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  • During the last few months I have been able to meet some of you, and I have also been able to learn some things about you. Let me tell you some of the things that I have learned. You are hard workers. Besides attending classes in order to obtain a degree of your choice, many of you have jobs. Some of you are in the performing arts and do amazing things. Some of you are student athletes who succ
  • This is my first opportunity to address you in a devotional as president of the university. Let me begin by telling you, “You look really good.” That is different from being good-looking, though you are that as well. I hope that each of you has some inkling of the spirit you carry with you and the light that radiates from you. It is evident to visitors to the campus—who sometimes struggle to come
  • Pure Religion

    I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to this wonderful student body of Brigham Young University. I bring you the love of President Thomas S. Monson. He prays for you, and I hope you pray for him. My wife, Mary Anne, and I lived in Guatemala for five years. Elder Richard G. Scott visited while we were there, and together we toured the beautiful countries of El Salvador and Panama. On a Fri
  • Good morning. My thanks go to those who provided the music this morning. Their music has helped to bring the Spirit to this meeting. I would hope to speak by that Spirit today. My late friend Robert J. Matthews, who taught religion here at BYU, used to say, “If I speak by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, you will hear things better than I say them.” I pray that that can happen today.
  • Holy Places

    Every April the Area Seventies from throughout the world gather in Salt Lake City, along with the General Authorities and general auxiliary presidencies, for instruction from members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Presidency of the Seventy. The instruction focuses on the most fundamental and most pressing issues of the Church—things like temple work, strengthening membe
  • It is an honor to be asked to speak at this devotional. Our family has a real loyalty to Brigham Young University. My husband and I, our five children, and their spouses all graduated from BYU. As our grandchildren approach their college years, we hope they will carry on the BYU tradition. As I thought about speaking here today, I reflected back on the days when I attended BYU—a half century ag
  • There is an ancient temple in Greece, in some foothills near the ocean, that is dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. Above the entrance of this temple, now referred to as the Oracle at Delphi, is the following well-known inscription: “Know thyself.” This simple yet profound invitation reflects an important step in our progression as human beings. Like many societies, the Greeks were concerned wit
  • 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 feel honored and humbled to have received the assignment from the First Presidency to speak to you precious young people today. I hope that you have an appreciation of how much the prophet and the First Presidency care about you and love you. You are among “the noble and great.”1 [A man arrived] home from work to find a very small girl sitting on the curb in front of his house,
  • It is wonderful to be here with you today. I come from a family of migrant farm workers, and I learned many lessons laboring with my parents and grandparents in the fields, vineyards, and orchards of the Central Valley of California. The Central Valley has some of the richest soil in the world, and farmers report that 100 percent of the nation’s raisins,1 99 percent of its almonds,
  • 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
  • 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
  • I wish to express my gratitude to the trustees, administration, faculty, and students of Brigham Young University for the invitation to be with you for this great celebration of the academic achievements of the men and women who are graduating today. I also want to thank you for the tremendous honor that you are conferring on me. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the graduates and to the fam
  • The program now calls for greetings by the president. Just what is really expected, however, is far from clear. One experienced president gave this sage advice to a new president about the role he should play at a commencement. “Think of yourself as the body at an Irish wake,” he said. “Your presence is necessary in order to have the party, but no one really expects you to say too much.” With that
  • Elder Snow, Elder Johnson, other General Authorities and officers, President Worthen, members of the President’s Council, other administrative leaders, faculty, students, friends, families, and guests, just one year ago, as I stood at this podium nearing the conclusion of my assignment here at BYU, I was quite confi-dent that it was the last time I would have the privilege of greeting and addressi
  • Congratulations to all of you newly minted BYU graduates! You have just graduated from one of the greatest universities in the world. My name is Terry Seamons, president of the BYU Alumni Association. One of my privileges as alumni president is to officially welcome all of you into the BYU Alumni Association. So I hereby confer on each of you lifetime membership in the Brigham Young University
  • Be the Vision

    Elder Snow, President Worthen, and fellow graduates, I am grateful and honored to address you today. One hundred and two years ago the student graduation speaker, Alfred Kelly, mounted the podium as I do now and forever changed the course of BYU. BYU was in financial difficulties, and plans were in place to sell some of the school property. However, Kelly had a vision. In his vision he literall
  • Remember

