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  • My message today is summarized in a familiar scripture, Genesis 2:18, in which the Lord declared, “It is not good that . . . man should be alone.” I suppose most of you upon hearing this will think that I am about to deliver the standard BYU speech on marriage. You are wrong—well, at least mostly wrong. Although the principles I address will apply with full force to marriage, I wish to speak about
  • I have entitled my remarks “The Allegory of the Wedding Cake.” Once upon a time there were two young ladies. They were BYU students. They were friends and roommates. One day these two young ladies were asked by their other roommate to make her wedding cake. “Quite a daunting request,” they thought. Everyone knows, after all, that wedding cakes can be challenging. You have to have the right ingr
  • We live in some challenging times. More than fifty years ago President Thomas S. Monson said: Today, we are encamped against the greatest array of sin, vice, and evil ever assembled before our eyes.1 I thought to myself that whatever the conditions were fifty years ago, there is a greater array today. The war between good and evil is raging and intensifying. Satan is busy r
  • Thank you for that beautiful and calming musical number. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today and for the support of family, colleagues, students, and friends who are here. I invite you to reflect on the last time you experienced the feeling of fear. Was it while wondering if you would be admitted into one of the many competitive degree programs here at Brigham Young University? Or
  • When I came to campus this morning, I had a bit of a panic, and it wasn’t at the thought of you, because you all are an awesome sight. It was seeing the signs—those big signs at the entrance to campus. I have to admit that those signs always give me a little panicky feeling because they are a reminder that this is the place where I was abandoned by my parents. This is the place where I was left to
  • It is wonderful to be here with you. I am a Cougar through and through—I love BYU. While here I obtained both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, created lasting friendships, and convinced Shelley Hatch to take a risk on me. She was the first of the two of us to graduate from BYU and is the best thing I gained from being here. I hope your time as a student will be as productive as mine was!
  • As a young girl, one of my favorite Primary songs was “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, 228) because I could imagine all of the beautiful creations of God in that song—“hear[ing] the song of a bird,” “look[ing] at the blue . . . sky,” having eyes to “see The color of butterfly wings,” and feeling “the wind as it rushes by.” Throughout my life I have lived in and traveled t
  • Last October I was assigned to speak in ­general conference. I decided to speak about perfecting our lives so that we could eventually become like our Father in Heaven. In my talk I invited the Saints to participate in a spiritual exercise. I suggested that members take the time to humbly ask the Lord the question “What lack I yet?” and then wait for a prompting from the Holy Ghost.
  • What an amazing opportunity it is to stand before you today. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I would be right here, right now. I must admit that the first thing I thought when asked if I would be willing to speak was, “Really? Are you sure? I’m just a soccer coach!” And then I thought, “Oh, no—those new Marriott Center screens are way too big!” It goes to show you thft w
  • My dear friends, I am here today because I believe the friendship of the Latter-day Saint and Catholic communities is important. The better we know each other’s stories as religious minorities in this country, the better we can support each other in pursuing some of the vital issues we share. And that serves not just our beliefs and concerns but the health of our entire nation. I want to begin
  • Good morning, brothers and sisters. Thank you for participating in the devotional today. I know it is a busy time of year, with papers, projects, and finals pending. I promise to do my best to reward your time investment with something helpful to you now and throughout your life. According to a very fun website1 that I found, it was thirty-six years, one month, and ten days ago that,
  • Your BYU Story

    Wow, graduates! You look great. I have never stood before an audience as full of promise and potential as this one. As president of the BYU Alumni Association, it is my privilege to hereby confer on each of you graduates lifetime membership in the Brigham Young University Alumni Association. I offer you congratulations and welcome you into this great association of more than 420,000 alumni. Our
  • Dear brothers and sisters, it is an honor to accompany you this afternoon in these graduation ceremonies. This is a great day! It is a hinge point in your lives for you graduates. I join with your family members and friends and of course with the administration, faculty, and staff of Brigham Young University in congratulating you for the mighty accomplishment that this day acknowledges. We recogni
  • 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 kno
  • Graduation is a time for celebration. It is also a time for calibration. We therefore look backward and forward. We recognize and applaud the past accomplishments of the nearly 6,000 of you who will be awarded degrees this day. At the same time, we encourage you to consider the future and where you are headed. As you focus on both the things that have happened in the past and the choices you fa
