A Certain Idea of BYU
Professor of law and associate dean at BYU School of Law
February 1, 2022
Professor of law and associate dean at BYU School of Law
February 1, 2022
“All my life,” said Charles de Gaulle, “I have had a certain idea of France.”1
My own life has also been profoundly shaped by an idea—not of a nation but of a school. All my life I have harbored a certain idea of BYU.2
An idea, that is, of “a school in Zion” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:3).3
A school conceived in revelation and dedicated to the proposition that “the glory of God is intelligence” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:36).4
A school whose roots run deep in the rich soil of the Restoration—a thrilling theology thundering to all the world that “it is impossible . . . to be saved in ignorance” (Doctrine and Covenants 131:6).
A school relentlessly concerned with “education for eternity”5—education of the whole person, the eternal soul.
A school that insists emphatically and unflinchingly “that we [can indeed] have it both ways, that superb scholarship and rock-solid faith” are not only compatible but “inextricable.”6
A school where teachers keep their “subject matter bathed in the light and color of the restored gospel” and “occasionally . . . bear formal testimony of the truth.”7
A school where not even the alphabet nor the multiplication tables are to be taught without the Spirit of God.8
A school that aspires, “in the process of time,” to “become the fully anointed university of the Lord”9—a school in Zion indeed.
With all my heart, I yearn to keep faith with this idea of BYU. But I don’t know where to keep that faith if not in the hearts of you students.10 And so, during our brief time together, I hope to transmit to you something of the heritage that others have bequeathed to me. I intend, if you will, to raise the banner of BYU and let it flutter in the breeze. In the language of two former BYU presidents, I want to “nail our colors to the mast.”11
Before you and I were born, President Spencer W. Kimball charged BYU to “become”12 and “remain a unique university in all the world.”13
Many on this campus have pondered and prayed concerning the source and substance of such singularity. I believe that the beginning and the end of our uniqueness must be you, our incomparable students. We will never, I submit, be unique in the sense that prophets have enjoined unless your experience here is uniquely transformative.
This morning I hope to help you translate the idea of BYU—the visions of prophets and the dreams of professors14—into an experience as transformative and transcendent as I believe the Lord and His servants expect it to be.
When I was a BYU freshman, President Gordon B. Hinckley outlined six B’s:
1. Be grateful.
2. Be smart.
3. Be clean.
4. Be true.
5. Be humble.
6. Be prayerful.15
Today, since you are busy earning A’s, and President Hinckley has assigned the B’s, I thought I might suggest six C’s—or rather, six “seeks”: six ideals I hope you will pursue at BYU:
1. Seek holiness.
2. Seek learning.
3. Seek revelation.
4. Seek the best gifts.
5. Seek Christlike exemplars
6. Seek the Savior.
With a nod to Julie Andrews, let’s start at the beginning.
“In contrast to the institutions of the world,” said President Dallin H. Oaks, “which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.”16 In that spirit, I encourage you to focus not only on what you are learning at BYU (what you know) but even more on what you are becoming (who you are). I invite you to strive to become holy—“set apart”17 for the Lord and His purposes.
Nothing will assist that effort quite like the holy temple. President Russell M. Nelson recently urged us to “implement extraordinary [and unprecedented] measures . . . to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations.”18 And “nothing,” he added, “will strengthen your spiritual foundation like temple service and temple worship.”19
“If you don’t yet love to attend the temple,” the prophet advised, “go more often—not less.”20 I recommend that you worship in the temple a little more often than you find convenient. As C. S. Lewis once suggested, if our offerings don’t “pinch” us, they probably don’t suffice.21
Enshrine the holy temple as the living center of your BYU education. Temple worship must never supplant your formal studies, but it should always frame and enrich them.
Not by accident, “the basic constitution of Church education”22 and the founding charter for temple work are both found in the same revelation: section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Olive Leaf. Indeed, it is not always clear which verses are talking about the school and which about the temple.23 Perhaps the ambiguity is intentional. In the Lord’s economy, temple and school cannot be neatly divided. At BYU, we nurture a temple-like school in the shadow of a school-like temple.24
Both are places of gathering. We must gather all souls to Christ and all truth in Christ (see Ephesians 1:10). Hence the soaring curricular mandate set forth in the Olive Leaf and subsequent revelations. We are to explore
things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations. [Doctrine and Covenants 88:79]
“Study and learn,” the Lord commands. “Become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people” (Doctrine and Covenants 90:15).
