When your senior member, or your boss, is in attendance and the time is short, what do you do? You don’t have to be very bright to figure that one out.
A few years ago, when President Spencer W. Kimball was still hale and hardy, he said to us in our temple meeting one day, with that little sparkle in his eye, “How are you doing with learning Mandarin Chinese?”
When I went home that evening, I said to my wife, Ruby, “Ruby, how are you doing with learning Mandarin Chinese?”
She said, “Not very well.”
The next morning she went up to the University of Utah, after fifty years, and signed up for Spanish 101. She did well with it. I found that I would have to get up a little earlier in the morning and do the dishes a little more often at night because she was studying. She did well, and I was so proud of her.
Later on I was assigned to go behind the Iron Curtain into Dresden, Germany. Ruby called Thelma Fetzer, whose husband had been president of one of the German missions. Ruby had Thelma bear her testimony in German over the telephone. Ruby wrote it down the way it sounded and worked on learning the words.
I didn’t know she was doing that. In Dresden, when the time was appropriate and I asked her to bear her testimony, she started to bear her testimony in German. She did well, and I was so proud of her, and then she became confused and finished in Spanish. The German people came up and put their arms around her.
She did the same thing with Brother Yoshihiko Kikuchi in learning some Japanese. When we were in Japan and I asked her to bear her testimony to the missionaries in Okayama, Ruby stood there and started to bear her testimony using some Japanese words. The missionaries were so pleased that they encouraged her and helped her with the more difficult words. In stake conference the next day, she did well using some Japanese again while addressing the stake. We heard some girls sitting behind us in the choir seats crying because they were so pleased and happy that Ruby had put forth that effort to learn some Japanese.
This has been a wonderful day, outstanding in every way. You have heard a lot of advice and counsel. I would only say in my brief time here: this is really the beginning of what you will learn and the knowledge you will acquire—things and facts and learning to work with people and being able to contact and communicate with people and to go out into that world and to do some of the things that Brother Kim B. Clark has just advised you to do. And he indicated to you that they can be done. I know that is true. We have lived in that world for a long time.
So now you are starting out in the life in which you will learn so much. You will be able to do and accomplish so much that I will only add to the other advice you have received: live the principles of the gospel. Don’t start to sluff off and give in a little here and a little there. Ruby and I have lived in every decade of the twentieth century. I could write a book about each one of those ten decades, about the things learned and associations with people. So I am saying to you now, as you go out into the world, we don’t know where you will be living, but you will have an opportunity to work with people and to be an example. You will have them look at you and find out who you are and where you come from; why you dress the way you dress and why you carry on your family responsibilities the way you do; and why you look the way you look and why you communicate the way you do with people. What a grand and glorious opportunity you will have.
You will live the gospel, and as you live the gospel, I would also hope that you will be patriotic citizens and defenders of the Constitution and know more about it and understand what some of our ancestors did in making possible what we have today. I don’t have time to read some words from George Washington, but the Founding Fathers wondered how we would hold on to what they gave us. Would we have the courage, strength, and desire to attempt to understand the fiery feeling of liberty that they felt in bringing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to us?
What blessed people we are. You have the gospel and you know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that the gospel has been restored to the earth. We see it in action and see the results. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution came about in preparation for that to take place. It is all part of a wonderful fabric that we understand and are part of.
We congratulate you for what you have done. We thank the faculty and the staff and all who have had such a great part in helping you attain your degrees. Now go out into the world and live the way you should live. Act the way you should act. Be good citizens of the country wherever you live and stand for something. Make the world a better place as a result of your life.
God lives. I know that. I was in the temple with President Kimball when he received the revelation regarding the priesthood. I was there. I know that this work is true. We thank you for this day. We congratulate you for it. I leave you my love, my witness, and my testimony that this is true, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.