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Russell T. Osguthorpe|Mar. 8, 2011 Thank you, President Samuelson. It is great to be here today. As that choir was singing, it reminded me that my wife and I met with our seats assigned in a choir just like that a few years back, and we’ve been sitting next to each other ever since. This place is really like a second home to me. I spent a good part of my adult life at BYU. When people ask me how long I’ve been here—which they do at times—I say I came with Karl G. Maeser. So this is where we met, and this is where our children received their education. It’s where I came to understand that learning can go on forever. I love the students here. I love the staff. I love the faculty. I love games like the one we had with Wyoming on Saturday. I like championships. I love BYU. When I’m walking across campus, I like to say hello to as many people as I can. I especially like it if they say hello back. I guess it’s my retro way of doing social networking. I once looked at a student approaching me on the sidewalk. She was on her cell phone—which oftentimes we are—but she still gave me a cell-phone wave. Quite often those I pass on the sidewalk are using headphones. But sometimes I even get a headphone nod. And this morning I got a headphone smile. Once I was sitting outside a conference room in the library working on my laptop. A student approached me and asked a little awkwardly, “So, what are you doing?” I explained that I was waiting for a meeting, but then I closed my laptop, stood up, and said, “You know, students never do that to me. They never just come up and start a conversation. Why did you do that?” He responded, “Well, I thought I might learn something.” We had a memorable conversation. He had just returned from a mission, and he shared some of his favorite experiences with me. Meeting new people can enrich our lives in miraculous ways. My wife and I recently visited Bucaramanga, Colombia, on a Church assignment. Bucaramanga is a city of 1.2 million very friendly people. In fact, they pride themselves on being the friendliest city on the planet. When we arrived, many were there to greet us. They made us feel like we were the most important people they had ever met. We had never been to this city before. We had never seen the people who were greeting us. And yet we felt their love. Love is one of the most powerful positive forces in existence. It is one of the strongest statements in all of scripture, and it occurs twice in Moroni: “If ye have not charity, ye are nothing” (Moroni 7:46; also see verse 44). No matter how competent we might be, how bright, how talented, how athletic, how attractive, how hardworking—if we are not acting out of love, we are nothing. Those people in Bucaramanga were not thinking of themselves. They were not trying to prove anything to anyone. They were simply reaching out to us in love. And that student who approached me in the library literally made my day. Hi
Fred E. Woods|Sep. 23, 2008 Brothers and sisters, aloha! Before we get started, I thought I needed to explain my red tie, because when I got up this morning, my 16-year-old son, Freddie, said, “Hey, Dad, why are you wearing that [University of Utah] tie to the devotional?” (He’s an avid BYU Cougar fan.) I pointed out that on the very bottom it says BYU–Hawaii. So aloha to you. I express gratitude to the BYU administration for this opportunity to address you this morning. My remarks are dedicated to my mother, who taught me that every human being is a child of God, that He loves all His children, and that we should love them as well, regardless of race or religion. Although my parents and sister are not Latter-day Saints, they have always been a great support to me. Genesis of the Kalaupapa Experience In December 2003 I went to Hawaii to do research and invited my wife, JoAnna, to go with me, because I knew we would have a few days at the end of my workweek to also celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. My research focused on the LDS history of Laie, on the island of Oahu, but I asked JoAnna where she would like to go on the Hawaiian Islands for our anniversary celebration. She replied that her priority would be to visit the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement on the north shore of the island of Molokai. We had been reading about this unique place, and I thought her suggestion was perfect. Our trip included a precarious mule ride down the steep 2,000-foot cliffs of the Molokai Range, which eventually spilled us out onto a four-mile peninsula of sacred space, a transforming terra firma known as Kalaupapa. The literal translation of Kalaupapa may be rendered “flat plain” or “flat leaf.”1 In either case, it is surely a leveling experience for all who cross the boundaries of their own professed beliefs and ethnicity into a larger realm of brotherhood and compassion, for it is here that religious denominations and cultural divides dissolve—where the love of God and mankind manifest themselves in a magnificent way. This smooth, beautiful peninsula seems most appropriate to symbolize the universal love of a Supreme Being who embraces all four corners of the earth. Structures erected in this region for more than a century include places of worship for Protestants, Catholics, and Latter-day Saints, as well as a small Buddhist temple. It is a place that not only includes a variety of Christian strains but also extends beyond this realm, embracing an array of other views. In a world made up of thousands of religious varieties, the unconditional love and spirit of acceptance that exist on Kalaupapa truly stand as an example to us all. After passing through some of the most beautiful landscape our eyes had ever beheld, we met LDS Church member Kuulei Bell at the Kalaupapa post office. At that time Kuulei was employed as the Kalaupapa postal clerk. We had a wonderful visit, and it was then that I determined to wr
K. Richard Young|Nov. 1, 2005 I am blessed to work and serve in the David O. McKay School of Education. President McKay was a great prophet and educator—the beloved prophet of my youth. He spoke often about the importance of noble character. A summary of his teachings would be that the highest purpose of education is not just to teach facts, however important they may be, but to train the mind, to make good citizens, and to develop character. My message today is really quite simple but, I believe, very important. My focus is primarily on one specific virtue of a noble character: constantly acting with kindness. President Ezra Taft Benson defined kindness as follows: One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all. [CR, October 1986, 62; “Godly Characteristics of the Master,” Ensign, November 1986, 47] In the context of the gospel, acts of kindness are not optional. They are a responsibility, even a covenant. In a BYU devotional President Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized this responsibility: It is a responsibility divinely laid upon us to bear one another’s burdens, to strengthen one another, to encourage one another, to lift one another, to look for the good in one another, and to emphasize that good. [“Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” (29 October 1974), in Speeches of the Year, 1974 (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), 272] President McKay spoke of kindness as a temple covenant in his remarks prior to the first session of the dedicatory services for the Oakland Temple. He taught: There are certain obligations taken by those who make covenants at the altar and those obligations must be manifest after they go out of the Temple. One is Kindness. There should be no unkindness manifest in the homes occupied by couples who leave the House of God. [In Jeanette McKay Morrell, Highlights in the Life of President David O. McKay (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1966), 275; emphasis in original] I think of the peace we feel in the temple. How many of us would love to have that feeling with us constantly? Why does this feeling often leave as we go back to our daily routines? Obviously there are many reasons, but if we would prolong those feelings, perhaps one key would be to increase the constancy of kindness in our lives. In the incident recorded in Luke 10:25–28, the Savior emphasized the importance of how we treat one another. A lawyer approached Jesus and asked, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied with a counterquestion: “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” The man replied: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy
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