“It Might Have Been”

of the Presidency of the Seventy

November 14, 1995

Full Video

I deem it an honor to be in your presence this morning. I say this not only because of who you are, but because of who you may become. Some thirty-six years ago, a promising young man served as the student body president of this university. Today he stands tall as the president of BYU after distinguishing himself as a man of the law, a man of faith, and a man of courage. I speak of President Rex Lee, one who is an inspiration to all of us. As I look into your faces, I wonder how many future presidents of this choice institution of higher learning sit in the audience this morning.

In a meeting of the seventies held on November 17, 1844, President Joseph Young told a congregation that he would preach to them at some convenient time provided they would draw it out of him by the prayer of faith (see General Record of the Seventies; Book B, 1844–1847, Sunday Evening, November 17, 1844; emphasis added). President Young had in mind some important truths that he felt should be shared; however, he knew that the Holy Spirit had to be present if the preacher and listeners were to understand each other, be edified, and rejoice together (see D&C 50:13, 14, 22, 23). Though I have a prepared text, I invite you to exercise your faith and prayers in my behalf so that something meaningful will be “drawn” out of me and communicated to you during the next few minutes.

Several years ago I presided over a mission in Texas. During those precious years I was privileged to serve with more than 500 missionaries (515, to be exact), most of whom were young men and women of college age. As each missionary completed his or her mission, I would hold an exit interview and ask questions such as:

• What have you learned these past two years?

• Do you have plans for the future? What are they?

• What do you hope to become?

• How will you retain your “missionary character?”

Most of the missionaries acknowledged the virtues of a full-time mission. The majority indicated that they had plans to attend BYU or Ricks College. Almost all returned home with desires for temple marriage, a family, some honorable vocation or profession, and visions of health, wealth, and happiness. But a few interviews made me wonder whether I had succeeded as a mission leader.

A conversation with one elder included this exchange:

“Do you plan to return to BYU?”

“Yes, I want to become a physician.”

“Why do you want to become a physician?”

“So that I can make a lot of money, live on the right side of the tracks, and retire early.”

I was disappointed by this selfish and materialistic response. I wondered where the missionary’s mind and heart had been during his term of service. As my wife’s grandfather would say, the young man was like the guy who fell out of the tree. He just wasn’t in it (nor had he been in it).

Over the years I have tried very hard to track our missionary associates, without intruding upon the prerogatives of local Church officers. I know where most of them live. I know what most of them are doing. I know about their families, their approach to religion, and what they’re doing in the world of work. I know how some pursued and realized professed goals. I know why some forsook dreams and acquiesced to lesser challenges. And I know of a few who helped me understand the pathos (suffering) in these lines: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” (John Greenleaf Whittier, Maud Muller [1856], st. 53; emphasis added).

I do not have the power to turn the clock back and improve upon the counsel I gave the missionaries a generation ago, “For the arrow is flown and the moments are gone” (“Come, Let Us Anew,” Hymns, 1985, no. 217). I do, however, have this and other opportunities to advise members of the rising generation, including the sons and daughters of those who served with me in Texas. I believe that God will hold me accountable if I fail to help young men and women recognize their potential and capitalize upon the once-in-a-lifetime privileges extended them not only while serving missions but also while attending school.

It is said that advice is the one thing that is more “blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). This fact is illustrated in John Erskine’s story about Dr. George Harris, who was serving as president of Amherst College.

One autumn he [addressed] the students at the first assembly of the year, but after a sentence or two he got tired and broke into a happy smile—“I intended to give you some advice, but now I remember how much is left over from last year unused.” With that he took his hat and walked out. [John Erskine, The Memory of Certain Persons (Philadelphia, New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1947), p. 142]

Perhaps you, too, have a little unused advice left over from last year—advice received from President Lee and others. It would be presumptive of me to walk out as Dr. Harris did—and since I have no hat, I shall plow ahead trusting that my counsel will prove beneficial to some.

“The [stated] mission of Brigham Young University . . . is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life” (from the pamphlet entitled The Mission of Brigham Young University and The Aims of a BYU Education [Provo: BYU, 1995], p. 1; emphasis added). I emphasize quest because it implies an exciting search for truth and a journey involving high adventure. It also suggests purposeful living and progress toward a worthy destination.

Some of you will pursue your goals with an eye to the sciences. Some will show interest in fields of communication. Others may move forward with a flair for the humanities, and so forth. It is hoped, however, that all of you, regardless of discipline interests, will conduct your search in a manner that will enable you to recognize and embrace “things as they really are, and . . . things as they really will be” (Jacob 4:13). Such will be the case, I believe, if you heed the following counsel: (1) “Seek [God] daily;” (2) “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith;” (3) “Seek earnestly the best gifts;” (4) “Seek not the things of this world but seek first to build up the kingdom of God;” and (5) Seek “the interest of [associates], and [do] all things with an eye single to the glory of God.”