  • “Go Forth to Serve”

    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 i
  • I was born in Mountain View, California, the second of (eventually) eleven children. We settled in a relatively quiet neighborhood on the east side of San Jose, not far from the rolling foothills that are crowned by the imposing Mount Hamilton, home to the Lick Observatory, “the first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory in the world.”1 The weather was usually pleasant, even dur
  • March 20 of this year was a beautiful day. It was warm and the sun was shining. Some of the trees had started to bud, and early blooms were visible. I had been anticipating this day with great excitement and a good deal of apprehension from the time I received a phone call three months earlier asking if I would play the organ at one of the Provo City Center Temple dedication sessions. I had never
  • Many who speak at a Brigham Young University devotional make reference to their experiences as students at BYU and the insights they have gained by attending devotionals. I can’t do that because I never attended BYU. I am a Utah State University Aggie, and my Aggie blue runs deep. I am a big Cougar fan, but even after twenty years of holding season tickets for BYU basketball and football, I still
  • It is truly an honor and a privilege to be here with you today. When I was invited to speak at the devotional, I decided to ask my children what they felt was most important for BYU students to know. My eleven-year-old son, Nathan, said to tell you to not vote for a particular presidential candidate, who shall remain unnamed. My only daughter, Hannah, age eight, has three brothers. She felt
  • I would like to share one personal observation: I have been associated with seven different universities over the course of my career. In my experience, there is nothing even remotely similar at any of those other institutions to what we are doing here today. It is remarkable what we do here each Tuesday morning. We share our testimonies and we share our experiences, and I am grateful for what I h
  • Many years ago, as a high school ­student, I had the opportunity to become acquainted with several Catholic nuns who lived in a convent in my hometown and worked in the nearby Catholic hospital. As their schedules permitted, I often spent time with them, walking in the park or visiting in the parlor of the convent. One afternoon I happened to be talking with Sister Columba. She was a tiny, elde
  • My remarks this evening are about America’s great heritage of religious liberty—and about the need for each of us to defend that heritage before it is too late. In 1790, at a time when western Europe excluded Jews from the full rights of citizenship, including the ability to hold public office, President George Washington wrote a memorable letter to the Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Isl
  • As I begin my message today I would like you to think back on a time when you were completely lost. You may have been hiking in the wilderness, been trying to find your way to a meeting in a new city, or been separated from your parents at an amusement park. Can you remember how you felt? You may have felt frightened, embarrassed, or desperate for help. How did you ultimately find your way? Rather
  • Good morning, brothers and sisters! I am grateful to see many friends and family and wonderful students. It humbles me to be with you today. I believe in truth in advertising: what I share today is far more important than I am capable of expressing. Those of us who teach the gospel soon realize that we are just not good enough. But I know that with the Lord’s help I can do what needs to be done
  • Roughly one decade after the end of World War II, Samuel Beckett completed his second play, Endgame. The title refers to the final portion of a chess match—the outcome pretty much decided but the pieces still needing to be moved. At one point, just over halfway through Endgame’s action—if one can call it that—the character Hamm, frustrated with the unassailability of his reality, utt
  • When I was an undergraduate, I had the privilege of studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. On one field trip we visited an area in which a large stone tower stood. From the tower a watchman could detect threats before they were visible from the ground, protecting the olive, fig, and grape vineyard from plunder. Years later I reenacted this scene with my family in family
  • My dear brothers and sisters, Sister Christensen and I are honored to share this special day with you. We love being back on campus at BYU and appreciate the gracious way we have been received today by Elder Kim B. Clark and President Kevin J Worthen and their wives. As we arrived early and walked across campus, we could feel the excitement in the air. We pray that this day—graduation day—will bec
  • One of my BYU professors of yesteryear—actually quite a few yesteryears—was Edward L. Hart, who wrote the text of a much-loved hymn in the Church. The second verse of that hymn, Our Savior’s Love, reads this way: The Spirit, voice  Of goodness, whispers to our hearts A better choice  Than evil’s anguished cries. Loud may the sound  Of hope ring
  • Our university conference theme comes from Doctrine and Covenants 64:34: Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind. It seems quite natural to talk about “a willing mind” in this setting of academics—with nearly 1,500 of you whose training and trade is thinking, sharing the products of your thinking with your disciplines, and guiding and focusing the thinking of students.
