad
    • I am grateful and humbled to be with you today. As I was preparing for my talk, I was reminded of a story I once heard in a stake conference session a number of years ago. The story begins with a rancher performing chores out on his ranch one morning when he sees a shiny pickup truck drive onto his ranch and park. Out of the truck steps a man in uniform who walks up to the rancher and states, “I’m here to inspect your ranch for any illegally grown drugs.” The rancher responds, “Fine, but do not go in that field over there,” and points to a beautiful field to the east.