I shall address these five “seeks” in more detail.

1. “Seek [God] daily, and delight to know [his] ways, . . . and [forsake] not [his] ordinance[s]” (Isaiah 58:2). These words of the prophet Isaiah remind us that our spiritual batteries must be recharged each day through prayer, meditation, scripture reading, and righteous living. Like Israel, we must gather our spiritual manna daily and allow it to nourish our souls. If personal worship ever becomes burdensome and your soul loathes the “light bread” of prayer, scriptures, or church, look out! (See Numbers 21:5–9.) A kind Heavenly Father may not send fiery flying serpents to correct your behavior, but he may withdraw his spirit and leave you to go it alone.

It is possible that some returned missionaries resume their studies at BYU thinking that they have placed God in their debt and that he owes them something in return for their two years of service. Hence, they take sabbatical leave from God and religious practices while in pursuit of educational goals. Such students, if they don’t repent, will have a “whale” of a time similar to Jonah’s. They, too, if there isn’t a course correction, will painfully reach the point when their souls will faint within them as did Jonah’s, and they will cry:

I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. . . .

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. [Jonah 2:7, 9]

There is a dangerous error circulating among some Latter-day Saints, taking its toll among the young. It is that a “balanced man” or woman is one who deliberately guards against becoming too righteous. This misconception would have you believe that it is possible to live successfully and happily as a “double minded [person]” (see James 1:8).

I love the story of two young men who had been schooled in a monastery. One morning as they sought adventure, they passed a cathedral. The more righteous of the two remembered that they had not prayed that morning and said, “How can [we] hope for [God’s] blessing upon the day?”

The less righteous one responded: “My friend, I have prayed so much during the last [few] months . . . that I feel that I have somewhat over-prayed myself.”

“How can a man have too much religion?” asked the first.

It is the one thing that availeth. A man is but a beast as he lives from day to day, eating and drinking, breathing and sleeping. It is only when he raises himself, and concerns himself with the immortal spirit within him, that he becomes in very truth a man. Bethink ye how sad a thing it would be that the blood of the Redeemer should be spilled to no purpose. [A. Conan Doyle, The White Company (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1962), pp. 58–59]

In a recent issue of the Daily Universe, a staff writer reported a trend of “religious perfectionism.” Religious perfectionism was defined as “placing unrealistic expectations on oneself as a result of literal and rigid interpretations of directives given by scriptures and church leaders” (Amy Mueller, “Grad Student Offers Religious Perfectionists Help,” Daily Universe, vol. 49, issue 48, November 1995, p. 1). I suppose that there are a few super-conscientious, impatient, young people who establish high expectations for themselves and suffer excessive guilt when they fall short of the mark. These fine people need to be reminded that perfection will not be obtained overnight or in one fell swoop. It is a gradual process of becoming finished and complete in Christian living.

At the same time, however, it is important that in the search for “balance” one does not abandon standards, compromise principles, or rationalize mediocre religious performance. We who call ourselves Christians never cease essaying to be saints (see D&C 125:2). We do our best day by day and trust in the Lord.

You must yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and seek to acquire Christlike virtues as you conduct your studies. You must allow the Spirit to call the cadence of your life in and out of the classroom. “Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal” (2 Nephi 9:39).

Someone has said: “If your aim in life is merely to satisfy your appetites you might as well go graze with the cattle” (photo and text, David Bly, “The Mind’s Eye,” Deseret News, Sunday, November 5, 1995, p. V3). You are not cattle, and your appetites go well beyond the gratification of physical appetites. So, trust in God and seek him daily, remembering that “where one succeeds because of his smartness, ten succeed because of their faithfulness” (author unknown).

No one is more lonely, even on a crowded campus, than the person who turns his back to deity and attempts to go it alone. He is often the one who cries “It might have been.” Contrariwise, no one feels more supported than he who courts the Spirit and walks with God.