    In my current assignment as Historian and Recorder for the Church, I have the privilege of working with some incredibly bright people. The Church History Department is housed in the Church History Library, just east of the LDS Conference Center. In this building are located the archives that house a marvelous collection of documents, books, journals, correspondence, film, and other important artif
  • I am humbled and thankful to be among so many friends today and to see so many of my current and former students. Thank you for this opportunity, President Worthen. I grew up on a large cattle ranch, first near Eureka, Nevada, and later in Kanosh, Utah. I would start the days very early by catching and saddling my horse in the moonlit and frosty morning hours. As the first rays of sunshine woul
  • It is good to be with you this morning. While in a moment I will draw on the academic disciplines of Egyptology and biblical studies, in which I have been so steeped over the last few decades, I want to start out by trying to draw an analogy from one of my favorite things to do: waterskiing. The way I read the accounts of the Savior and Peter on the Sea of Galilee, it seems to me that waterskiing
  • Good morning, brothers and sisters. It is a pleasure to be with you. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: If the stars should appear [only] one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown [in the heavens]!1 Gazing upward into the blazing splendor of the nigh
  • When I tell people I am a faculty member in the Department of Linguistics and English Language, I am often asked, “How many languages do you speak?” Or they may react and say, “Oh, I’d better watch my grammar.” While it is true that linguists study language, they study it in many different ways, not just by learning languages or by watching for grammar mistakes. I would like to give you a taste of
  • Good morning. I am excited to be here today. I pray that the Spirit will bless us. The topic today is important, both temporally and spiritually, and I invite you to listen with both your mind and your heart. Each year I teach almost a thousand BYU students in SFL (School of Family Life) 260 about family finance. Oddly enough, the purpose of this course is not to teach students how to ge
  • The heart is a vital organ necessary to maintain life. The heart rate, also known as the pulse rate, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. In order for your body to function properly, it is important to have a continuous, regular, and strong pulse. With certain variations in the pulse, you may become sick and unable to function. Elder Marvin J. Ashton, in a general conference talk fr
  • Thank you, President Worthen, for the nice introduction. President Worthen mentioned that I graduated from the University of Utah. If that fact troubles any of you because of the long-standing sports rivalry, let me put your mind at ease. I recently received a very nice thank-you note from a graduating student. After saying lots of nice things, he concluded his note by saying, “Despite the fact th
  • In the summer of 2001 I was serving as a counselor in the stake Young Women presidency in Stillwater, Oklahoma. For various reasons the stake presidency had come to us and asked us to plan for the next year’s girls’ camp at a state park within our stake boundaries. The park we ended up selecting had fewer affordable recreational opportunities than our previous location. We considered a variety
  • Today is July 14. For most it is just another hot summer day, but for those with French connections it is La Fête Nationale, the day that France celebrates its independence. Every July 14 I am reminded of my missionary service in France and Belgium years ago. One July 14 my missionary companions and I watched from the port of Calais as fireworks burst over the English Channel in beautiful celebrat
  • Creativity

