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Kirt R. Saville|Aug. 1, 2017 I would like to begin my remarks today by paying tribute to my parents. It wasn’t until I began serving my mission that I realized some parents don’t value their children, don’t do everything within their power to make their lives better, and don’t help their children aspire to be the best they can be. I was one of the fortunate ones, along with my brother and sister, to be born into a family where I was loved, nurtured, and taught by loving parents. They had high expectations for me, but when I failed, they were still there to guide, encourage, and show me how to pick myself up and move forward. My parents, to the best of my knowledge, had never been very active in the Church. They encouraged us children to attend, but their attendance was infrequent. Yet it was from them that I learned how to live a Christian life. My father, in particular, was the kind of person who could never pass by someone who needed help. I recall a trip that we made from Salt Lake City to Bear Lake, where a weekend of clear blue water, swimming, water skiing, and fun awaited me. Our typical route was to go to Evanston, Wyoming, and then on to Bear Lake. About twenty miles to the southwest of Evanston, my father noticed a man was trying to flag down cars on the other side of the divided highway. My father could never pass by someone who needed help. He drove five miles up our side of the freeway until he found the first turnaround, drove back five miles, picked up the man who had run out of gas, went five miles in the wrong direction, turned around again, drove the twenty-five miles back to Evanston, helped the man get gas, and drove him back to his car. Being an impatient teenager, I was more than irritated at the long delay. After we finally got on our way, I asked my dad why would he go so far out of his way to help someone. Surely someone else would have stopped and given that man assistance. My dad simply responded, “What goes around comes around.” After seeing the confused look on my face, he further explained, “I believe that someday maybe you or I will be on the side of the road looking for help, and someone will return the favor.” Being ever the optimist, I replied, “I seriously doubt it.” So today I would like to title my talk “Living a Life of Service and Love: What Goes Around Comes Around.” We’ve heard this saying before in many different forms. The Boy Scout slogan: Do a good turn daily. Pay it back. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, which is the golden rule. You reap what you sow. These are all well and good, but my dad lived by the mantra “What goes around comes around.” He would help anyone anytime and anywhere. But on the other hand, how many times have we heard or said that no good deed goes unpunishe
Jodi Maxfield|Nov. 29, 2016 You might recall in the beloved Dr. Seuss children’s book Horton Hears a Who! how Horton, who was an elephant, had a chance encounter with a speck of dust, from whence a voice, barely audible, called out for help. Horton recognized that the voice was coming from the speck of dust and proceeded to do all he could to protect and defend this colony of Whos, who were “too small to be seen by an elephant’s eyes.” Horton perceived that someone was in distress and realized that he could help. Instead of discounting his newly discovered friends, and amidst scoffs and scorn from others, he did all he could to give aid. He had a clear understanding of his ability to rescue and protect the Who colony. Through his actions he demonstrated his ability to give aid, share his light, and serve. As Horton exclaimed, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Being Grateful Having just celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, and as we transition from November into the month of December and celebrate the birth of our beloved Savior, it seems particularly natural that gratitude has taken center stage in our minds and in our hearts—as it should. No matter how humble and meager our circumstances, we each have so much to be grateful for. President Thomas S. Monson said of gratitude: To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven. [“The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” Ensign, November 2010] He also said: We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. [“Divine Gift”] Gratitude is an expression of our faith. Negativity most certainly breeds despair, depression, lack of enthusiasm, and critical analysis of that which is most likely not our right to criticize or judge. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, in a devotional address on gratitude given at BYU, said: Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable. . . . Gratitude is a commandment of the Father. [“Live in Thanksgiving Daily,” BYU devotional address, 31 October 2000] Doctrine and Covenants 59:7 reads, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” While it may be more challenging to feel grateful when we are in the throes of trials and disappointments, those are the very times when we need to stop, take a look around, and count and list our blessings one by one. It has not been surprising to me throughout my life how
