Last week, on July 24, we honored the pioneers as we celebrated the 150th anniversary of their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. “It is now 1997, and the future is ahead,” President Hinckley proclaimed last April in general conference. He noted that great things were expected of the pioneers and that great things are now expected of us. He said that we now have “an overwhelming challenge to go on and build the kingdom of God. . . . We must grasp the torch and run the race” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “True to the Faith,” Ensign, May 1997, pp. 66–67).
The path our pioneer mothers and fathers walked was trying, and many lost their lives along the way. They walked with faith and sacrifice as they journeyed to Zion. Their way was difficult, and I hear many of us today question whether we would have survived both physically and spiritually such an arduous journey had we lived then. Once the first Saints arrived in the valley, many followed. Their travels were unique, but the path was marked, the direction known.
Today I believe that our task is in many ways as arduous as that of the early Saints. The path we walk, however, is not a physical trail broken through frontier lands—it is a personal path that we must each find and follow. Our challenge today is not only to survive the journey but to first find the trail. Elder M. Russell Ballard in April conference explained:
It was hard to walk across a continent to establish a new home in a dry western desert. But who can say if that was any more difficult than is the task of living faithful, righteous lives in today’s confusingly sinful world, where the trail is constantly shifting and where divine markers of right and wrong are being replaced by political expediency and diminishing morality. The road we travel today is treacherous, and the scriptures tell us it will continue to be so until the very end. [M. Russell Ballard, “You Have Nothing to Fear from the Journey,” Ensign, May 1997, p. 61]
We live in a modern, complex society that is continually changing. The society you join as young adults is very different from that of even your parents. Technological advances are overwhelming. My daughters were surprised to learn that I didn’t have VCRs, personal computers, CDs, or even microwaves when I was their age—and I’m not that old! The challenges your generation faces are even different from those I experienced as a freshman at BYU almost 20 years ago.
Reynolds Farley, a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, in his book The New American Reality, relates:
The 1990 census and many surveys conducted more recently tell us how people are now adapting—some with great success and others not well at all—to the massive social and economic trends that will make the United States in [the year] 2000 extremely different from what it was in generations past. . . .
Just a little more than a generation ago, in the 1950s, a young white man with a high school education, a strong back, and a dedication to hard work could likely find a good blue-collar job with a prosperous manufacturing firm. . . . He knew that if he came to work regularly and pleased his boss, his wages would rise year after year. . . . He could afford to marry while he was in his early twenties and could buy a starter home in the suburbs before he reached thirty. Although some women in the high school graduating classes of the 1950s attended college, most did not. Rather, they married before they were old enough to vote. . . . Divorces occurred, but they were rare, and women expected that their husbands would remain with them and support them while they stayed at home taking care of the three or even four children they had while they were still in their twenties. Many white women held jobs in that brief interval between the completion of school and marriage, but few did so when they were caring for young children. . . .
It is a very different nation in the 1990s. A young man graduating from high school with a dedication to work and a strong back may find an attractive job with good benefits, but the odds are not in his favor. If he is successful in locating work, the job will pay about 25 percent less—adjusted for inflation—than did a similar job twenty years ago. . . . A young woman might marry her high school sweetheart right after graduation but, if she does, she knows that their chances for a home in the suburbs and middle-class prosperity are slim unless both of them work full-time and at least one of them gets specialized training in college. Since more than one-half of recent marriages end in divorce, a realistic young married woman must plan for the possibility that, by her thirties, she will be heading her own family with a child or two. [Reynolds Farley, The New American Reality: Who We Are, How We Got Here, Where We Are Going (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1996), pp. 1–3]
Professor Farley remarks that “the nation has never before simultaneously experienced both a fundamental economic restructuring and a basic shift in family life” (Farley, American Reality, p. 354). He explains that young people today have had to adjust to these changes. They stay in school longer to improve their chances for employment, and they typically delay marriage until they are older. In addition, some social and economic changes have opened up greater possibilities for many young people compared to four decades ago. In particular, progress has been made in expanding opportunities for women and minorities (see Farley, American Reality, p. 3).