“Hasten . . . to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:53).
“Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118).
We need to be unremitting in our study of the best[, said BYU professor Arthur Henry King,] because our lives are short. . . .
One of the great things about great literature is that the greater it is, the greater the scriptures are to us as a result of reading it. . . .
. . . Great art [thus] helps us to praise the Lord.25
Beloved students, I hope you will spend your time here soaked in the scriptures and steeped in the world’s best books. High adventure awaits you in that glorious, unified quest.
Even more important than seeking wisdom from the best books is seeking inspiration from the Lord Himself. Referring to the Savior, President Nelson has repeatedly implored us to “hear Him.”26 In doing so, he has mingled stirring prophecy with sobering admonition:
Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, [he said,] will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.27
I submit that nothing you learn at BYU can rival in importance learning to hear the voice of inspiration. Our prophet recently
plead[ed] with [us] to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord . . . each and every day
. . . [and by] seeking the Lord through daily prayer and gospel study. . . . Even Saints who are otherwise faithful[, he warned,] can be derailed by the steady beat of Babylon’s band.28
This morning I echo our prophet’s plea. Silence that Babylonian drumbeat by making time for the Lord and striving to hear Him every day.
You will need revelation and inspiration to fulfill the grand destiny that awaits you after you leave this campus. In the Olive Leaf, after outlining our comprehensive curriculum, the Lord proclaims the purpose of our studies:
That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you. [Doctrine and Covenants 88:80]
I don’t watch many movies, but one of my favorites is Chariots of Fire. In one indelible scene, the film’s hero, Eric Liddell, is reproved by his sister Jenny, who thinks that Eric’s training to run in the Olympics has distracted him from serving a mission to China.
Jenny, Jenny, [Eric responds,] you’ve got to understand. I believe that God made me for a purpose. For China. But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. To give it up would be to hold Him in contempt. You were right. It’s not just fun. To win is to honor Him.29
While you are here at BYU, I hope you discover what it is like to feel God’s pleasure when you run—whatever “running” might mean for you. After all, prophets have foretold that, with a diversity of gifts in a variety of fields, BYU graduates are destined to run like the wind.
I am both hopeful and expectant[, said President Kimball,] that out of this university . . . there will rise brilliant stars in drama, literature, music, sculpture, painting, science, and in all the scholarly graces. This university can be the refining host for many such [stars].30
The brightness of those stars, he said, will increase “till the eyes of all the world will be upon us.”31
President Kimball prefigured a time when BYU would produce sculptors like Thorvaldsen and Michelangelo; composers like Wagner and Verdi; singers like Adelina Patti and Jenny Lind; painters like Leonardo and Raphael; scientists like Einstein; statesmen like Lincoln; violinists like Paganini; pianists like Liszt; poets like Goethe; playwrights like Shakespeare and Shaw.32
“I envision that day,” President Kimball said, “when the BYU symphony will surpass in popularity and performance the Philadelphia Orchestra or the New York Philharmonic.”33
President Kimball suggested that not only will BYU students match some of history’s greatest luminaries but that some of you—empowered by righteousness, enlightened by the Restoration, and inspired by personal revelation—might well surpass them.
A startling, stirring, audacious dream—but a dream that is yours to fulfill.34
Take a Nicodemus[, said President Kimball,] and put Joseph Smith’s spirit in him, and what do you have? Take a da Vinci or a Michelangelo or a Shakespeare and give him a total knowledge of the plan of salvation . . . and personal revelation and cleanse him, and then . . . look at the statues he will carve[,] . . . the murals he will paint[,] and the masterpieces he will produce. Take a Handel with his purposeful effort, his superb talent, and his earnest desire to properly depict the story and give him inward vision of the whole true story and revelation, and what a master you [will] have!35
My young friends, sometimes when I hear you sing or play or watch you dance, I think of President Kimball, and I struggle to fight back tears. You are in the process of performing what only a prophet could dare to dream. But you have miles to go before your rendezvous with destiny and many mountains yet to climb. So keep striding and keep climbing until you scale those summits of destiny with the toil and prayer of impossible dreams.