  • It is a joy to be with you this morning. There is something about the beginning of a new school year that brings hope and optimism. Perhaps it is the chance to start out fresh—no matter how challenging the prior semester has been. Perhaps it is the promise that fall, with its crisp air and changing leaves—and, for me, football season—will soon arrive. Hopefully for all of us it is the thrill you f
  • I count it a great blessing and a privilege to speak today at this university conference. I love to come to this campus. Before I begin my formal remarks, I am going to tell you a little story about why I feel so strongly about this place. It is not only because as a student here for a year after my mission I found my professional calling to be a teacher and a scholar at the feet of truly, trul
  • What a pleasure it is to be with you this evening. It feels like I am back home. While I value all of our programs at the university, I will openly confess that the Law School holds a special place in my heart. It is a place that has greatly shaped my life, both as a student and as a faculty member. The Mission of BYU Those who have followed my tenure as president know that my fo
  • BYU is a wonderful place because it has ­wonderful students. I hope you all realize how much potential you have. You are all future leaders. You will lead in the Church, you will lead in businesses, you will lead in communities, you will lead in volunteer efforts, and, most important, you will lead in your families. One of the things I hope you learn here is how to be better leaders. If you do, yo
  • Welcome to the start of a new semester. We are so glad to have you students here on campus. Our community comes alive in a new way because you are here. Most of our new students arrived two weeks ago. Many of them participated in what is now becoming a tradition: forming the Y at LaVell Edwards Stadium. This is a wonderful and symbolic reminder that you, the students, are the Y—meaning that you
  • I am pleased for the opportunity to speak at this BYU devotional. The first BYU devotional I addressed was exactly forty-five years ago, in 1971. That audience included my oldest daughter, just enrolling as a freshman here. Many years later I spoke at this devotional assembly to an audience that included several of my grandchildren. Today this audience includes our oldest great-gr
  • My friends, I commend each of you for taking time in your busy lives to consider the things of eternity. May the Lord bless you for it. I was originally scheduled to speak at a devotional in March, but two weeks before that day, I had a heart attack. While having three titanium stents put in my heart, I went into cardiac arrest and experienced what doctors call “clinical death.” Alas, I did
  • Thank you, brothers and sisters, for taking time from your busy schedules to be here today. From years of personal experience I know the demands and pressures of attending a large university. How grateful I am that you would step away from your studies or other responsibilities to participate in this devotional. Let me also thank those who provided me with this opportunity to speak. My wife, Ti
  • The International Center for Law and Religion Studies officially began on January 1, 2000. The choice of date was purposeful, coinciding with the beginning of a new millennium. It also makes it easy for us to remember the answer when we are asked how long the center has been operating. In my role as associate director and now director of the center, I interact on an almost daily basis with peop
  • Over the past several decades my wife, Lisa, faithfully stood at our door to send our children off as they left our home for school. Without exception, she would call to them—usually in her pajamas—and say, “Stand up straight, smile, and remember who you are! You’re a Richardson, a child of God!” Without taking a breath, she would then say our family motto: “Reverence. Respect. Responsibility.
  • The Book of Mormon Is the Keystone of Our Religion It is good to be with you today. I love BYU. It is where I attended school, where I met my wonderful wife, and where all six of our children have attended. The title of my talk today is “The Book of Mormon: Man-Made or God-Given?”1 Because the Book of Mormon is “the keystone of our religion,” as described by Joseph S
  • 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
  • Brothers and sisters, it is a surreal experience to be standing here talking to you today. Forty-eight years ago I first set foot on this campus as a seventeen-year-old freshman. I remember attending BYU devotionals in the Smith Fieldhouse (because there was no Marriott Center yet), listening to speakers just like you are doing. Things have changed a lot since then. The female students were not