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  • During our mission in Canada, my wife and I gave a “last instruction” to departing missionaries the day before they went home. Each of these young elders and sisters were heroes to us, and we wanted their transition home to be very, very successful. Our instruction was given with love and good fun. I particularly enjoyed instructing on dating and marriage. One afternoon as I stood at the blackboard during a last instruction, the Spirit pressed Helaman 5:12 deeply into my mind. This scripture came from what could have been the Book of Mormon prophet Helaman’s “last instruction” to his sons p
  • Brothers and sisters, it is difficult to express what a surreal experience it is for me to stand at this pulpit and speak at a BYU devotional. For many years I have been somewhat of a BYU devotional junkie. When I was a student here, I discovered that you could purchase cassette tapes of selected devotional talks, and I bought several. I remember well Stephen R. Covey’s talk “An Educated Conscience.”1 Listening to Truman G. Madsen’s talk “House of Glory” was perhaps the best temple preparation I received.2 Nowadays I have the BYU Speeches podcast and listen regularly.
  • Thank you, President Samuelson. Good morning, brothers and sisters. It is a wonderful delight to be here with you. In fact, on the way over we saw a bunch of tents and students camped out at the ticket center. One of my colleagues, Craig Merrill, said, “Wow, Jimmy, how’s it feel to have all those students camped out to see the devotional?” I said, “Craig, they’re here to see a Jimmer, but not this Jimmer.” Seriously, I am deeply humbled to have been asked to address the BYU community today as the devotional speaker. Since being asked, I have prayed each day that the Lord would inspire me to gi
  • In 1969 I had the privilege of living in the enchanting city of Cuzco, Peru. Each day as my missionary companion and I walked along the stone streets of Cuzco, I never ceased to marvel. Much of the city is literally built on ancient Inca ruins. The workmanship of the carved stones, all fit together without mortar, is exquisite. The strength of such walls made from precisely cut stones, many with interior interlocking arms (somewhat like giant ancient Legos), is incredible. It is ironic that we call them “ruins” because, even though they were constructed many centuries ago, most of them remain
  • It is a privilege to be here today, but I have to tell you that it is pretty intimidating to be the poor fellow who has to follow Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell. I actually want to follow up on something that was evident as I listened to him speak: it is possible to be both professionally excellent and to be a person of faith. I am going to tell you today that striving for this kind of balance in your life is the best way to live. When Karl G. Maeser was called by Brigham Young to come down here and rescue the struggling Brigham Young Academy, President Young gave him a famous charge:
  • After recovering from the shock of being invited early last November to speak at today’s devotional, my mind turned to finding a topic on which to speak. The invitation was to address a gospel topic of importance to me. The idea of gospel gifts came quickly to mind. We were entering the holiday season, a season of gratitude for gifts and blessings received as well as a season for the giving of gifts. A bit more thought reminded me that I would be speaking one day before my youngest daughter’s 15th birthday and, as we know, birthdays are also occasions for gift giving. Subsequent pondering a
  • My dear young friends, my wife and I are delighted and honored to be with you this evening. I visualize you in many locations around the world as this fireside is being broadcast over the Church satellite system in 32 languages. I trust and pray that I might be understood and that, wherever you are, you will feel the Spirit and understand my message. I understand this audience to be primarily young single adults in various circumstances. Many of you have just graduated from high school. Others are a little older and have enjoyed several years of university or college education. Many of you
  • Echo Hawk: that is the English translation of the name given to my great-grandfather, a Pawnee Indian who did not speak English. He was born in the mid-1800s in what is now called Nebraska. Among the Pawnee, the hawk is a symbol of a warrior. My great-grandfather was known for his bravery, but he was also known as a quiet man who did not speak of his own deeds. As members of his tribe spoke of his good deeds, it was like an “echo” from one side of the village to the other. Thus he was named Echo Hawk. According to accounts of the first white men who encountered the Pawnee people, the Pawnee
  • My dear brothers and sisters, this is truly a wonderful experience to join with you in this devotional assembly. I compliment each one of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend. In addition to the remarkable students, faculty, and staff of Brigham Young University, I would like to acknowledge the presence of my family, our friends, and those of you who are listening or watching this devotional from afar. The topic I have chosen to address today is what latter-day apostles and prophets have described as “a wonderful flood of light,”1 an apt description of what we
  • You know that I teach nutrition, but I also need to tell you that I like to eat! Today I want to share a few ideas about spiritual nourishment based on some principles of physical nutrition and experiences we have with eating. I have prayed for the Spirit to help us understand how to apply these ideas in our lives. The first principle of nutrition is simple and obvious: we need to eat food regularly to supply nutrients to our bodies. We need to do this daily, several times each day. Although our bodies store some nutrients for months or even years, we run out of others after a few weeks or
  • My dear brothers and sisters, I consider it a great privilege to be with you today. What a wonderful opportunity it is to be with my friend and colleague President Cecil Samuelson and his dear companion, Sharon. It is such a blessing to have Sister Hammond with us. When we were young, just the touch of her hand caused my heart to beat wildly. And, you know, honestly, it still does. Which leads me to this little story: An honest seven-year-old admitted calmly to her parents that Billy Brown had kissed her after class. “How did that happen?” gasped her mother. “It wasn’t easy,” admitted
  • It is a privilege to be with you at Brigham Young University today. I am grateful for this opportunity. As I return to this campus, the wonderful and far-reaching influence of BYU on our family fills my mind. That influence began before I was born when a young woman from Monroe, Utah, Exilda Nielson, enrolled at Brigham Young University and graduated in the class of 1932. She would later be the mother of my sweetheart, Bonnie, who attended BYU for one year. Bonnie was ready to begin her sophomore year when I asked her to marry me, and she willingly sacrificed further formal education so that I
