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  • Brothers and sisters, it is a surreal experience to be standing here talking to you today. Forty-eight years ago I first set foot on this campus as a seventeen-year-old freshman. I remember attending BYU devotionals in the Smith Fieldhouse (because there was no Marriott Center yet), listening to speakers just like you are doing. Things have changed a lot since then. The female students were not allowed to wear pants on campus—yes, we were cold all winter long. We whitewashed the Y on the mountain every year with a very long bucket brigade, and the Y was lit with real fire. David O. McKay wa
  • In my young years growing up in Logan, Utah, I was part of a musical family. My grandfather, Francis H. Baugh Jr., affectionately known in the community as Frank Baugh, was the director of music for nearly thirty years in the Logan City School District, where he directed the high school choral groups and musical productions in addition to supervising music education in the junior high and elementary schools. He was Logan’s own music man. By the time I was in elementary school he had retired from teaching in the public system, leaving him time to teach my siblings and me the piano. Not too m
  • My beloved young friends, it is a thrill for Sister Holland and for me to be with you tonight for this worldwide satellite broadcast. It’s always a thrill to be in the Marriott Center. I wish it were possible for us to be in each of your individual locations, seeing you personally and being able to shake your hands. We haven’t figured out a way to do that yet, but we send our love and greeting to all of you wherever you are in the world. In spite of the vastness of our global audience, we hope all of you are individually able to feel the love we have for you tonight and that each of you can ga
  • Several weeks ago I received an e-mail from someone who identified himself as a BYU student doing a research paper on the Prophet Joseph Smith. He asked, “Would you be kind enough to share with me what you feel the impact of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon on the world has been?” This was an important question, so I took time framing my reply. I wrote, “It was big.” However, upon reflection, I decided against sending that e-mail. I didn’t want to do most of his work for him. I thought perhaps I would now revisit that question in a little more depth. A few months back I was visitin
  • Once again it is an exciting and anticipatory pleasure for Sister Samuelson and me to welcome each of you to a new school year. I am confident we will have a special and enlightening series of devotional and forum assemblies this semester that will complement, supplement, and, we hope, enrich what will also be a very productive period in your classrooms, laboratories, and libraries. We look forward to being with you each Tuesday at this same time and hope that you will regularly attend and bring your friends and associates with you. As I have said before, a large part of what constitutes the u
  • I am grateful for the honor and the privilege of participating with you in this devotional as we commence this wonderful week of education. I am particularly grateful for the theme of this conference: The Prophet Joseph Smith: “Whom I Did Call upon . . . to Bring Forth My Work” (D&C 136:37). My hope and prayers would be that from my message, above all else, you will understand that I have a great love for the Prophet and an unwavering testimony of his divine calling and mission. A recent article from the Washington Post stated: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint
  • I am grateful, with Sister Samuelson, to be with you as we begin a new year and a new semester. I hope you share my enthusiasm for our opportunities and prospects in 2005. I also hope you have not yet broken all of your New Year’s resolutions! As you know, the year 2005 is the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. During this year, throughout the Church and here at BYU, we will hear much and be reminded frequently of the life and mission of our Prophet of the Restoration. I am grateful to be able to add my voice to the millions of others who will honor this grea