These adaptations to change by young people are also reflected in the student body at BYU. At April graduation President Bateman noted that during the 1996–97 academic year almost 8,300 students completed their educations—the largest graduating class yet—an increase of about 2,000 students since the mid-1980s. In particular, President Bateman noted that
the impact on young women has been particularly strong. Although the number of women students at BYU has remained nearly constant during the past decade, approximately 4,000 women will graduate this year in contrast to 2,600 10 years ago—an increase of 60 percent. [Merrill J. Bateman, “An Investment in Education,” Brigham Young Magazine, Summer 1997, p. 3]
Thus, more women are graduating from BYU than ever before, and more are graduating married. According to statistics from BYU Institutional Studies, during the 1984–85 academic year when I graduated from BYU, 44 percent of the women graduates were married. Ten years later, by the 1994–95 academic year, the percentage had increased to 52 percent. In contrast, over the same 10-year period, the percentage of men who graduated married declined slightly—from 68 percent in 1984–85 to 65 percent in 1994–95. Thus, unlike the pattern of previous decades, young women today are more inclined to finish their educations, even after marriage.
President Bateman also noted the economic returns of education, stating that “dollars invested in education provide one of the best returns available. A bachelor’s degree increases the expected salaries of men and women by some 80 percent” (“An Investment,” p. 3; see also NAICU Report, 17 September 1996, Census Data, 1990). Given the decline in men’s wages since the 1970s, many women have found it necessary to contribute financially to their families (see Farley, American Reality, pp.335–37). According to 1990 census statistics, families in which both spouses are employed make up almost two-thirds of the households in Utah. Of these families, women provide, on average, 29 percent of the family’s income—the median family income being $36,000 (see Marie Cornwall and Louise Degn, Utah Women Considered: What the Numbers Tell Us [Provo: BYU Women’s Research Institute, 1995], p. 22; asupplemental guide to the video documentary Utah Women Considered: Changing Lives, Changing Times [Salt Lake City: KUED, 1995]).
In addition to completing their educations, more women now at BYU are also returned missionaries, compared to past years. For example, in 1985, only 9 percent of the returned missionaries on campus were women, whereas in 1995, 17 percent of the returned missionaries were women—almost double that of 10 years earlier (BYU Institutional Studies statistics).
As opportunities for education and missionary service have increased for women, men at BYU have also made some noticeable “adjustments.” I left BYU in 1986 and returned almost 10 years later in 1995. The most striking difference I see on campus now is not the number of new buildings but the number of male students on campus carrying infants. It is not uncommon these days to see a young father with his infant daughter wrapped in a carrier strapped to his chest walking across campus—such a scene was rare 10 years ago. We have even had discussion in the Daily Universe about putting diaper-changing tables in the men’s restrooms! Men on campus today can be seen pushing strollers, taking infants with them to class, and carrying diaper bags alongside their backpacks.
Kathleen Gerson, a professor of sociology atNew York University, writes in her book NoMan’s Land: Men’s Changing Commitments to Family and Work:
For several decades the spotlight has been on the revolution in women’s lives, but now we are beginning to recognize that men’s lives, too, are undergoing profound change. While it is clear that most men no longer provide the sole or primary economic support to their families, it is less clear what new patterns of commitment they are developing instead. . . .
Today there is no single predominant road to manhood. Men have entered a no man’s land, a territory of undefined and shifting allegiances, in which they must negotiate difficult choices between freedom and commitment, privilege and sharing, and dominance and equality. [Kathleen Gerson, No Man’s Land: Men’s Changing Commitments to Family and Work (New York: BasicBooks, 1993), p. ix]
Gerson notes the various paths that men now follow: some men today hold to the traditional breadwinner ethic, whereas other men flee the responsibilities of parenthood and marital commitment; still others are more involved in family life, especially child care, than were men in earlier generations (see Gerson, No Man’s Land, p. ix). Thus, the choices that you have today are very different, even from choices your parents had a few decades ago. In addition, the complexities of our modern society and the pervasive changes you experience today will only intensify in the future. The course you must navigate is not a wilderness trek like that of the pioneers but an individual path that each of you must blaze, as Elder Ballard noted, in a “confusingly sinful world” (“You Have Nothing to Fear,” p. 61).