With all of this, I offer a caution. Never mistake your gifts for a sign of special merit or an excuse from the requirements of righteousness. Goodness is better than greatness. And “the truest greatness,” as President Joseph F. Smith observed, is “to do well those things which God ordained to be the . . . lot of all mankind.”36 Ignore this truth and you risk one day recalling with sorrow the poignant warning President Boyd K. Packer memorably invoked: “There are many who struggle and climb and finally reach the top of the ladder, only to find that it [was] leaning against the wrong wall.”37
Please don’t think of yourself primarily as a singer or composer or painter or sculptor or poet or writer or scholar or statesman or scientist. Think of yourself as a witness and of your craft as a way to tell the wonders of your Lord (see Mosiah 18:9).
Most of us, of course, will bear witness in less prominent ways. “To every [one],” the revelation assures, “is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:11). Many years ago, Elder Marvin J. Ashton highlighted several
less-conspicuous gifts[, including] the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.38
Such gifts are no less critical for being less conspicuous. And if to spurn our own gifts is to hold God in contempt, then surely He is doubly grieved when we glumly compare our gifts with others’. On this campus at least, we can rejoice in every gift, no matter on whom it’s bestowed, even as we adore the Giver of all gifts, “always remembering for what they are given” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:8)—and that “the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13; see also Moroni 7:45–48).39
Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said this:
How wonderful it is . . . when we can gather in circles of friendship large or small with shared gospel values. . . . You will find the memories of these [gatherings] will achieve a lastingness—not of what you wore or of what the menu was, but rather because of the shared expressions of love and testimony. Especially helpful are the memories of those individuals and friends who are exemplars for you and me by the manner in which they strive so steadily and unapologetically to wear the whole armor of God.40
I hope that you are making such memories and finding such exemplars at BYU, both among the faculty and among your fellow students. My life was blessed and changed forever by faculty mentors who modeled in every encounter what it means to be an unwavering and unapologetic disciple whose consecration encompasses the life of the mind.
“A BYU education should be (1) spiritually strengthening, (2) intellectually enlarging, and (3) character building, leading to (4) lifelong learning and service.”41 You can help fulfill those aims by seeking like-minded and like-hearted friends and mentors with whom you can take control of the spiritual and intellectual quality of your own experience. Create your own opportunities to read, discuss, think, pray, ponder, and worship together.42
Someone said, “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.” The extracurricular memories you forge will be all the sweeter because of the rich gospel sociality that surrounds them. Find friends and mentors who bring out the best in you—who foster the full flowering of your mind, your character, and your faith.
Your greatest Mentor, of course, and your truest Friend will be the Savior of the world Himself. Above all else you seek at BYU, I hope you will seek Him.
Several years ago, our family moved to Berlin, Germany, where I wrote most of my doctoral dissertation. It was a rich and unforgettable experience. Early on, however, I struggled with something of an identity crisis. No one in Germany seemed to care that I was an Ivy League graduate student, and although I could read German legal and historical documents with modest proficiency, my verbal skills were vastly outstripped by virtually every preschooler I met. At church, I struggled to follow discussions or formulate coherent comments, let alone say anything articulate or insightful. Then, as evidence of a deep sense of divine humor, I was called to serve as the ward choir director—an assignment for which I would have been hopelessly unqualified even in my native tongue.
At about this time, our ward mourned the passing of Gisela Berndt, a powerful leader of the Church in Germany. For many years, Sister Berndt and her husband hosted then Elder Thomas S. Monson during his frequent visits to Germany. Sister Berndt’s children, children-in-law, and grandchildren formed the nucleus of our ward and the core cadre of our ward and stake leadership. The German Saints were deeply saddened by her loss.