  • The day was June 27, 1844. The place, Carthage, Illinois. In the early evening Willard Richards, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dispatched sobering news to the Saints in Nauvoo: “Joseph and Hyrum are dead. Taylor wounded, not very badly. I am well. . . . The job was done in an instant” (HC 6:621–22). A cortege left the hostile county seat of Carthage early the next morning and arrived in Nauvoo just after three in the afternoon. The mourners were waiting in the streets for the return of their prophet-leader. “My soul sickened and I wept before the Lord,” William Hy
  • I have entitled my discussion with you today “But for Joseph,” which is appropriate since on this day, the 27th of June, we commemorate each year the end of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s earthly mission. However, let me preface my remarks with a little background information. First, I must say that I’ll never again complain about being given an assigned topic for a talk. Any restrictiveness is far outweighed by the overwhelming feeling of having the entire universe of gospel subjects laid out before you. When I heard the date of this devotional, I knew that the Prophet Joseph would be a part o
  • Nothing challenges the rationality of our belief in God or tests our trust in Him more severely than human suffering and wickedness. Both are pervasive in our common experience. If this is not immediately evident, a glance at the morning paper or the evening news will make it so. On the larger scale and at the moment, names like Oklahoma City, Columbine, Kosovo, and Turkey evoke image upon image of unspeakable human cruelty or grief. But Auschwitz and Belsen still haunt our memories. Closer to home, who can fathom the anguish of family members in West Valley when they discovered their precious
  • I had some difficulty deciding on what ought to be the title and theme of my remarks today. I finally settled on “Powerful Truths That Make a Difference in Our Lives.” We are all grieving today because of the senseless acts of violence that took the life of Elder MacKintosh and seriously injured Elder Borden in Ufa, Russia. Reportedly, the terrible crime was committed by an individual, or individuals, in a drunken condition. Have you ever given much thought to how dramatically the world would be changed for the better if just one of the truths revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith more th
  • We experienced a special day in our family on January 4, 1997. My brother organized a party honoring the 200th birthday of Gustavus Adolphus Perry. I am certain we were the only family holding a party for one born 200 years ago. Gustavus Perry was an important member of our family tree. He was baptized in 1832 and became the first of our family to embrace the gospel. The Perry family history records this remarkable event: On a beautiful farm in the state of New York, Gustavus Adolphus Perry and his good wife, Eunice Wing, with their three sons, Orrin Alonzo, Lorenzo, and Henry Elisha, an
  • In late May the Mississippi River runs swift and high, sparkling and bubbling in the midday sunlight. Birds sing; the air is redolent with fragrances; distantly you can hear a soft Sabbath bell toll; the earth and all about is richly abundant with life. Some eleven miles to the east, across the farmlands away from the great Mississippi, stands the small town of Carthage, Illinois. On Sunday, May 21, of this year, my family and I solemnly walked the paths of Carthage and examined anew the momentous events of that place. I could not help but look toward today’s assignment, knowing I would
  • Sister Ballard and I appreciate, more than words can express, being here with all of you tonight. Please know of our love and concern for each one of you. It’s a wonderful thing to reach across the footprint of the satellite and gather close to the young adults of the Church. I pray that the Lord will bless me that I may have his spirit with me tonight. I have worked hard on the preparation for what I’d like to say to you. If we have the spirit of the Lord with us, perhaps we will all learn something that is worthwhile. During this past year I was privileged to have two special experiences
  • I am aware that my wise and gentle friend Elder David B. Haight spoke about the Prophet Joseph a month ago. Please bear with me, therefore, as I seek to place the spotlight on the Seer in yet a different way on this Easter Sunday, during which our rejoicing is made more resplendent by the revelations and translations concerning Jesus that came to us through Joseph. My appreciation is expressed to President Jeffrey Holland, Dean Robert Matthews, Professors Hugh Nibley, Jack Welch, Truman Madsen, Richard Anderson, Dean Jessee, and others for sharing knowledge with me that has been so helpful.
