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Robert H. Daines|June 20, 2000 I am honored and humbled to be here to share these few moments with you. I am honored because it has been my privilege to be a faculty member at this very special place for 41 years. I am humbled because I feel that during those years I have been associated with some of the finest young people in the world. I hope that you can hear and feel my heart when I say that I genuinely care about your well-being and have earnestly asked for the Lord’s blessing to be with us this morning. I pray that we might communicate by and feel the affirmation of the Spirit of the Lord as we visit about some important teachings of the Book of Mormon and how they have personal application in our lives today. There is much that I would like to say, so I would ask for your very best efforts as we visit together. During my years on the faculty I have had the privilege of serving in ecclesiastical positions on this campus for approximately 15 years. Those experiences have had a profound impact on me as I have become more aware of the challenges faced by many of the students at BYU. It is has been my experience that the majority of these challenges fall into at least three different areas. The first of these has to do with our relationships. By this I mean our sense of connectedness with deity, with spouses, with friends, and with roommates. For some, being at a large university can be a very lonely experience. The second area of challenge, I believe, is one of maintaining balance. How do we meet all of the demands that are placed upon us by school, family, church, and work? I have said on other occasions that the good news is that you will eventually graduate, but the bad news is that the challenge of maintaining appropriate balance will continue and perhaps intensify as you move into your careers and family life. The third area of concern for most students is that this is the time in your life when you will be making the most important decisions of your entire life—decisions concerning marriage, careers, family, and where you live. These decisions are stress producing and require divine guidance. I wish we had time to visit about each of these areas in depth. My overarching theme this morning though is that answers and direction to each of these general dilemmas can be found in sacred places and in sacred records. This morning I would like to discuss counsel given by Nephi in the Book of Mormon that I believe has application to all three areas of challenge. I will briefly discuss the counsel found in 2 Nephi 31 and 32 and conclude with some specific suggestions based upon the doctrine of Christ that will help us to find increased joy and a sense of spiritual connectedness that will provide direction in meeting the concerns and challenges of our life. As Nephi was about to pass from this mortal sphere, he concluded his life and his teachings with a few words concerning what he called “the doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:
E. Dale LeBaron|Nov. 3, 1998 I wish to speak about a unique and inspiring chapter in Church history. It took place in recent years among the beautiful people of Africa. Too often we have misconceptions about Africa and its people. Africa is referred to as the Dark Continent, and the media usually portrays Africans as primitive, starving, or at war with each other. One African official observed that the darkest thing about Africa is America’s ignorance of it (see James H. Robinson, in African American Quotations, ed. Richard Newman [Phoenix, Arizona: Oryx Press, 1998], p. 18). When I was in Africa several years ago, I was sent the following quote: “In Africa there are tribes that beat the ground with clubs while uttering spine-chilling cries. Anthropologists call this a primitive form of self-expression. In America we do the same thing—but we call it golf!” There is much we can learn from our African brothers and sisters, who are among the great pioneers in this church. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The days of pioneering in the Church are still with us; they did not end with covered wagons and handcarts” (in “Many Are Still Blazing Gospel Trails,” Church News, 24 July 1993, p. 6). Pioneers are those individuals who help establish the Church all over the world. The pioneers that I will focus on this morning had little help from the Church, because they were not members and the Church knew very little about them. I seek your faith and prayers that we might be edified by their example and by the assurance of God’s love for all of his children. In 1853, nine years after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, missionaries were sent to Africa for the first time, but they only proselyted among the white people of South Africa. It was not until 125 years later, following the revelation on the priesthood in 1978, that the gospel was preached to all people of Africa. However, 30 years before the revelation, Church leaders became aware of other Africans who were interested in the Church. By the 1950s, many letters were sent to Church headquarters from the West African nations of Nigeria and Ghana requesting literature and membership in the Church. The letters were written by devout Christians who had gained a testimony from the Book of Mormon or other Church literature. What began as a comparative trickle of requests in the early 1950s became a flood by the 1960s. More letters requesting literature were received from Nigeria and Ghana than from all the rest of the world combined (from Edwin Q. Cannon, Jr., interview with Gordon Irving, 10 January 1980, Salt Lake City, Church Historical Department). The Church responded by sending literature, but the demand for Church literature was so great that some Africans even established LDS bookstores. However, since there were no priesthood holders to preside and provide priesthood ordinances, those asking for baptism were told, “The time is not yet. Y
Glen L. Rudd|Feb. 16, 1988 Many years ago I went on a mission to New Zealand, and the day I arrived I had the opportunity of meeting President Matthew Cowley for the first time. He was to be my mission president. During the next two years we became close friends, and during the latter part of my mission I had the honor of living in the mission home with the Cowleys and traveling with President Cowley throughout New Zealand. He was an excellent teacher and a most interesting person. Some years later, while he was a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, I had the opportunity of bringing him here to BYU on two or three occasions when he was the speaker at devotionals. Everyone loved to hear him and his stories. Even though he has been gone for over thirty-four years, there are people in many parts of the Church still interested in the faith-promoting stories he used to tell. As I have prepared to come here today, I have been reminded over and over of the inspirational talks he gave to the students who were here. Those students might have been your parents—and for some, even your grandparents. Over and above everything else, President Cowley tried to keep simple the things he taught. In fact, he said many times that he was unable to speak very often of things beyond the first principles of the gospel. I remember well that he spoke about prayer, faith, and repentance. For several years he had a talk ready on baptism, but he was never able to get that far along and give it. He had some ideas on baptism that he wanted to give in general conference, but life ran out before he gave his special talk on baptism. He lived simply. He really didn’t concern himself with his own personal needs. He only wanted to bless people and inspire them to live the gospel in a simple way. Because of his great faith, many wonderful things continued to happen after our missions were over. We found ourselves blessing people all over who called for him. I was a very young bishop in those days who had a rather difficult time earning a living because President Cowley would insist I leave work and go with him. After we would bless people, he would fast and pray for them and return again and again to those who needed him. We saw great miracles happen in those days. My testimony to you students is that miracles do happen! They are happening on the earth today, and they will continue to happen, particularly to those who believe and have great faith. Miracles occur frequently in the lives of humble, fine Saints who have the faith to make them possible. My feeling about miracles is that the greatest of all miracles is the one that happens in the life of a person who really learns how to pray, who exercises faith to repent, and who lives the gospel in a simple and obedient way. President Matthew Cowley said many times, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply beautiful and beautifully simple.” He spent his whole life trying to explain that there isn’t anything very co
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