So how do you meet these challenges? How do you determine the path you are to follow? How do you fulfill your mortal mission with honor and integrity? With so many choices in an ever-changing world, how do you decide about missions, school, work, family, and church responsibilities? One of my students, after a discussion about the choices young people face today, responded in frustration, “I wish someone would just tell me what to do!”
Obviously, I can’t tell you what to do, but I would like to share some of my thoughts about what I believe is the greatest challenge facing people your age today—that of finding your individual mortal mission. I believe that each of us has a unique and significant mission to fulfill in this life. Elder H. Burke Peterson, in an address to the youth of the Church, said:
Do you think for a moment that Heavenly Father would have sent one of His children to this earth by accident, without the possibility of a significant work to perform? . . .
. . . You were preserved to come to the earth in this time for a special purpose. Not just a few of you, but all of you. There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you. If you do not prepare to do them, they will not be done. Your mission is unique and distinctive for you. . . . If you will let Him, I testify that our Father in Heaven will walk with you through the journey of life and inspire you to know your special purpose here. [H. Burke Peterson, “Your Life Has a Purpose,” New Era, May 1979, pp. 4–5]
“If you will let Him”—I believe that is the key to our finding the path we must follow in this life. What is required of us to find our purpose and complete our journey was also required of the early Saints: faith. William Clayton, who wrote the words to “Come, Come, Ye Saints” (Hymns, 1985, no. 30), in a letter from Commerce to his friends in Manchester, England, wrote, “If you will be faithful, you have nothing to fear from the journey. The Lord will take care of his saints” (Letter from Commerce, 10 December 1840, William Clayton Collection, LDS Church Archives; punctuation modernized). Faith must be our mainstay, for it will reveal to us the purposes and mysteries that God holds for each of us. It is our faith that will allow us to put our trust in the Lord and know that he will fulfill his promises.
But if we are going to walk by faith and let the Lord inspire us as to our purpose in life, there are two traps, in particular, that we must avoid. As we reach to take the Lord’s hand, we must first let go of two things—our will and our pride. Because of our agency we must choose to subject our will to that of the Father and to give him the glory. As we step out of our boat and onto the water, we must have faith.
These two traps are interconnected, for we must be willing to let go of our pride to subject ourselves to the will of the Father. These traps ensnare us when we attempt to tell the Lord what we will or will not do. For example, we each are raised in a family and community environment in which we learn particular traditions or roles. Many times, because of the unique culture within which we are raised, we limit the possible paths down which the Lord can direct us by just assuming that we will follow certain roles—thus not considering other possibilities. In this way we tell the Lord what we will or will not do. We must be willing to look beyond our own cultural stereotypes, or our own limited perceptions of the world, to see the opportunities the Lord has for us.
When Peter was directed by the Lord to take the gospel to the Gentiles, he had to look beyond his cultural biases to understand and fulfill this important mission. The scriptures tell us that Peter went up upon the housetop to pray, and there he had a vision. He saw a sheet let down to the earth on which were all manner of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and fowls of the air. And the Lord told Peter to
kill, and eat.
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. [Acts 10:13–15]
After the vision ended, Peter was uncertain as to its meaning. Acting in faith, without a full understanding of the Lord’s purposes, Peter followed the Spirit’s direction and went to the home of Cornelius, a Gentile. He told Cornelius that it was unlawful for a Jew to keep company with a Gentile but that God had shown him, as he now realized, that he “should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28). Because of social norms, Peter’s first reaction was repulsion of the Lord’s request, but his faith allowed him to subject his will to that of the Lord’s and fulfill his mission in building the kingdom.
Like Peter, we also may receive inspiration that seems contrary to our traditions or social norms. I was a teenager in the 1970s and shared certain biases about sister missionaries. I decided early on that I would never go on a mission. It was not until I went to BYU and met other women preparing for missionary service that I realized that my stereotypes were unfounded and that I was limiting my opportunities for growth. As I considered the option of missionary service and prayed for guidance, the Lord confirmed to me that I should go—a decision that continues to bless my life.
