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Larry R. Lawrence|Mar. 8, 2016 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. In the weeks that followed, as I visited stakes around the Church, members came up to me and said, “Elder Lawrence, I tried the suggestion you gave in your conference talk. I asked the Lord what I needed to improve, and I got a clear answer.” Some have even shared with me the specific direction they received from the Lord. I was interested to learn that many Saints have been prompted to “be more cheerful” or to “smile more often” or to “count their blessings.” I am convinced that, more than anything else, our Heavenly Father wants His children to be happy. Latter-day prophets have taught that happiness is the purpose of our existence. Joseph Smith understood this principle. In spite of all his challenges, he chose to be happy, maintaining his cheerful disposition to the end of his life. One who knew him well described the prophet as always wearing “an unconscious smile.”1 I have known people like that—individuals who are continually smiling without even realizing it. Their faces reflect genuine inner peace. When I speak at stake conferences, I look around the congregation for one of those happy faces to focus on. A smiling face in a crowd of strangers is a great comfort. What is the secret of inner happiness? The obvious answer is righteous living. But besides being “temple worthy,” what are some ways that you can increase the joy in your lives? Modern-day prophets have shared helpful insights. For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley taught that the more often a person says thank you, the happier he will be.2 It might be a worthwhile experiment to keep track of how many times you say thank you in a typical day—and then to make an effort to increase it. The theme of gratitude has been addressed by every latter-day prophet—and more often than almost any other topic. Our inspired leaders know that being grateful leads to happiness, and they are compelled to remind us. In the scriptures we are commanded to “thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7), and that means to thank Him for trials as well as for obvious blessings. If we look close enough, we discover that there is always something to be grateful for. For example, one BYU coed had the stomach flu all during Thanksgiving week, but she tried to kee
Cecil O. Samuelson|Aug. 11, 2011 Graduates, families, brothers, sisters, faculty, staff, and friends—as you know, we have gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of those concluding this phase of their academic quests and to honor them for their achievements. In doing so, we also honor those of you who have played such key roles in the lives of those we identify for the special recognitions of the day. The names of the graduates and honorees are found in the official program. While the names of others assisting are not so recorded, the contributions of many kinds and the necessary support rendered are not diminished but likewise should be celebrated. In this we include spouses, parents, children, other family members, friends, classmates, faculty members, teachers, and mentors. We also honor with great respect and appreciation our board of trustees and other Church leaders, the faithful tithe payers of the Church, and the very many whose offerings and donations have enriched and enlarged the education and experiences of today’s graduates. I hope each of us realizes, at least in part, what a rich blessing it is to be at BYU. We are better prepared to receive and achieve the wonderful advantages and opportunities that life has yet to offer us because of what has happened to us here. As has been increasingly the case in recent years, the world is experiencing more than a little turmoil. Our economy is unsettled, and many of our sacred values are being challenged, perhaps as never before. We are confronted regularly in different venues by very pessimistic people who tend to excuse their negativity as “only being realistic.” Make no mistake: we live in challenging times. We must recognize, however, that what we are experiencing is no surprise to prophets of the past or to those of the present. In fact, much of what is occurring today is fully consistent with prophecy. Without minimizing the risks and uncertainties of our day, I am grateful for the ultimate optimism we can enjoy because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we listen carefully to President Monson and others of our prophet leaders, we can be confident in their positive outlook about our future. One of President Hinckley’s favorite responses when confronted with heavy or difficult problems was to say, “It will all work out.” My promise to you today is that these prophet leaders are right, and things will eventually turn out as they should. Please understand that I am not preaching passivity, nor am I suggesting in any way that each of us needs not do her or his very best. Likewise, I am not proposing that the troubles of our time are not real or serious. They are, and being concerned is not unreasonable. It is also most appropriate to have confidence that things will eventually turn out positively for those who pay attention to proper priorities and heed the counsel of the Lord’s servants. For those of you who are married, you know what those priorities are. For those of you
