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  • Last October I was assigned to speak in ­general conference. I decided to speak about perfecting our lives so that we could eventually become like our Father in Heaven. In my talk I invited the Saints to participate in a spiritual exercise. I suggested that members take the time to humbly ask the Lord the question “What lack I yet?” and then wait for a prompting from the Holy Ghost. In the weeks that followed, as I visited stakes around the Church, members came up to me and said, “Elder Lawrence, I tried the suggestion you gave in your conference talk. I asked
  • As a young girl, one of my favorite Primary songs was “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, 228) because I could imagine all of the beautiful creations of God in that song—“hear[ing] the song of a bird,” “look[ing] at the blue . . . sky,” having eyes to “see The color of butterfly wings,” and feeling “the wind as it rushes by.” Throughout my life I have lived in and traveled to places that have allowed me to experience different beauties of the earth, including various landscapes and cultures. Beyond the physical beauties of the earth, God has given us other beauties to he
  • In June 1831 the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to travel to Missouri. The Prophet records, On the 19th of June, . . . I started from Kirtland, Ohio, for the land of Missouri, agreeable to the commandment before received, wherein it was promised that if we were faithful, the land of our inheritance, even the place for the city of the New Jerusalem, should be revealed.1 The group travelled about 870 miles—500 of it on foot. I’m not sure about you, but the last time I walked 500 miles was, well, I don’t believe I’ve ever walked 500 miles. The trip took this group
  • It has been my honor and privilege to greet several thousands of scholars such as you who have come to pursue an education at Brigham Young University. I love the excitement and energy you bring to campus when you are here. So, whether you are a returning BYU student, one who is transferring from another institution, or a new student who is beginning your experience here, welcome to fall semester 2010. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to associate with you during your days on this campus and express this gratitude often to my Heavenly Father. Maybe some of you can recall your elemen
  • Graduates and families, honored guests, brothers, sisters, and friends, it is my happy responsibility and privilege to express again our warm welcome to you on this very significant day in your lives and in the history of Brigham Young University. We appreciate your patience and persistence. Your devotion to the cause and the occasion that brings us together is commendable. For all of these things, and especially for the accomplishments of those of you being recognized, I offer our profound congratulations and hearty appreciation. It is often observed with a touch of both irony and humor th
  • Well, thank you very much, President Hinckley, university trustees, President Samuelson, Congressman Cannon, BYU faculty and staff, distinguished guests, family and friends, members of the class of 2007. Thank you for the warm welcome to Provo, Utah—home to one of the finest universities in the United States of America. I’ve enjoyed my time here today. I was pleased to meet with the First Presidency. And it’s always an honor to be in the company of this university’s chairman, a distinguished American and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Gordon B. Hinckley. I count it a pri
  • Spring has come to the valleys of our beautiful state of Utah. Lawns are turning a verdant green; the azure blue sky, punctuated with billowy white clouds, signals that the long days of winter are past; and a new season blossoms forth in beauty. As you have contemplated this season, you may have heaved a mighty sigh of relief and exclaimed, “Commencement day is near! I made it!” Suddenly a more pensive mood prevails, and you realize you are closing an important chapter of your life. Friendly faces and happy smiles are everywhere to be found,
  • I love to be among the youth of the Church. I love your energy, your optimism, your faith. I have heard others say they always feel younger when they spend time with young people. This has always been my experience. It is good to be here today. I felt a certain thrill as I watched you enter this great Marriott Center. I noticed the beautiful smiling faces, the well-kept hair, the appropriate dress. I thank you for being here today. Think for a moment, if you will, of someone you know who is truly happy. We’ve all met those who seem to radiate happiness. They seem to smile more than other
  • It is common for faculty who occupy this pulpit to integrate insights obtained from their academic disciplines into their devotional talks. However, I am at a distinct disadvantage: I am an economist. In spite of these trepidations, I will on occasion resort to personal experiences and observations, a few of which are colored by my chosen academic field. However, you shouldn’t expect much. An old joke goes like this: “There are three kinds of economists: those who can count and those who can’t.” I feel that way sometimes, but today I am actually going to talk in a general way about counting.