To let the Lord guide us, we first must let go of our biases or false traditions as we conform our will to the Lord’s. In addition, we sometimes disregard certain options in life because we question our own ability to succeed—instead of telling the Lord what we will not do, we tell him what we cannot do. At times the Lord can prompt us to follow a certain path, and we must have the faith to overcome our weaknesses and do the Lord’s will.
One of our graduate students in sociology related to me her experience in applying to our PhD program, a story that I share with her permission. Jules said that she was at a point in her life when she was prayerfully considering various options about what to do next. One day, as she was walking across campus, she received the inspiration that she should apply to the sociology PhD program. She was surprised by this because her training and work experience had been in social work, and she had no background in sociology. Despite her doubts, she applied to the program and was accepted; however, she continued to question her ability to succeed.
During her first year in the graduate program, she sought and received three priesthood blessings regarding her decision. Each time the priesthood mouthpiece confirmed to her that indeed she was doing what the Lord wanted her to do, but she continued to question her ability to succeed in her classes. Finally, after the third blessing, her roommate gave her some wise counsel. Jules said:
I told her that I was having a hard time with statistics again, and expected her to console me, as she had done in the past. I told her about the blessing Ihad received from the bishop a few weeks before.
My roommate said, “Don’t you trust God?”
I replied, “Of course I do.”
“No, you don’t,” my roommate responded calmly.
“You don’t understand,” I explained to her, “I trust God; I just don’t trust myself.”
“Then you don’t trust God,” she responded. “If you trusted God, you would believe him when he says you can do statistics, or anything else in this program.”
I knew she was right, but now I was faced with a real dilemma. In order to succeed at statistics I had to stop panicking, stop telling myself I couldn’t do it, and believe God, who said I could do it. I had to trust in God when I didn’t even trust myself. . . . Finally I decided that if God was omnipotent, then he knew everything there was to know about statistics, so what better tutor could I have for this subject than God? That was a turning point. [Jules Law, personal journal, March 1997]
Jules received the comfort and guidance she needed to complete her course work and successfully finish the semester. She continues to work hard in the program, but now with less anxiety. She knows that through hard work she can succeed, because she is doing what the Lord wants her to do and she has faith in him.
We must trust the Lord and know, as Nephi said, that he gives no command without preparing a way for us to succeed (see 1 Nephi 3:7). The Lord has his own purposes, and they often do not match ours. We must look beyond our personal weaknesses and our biases as we seek and follow his guidance. Be careful about telling the Lord what you will not do or what you cannot do.
We also must be careful about telling the Lord what we will do. We can become so obsessed with a particular path that we become immobilized and deaf to the promptings of our Father in Heaven’s spirit. One example of this that appears occasionally among BYU students is the desire to marry. It is a righteous desire to want to marry, but in some cases individuals can become so obsessed with finding a mate that they ignore the Lord’s direction. Some of you may be familiar with the Calvin Grondahl cartoon in his book Freeway to Perfection in which a young woman is sitting on her bed and behind her are three large pieces of paper. The first says, “Daily Goals: 1. Get Married”; the second says, “Weekly Goals: 1. Get Married”; and the third says, “Monthly, Yearly Goals: 1. Get Married!” (see Calvin Grondahl, Freeway to Perfection [Salt Lake City, Utah: Sunstone Foundation, 1978], p.16).
I recognize that the anxiety over finding a mate begins early in life—it’s part of our socialization. My daughter at age five asked me once, “Mom, what happens if there are not enough boys for all the girls to marry when they grow up?”
I thought, “She’s only five, and already she’s worried about the sex-ratio imbalance?”
I could tell she was thinking hard about it. And then her eyes lit up and she said, “I know! If there aren’t enough boys for the girls to marry, they can marry wolves!”
I think she had watched the video of Beauty and the Beast one too many times.
Because eternal marriage is a righteous desire, it is important to be temple worthy and prepare yourself for the opportunity. But marriage is not something you have complete control over (it does involve another person), so to obsess over it can actually hinder your search for a mate. The Lord will tell you when the time, place, and circumstances are right. He may have other work for you to perform first that will help prepare you to be a better spouse and parent. If we are to let the Lord guide us, we must be open to the potential paths he may direct us down—all according to his timetable, not ours. The opportunity to marry is more likely to come not when you are worrying or obsessing about it, but when you are getting on with other aspects of your life.