  • It is a delight to greet you this beautiful morning from the Joseph Smith Building, a wonderful structure bearing the name of the greatest person to live on the earth in the past 1,900 years or so. It is a privilege to bear witness in this place that Joseph was a prophet of God, that he was chosen to reestablish the original church founded by the Savior of the world and to reestablish among men a sound understanding of the Atonement and how it can exalt women and men. I am grateful for the privilege of discussing with you this morning some principles that I believe young men and women about
  • I am honored and humbled to be here to share these few moments with you. I am honored because it has been my privilege to be a faculty member at this very special place for 41 years. I am humbled because I feel that during those years I have been associated with some of the finest young people in the world. I hope that you can hear and feel my heart when I say that I genuinely care about your well-being and have earnestly asked for the Lord’s blessing to be with us this morning. I pray that we might communicate by and feel the affirmation of the Spirit of the Lord as we visit about some import
  • Today’s devotional will be a little unusual. I was raised in a family of artists. My father and grandfather both chose sculpture as their profession. My grandfather was well known for his demonstration lectures at firesides and devotionals, during which he modeled a statue in clay while speaking. My father and I have carried on that tradition. At the encouragement of several friends, I have decided to abandon the traditional podium lecture and work on a piece of sculpture while speaking in today’s devotional. I am grateful to the people of KBYU for their willingness to project a live image on
  • I am honored to be asked to speak at the devotional assembly this morning. Because the weekly devotionals at Brigham Young University have been such a significant part of my life, I have taken this invitation very seriously. My topic is “What We Believe.” Sooner or later you and I will be approached by men and women not of our faith—persons either sincerely interested in what we believe or else opposed to much of what we stand for. This is particularly true as the Church grows and as our influence spreads throughout the world. Perhaps it would be worthwhile for us to entertain a few questio
  • I give my sincere appreciation to President Lee and to those who have planned these important days for you and for this opportunity to be with you, brothers and sisters. My appreciation goes to Michael Ballam for the beautiful music and, just as important, for the quality of his and his wife’s personal discipleship. The title of my address, “The Inexhaustible Gospel,” is intended to convey the vastness and preciousness of that enormous body of knowledge we call the gospel and—if I am at all successful—some of my ever-growing excitement over it. Before using terms like truth, knowledge
  • Many years ago I went on a mission to New Zealand, and the day I arrived I had the opportunity of meeting President Matthew Cowley for the first time. He was to be my mission president. During the next two years we became close friends, and during the latter part of my mission I had the honor of living in the mission home with the Cowleys and traveling with President Cowley throughout New Zealand. He was an excellent teacher and a most interesting person. Some years later, while he was a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, I had the opportunity of bringing him here to BYU on two o
  • Christianity, as it is known to the world, is widely diversified with its varied and conflicting teachings, doctrines, and practices and is filled with numerous plans of salvation—many of them contradicting one another. There are even conflicting conceptions of the being and nature of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. But there must be one true church and gospel of Jesus Christ. All cannot be right. All cannot lead to heaven. Why must there be one true gospel and church of Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ told us, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
  • Good evening, my young brothers and sisters—and some not so young. I consider it a privilege and an honor to greet you here this night in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I could not have thought of a more fitting song to be sung than “I Heard Him Come.” If he had not come, there would be no light from the sun or the moon or the stars. I presume there would have been no creation. There would be no life. We would not exist. It is because of him that we are here. I presume that everything we do in this life that is really worthwhile comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. We are Christian and wou
  • My brothers and sisters, I come to you this evening with the desire that I can talk to you with plainness. Six years ago, as a new General Authority, I was asked to come to BYU and speak at a fireside in a setting similar to this one. I can remember at that time just looking at the missionaries. We have fifteen hundred here tonight who will be serving all over the world, and I want to give you my love and the love of the Brethren for the great example of you elders and sisters who will soon go out from here. About a week before that fireside six years ago I received a call from a young lady
  • As I pondered what I should discuss with you tonight, I asked myself the question, “If I were you sitting where you are, and you were me standing where I am, what would I like to have you talk about?” I concluded that I would like you to talk about a principle that you understand now that you did not understand (but wish you had) when you were a student. That thought has prompted my subject this evening. Years ago, Dr. Asael Woodruff, who at the time was the dean of the College of Education here at BYU, addressed the Sunday School General Board on the subject of concepts. He told us abou
  • I would like to say something about the new revelation relative to the priesthood going to those of all nations and races. “He [meaning Christ, who is the Lord God] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33). These words have now taken on a new meaning. We have caught a new vision of their true significance. This also applies to a great number of other passages in the revelations. Since
  • My brothers and sisters, one of the things that Dallin forgot to mention in that obituary was the fact that I was a cheerleader at BYU and as such was asked to be one of the Montana Queens. Brothers Mose Flake, Gene Jensen, and myself had the opportunity to dress up, complete with our Dracula false teeth, and ride on the float to represent the Montana Queens several years ago—a very creditable job, I might add. It is wonderful to be back at BYU. I grew up in Provo, looked forward to attending the University, and was grateful to come here and be an associate of Dallin Oaks at that time. When