To our great surprise, my wife, Lia, and I were asked to sing in a quartet at Sister Berndt’s funeral. The music assigned was entirely new to me—a magnificent setting of Martin Luther’s marvelous translation of the 23rd Psalm.
We did our best. (As usual, Lia’s best was significantly better than mine.) I believe we sang with heavenly help. Later on, when our youngest child grew restless, we took her out into the foyer, where we saw a faithful ward member trying in vain to prop open the stake center’s external door so that the pallbearers could escort the deceased to her final resting place. Responding to nudges from both Lia and the Spirit, I volunteered to hold the door open manually.
So it was that I stood watching—a human door prop—as this elect lady moved on toward her eternal reward. I felt that I stood on sacred ground—that I was the recipient of an honor I had not earned, one of the great honors of my life. Together with that impression there came thundering through my soul the rough sense of a half-remembered scripture: “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10). I would rather, I realized, fill the lowliest station within the Savior’s kingdom than the loftiest station outside it.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of [my] Lord, and to inquire in his temple. [Psalm 27:4]
Brothers and sisters, I am, by vocation and training, a scholar of constitutional law. But by conviction and yearning, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I long to look to Him “in every thought” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36).43
I hope to be loyal to Him, to His true and living Church, and to His special witnesses—chosen messengers of my Father in Heaven whom I sustain lovingly but resoundingly as prophets, seers, and revelators.
Although we sometimes speak of balancing our secular studies and our spiritual devotions, I hope instead to unite them in a spirit of ever-deepening consecration.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” the Savior said, “and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).44
I realize that I am not much of a visual aid, but I happen to be married to the most fiercely consecrated person I have ever known. Sometimes Lia has dragged me along kicking and screaming, and sometimes I have sprinted my fastest, huffing and puffing in her wake. But on the whole, we have tried together to learn the Lord’s will for us and to do it the best we can. At every step, the Lord has blessed us beyond our merits—often beyond our comprehension. As we have tried to let God prevail, He has showered us with multitudes of mercy and cataracts of grace. He will do as much and more for you.
In this school’s earliest, financially desperate days, one of its leaders, Zina Young Williams, a daughter of Brigham Young, visited the Lord’s prophet, President John Taylor, to ask for counsel and support.
He took my hand in a fatherly way[, Dean Williams recalled,] and said, “My dear child, I have something of importance to tell you. . . . I have been visited by your father. He came to me in the silence of the night clothed in brightness and . . . told me . . . that the school being taught by Brother [Karl G.] Maeser was accepted in the heavens and was a part of the great plan of life and salvation; that . . . there was a bright future in store . . . for the children of the covenant . . . ; and that Christ himself was directing and had a care over this school.”44
Beloved students, that bright future is your future because Christ Himself is directing and has a care over you.
“I am Messiah,” He told Enoch, “the King of Zion” (Moses 7:53). In a coming day, He will return to His city to reign in final glory: “And . . . the righteous shall be gathered . . . from . . . all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing . . . songs of everlasting joy” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:71).
But I ask: who will compose those anthems, if not you?
Who, if not you, will pen their lyrics and sing them with richness and power?
Who, if not you, will design Zion’s temples and adorn her towers?
Who, if not you, will paint her murals, carve her sculptures, chronicle her history, direct her dramas, produce her films, contrive her technical wonders, and chant her epic poems?
How will Zion arise and put on her beautiful garments if you’re not there to show the way?
Hope for light beyond these shadows—
Substance thick of truth unseen—
Flashes from some ancient meadow,
Still afire with Eden’s sheen.
Memories stir within my spirit
Of what I, and worlds, have been;
Music! (my deep soul can hear it)—
Cello, harp, and violin—
Horns of Zion faintly blowing,
Blowing faintly from the East,
Gliding on the winds and glowing,
Sounding summons for the Feast.
And I see her towers shimmer,
Shining sharp through morning’s gray;
Turrets of her temples glimmer
With the glory of new day.
All my heart within me brightens,
All my soul, unbidden, sings;
Mind aflame, my spirit lightens—
I would seek that City’s King.