Thus, be careful about telling the Lord what you will do and when. Instead, prepare yourself by living righteously and then let your Father in Heaven reveal to you his purposes as he guides you through the trials and the turbulence of mortal striving. As you openly and prayerfully consider the path you should follow, the Lord will direct you. Elder John H. Groberg related his own experience in choosing his path:
In the past I have tried to figure out whether I should go into business or into teaching or into the arts or whatever. As I have begun to proceed along one path, having more or less gathered what facts I could, I have found that if that decision was wrong or was taking me down the wrong path—not necessarily an evil one, but one that was not right for me—without fail, the Lord has always let me know just this emphatically: “That is wrong; do not go that way. That is not for you!”
On the other hand, there may have been two or three ways that I could have gone, any one of which would have been right and would have been in the general area providing the experience and means whereby I could fulfill the mission that the Lord had in mind for me. . . . If it is wrong, he will let us know—we will feel it for sure. I am positive of that. So rather than saying, “I will not move until I have this burning in my heart,” let us turn it around and say, “I will move unless I feel it is wrong; and if it is wrong, then I will not do it.” By eliminating all of these wrong courses, very quickly you will find yourself going in the direction that you ought to be going, and then you can receive the assurance: “Yes,. . . I am doing what my Father in Heaven wants me to do.” [John H. Groberg, “What Is Your Mission?” in Speeches of the Year, 1979 (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1980), pp.97–98]
As you take the Lord’s hand and walk in faith, you will excel in your righteous undertakings and fulfill your mortal mission with honor and integrity. However, as we experience success in life, we must remember to acknowledge the Lord’s hand in all that we have and let go of our pride. President Benson said:
Pride is characterized by “What do I want out of life?” rather than by “What would God have me do with my life?” It is self-will as opposed to God’s will. It is the fear of man over the fear of God. [Ezra Taft Benson, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, pp. 6–7]
As the Lord blesses us with success, we must remember that “unto whom much is given much is required” (D&C 82:3). For example, each of you has been blessed with the opportunity of acquiring higher education. Do you realize that only about 40 percent of college-age persons are enrolled in college in economically affluent countries, and less than 3 percent are enrolled in the poorest countries of the world? (See York W. Bradshaw and Michael Wallace,Global Inequalities [Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press, 1996], figure 2.8, p.23.) You have access to resources and opportunities that are beyond the reach of the majority of the world’s population. Remember, as you earn your degrees and gain prestige in your fields, that it is the Lord’s kingdom you are to build, not your own. Center your interest in the Church and remember the Lord’s utterance: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
My children are the ones who humble me and help keep things in perspective. A few months ago we hosted three young women in our home who were finalists for the Hinckley Scholarship. My daughter Mary was helping me set the table and prepare dinner. She wanted to go with me to meet the students and bring them back to our home. As we were leaving she said, “Mom, I’m a little nervous about meeting these students.”
I told her that was okay, because they were probably nervous about meeting us, too.
“Why?” she asked.
Well, I explained that they were high school students and that they were probably nervous about meeting a college professor and coming to our home for dinner.
Mary stopped and said, “Mom! I know you are a professor and everything, but you’re my mother—those students will be glad when they see it’s you!”
Take advantage of the opportunities the Lord has given you and do your best—but remember to “praise God, from whom all blessings flow” (Hymns, 1985, no. 242). Only in humility, as you let go of your pride, can you give up your will to the Father and take his hand in faith. If you will let him, he will direct your paths.
Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers.
Be thou humble in thy pleading, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.
