• A funny thing happened to me on the way to these services. Just to make sure I wasn’t late, I started out for Provo more than two weeks ago. And boy, is it a good thing I did. I am not sure where I made the wrong turn, but the next thing I knew I was seeing road signs that said Jerusalem, Nairobi, Bangalore, and Hong Kong! My goodness, it has taken me all I could do to finally get here. And the unusual thing about this is that it was President Russell M. Nelson who was giving me advice on the route I should take. I wonder if that is the way he always gets people from Salt Lake to Provo!
  • BYU is a wonderful place because it has ­wonderful students. I hope you all realize how much potential you have. You are all future leaders. You will lead in the Church, you will lead in businesses, you will lead in communities, you will lead in volunteer efforts, and, most important, you will lead in your families. One of the things I hope you learn here is how to be better leaders. If you do, you will be an enormous force for good. I would like to share with you some things I have learned about leadership over the years, things I wish I had known about leadership when I was your age. I be
  • When I came to campus this morning, I had a bit of a panic, and it wasn’t at the thought of you, because you all are an awesome sight. It was seeing the signs—those big signs at the entrance to campus. I have to admit that those signs always give me a little panicky feeling because they are a reminder that this is the place where I was abandoned by my parents. This is the place where I was left to figure things out on my own and to wonder, “Am I even smart enough to be here?” But today these signs gave me this panic because I knew I was coming here to campus—a place that cultivates knowledg
  • Several weeks ago I came home from work and announced at the dinner table to my wife and two of my daughters that I would be speaking at the BYU devotional on September 29. My wife, Lynn, immediately said, “Honey, what an amazing opportunity, and it will still be early enough in the semester that people will actually be there!” Lynn, I am happy to say that you were right—there actually are a lot of people here—and it is my prayer that over the next half hour I can share a few thoughts that will encourage you to have perfect attendance for the rest of the year. Find and Become a Wort
  • I am grateful to be with you as we celebrate the inauguration of President Kevin J Worthen as the new leader of this great university. He will help move it upward on a steady path of progress that his distinguished predecessors have marked and followed. He is particularly well prepared and suited to this task. A precious preparation was to have President Cecil O. Samuelson as an inspired mentor. We honor President and Sister Samuelson today. President Samuelson was and is an example of the educational ideals fixed at the heart of this university when it was founded. President Worthen, fr
  • When I arrived at BYU eight years ago, I was in my office organizing books and filing papers when I received a phone call informing me that there had been a glitch in payroll processing and that I would not be receiving a paycheck during the first two months of my employment. I said thank you, hung up the phone, and then started thinking about how to break the news to my wife, Jan. Within minutes there was a knock at my office door. It was Ned Hill, who was then dean of the Marriott School of Management, and he was paying me an unexpected visit. I made a place for him to sit down as he expl
  • Many of the defining experiences of my life were obtained here at BYU, on what I believe to be hallowed ground. I solidified my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I confirmed my desire to fulfill a mission, I was introduced to my beautiful wife, I was educated with the basics of my occupation, and I learned the importance of service to others. If you will indulge me, I would like to share one lesson learned here that took place entirely by accident. Frankly, I am embarrassed to relate it to you—and wouldn’t—except that the lesson I learned might prove insightful to one or two of you n
  • My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that the Spirit will speak to each of you who is ready to hear what the Lord wishes you to hear. For I am not the teacher—He is. Two Christmases ago I went out to my car one evening to find the passenger window smashed and my briefcase stolen with everything in it—money, credit cards, all of my ID (including the passport that had taken me to 50 countries), and irreplaceable documents. I was beside myself. Hoping the thieves had stolen the money and discarded everything else, a friend and I spent all night prowling through area dumpsters, hoping to find s
  • It is a tremendous blessing to be with you in the first month of a new century, the start of a new millennium. Notwithstanding any difficulties or challenges you may face in the coming years, I am confident you can look forward to unsurpassed opportunities for learning, growth, and service. It is an exciting time to be alive and to be a participant in building the kingdom of God. The Lord has a work for each of you to do, and we meet this morning in His name, knowing that all that is said and done is to honor Him. I pray for His spirit to direct my remarks. Do
  • Just over a week ago in our August commencement, President Hinckley was asked to give impromptu remarks at the close of the ceremony. He arose and with great feeling exclaimed that he was so proud of BYU--this “crown jewel” in the kingdom, as he called it. He was proud of the graduates who represent the university so well. He singled out the faculty and said that he was proud of your excellence and your service to the kingdom. Other members of the board of trustees have expressed similar feelings in the recent past. I believe that collectively we have been making significant progress lately
  • Twenty-three years ago on this same occasion, I gave the opening prayer, in which I said: “We have met here today clothed in the black robes of a false priesthood.” Many have asked me since whether I really said such a shocking thing, but nobody has ever asked what I meant by it. Why not? Well, some knew the answer already, and as for the rest, we do not question things at the BYU. But for my own relief, I welcome this opportunity to explain: a “false priesthood?” The Explanation Why a priesthood? Because these robes originally denoted those who had taken clerical orders, and a coll
  • This opportunity to speak to you tonight reminds me, I suppose in an intimidating way, of the sixty-six-year-old golfer who would drive the ball a long, long way down the fairway. The only problem was that his eyesight wasn’t very good, and he would lose golf balls right in the middle of the fairway. He was a strong golfer and could drive the ball a long way but couldn’t see where they went. So he went to the pro and said, “Would you mind helping me? I don’t like to lose golf balls and I love the game and don’t want to stop playing. Have you got any ideas?” The pro said, “Oh, sure, we’ve go
  • Good morning. It is a privilege for Sister Ballard and me to be here. I would trust that the Lord will enlighten my mind and bless me and bless you also that we might have a learning experience together here this morning. As I contemplated this assignment, the thought has run through my mind that unless, somehow, we all leave this building more determined than when we came in that we are going to become better prepared, I shall not have done what Heavenly Father would have me do. I would like to talk to you this morning, my fellow students, about what I think is the most exciting and thrill
  • My dear fellow students, I presume I can qualify as a student. It is always a pleasing and an inspiring experience to come to the BYU campus and meet you wonderful faculty members and students. The Story of Karl G. Maeser It is an interesting coincidence that I should be asked to speak at this devotional when the Karl G. Maeser Awards are being given to honored faculty members. Just a month ago I was in Dresden, East Germany, which is behind the Iron Curtain, on an assignment to hold conferences with the Saints in East Germany. When Sister Richards and I arrived in Dresden th
  • I appreciated very much the music of the band [BYU Symphonic Band, directed by Richard A. Ballou]. You are all awake after that. I will do what I can to restore you to your former state. I have come here today without a written talk. I had one, but I discarded it. I awoke at five this morning thinking of something else. When I get through, I suppose you will say, “He should have slept.” I am not here to preach. I do not wish to preach to you. It is easy to preach, and we do a great deal of it to young people. I would simply like to talk with you. I believe you are worth spending time wit