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McKay Christensen|May 9, 2017 When I was fifteen years old, I worked on a sod farm located close to where the Payson Utah Temple now stands. To cut the sod, we used a harvester that weighed about fourteen tons. One day I was assigned to work with my high school classmate on the back of the harvester. We were moving the harvester from one end of the field to another. I was walking alongside the slow-moving harvester, and I attempted to jump up onto the platform to sit next to my friend. I misjudged my jump and landed only partway on the platform. I lost my balance and fell in front of the double set of dual wheels underneath the platform. I immediately tried to scurry out of the path of the wheels, but the big, knobby tires caught my high-top sneakers, and the wheels started to roll up my leg, throwing me to the ground. I quickly realized I was in quite a predicament. I was now lying feet first directly in the path of the wheels that were going to roll over the entire length of my body, starting with my feet and ending with my head. I felt my right leg break under the immense weight. The wheels continued to roll, crushing my pelvis. I have never felt anything so excruciatingly painful in my life. My back and ribs were the next to break in multiple places as the wheels climbed up my stomach and chest. Then the machine mercilessly twisted me onto my back, with the knobby treads passing over my shoulder and the side of my face and neck, miraculously missing most of my head. By the time the fourteen tons finished their devastating work, I had lost consciousness. The first thing I remember when I opened my eyes was the inconceivable pain. I couldn’t breathe. It felt like I was underwater. I was trying to breathe, but things weren’t working the way they were supposed to work. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t cry out, even though I frantically wanted to cry for help. Everything hurt. I quickly grasped the fact that I was about to die. Honestly, the pain was so extreme that I wanted to die. I just wanted it to stop. I later learned that I had suffered a traumatic pneumothorax, or, in simple terms, my lungs had collapsed. If there is a puncture in your lung due to trauma, the air escapes from the lung to the area outside of your lungs inside the chest cavity. As a result, your lungs push together like a wet paper sack. The air inside your chest cavity is unable to escape, and the pressure keeps the lungs from expanding. This can lead to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. Everything in my body was screaming for oxygen. In my desperation to breathe, I had to expand my chest cavity to gather air. The pain of my broken ribs and back from even the slightest movement was more than I could possibly endure. In a matter of minutes the farm manager, Stan, arrived out of breath. He could sense I was deep in shock and on the verge of death. He asked if I could move my legs. I couldn’t respond. He knelt on the ground, took my head
Allan F. Packer|Jan. 12, 2016 We live in some challenging times. More than fifty years ago President Thomas S. Monson said: Today, we are encamped against the greatest array of sin, vice, and evil ever assembled before our eyes.1 I thought to myself that whatever the conditions were fifty years ago, there is a greater array today. The war between good and evil is raging and intensifying. Satan is busy radicalizing and recruiting. You are needed. You must gain the skills, convictions, courage, wisdom, and confidence to help make a difference for yourself and others. I am grateful for the inspired leadership of the Twelve and the First Presidency to help us be prepared. Most of you are at a significant transition point in your lives. You are making life-changing decisions about your education, careers, marriage, and family as well as your religious practice after schooling and missions. You are making decisions as you transition from being dependent on goals set by others to being independent and self-reliant, setting your own goals and making your own way. Many of those decisions are not as clear or as easy to make as you would like them to be. Trying to find your way is a challenge. Today I would like to share a few lessons I have learned that may help you find your way. I invite you to take notes of any “actionable takeaways.” Later you can decide how to act on what you hear. Set Your Destination, Prepare, and Act on Your Plan After graduating from BYU, I took a job with the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington. I was soon called as an assistant Scoutmaster in our ward. One year we spent the summer taking hikes, including a fifty-miler around Mount Rainier. The early hikes prepared us physically and helped us develop the skills needed for the ultimate hike. We learned how to use maps and the compass and also to set checkpoints along the trail to find where we were and how to get where we wanted to go. It was a wonderful time for us. For the Scouts, a hike in the Cascades was an exciting adventure and an end in itself, but for us, as leaders, it was an opportunity to teach them the skills, character traits, and testimony needed for life’s journey. Our journeys of life are like these hikes. We each choose our destination and path. However, after the judgment at the end of this life, we will be assigned a place to live and things to do based on our decisions and actions here. Choose wisely the best path as described by the plan of salvation. Map your course by learning as much as you can, setting your checkpoints, and following your plan. You Have a Royal Heritage Throughout literature there are stories told of individuals who were destined for greatness or were of royal birth who were sent away from their homes. They did not know who they were, their heritage, or their destiny. You know about Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, and perhaps a few others. Lu
