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Cecil O. Samuelson|Sep. 14, 2004 It is my great pleasure and privilege to welcome you to the fall semester. Although many of you are new to BYU, there are also those who have returned following missions and other prolonged absences. Some of you have been with us throughout the summer. To all I say that we are very glad to have you here. We anticipate that this will be a wonderful year for all of us. At the outset, I want to declare my admiration for so many of you who are doing the things that you should in exemplary ways. For example, we have talked about improving our sportsmanship, and most of you are demonstrating tremendous consideration for others as well as for yourselves. Some of you incur debt while in school, and we expect and know you will not borrow more money than is absolutely necessary. Our default rate on student loans is very low—among the lowest rates in the country. So few of you really misbehave in significant ways, and yet it is still newsworthy when one of our students stubs his or her toe. Let me just say that we are almost always proud of you and are almost uniformly grateful for your obvious goodness. You might guess that I receive lots of mail, e-mail, and phone calls. You would be right. Most of it is positive and uplifting. Some letters express concerns or suggestions or even criticisms. Those making various requests are not rare—and some few, happily the minority, come close to evoking tears. I’ll not read any of these letters to you for obvious reasons. I will share with you the thrust of some of the several that report personal distress on the part of the writers—which in some cases has persisted for many years. These letters are confidential, uncoordinated with each other, and therefore unique. What they do have in common, however, is a strong thread of regret. The regret is often matched with a pervasive sense of guilt and usually an effort to make things right as part of the person’s sincere repentance process. The specifics are fairly varied but the theme is consistent. Each has given an account of a particular violation of his or her integrity or the Honor Code. Examples include seemingly small things like failure to pay parking fines or receiving without correction too much change at the Bookstore. Larger issues like the destruction or theft of university property, cheating on examinations or term papers, misrepresenting credentials for admission or on job applications and the like are only a sample of the burdens people have carried needlessly for years because of their lack of judgment and the thought that these things would just go away. They do not. By now you might think that this is a talk about repentance. In a way it is, but not the one you might suspect. I will say little about the repentance process itself. I will say that we all need to repent regularly, and I suspect that some might find an increased urgency should they listen carefully today. You may ask the question the Savior’s apostle
Marilyn S. Bateman|Sep. 8, 1998 My subject today concerns one of the values from the Young Women Theme. I suspect that almost all of the women in the audience are familiar with this standard and could say it with me. As an introduction to my topic, would the women stand and repeat with me the Young Women Theme: We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” as we strive to live the Young Women Values, which are: Faith Divine Nature Individual Worth Knowledge Choice and Accountability Good Works and Integrity We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation. (See Mosiah 18:9.) [Personal Progress (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989), p. 6] Thank you for assisting me. There is power in unity. We hope that the brethren realize not only how beautiful you are but appreciate your commitment to these principles. All of us are on earth for a sacred and glorious purpose. It is not by chance that you have been reserved for this time—the dispensation of the fullness of times. Your birth was foreordained in the eternities. You are the “youth of the noble birthright” (“Carry On,” Hymns, 1985, no. 255). In a very literal sense you are children of God. He is the Father of your spirit. Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “Spiritually you are of noble birth. . . . However many generations [there may be] in your mortal ancestry . . . , the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!” (“The Message: Your Test of Courage,” New Era, March 1990, p. 6). You have inherited your spiritual DNA from God the Father. The Young Women Theme lists seven important virtues that we must come to understand and incorporate in our lives. As these virtues or principles are internalized, they give us the power to “keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.” Today I will focus on the value of integrity. It is one of the cornerstones of character. Integrity implies honesty, moral soundness, and a quality of being undivided. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “A [person] of integrity is . . . particularly strict about fulfilling the trusts reposed in him by others” (MD, p. 385). President Gordon B. Hinckley has stated, “Without personal integrity, there can be no confidence. Without confidence there can be no prospect of permanent success” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1997], p. 267). The first part of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America establishes
Gordon B. Hinckley|Sep. 17, 1996 It is an honor and a rare privilege to speak to this “stone-cold sober” gathering of university students. You have done it again. You have made the national news. I was in Oregon on Sunday participating in a conference and read in the paper the Associated Press story of the Princeton Review’s “Advantage Guide to the Best 310 Colleges.” Florida State University came out number one as the “party school” of the nation. George Washington University came out number two, and the University of Florida number three. On the other side of the coin were the top 10 “stone-cold sober” schools. Number one is Deep Springs College in Dyer, Nevada. I know nothing about that school. In fact, I had never before heard of Dyer, Nevada. I took occasion to look it up in my 1965 Rand McNally atlas. The map showed it to be very near the Nevada-California border, some distance from any large community. The population at the time my atlas was printed was 20 people. I am sure it has grown if it has a college. I do not know the size of Deep Springs College, but I am confident that it in no way approaches the size of Brigham Young University, which was listed number two. I said to myself, “What a significant honor this is. It says in effect that BYU is judged to be the number one large university in terms of sobriety and a no-nonsense attitude on the part of the student body on why they are going to a university—that is, to gain an education to prepare for constructive careers.” I followed down the column and discovered that the U.S. Military Academy at West Point followed BYU, and that this was followed by the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. I submit to you that you are in good company, the best the nation has to offer. The story indicated that a young female music major at Florida State University, upon hearing of her school’s ranking, asked, “Where did we come in, in academics? Number 350?” (See The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, Sunday, 15 September 1996.) I do not know how many of you were interviewed for this survey, but to you who responded, I offer my congratulations. You spoke for this whole vast student body, and you spoke in such a way as to make us proud of you. I hope that while others may gain the reputation for being stone-cold inebriated—if that’s what “partying” denotes—you will be recognized for being stone-cold sober and alert and on top of things. This is truly a unique university. It is a great institution. We have every confidence in its leadership, in President Bateman, in his associates in the administration, and in the faculty. How fortunate you are to be here. I bring you the commendation of the board of trustees and the compliments of the entire Church. I only wish that everyone who wanted to come here might have the opportunity. That very many were turned away is a fact with which you are all familiar. I repeat what I
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