• What an amazing opportunity it is to stand before you today. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I would be right here, right now. I must admit that the first thing I thought when asked if I would be willing to speak was, “Really? Are you sure? I’m just a soccer coach!” And then I thought, “Oh, no—those new Marriott Center screens are way too big!” It goes to show you that we never know what God has in store for us in the present or in the future. Life is a journey, and we must always embrace it—even when we are asked to do something that we thought was absolutely unimag
  • Shortly after accepting my job at BYU, I called Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s office to ask if he would do the voice-over for an athletics commercial during the height of Jimmermania. Because of my football career I had gotten to know Elder Holland, and I thought he would be the perfect person, with his distinctive voice, for the job. Then I had a meeting with Tom Holmoe, BYU’s athletic director, and I let him know how excited I was about the possibility of including Elder Holland in our project. I naïvely assumed that Tom would be thrilled about my phone call and invitation. I was wrong. I
  • An important problem that arises in many settings is the Traveling Salesman Problem. A traveler must visit many destinations to sell her goods or make her deliveries. Her problem is this: what route will be the fastest way to get to all the destinations? A poor choice could mean she travels many times farther than she would if she made a good choice. Obviously this problem is important to companies like UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, Walmart, and Amazon. For example, according to Wired magazine, UPS has roughly 55,000 delivery trucks running each day. If each driver could choose a
  • What a glorious sight you are! It’s an honor, my young friends, to be here with you. I feel the tremendous weight of the responsibility which is mine to provide you with a message which will hopefully be helpful to you not only for today but, indeed, throughout your lives. As I gaze at this vast audience, I’m reminded that each of you is one of a kind. Each has had experiences unique to you and you alone. You have come to Brigham Young University from locations across the country and the world. You come from varied backgrounds. And yet there is much that we have in common one with another.
  • I have found over the years that as I read the scriptures closely, some are baffling. Some I have read over and over, and I still don’t understand what they are saying. However, studying, pondering, praying, and meditating has, on occasion, brought insight and understanding. For example, two scriptures I initially found quite baffling were verses 6 and 7 of section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Speaking of the Savior, the scriptures state that “he descended below all things . . . that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; which truth shineth.” That seems to say tha
  • It is indeed my pleasure to welcome you, my dear friends, back to a new semester at Brigham Young University in a new year—2009. I tend to view a new year as somewhat of a fresh start in my life. It offers me the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to evaluate my life and the growth I hopefully have made as I strive to become the person I want to be in relation to the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I would surmise that most of you have done the same as you attempt to set New Year’s goals. As I went through this process and reflected upon the birth of Christ this past Chr
  • As I drove in to work today, I was reminded of how fortunate I am to teach geology at BYU, both because of the support that the department receives from the university and because of the geological diversity of the state. Nevertheless, there are certain geological features that cannot be seen in Utah. Therefore, every year or so, my colleague Tom Morris and I have taken a group of geology students to the Permian Reef complex near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The return trip takes us around the north end of the Oscura Mountains in southern New Mexico and within a few miles of the Trinity Site, the
  • It is an honor to represent my colleagues in the Department of Visual Arts and to be invited to share a few thoughts about my discipline of photography with you today. During the first decade following the organization of the restored Church, the evolutionary steps leading to the invention of photography were taking place. To non-photographers it is probably just an interesting coincidence. But, as a photographer, I find it significant that photography, which literally means “drawing with light,” was invented about the same time as the light of the gospel was restored to the earth. A photog
  • I would like to speak about a great robbery that is taking place among us. It is of more consequence than any theft in history. The thief is Satan, and his objective is to rob us of light. Lucifer does not want to steal light for himself; he wants to steal light because it is the presence of light by which he can be defeated. Since Satan abhors light and avoids its presence, and since he cannot conventionally steal light against one’s will, his efforts and temptations are designed to entice his targets to voluntarily yield it up that he might more freely and effectively carry forth his destruc
  • I am grateful to be with you at the start of this Education Week. All those who have made the arrangements and those who will teach and perform deserve our praise and thanks. I am grateful for your attendance, which for many required substantial sacrifice. And I offer my thanks and admiration to those who have taken time to participate at a distance through what seems to be an unending stream of the miracles of electronic communication. We welcome you warmly. One glance at the newspaper or at the television tells us that we live in stormy times. One thought of our families grips our hearts
  • 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
  • Do you remember being afraid of the dark when you were a child? When you became frightened, you probably turned on the lights—all the lights in the house! When your parents came home later in the evening, they would ask, “Why is every light in the house on?” Then they would proceed to lecture you about the family budget and the cost of electricity. You had learned, however, that by turning on an electric light or by lighting a candle, there was no more darkness, no more fear. You learned a simple law of nature, which is also a spiritual law: Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space a
  • Today marks a fresh beginning for students, teachers, administrators, and staff, as well as parents, friends, and all those connected with a new school term. Others listening may be charting unfamiliar courses as life’s circumstances constantly change. But as we all know, walking an unknown path—even when we have chosen to pursue that course—comes with feelings of excitement and joy that are sometimes shrouded with apprehension and fear. In a few months Rex and I will open a new chapter in our lives as he retires from the presidency of BYU. We leave you with our love and appreciation
  • I am grateful the musical number could be delivered not only with talent, but with the Spirit. I appreciate Sister Glenna Woolf, the accompanist, and the duet by Gaye Beeson and her daughter Emily Galland. We hope, this morning, to be second and third and fourth witnesses of the testimonies borne at the just-concluded general conference. I thank Brother Williams for the spirit of his prayer. We welcome those attending this morning who are a part of the Second Annual Family Expo Conference being sponsored by four BYU administrative units: the Division of Continuing Education, the Division of
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