[“Be Thou Humble,” Hymns, 1985, no. 130]
Elder Groberg suggests that we
reaffirm in our lives the importance of at least three things: first, that God, our Father in Heaven, does have a specific mission for all of us to fulfill and perform while we are here upon this earth; second, that we can, here and now in this life, discover what that mission is; and third, that with His help we can fulfill that mission and know and have assurance—here and now in this life—that we are doing that which is pleasing to our Father in Heaven. These are all very important concepts; and they are all true. [“What Is Your Mission?” pp. 92–93]
Remember too that each mission is unique. I had the opportunity as a youth to speak with Sister Ruth Funk, former general Young Women president, at a youth conference. She told me something that has greatly influenced my life. She said that the Lord wants us all to return to him, but not in a straight line. Although we all must keep the commandments and receive the saving ordinances, the individual paths we follow and the decisions we make regarding school, work, family, and so forth will be individual. As Elder H. Burke Peterson said, “There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you” (“Your Life Has a Purpose,” p. 5).
That is why we should not judge each other. It would do us all good to remember the popular Utah creed stitched as a reminder in a sampler by a convert in 1860: “The Mormon Creed Is to Mind Your Own Business” (Julie Wardell, “Stitch in Time,” The Friend, May 1997, pp. 42–43). We need to support each other, although our paths may be different. Some of you will follow traditional paths, others will be called to blaze new trails. As long as you are doing what the Lord requires of you, “you have nothing to fear from the journey” (William Clayton, Letter from Commerce, 10December 1840).
One of the greatest examples we have of someone who has humbly sought the Lord’s guidance in fulfilling his mortal mission is President Hinckley. Sister Sheri L. Dew, in the preface to her biography of President Hinckley, writes of one of her early meetings with the prophet. She met with him after he had read the first third of the manuscript.
After an uncomfortable pause, . . . he began: “I am sick, sick, sick of reading about Gordon Hinckley. There is just too much about Gordon Hinckley in this manuscript.” I groped for a response. “Whom did you want me to write about in your biography?” came to mind, but I couldn’t think of a respectful way to phrase the question so I remained silent.
Then I had my first exposure to a mini-sermon he would repeat at least a dozen times during succeeding months. “Adulation is poison,” he said, emphasizing each word. “Adulation has ruined many a good man and woman, and I don’t want this book to portray me as something I’m not.” I finally replied: “President, I can see that we have just one small problem here. You want me to write a book that says you are just a common, ordinary man.” “Well, I am,” he interrupted. [Sheri L. Dew, Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1996), pp. ix–xvi; emphasis in original]
Sister Dew then explains in the preface that she never found anything “to support his claim that he is a common, ordinary man” (p. x). She notes that by the time he became president of the Church, President Hinckley had served nearly 60 years at Church headquarters. After 38 years of service as a General Authority, and 15 of those years in the First Presidency, his influence in missionary work, temple building, and public affairs is now recognized. President James E. Faust, his second counselor, said that perhaps no man who has become president of the Church has been more extensively or better prepared to lead the Saints than President Hinckley. Sister Dew concludes:
Indeed, there is no hyperbole in stating that President Hinckley has influenced the onward march of the gospel kingdom in a way paralleled by few others. And in the process, he has molded a life worthy of emulation. [Dew, Go Forward, p. xi]
President Hinckley has lived his life according to one simple maxim: “The only way to get anything done is to get on your knees and ask for the Lord’s help, and then get to your feet and go to work” (Dew, Go Forward, p. x). I believe the prophet sees himself as an ordinary man—one who has only done the work the Lord has asked of him the best he could. If only we would go and do the same.
President Hinckley sees the vision. He is leading the way. He knows that we have a kingdom to build, a message to share, and lives to change—and he is leading the charge. I’m afraid that if we don’t get behind him, many of us will be left in the dust. I bear you my witness that Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet of God and that the Lord speaks to him as fervently, if not more fervently, than he spoke to old Israel. We have a loving Father in Heaven, and as we are guided by him, we will be able to excel in our righteous undertakings and fulfill our mortal missions with honor and integrity.
As you near the year 2000 and prepare to meet the challenges of the future, please remember Elder Peterson’s words: “There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you. . . . If you will let Him, Itestify that our Father in Heaven will walk with you through the journey of life and inspire you to know your . . . purpose here” (Peterson, “Your Life Has a Purpose,” p. 5; emphasis added). To this testimony I add my own, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Renata Tonks Forste was an assistant professor of sociology at Brigham Young University when this devotional address was given on 29 July 1997.
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