Far, far off I seek that City,
Fairest under heaven’s skies,
Where what faith beholds so pretty
I shall see with unveiled eyes—
Where the sanctified and saintly
I may hail and fain embrace;
What I now sense dim and faintly,
I shall there see face to face.
Thus, the knight of faith who wanders—
Weary, wounded, worn, and slow—
Shall in that resplendent yonder
Shed his faith and say, “I know.”46
Brothers and sisters, in the words of Hugh Nibley, we are still only “approaching Zion.”47 But I hope your BYU experience helps you glimpse her towers in the distance and hear her anthems from “the hills ahead.”48
To that end, I hope you will seek holiness, seek learning, seek revelation, seek the best gifts, seek Christlike exemplars, and, above all, “seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written” (Ether 12:41).
As one who spends his workdays studying questions of power and rights, I testify that the only power and rights that finally endure flow from the figure of the Son of God.
He sits “on the right hand of God,” the scripture declares, “to claim of the Father his rights of mercy” (Moroni 7:27; emphasis added). By virtue of His infinite Atonement, He possesses both the power to grant grace and the right to extend mercy. And having secured that right at an infinite cost, He will not leave it unasserted.
He will come to you in His more excellent ministry to heal your wounds, succor your weakness, and plead your cause in the courts of grace.
If you will have Him for your Lord, He will claim you as His own.
I declare Him to be the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star; the Holy One of Israel and the Savior of the world; the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb of God. He is our Lord and our King, our Healer and Friend—merciful, majestic, and mighty to save.
In the invincible name of Jesus Christ, amen.
© Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.
1. Charles de Gaulle, “Toute ma vie, je me suis fait une certaine idée de la France,” first line in Les Mémoires de Guerre, vol. 1 (1954); see Charles de Gaulle, War Memoirs: The Call to Honour, 1940–1942 (L’Appel), trans. Jonathan Griffin (New York: Viking Press, 1955), 3. The historian Julian Jackson used this phrase as the title of a recent biography of de Gaulle (see Julian Jackson, A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle [London: Allen Lane, 2018]).
2. I have been especially influenced by two collections of talks about BYU: John W. Welch and Don E. Norton, eds., Educating Zion (Provo: BYU Studies, 1996); and John S. Tanner, Learning in the Light: Selected Talks at BYU (Provo: BYU Studies, 2017). President Tanner is preparing an updated version of Educating Zion that will soon be reissued under the title Envisioning BYU. That volume will be a priceless resource for all who love BYU and wish to learn of its mission.
3. See Jeffrey R. Holland, “A School in Zion,” BYU annual university conference address, 22 August 1988.
4. See Jeffrey R. Holland, “Response: The Idea of Brigham Young University,” Inaugural Addresses, 14 November 1980, Brigham Young University, 12; Holland, “A School in Zion.” See also Jeffrey R. Holland, “At Their Most Enlightened and Alert,” BYU devotional address, 6 September 1988.
5. Spencer W. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” pre-school address to BYU faculty and staff, 12 September 1967.
6. Holland, “A School in Zion.”
7. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 11–12.
8. This was Brigham Young’s prime directive to Karl G. Maeser: “Brother Maeser, I want you to remember that you ought not to teach even the alphabet or the multiplication tables without the Spirit of God” (quoted in Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son [Provo: Brigham Young University, 1928], 79).
9. Spencer W. Kimball, “The Second Century of Brigham Young University,” BYU devotional address, 10 October 1975.
10. President Boyd K. Packer observed this about President Henry D. Moyle, one of his mentors: “I could see that he was a keeper of the faith and that the place he wanted to keep it was in those who were younger.” President Packer then referred to the young people of the Church “as keepers of the faith—keepers of the faith kept and preserved because it is embodied in those who are younger” (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 147).
11. Jeffrey R. Holland, “Nailing Our Colors to the Mast,” BYU devotional address, 10 September 1985; also citing Karl G. Maeser’s farewell address: “The Brigham Young Academy has nailed her colors to the mast” (4 January 1892; in Alma P. Burton, Karl G. Maeser: Mormon Educator [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1953], 55).