Todd B. Parker|Jan. 20, 2015 Good morning. My thanks go to those who provided the music this morning. Their music has helped to bring the Spirit to this meeting. I would hope to speak by that Spirit today. My late friend Robert J. Matthews, who taught religion here at BYU, used to say, “If I speak by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, you will hear things better than I say them.” I pray that that can happen today. I thought it appropriate to begin with a little poem written by a young man that I think might illustrate what sometimes may happen in parents’ attempts to change the behavior of their children. He wrote: My parents told me not to smoke— I don’t. Nor listen to a naughty joke— I don’t. They made it plain I must not wink At pretty girls, or even think About intoxicating drink— I don’t. To dance and flirt is very wrong— I don’t. Wild youths chase women, wine and song— I don’t. I kiss no girls, not even one— I do not know how it is done— You wouldn’t think I had much fun— I DON’T. [“I Don’t,” Goldendale Sentinel (Klickatat County, Washington), 24 October 1918, 1, gld.stparchive.com/Archive/GLD/GLD10241918P01.php] Now, you see that this young man’s behavior was changed, but not his attitude. What is needed is a change in attitude as well as behavior. So I pose this question: What causes a change in attitude and behavior? President Boyd K. Packer stated: True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. . . . That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel. [“Little Children,” Ensign, November 1986, 17] The purpose of my presentation today is to explore four points of doctrine as found in the scriptures and in the words of the Brethren. Principle Number 1: Draw upon the Power of the Word Daily The prophet Mormon wrote: And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. [Alma 31:5] When I taught seminary years ago, I wanted to show the youth the power of the word that Alma described. I wanted to show them that if they would make the word of God (as found in the scriptures) a part of their lives, it would change them. I didn’t know exactly how to do that, but I tried this way. On the first day of class I gave them a blank sheet of paper and s
Jay E. Jensen|Mar. 10, 2009 Sister Jensen and I are thankful to be here today. We feel a debt of gratitude to the administration, faculty, and staff of this great university. To have studied and taught here are among the great experiences of our lives, and now they are memories we treasure. Three of our four sons and a daughter-in-law are BYU graduates. No one who knows the scriptures, specifically the prophecies concerning the latter days, is surprised by the events in the world. We do live in the perilous, stormy times prophesied (see Matthew 24, 2 Timothy 3:1–7, and D&C 45), and we see the fulfillment of the prophecy to Joseph Smith that “all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people” (D&C 88:91). However, the Lord promises, “My people will I preserve” (Moses 7:61). During my lifetime, or the last 60-plus years, we as a Church and as a people have successfully weathered the storms of life because of our willingness “to be guided in a right and proper way” (D&C 101:63) and because of the rock upon which we build. Helaman counseled his sons: And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. [Helaman 5:12] I know that we will face both current and future storms successfully because of this rock upon which we build our lives, our faith, and our testimonies. I began to build on this foundation in my childhood at home. Making Jesus Christ the Rock in My Parents’ Home I hold in my hand two books that are truly among my most prized possessions. The first is titled A Voice from the Dust, a narrative edition of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1939); the other is a leather edition of the Pearl of Great Price. These two books, and my experiences with them, helped me to build my life, my faith, my testimony, and my ministry on Jesus Christ and His gospel. I am the sixth of 10 children. We lived in a humble home in Mapleton, Utah, about eight miles south of Provo. Father and Mother listened to and followed the counsel of the prophets and apostles. They had faith in President Joseph F. Smith’s promise that parents will not lose their children if they teach them the gospel at home. It was in that humble setting that Father and Mother held what were called family nights. The family nights I remember consisted of lessons, games, and Mother’s desserts. I can visualize myself sitting by my father’s side or on his lap, listening to h
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