Su Ge|Apr. 21, 2016 Dear Elder Clayton, President Worthen, faculty, fellow students, and friends: two months ago President Worthen kindly informed me of an invitation to receive an honorary doctorate degree in recognition of “outstanding life and contribution to society and the world.” Aware that this is the highest honor that the university confers on individuals, I replied in my email, “With full appreciation in my heart, the only uneasiness in mind is whether I have done enough to deserve this singular honor.” Then my daughter exclaimed, “What? I always thought that honorary doctorates were given only to people without a PhD!” This is not only my own honor but recognition for the work of all Chinese students at the Y, past and present. I first came to BYU on an exchange program between the College of Humanities and the Xi’an Foreign Language Institute. Then a BYU scholarship enabled me to pursue my further studies. Therefore, it may also be regarded as a little fruit of educational exchange between China and the United States. As the Chinese saying goes, “Whenever one drinks water, he must not forget those who dug the well.” Coming to mind is a microcosm of BYU faculty, including Erlend Peterson, Todd Britsch, Frank Fox, and Paul Hyer—now with friendship extended on by his son Eric. Also, I want to include Marshall Craig, Briant Jacobs, Ray Hillam, Spencer Palmer, and others who have passed away but who will forever live deep in my heart. Last but not least is Neil York, the mentor for both my MA and PhD programs. All in all, my heartfelt appreciation goes to my alma mater—in Chinese, “the mother school.” For my assigned speaking time, President Worthen advised me, “As our graduates will be going out into an increasingly global world, any connection you make between their BYU experience and what they will likely encounter in that global world will be valuable to them.” Indeed, the world is undergoing complicated and profound changes. In an age of peace and development, both globalization and multipolarity continue to deepen. Nontraditional security challenges keep rising amidst traditional problems. Interdependence and connectivity make international relations no longer a zero-sum game. Global governance calls for international cooperation and, I emphasize, talents. To recall my experience, the BYU motto “Go forth to serve” has exerted boundless inspiration, courage, and guidance. The elapse of time has only accumulated understanding and appreciation of its meaning and significance. First, “go forth to serve” could mean confidence and dedication in the pursuit of one’s undertaking. In my case, I have always had a strong belief in the need for a constructive and cooperative Sino-American relationship. In this new century it is vitally important for the United States and China to build up a new type of relationship between major countries based
Dallin H. Oaks|Aug. 13, 2015 My dear brothers and sisters, a commencement exercise is a happy time for graduates, for parents, for friends, for teachers, and for the administration. It is a time to celebrate past accomplishments and to certify graduates’ progress from one status to another. For them, it is a rite of passage, like a christening, a baptismal service, a coming-out party, or a wedding reception. But the gaining of knowledge and skills is an incomplete view of the significance of education. Of even greater importance is the question of how those attainments are to be used. That is the question sought to be answered by graduation speakers. Our function, as one has said, is “to hold you here long enough to let solemnity sink in.”1 I. You graduate in challenging times: wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and the prospects of financial disasters. More important, values and standards honored for thousands of years are now being denied or cast aside. Selfishness is replacing service. The fundamental freedoms of speech and religion are being questioned. Evil is being called good and good is being called evil. Though men’s hearts are failing them, you should take heart. There have always been challenging times. We, the generations of your predecessors, have survived daunting challenges, and so will you. The answer to all of these challenges is the same as it has always been. We have a Savior, and He has taught us what we should do. At the conclusion of His earthly ministry He declared: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). As His witness I testify that His teachings are true and that the way He has marked out is the way to peace in this world and everlasting life in the world to come. II. Foremost among the things you should remember from your years at BYU are the teachings you have received about the things of eternity and the principles of right and wrong that have been up front in your religion classes and pervasive in many others. At Brigham Young University we like to quote the teachings of the founder, President Brigham Young. He spoke as an extraordinarily wise leader and he also spoke as a prophet. He taught this about the purpose of education in the gospel of Jesus Christ: All our educational pursuits are in the service of God, for all these labors are to establish truth on the earth, and that we may increase in knowledge, wisdom, understanding in the power of faith and in the wisdom of God, that we may become fit subjects to dwell in a higher state of existence and intelligence than we now enjoy.2 In teaching the Saints how to conduct their lives in harmony with the gospel in a world that pursues other values, Brigham Young said: The man or woman who enjoys the spirit o
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