  • As I look out into the faces of you precious young sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and sense your unlimited potential to “do good unto all men” (Galatians 6:10), I pray tonight that each of you—and that I—will be blessed with the Spirit of the Lord, that what I testify of will strengthen your faith and desire to personally live and be faithful to all the true principles of God’s eternal plan of salvation—those keys and powers that have been conferred upon all men during these latter days, a fulfillment of the declaration of Paul to the Ephesians “that in the dispensation of the fulne
  • Where is the clear voice of authority on right and wrong? Divided and drifting churches supply religious philosophers but not prophets. Yet Latter-day Saints testify that Joseph Smith and his successors were called to rescue a world adrift in its own conceits and problems. Such a claim can be tested by the Bible, the record of prior prophets. Would you assist me in making an important point? I would like to report accurately your awareness of the Bible, but remember that the value of the result depends upon your strict honesty now. I have two simple questions. First, do you know who deliver
  • I would like to say first that it is a very genuine pleasure to be with you tonight. It is always an inspiration to come to these firesides. I do not know why we call them firesides. The word connotes a small group of friends sitting about the hearth where a warm fire burns, talking with one another in an informal way. Tonight you are numbered in the thousands, and we have neither hearth nor fire; but I hope we can speak together as friends, and in a rather informal manner. I seek the direction of the Holy Spirit, because I wish for nothing more than to say to you those things which will add t
  • It is certainly a great privilege and a greater inspiration to be here in your presence. I think that I have never seen this many people in this building before, and to know that you are all here worshipping God and wanting to hear more about his work makes me feel very humble before you. But I want you to know that I am grateful for the privilege of being here; I am grateful for the inspiration you are to me; I am grateful for this great University and for the marvelous work that it is doing, not only on this campus but in many parts of the world as your groups travel from place to place.
  • I devoutly and sincerely hope that we may have a rich outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for two reasons: first, so that I may say what the Lord wants said and what he would say if he personally were here; and secondly, so that those words will sink into your hearts and you will know of a surety that they are true. I shall take as a subject, “Joseph Smith: A Revealer of Christ." I have chosen as a text statement these words, prepared and published by the First Presidency of the Church in 1935 on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of the organization of the first Quorum of Twelve Apos
  • My young brethren and sisters of this great school, I am delighted to greet you this very first day you’re back to school from your holidays. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are on the road to a successful and happy New Year. This is such a special time of the year—this holiday—Christmas and New Year. I trust we have been greatly blessed by the spirit of Christmas and the Christ child and that we may have that spirit to be with us and bless us in our lives all the year. It would be interesting to know what your resolutions are in the New Year; and although one should not wai
  • My beloved brethren and sisters, this is a humbling moment. I have been very much touched and impressed by the singing of this beautiful chorale, by the inspiring and moving prayer by Brother Porter. In fact, coming at the end of the trail, as it were, as far as campus activities are concerned, I seem to have the yearning of the poet, somewhat paraphrased: Backward, turn backward, oh time, in thy flight. Make me a freshman again—just for tonight. [Elisabeth Akers Allen, “Rock Me to Sleep”] Brothers and sisters, I sincerely pray that the Spirit of the Lord will be with us
  • This morning I should like to say a few words about things we have found in the documents in the Church Archives that bear on the life and character of Joseph Smith. During the past two years I have had the opportunity of going through the diaries, letters, and histories of the Prophet and of those associated with him. This has given me an added appreciation of Joseph Smith as a person and leader. With respect to his life as a boy, the evidence accumulated by Richard Anderson, Marvin Hill, Dean Jessee, Ivan Barrett, and others shows that the family in which he grew up were hard workers, int
  • I do not know whether it is fair to have a wonderful chorus sing before a speaker speaks. The contrast is too marked. I have often wished that in speaking, we could express ourselves as beautifully as a chorus can express itself as it sings to us. As I look at this audience this morning and contemplate why you are here, my mind goes back to my first trip to the nation’s capital in 1951. I was impressed on that occasion with the halls of Congress, with the beauties of the White House, with the many monuments that adorn buildings and grounds in that great city; but I recall this morning espec
  • I should like to dispense with all formality, if I may, and address both faculty and students as my brothers and sisters. I adopt that form of salutation for several reasons: first, practically all who are here are members of the Church that established and maintains this university; second, I believe in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; and third, I do not intend to give a lecture, certainly not an oration or even a sermon, but simply wish to bear my testimony to my brothers and sisters. I should like to be for a few minutes a witness in support of the proposition that the