  • Elder Eyring, President Bateman, family, faculty, friends, and fellow students, Sister Nelson and I are delighted to be with you. We are pleased to see so many here to enjoy an opportunity to learn together. “The glory of God is intelligence,”1 and you confirm that fact. You look glorious to me! I bring greetings from President Gordon B. Hinckley, his counselors, and my associates of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We thank you for your faith and devotion. We are grateful for your desire to learn and to serve. Knowledge is a wonderful thing. Not all information is of equal
  • I pray that the Holy Ghost will help us receive what we need this morning—that both your prayers and mine will be answered. I want to begin by sharing a little story I first read many years ago: Two little children were put early to bed on a winter’s night, for the fire had gone out, and the cold was pouring in at the many cracks of their frail shanty. The mother strove to eke out the scantiness of the bed-covering by placing clean boards over the children. A pair of bright eyes shone out from under a board, and just before it was hushed in slumber, a sweet voice
  • There is a story, probably apocryphal, of an aging widow who eked out a meager living by selling soft pretzels on a busy city street corner for fifty cents apiece. Each morning a businessman passed her corner on his way to work. He had no taste for pretzels, but he wanted to help the person who sold them, so each morning he would give her the fifty cents and not take a pretzel. One morning, after the man had performed the daily ritual and was walking away, the woman called him back. He said, “I know. You’re wondering why it is that I never take my pretzel.” She replied, “I couldn’t care les
  • Thank you, President Seamons. Today I hope my message will bring new consideration and meaning to those two important words thank you. Frankly, over the years I have been troubled by the admonition contained in D&C 98:1: “Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks” (emphasis added). My inability to give thanks in all things, particularly those events or occasions that have caused disappointment, delay, and misunderstanding, has given me concern. My capacity to express thanks in everything h
  • Like you, I rejoice at the beginning of this school year. From the time I began the first grade (Arizona didn’t have kindergarten in those days), late August and early September have always been among my favorite times of year, precisely because that is when school starts. Every year since that time, I have always felt the same way, and I feel it in even extra measure this year because for me, as for almost 5,000 of you, the fall of 1989 marks a new chapter in my own educational experience. I have been involved in this school in four different capacities over a period of thirty-six years, but
  • Because I am giving my talk this morning in a, for me, foreign language, I frequently, in the preparation of it, had to look up in the dictionary the true meaning or even the right pronunciation of English words. Devotional I understand that this meeting is customarily called a “devotional.” Brother Bruce Olsen, assistant to the president for University Relations, wrote in his invitational letter about a Devotional Assembly (with a capital D and a capital A, probably to stress the great importance of this meeting). So I asked myself as a linguist: “What is the true meaning of
  • It is with a sense of thanksgiving that I acknowledge the privilege of being a part of this great university. I feel deeply that all of us associated with BYU—as students, as faculty, as staff, and as administrators—are blessed with special privileges, and those privileges carry with them special responsibilities. May I share with you a privilege I enjoyed late last Saturday afternoon. Far more impressive than anything I observed in a very impressive football game between BYU and the University of Utah was the scene I witnessed in the happy postgame locker room. Now, I have enjoyed the sens
  • I greet each one of you individually and feel proud to think that you would have enough interest to come here to this devotional and listen to the oldest living General Authority of the Church. I have outlived them all by many years. I enjoyed the opening prayer, the beautiful music of the choir, the introduction given by your wonderful president, and your presence here this morning. What a beautiful day. What a glorious opportunity to be able to meet and worship in the name of the Lord, our God. I have talked here so many times, I’ve almost run out of subjects. In trying to decide what
  • President Oaks, students, faculty members, leaders of this great administration, and special guests, I appreciate very much the opportunity of being with you today and having this association. I would like to emphasize the word appreciate because I hope to draw your attention to that vital subject as we go forward. As I look at these missionaries visiting with us today from the Language Training Mission and at the thousands of returned missionaries in this devotional, together with others who are prospective missionaries, I am reminded of an experience I had the other evening that Si
  • President Oaks, my fellow colleagues, students of Brigham Young University, they say that confession is good for the soul. I don’t know what the state of my soul is, but I’m confessing that this frightens me. My students should gain some feeling of security that even the old man can get into trouble! As I’ve been preparing to respond to this invitation to speak, finding it difficult to reach a decision about what I should say, I was reminded of some lines by the great East Indian poet Tagor. “I’ve spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains un
  • We have an interesting custom among us in which we set aside special days to think about special things. We set aside the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, and on this day we let our minds reach up and try and understand the purposes for which this day was set apart. We set apart the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day for the same reason. Someone has said that the human mind has some of the qualities of the tendrils of a climbing vine. It tends to attach itself and draw itself upward by what it is put in contact with. And then we have some other great days on which we put our minds
  • I’m here today physically subdued from an interesting afternoon and evening in swinging an ax and pushing a saw in the snow at Aspen Grove, but I’m built up to an exultation of spirit and emotion through that great experience. David Grayson wrote, “It is not the time of the day nor the turn of the season nor yet the way of the wind that matters most to us, but the ardor and glow we ourselves bring to the fragrant earth. It is a sad thing to reflect that, in a world so overflowing with goodness of smell or fine sights and sweet sounds, we pass by hastily and take so little of them. Days pass wh