2. “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). I resonate with what President Rex Lee has said about the “bilingual nature” of BYU, indicating that it is dedicated to excellence in both mind and spirit. While on this campus, every student is expected to learn the language of the mind—a language that centers in honest inquiry. At the same time, each must learn to distinguish the voice of the Spirit—that still small voice—as they pursue their studies. It must never be forgotten that it was the Holy Ghost or spirit of revelation “by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground” (D&C 8:2–3). You, too, may struggle through the maze of facts and figures in your several courses of study and even walk out of dry classes unharmed if you seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

I know of one or two returned missionaries who sought learning by study and forgot all about faith. Somewhere in their quest for knowledge they turned up the volume of the voice of the mind and drowned out the voice of the Spirit. They turned a deaf ear to this old but ageless warning:

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. [2 Nephi 9:28–29; emphasis added]

I also know of some returned missionaries who sought learning by faith alone, hoping that the Spirit would do the needed library research while the body was playing elsewhere. Just as faith without works is dead, so is faith without study somewhat lifeless. Don’t forget, the scripture reads, “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

The dust jacket of a publication of the writings of Dr. Hugh Nibley, a man who is universally known and admired by Church leaders and scholars, contains this interesting statement:

As a young man he memorized vast portions of Shakespeare and studied Old English, Latin, Greek, and other languages. As a student at Berkeley, he began reading at the southwest corner of the ninth level of the library and worked his way down to the northeast corner of the first level, studying every significant book that caught his eye. [Old Testament and Related Studies (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986), dust jacket, inside front cover; also see Ensign, May 1986, p. 48]

According to my sources, the shelf distance from the southwest corner of the ninth level of the old Berkeley Library down the eight floors to the northeast corner of the first level covers a distance of approximately two hundred thousand linear feet—the length of six and one-half football fields.

In reference to this report of Dr. Nibley’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge, President Hinckley commented:

His encyclopedic knowledge has given him tremendous and well-deserved status among his academic peers. It also has made him a powerful advocate of the work of the Lord. His appetite for learning has been whetted by the gospel he loves. [Gordon B. Hinckley, “Come and Partake,” Ensign, May 1986, p. 48]

Oh, how fortunate you are to sit at the feet of knowledgeable professors who share with you information about great men and great ideas of the past and of the present within the context of faith. Unlike scholars in other places, each teacher in this institution has a mandate to “keep his subject matter bathed in the light and color of the restored gospel” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” Preschool Address to BYU Faculty and Staff, 12 September 1967, p. 11).

I am convinced that when a teacher keeps his subject matter bathed in the light and color of the restored gospel, the student’s appetite for learning is whetted, just as Dr. Nibley’s appetite for learning was whetted by the gospel he loves. How could it be otherwise when “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36). But how unfortunate it is when a student suffers blindness of mind and hardness of heart and fails to see the light or distinguish the color of the gospel in subjects studied. No one, whether he be teacher or student, ever progresses significantly by looking for shadows rather than for light. Time is precious and must not be squandered looking into the gutter when the upward view is filled with the beauties and wonders of the universe—the beauties and wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, as someone else has counseled, I would urge you students not to let a day pass without contact with the best literature of the world. Worm yourselves into the minds of the great thinkers, walk in the footsteps of the intellectual giants who have gone before, and mark well the behavior of those who have invented, discovered, and mined the streams of knowledge. However, “as the soul is dyed by the thoughts, let no day pass without contact with [the scriptures]. In forming character and in shaping conduct, [they still have their] ancient power” (William Osler, A Way of Life [New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Medical Book Department of Harper & Brothers, 1937], pp. 37–38).

Very few complete their formal educations and lament “it might have been” when they have sought words of wisdom out of the best books and learning by study and also by faith. You must remember that faith brings a spirit to your study—a spirit that serves as a tutor and abets learning. We call that spirit the Holy Ghost, he who teaches all things and brings them to your remembrance (see John 14:26).

3. “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given.” The scripture continues, “For . . . they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do” (D&C 46:8–9).

There is wisdom in the story that Dr. Robert K. Thomas, the former academic vice president of Brigham Young University, tells about his struggle to find his place in life. Early on, he decided that he would become a professional boxer. He was large in stature and seemed to possess all the qualities needed to become a world champion. Fortunately, however, he heard the “wake-up” bell through a retired pugilist who taught him a painful but impressive lesson. After suffering a humiliating beating at the hands of the old fighter, Robert returned home defeated in both body and spirit and complained to his mother about his lack of talent. His wise and loving mother comforted him by saying, “Oh, Bobby, what you have is enough!” (“Things They’re Saying,” New Era, October 1972, p. 42).

What a pity it would have been if Robert Thomas had not been forced to forsake his boxing dream! It was through defeat that he gained victory because he wouldn’t give up. One door was closed abruptly in his face, but he sought another door for the release of his special talents. In time, he was moved in the direction of writing, teaching, and other academic pursuits where greater gifts were discovered and used to bless the lives of thousands.