    Today I want to explore the topic of creativity and the spiritual connection it can help us have with our Heavenly Father. While creativity is an attribute we often associate with the arts, it is an important tool for finding our inner artist in every discipline at the university. The scriptures teach us that Heavenly Father is a profoundly creative Being, and He has made us to be that way too. Cr
  • I express my sincere gratitude and pleasure on receiving the degree of doctor of science and Christian service from Brigham Young University. I am not an alumnus of BYU. As I look back fifty-five years to when I visited the campus for the first time, I wish that I had received my undergraduate education at BYU. As I receive this distinguished degree, I join my wife and our two sons in having a deg
  • Statistics was a difficult class for me. I didn’t know how important it would be for me later on when I started doing research, so I didn’t feel like I needed to give the course work much attention or dedication. So naturally I felt uncomfortable when my professor began class one day exhorting us to consider the time, tithes, donations, and support given to contribute to our individual learning
  • Thank you, Elder Oaks, for your very important address. My wife, Wendy, had planned to be with us today. Unfortunately, she sprained her ankle and is propped up at home watching these proceedings on TV. She was on the faculty here for thirteen years. We love BYU. She joins me in extending our heartfelt congratulations to all graduates and their families. We are especially grateful for the excellen
  • My dear brothers and sisters, a commencement exercise is a happy time for graduates, for parents, for friends, for teachers, and for the administration. It is a time to celebrate past accomplishments and to certify graduates’ progress from one status to another. For them, it is a rite of passage, like a christening, a baptismal service, a coming-out party, or a wedding reception. But the gainin
  • What an awesome sight to look over this blue sea of BYU graduates! You have just graduated from one of the world’s greatest universities. My name is Terry Seamons, president of the BYU Alumni Association. One privilege that is mine as alumni president is to officially welcome you into our BYU Alumni Association. So I hereby confer upon each of you a lifetime membership in the Brigham Young Univers
  • I extend my warmest congratulations and best wishes to each of the graduates today. Graduation is properly a time of celebration—a time to rejoice in the success you have all achieved in earning your degree. It is also properly a time to look forward to what lies ahead—that is in part why we call this ­ceremony a commencement. Many of you will go immediately into your first post-college full-ti
  • My dear brothers and sisters, I am humbled to stand before you. Many of you will know that the First Presidency originally assigned Elder L. Tom Perry to speak here today. I am honored to stand in his place. In the past ninety days we have witnessed, as President Russell M. Nelson likes to say, “the graduation” of two extraordinary Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. President Boyd K. Packer was
  • I wish to begin my remarks today with an expression of gratitude to the academic administrators on campus. This year the deans of three of our academic colleges completed their service in the office, and their replacements were appointed following a thorough search process. Associate deans have been invited to serve with these new deans in the college leadership. In addition, twelve department cha
  • It is wonderful to see you all here this ­morning and to feel the joy, warmth, and enthusiasm you radiate. I count it as one of the great blessings of my life that I have the opportunity to associate daily with such ­talented, consecrated people whose main focus is to provide our students with the kind of holistic learning experience that President Spencer W. Kimball called “education for eternity
  • Welcome to fall semester. We hope you have all been able to settle into your new schedules. Fall semester can be a time of fresh starts. It can be a time of great expectations. It can also be a time when things are practically perfect. For example, it is probably safe to say that right now most of you have perfect grades in all of your classes! It can be a time when hopes run high and your roommat
  • I join Peggy in welcoming you to the new school year. For some of you, including an unprecedented number of returned missionaries, this will be your first semester as full-time students at BYU. Others are back for another round. For all, it is a wonderful time of new opportunities, challenges, and, we hope, optimism. As Peggy mentioned, the women’s volleyball and soccer teams are both ranked natio
  • Good morning, my dear friends and associates in this great cause. You are an impressive group this morning, with so much potential. I know your participation in these devotionals is highly recommended and encouraged, and many of you have homework, tests, and other commitments, so I thank you for attending and will do my best to make this morning worth your investment of time. One of my Church a
  • Several weeks ago I came home from work and announced at the dinner table to my wife and two of my daughters that I would be speaking at the BYU devotional on September 29. My wife, Lynn, immediately said, “Honey, what an amazing opportunity, and it will still be early enough in the semester that people will actually be there!” Lynn, I am happy to say that you were right—there actually are a lo
  • Good morning. I am humbled to stand where prophets, apostles, General Authorities, university presidents, important scholars, and world leaders have stood. As a student at BYU thirty years ago, I attended the devotionals and forums quite faithfully. I loved taking a break once a week to listen to remarkable individuals share their insights on a myriad of topics. I enjoyed listening and learning wi
  • My beloved brothers and sisters, I am delighted to be with you today. I love this university for many reasons—not the least of these is the fact that I attended school here, as did my wife, our five children, and four of five of their spouses. I suppose you could say that I have a personal, financial investment in this university. I love that so many wonderful, intelligent disciples of the Savi
  • Good morning. I am humbled by the opportunity to speak with you today. I would like to give special thanks to the members of my family, to my colleagues, and to my students who are in attendance. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was a student here at BYU attending devotionals and forums. I am glad to be part of this tradition as a speaker now; this campus community is a precious one, especiall
  • Today I would like to talk about some of the big issues of our time through the lens of history and literature as well as the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We live in a day of technological and scientific marvels. It is also a time of uncertainty—one in which many ­question whether or not faith and religion have a place in their lives or in the public square. You too will have to decide whether
  • 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-