Richard G. Scott|Sep. 12, 2010 I have prayerfully prepared a message designed to bring you peace and happiness in a troubled world. I know that the truths it contains provide solutions because my precious wife, Jeanene, and I have proven their worth in our own lives. For you to obtain the maximum benefit from our time together, I suggest that you carefully write down any impressions that come to you. They are personalized messages from the Lord sent through the Holy Ghost for your guidance. Temple Ordinances Strengthen the Family and the Home Two of the vital pillars that sustain Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness are the family and the home. Their lofty significance is underscored by Satan’s relentless efforts to splinter the family and to undermine the significance of temple ordinances, which bind the family together for eternity. He does this by constant encouragement to promote promiscuity and to defile the sacred, intimate expression of love between a husband and wife that results in the birth of children. Fifty-seven years ago, on July 16, 1953, my beloved Jeanene and I knelt as a young couple at an altar in the Manti Utah Temple. President Lewis R. Anderson exercised the sealing authority and pronounced us husband and wife, wedded for time and for all eternity. I have no power to describe the peace and serenity that come from the assurance that, as I continue to live to qualify, I will be able to be with my beloved Jeanene and our obedient children forever because of that sacred ordinance performed with the proper priesthood authority in a house of the Lord. Our seven children are bound to us by the sacred ordinances of the temple. My precious wife, Jeanene, and two of our children are beyond the veil. They provide a powerful motivation for each remaining member of our family to live so that together we can receive all of the eternal blessings promised in the temple. The sealing in the temple has greater meaning as life unfolds and you discover the beauty of the differing characteristics between you, your spouse, and your children. You can share your love for each other and your gratitude for the blessing of being together. You can draw ever closer together and find greater fulfillment in mortality. When my wife was carrying our third child, our second child was severely ill. Jeanene would hold him on her lap while they did fluoroscopic examinations. She received excessive radiation, and as a result she was unable to have additional children, and the one that she was carrying passed away prematurely. But we have them. They were born to us in the covenant. That is the blessing of the ordinances of the temple. Even though this mortal probation was for different lengths, those who were sealed to us with the holy priesthood through the ordinances of the holy temple will be ours for forever. I know that I will have the privilege of being with that beautiful wife, whom I love with all my heart, and wit
Cecil O. Samuelson|Aug. 12, 2010 Graduates, families, faculty, brothers, sisters, and friends: It is a signal privilege to welcome each of you to Brigham Young University’s commencement exercises. We are gathered to celebrate, to honor you, and to reflect on what has been accomplished and what is yet facing each of you as your circumstances change and your lives encounter needed adjustment. We, of course, sincerely congratulate all who have achieved so much, often with distinction and frequently with challenges more significant than anticipated at the outset. In doing so, we also acknowledge the contributions of those whose names do not appear in the program of the day but who without their involvement these accolades would not be possible or appropriate. In this we include spouses, parents, children, and other family members; friends, classmates, faculty members, teachers, and mentors; Church leaders and contributors of tithes, offerings, and donations; and all who have enriched the experiences and education of today’s graduates. We have been richly blessed to be at BYU and certainly have wonderful advantages and opportunities that far exceed the usual in this large and complicated world; yet we live in an age of uncertainty and considerable challenges that can be very distressing, should we allow them to be so. The employment situation for graduates is not rosy in every discipline. The national and world economy makes us all, including the experts, more than a little nervous. In fulfillment of prophecy we live with “wars and rumors of wars,” massive oil spills, extremes in weather, and aggressive political regimes—and the list goes on and on. If we look to be discouraged or choose to be so, we have ample evidence to support such a case. I, for one, feel differently, and I hope that is also true for each of you. I believe that with all of our problems, difficulties, and uncertainties, we have the best reasons for optimism regarding the things of greatest importance. In this I do not discount the ambiguities, disappointments, or dilemmas we all face, including those yet to come. Perhaps a personal experience will best help you understand why I feel the way I do. Eight and a half years ago the 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City. At that time one of my assignments was to serve on the Public Affairs Committee of the Church. As you might know, many prominent people from around the world visited Salt Lake City. All of us at Church headquarters and many others had multiple opportunities to host these special visitors. On one of these occasions Sister Samuelson and I had the privilege of accompanying Mr. Mike Wallace—the host of the 60 Minutes television program—and his producer to the special cultural event presented at the LDS Conference Center during the Olympic Games. You may recall that Mike Wallace twice interviewed President Gordon B. Hinckley on his television program. While Mr. Wallace could never trip up or
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