The same can be said about you. Whatever you have is enough, providing you buckle down and use to full advantage that which God has given you. When the wind of adversity strikes your ship, tighten your sails and attend your course, as Bob Thomas did. Your reward will be the discovery of true direction in your life.

Once in a while we meet a young person who becomes discouraged and complains that he was absent when the gifts were distributed at that great distribution center in the sky. Such a complaint is contradicted by the word of the Lord. We read statements such as these: “And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will” (Moroni 10:17; emphasis added); “For there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (D&C 46:11; emphasis added); “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:7; emphasis added).

President Boyd K. Packer said:

Go to, then, you who are gifted; cultivate your gift. . . . If you have the ability and the desire, seek a career or employ your talent as an avocation or cultivate it as a hobby. But in all ways bless others with it. Set a standard of excellence. Employ it in the secular sense to every worthy advantage, but never use it profanely. Never express your gift unworthily. [“The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord ,” Ensign, August 1976, p. 65]

Here at this school undergraduates are educated in broad areas of human knowledge. This provides you with many golden opportunities to investigate interests, find flairs, and generate gifts that will lead you in proper directions. It is hoped you will chase the star that is exciting and challenging rather than one easily reached. And I would pray that you may find a professor who takes more than a passing interest in you and helps you to recognize the impossible dreams that lie dormant within you.

I contend that “precious time and energy” can be wasted if, in the probing for gifts, a person is not perfectly honest with himself. I have heard it said: “You can’t lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse. If you do think you look funny on a horse, then postpone the charge.” I would add, sell the darn horse, forget the charge, and seek to lead out in some other way.

I fear that many—too many—men and women look back upon their educational careers with feelings of “it might have been” all because they failed to seek earnestly and cultivate adequately God-given spiritual endowments. Don’t let it happen to you.

4. “Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (JST, Matthew 6:38). Notice the priority and promise in this inspired statement. You are told that the kingdom of God comes first; things of the world should be secondary. So if you keep your priorities straight and follow this admonition of the Lord, there is the promise that other things shall be given to you.

Further light is shed upon this subject by Jacob, the son of Lehi. Said he:

But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.

And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. [Jacob 2:18–19; see also verse 17]

Once again the priority is established—the kingdom of God first, other things afterwards. Note also that two conditions are placed upon the quest for riches. They are: (1) “if ye seek them,” and (2) if “ye will seek them for the intent to do good.”

We live in a very materialistic world. The love of money and the trinkets it can buy seem to occupy the thoughts and efforts of many. Too many chase the “almighty dollar” at the expense of all the better things that money cannot buy.

Recently I interviewed a priesthood leader whose tithing in the past year was a six-figure amount. He owned many businesses, and everything he touched seemed to turn a profit. Nevertheless, he was one of the saddest men I have ever met. At the conclusion of our conversation, he wept and said, “I would give up all that I possess for a little love and harmony at home.” I returned home feeling that I was indeed a very rich man.

Alma taught his wayward son, “Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you” (Alma 39:14). One misguided soul who had amassed a fortune and was dying declared, “If I can’t take it with me, I’ll come back for it.” To him and to others like him, I say: Try it!

Most of us know of a young man who was given some precious records and cautioned that Satan would tempt him with the thought of getting rich. He was told by a heavenly messenger that he “must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building [the] kingdom [of God]” (JS—H 1:46). If purity of motive was essential to the success of Joseph Smith, surely it is essential to your future success and happiness.

Unfortunately, the words it might have been fall from the lips of those who scramble for riches and push aside God. Many never learn the principle of serendipity nor the promise that “the upright shall have good things in possession” (Proverbs 28:10).

The scramble for riches without principle or feeling leads always to the dream of the night vision wherein the hungry man dreameth, “and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty” (2 Nephi 27:3).

5. “Every man [and woman] seeking the interest of his [or her] neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God” (D&C 82:19). There is a companion scripture that reads, “And let us not be weary in well doing. . . . As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9–10).

The printed aims of BYU include reference to a service ethic. Among other things, it states:

Hence, BYU should nurture in its students the desire to use their knowledge and skills not only to enrich their own lives but also to bless their families, their communities, the Church, and the larger society. Students should learn, then demonstrate, that their ultimate allegiance is to higher values, principles, and human commitments rather than to mere self-interest. [The Mission of BYU, p. 13]

I have no idea who penned these lines, but they are inspired. The cultivation of “mere self-interest” is a contradiction to this university as is the teaching of false doctrine. The opposite elements of truth and selfless service are at its very heart.

Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration, likened the quest for truth to climbing a ladder. Said he:

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. [Teachings, p. 348]

Each rung on the educational ladder is some portion of knowledge acquired through serious study. Each ladder has two rails that the learner must grasp to steady his climb out of the pit of ignorance. One rail is the “iron rod” or word of God. Those who cling to this steadying influence ascend the ladder with an eye upward. The other rail is the community of Saints among whom you live and serve. So long as your hand is in the hands of others, including classmates and caring teachers, your chances of falling are diminished.

I hope you realize the merits of living in a university community that is organized into wards and stakes. This Church organization extends to all of you the two railings so essential to your progress. You must, therefore, cling to the Church, cling to the scriptures, and serve with your peers so that you will not be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine or theory that would block your climb toward worthy educational goals.

You should regard the Church organization as a kind of laboratory—a place where classroom teachings may be applied. Experiences within that laboratory will help you share teachings and render services that will clinch your learning. Moreover, such experiences will smooth the transition from school to society upon graduation.

Recently, President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled some college students to love the Lord, cling to the Church, and live the gospel. He emphasized:

Do not ever lose sight of the fact that the Church must ever remain preeminent in your lives if you are going to be happy as the years pass. . . .

Never let yourselves be found in the position of fighting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You cling to it and be faithful to it. You uphold and sustain it. You teach its doctrine and live by it. And I do not hesitate to say that your lives will be the richer and the happier because of that. You cannot find happiness fighting the work of God. [“Prophet Admonishes,” Church News, 4 November 1995, p. 4]

Most everyone is familiar with the BYU motto: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.”

I appreciate the pure intent of these words, but if I had my way, they would read: “Enter to learn and serve; go forth to serve and learn more.” Have we really learned something unless we have shared it and applied it?

Earlier I made reference to a young man whose avowed goal was to return to BYU, become a physician, make a lot of money, and retire. I also stated that I know a few returned missionaries who had forsaken dreams and whose disappointments had helped me understand the meaning of these soul-wrenching words: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

I realize that those who fail and disappoint are relatively few at this university. Studies have shown that the majority of the BYU graduates become faithful Latter-day Saints and leaders in the communities in which they choose to live. Notwithstanding all of this, there are the few who look back upon their educational careers with regret, and a few are too many, especially when that few includes people we know personally.

I do, therefore, with all the energy of my soul counsel you

• Seek God daily: Don’t walk or study alone when divine companionship is available—or when divine tutorial assistance is available.

• Seek learning, even by study and also by faith: Don’t feed the mind and starve the spirit. Look at all subject matter through gospel lenses.

• Seek earnestly the best gifts: Don’t neglect the gifts that are in you nor allow anyone to despise your youthful ambitions (see 1 Timothy 4:12–16).

• Seek not the things of this world but seek first to build up the kingdom of God: Don’t allow the chase of the “almighty dollar” to lead you away from Almighty God.

• Seek the interest of your classmates or neighbors and keep your eye single to the glory of God: As I have said, enter to learn and to serve; go forth to serve and learn even more.

These five bits of advice are simple, obvious, and very important. Do not take them for granted—for, if heeded, they will push aside all of the heartache in the lament “It might have been” and replace it with the jubilant shout “We did it! and we are so very blessed!”

The prophet Alma taught that men are called as high priests because of their exceeding faith and good works, and according to the foreknowledge of God. He also made mention of others who have not been called to this holy calling because they “reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren” (Alma 13:4; emphasis added). I emphasize the words they might have had—or, it might have been. So it is with the privileges of a higher education. Exercise faith; engage in good study and works; court the Holy Spirit; and become all that you want to become and more.

Upon my release as a mission president twenty-two years ago, I returned to BYU and resumed teaching responsibilities. A well-meaning associate counseled me against becoming too “preachy” in my classroom. He reminded me that I had been eating, drinking, and breathing religion for three years and that, if I were not careful, I would become overbearing to my students. I did, therefore, exercise extreme caution in mingling subject and spirit.

At the close of that first year back on the job, I received one negative comment on the student evaluation papers. It related to my reluctance to openly share my faith with those I taught. I was sorely offended by that criticism and the one who caused it to happen. And I have carried that burden of neglect with me ever since.

It might have been different, and it should have been different, for I knew then as I know now that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, our Redeemer, and our Savior, and Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration.

I also know now as I knew then that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and living church referred to in the scriptures. It is led by the one after whom it is named through a prophet—even Gordon B. Hinckley. Of this I testify—erasing the guilt of “it might have been” related to years ago when I hesitated to share that which is more precious to me than life itself. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Carlos E. Asay

Carlos E. Asay was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given at Brigham Young University on 14 November 1995.