12. Kimball, “Second Century”; referring to Harold B. Lee, “Be Loyal to the Royal Within You,” BYU devotional address, 11 September 1973. See also Kevin J Worthen, “An Obligation to the World,” BYU university conference address, 23 August 2021.
13. Spencer W. Kimball, “Installation of and Charge to the President,” Inaugural Addresses, 14 November 1980, Brigham Young University, 10. See also Worthen, “An Obligation.”
14. See John S. Tanner, “A House of Dreams,” BYU annual university conference faculty session address, 28 August 2007.
15. Gordon B. Hinckley, “First Presidency Message: A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, January 2001.
16. Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000; emphasis in original.
17. Bible Dictionary, s.v. “holiness.”
18. Russell M. Nelson, “The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” Liahona, November 2021; emphasis in original.
19. Russell M. Nelson, “Make Time for the Lord,” Liahona, November 2021.
20. Nelson, “The Temple.”
21. C. S. Lewis, “Social Morality,” in Mere Christianity (1952), book 3, chapter 3, paragraph 7.
22. Dallin H. Oaks, “A House of Faith,” BYU annual university conference address, 31 August 1977, 8.
23. See John S. Tanner, “‘One of the Great Lights of the World’: Seeking Learning by Study and Faith at BYU,” BYU annual university conference faculty session address, 23 August 2005.
24. See John S. Tanner, “That All May Be Edified of All,” BYU annual university conference faculty session address, 24 August 2010.
25. Arthur Henry King, Arm the Children: Faith’s Response to a Violent World, ed. Daryl Hague (Provo: BYU Studies, 1998), 131–33.
26. See, e.g., Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him,” Ensign, May 2020.
27. Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2018.
28. Nelson, “Make Time.”
29. The character Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire (1981).
30. Kimball, “Second Century.”
31. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 12.
32. See Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 13–19.
33. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 14.
34. See Tanner, “A House of Dreams.”
35. Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 19.
36. Joseph F. Smith, “Common-Place Things,” Editorial Thoughts, Juvenile Instructor 40, no. 24 (15 December 1905): 752.
37. This saying was quoted by Boyd K. Packer in “The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord,” BYU fireside address, 1 February 1976.
38. Marvin J. Ashton, “There Are Many Gifts,” Ensign, November 1987; see also Mary Richards, writing about the First Presidency Christmas devotional, “Sister Michelle D. Craig Says ‘Less Conspicuous Gifts’ Can Be Holy Gifts That Bless Others This Christmas,” Leaders and Ministry, Church News, 5 December 2021, thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2021-12-05/sister-craig-first-presidency-christmas-devotional-gifts-235455.
39. See Todd A. Britsch, “Excellence, Charity, and the University,” BYU annual university conference address, 23 August 1994; see also Dallin H. Oaks, “Why Do We Serve at BYU?” BYU annual university conference address, 23 August 1998.
40. Neal A. Maxwell, “Jesus, the Perfect Mentor,” Ensign, February 2001.
41. Aims of a BYU Education (1 March 1995).
42. See John S. Tanner, “Staying Awake in School,” BYU commencement address to honors students, 14 August 1994; published in Tanner, Learning in the Light; see especially 108–9.
43. See David A. Bednar, “Look unto Me in Every Thought; Doubt Not, Fear Not,” BYU leadership meeting address, 16 April 2021.
44. The Joseph Smith Translation prefaces this injunction with “seek not the things of this world” (JST, Matthew 6:38).
45. Zina Presendia Young Williams Card, “Short Reminiscent Sketches of Karl G. Maeser,” unpublished typescript, 3; in Zina Young Williams Card papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University; quoted in Paul Thomas Smith, “John Taylor,” in The Presidents of the Church: Biographical Essays, ed. Leonard J. Arrington (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986), 109; also quoted in Tanner, “A House of Dreams.”
46. Justin Collings, “Knight of Faith” (unpublished).
47. See Hugh W. Nibley, Approaching Zion, ed. Don E. Norton (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989).
48. Kimball, “Second Century.”
Justin Collings, associate dean and professor in the BYU Law School, delivered this devotional address on February 1, 2022.