• Six years ago President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a profound conference talk entitled “You Matter to Him.”1 In his talk he explained that God is the Creator of all things and yet is concerned about each one of us individually. Today I would like to build upon President Uchtdorf’s topic and title my remarks “BYU Matters to Him.” However, I would like to redefine the acronym for Brigham Young University as B-Y-You, as in you (y-o-u). Thus the title of my address is “B-Y-You Matter to Him.” This past semester one of my students submitted the following account. With her permissi
  • As a brand-new missionary in England, I was assigned to the southern coast for my first area. One Sunday afternoon my companion 
and I decided to go tracting in the small town of Sandwich, located just a few miles north of the white cliffs of Dover. After a few hours of 
knocking on doors, feeling like we must have talked to every living person in the place—and without any success at all—we sat down dejectedly on 
a nearby bench. Although it was summertime, it was a rather cold and damp day, as sometimes happens in England. Feeling downcast due to 
the lack of response to our efforts to sha
  • Many years ago I discovered a book of poetry entitled In the Stillness Is the Dancing. Within the pages of this book is a poem entitled “Don’t Miss the Miracle,” compiled from the essay “If I Had Three Days to See,” written by Helen Keller in 1933. I would like to begin my address today by sharing this poem with you: I, who cannot see, find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough shaggy bark of a pine . . .
  • During my career as a professional opera singer, I spent months and sometimes years in preparation for an important concert or stage production. One thing was certain and unavoidable: the time would arrive when I had to stand on the stage in front of thousands of people and sing. This musical accountability was swift and very audible—to my credit or shame. Immediately I could see the quality of my performance reflected in the face of the conductor. As we anxiously await and prepare for the hallmark events in our lives, it feels at times as if they will never arrive. We fantasize in anticipa
  • Our lives are alive with patterns. Think about it: We are surrounded by patterns. In a sense we live our lives in discovering, identifying, tracing, or following patterns. We awaken in the morning to the sun’s diurnal pattern; our bodies function and malfunction in patterns suggested by our patterned DNA. Our education consists of learning and testing patterns. Our sciences and mathematics are centered in formulaic patterns, as are our works of art, drama, music, dance, and literature. Our games, from hopscotch and Monopoly to football, are patterned play. And every year, as the pattern of the
  • Janet: A couple of weeks ago our family watched a Christmas movie together, after which our four-year-old grand son Alex turned wide-eyed to his mother and asked, “Do I believe in Santa Claus?” I had two reactions to his honest question. One was a realization of the dependency a young child has on his parents for the establishment of his beliefs. The other reaction was to the vast difference between the miraculous in fantasy and the miraculous in reality. On the one hand, the more information a child gathers, the more preposterous fantasy becomes (except to take its proper place in e
  • I am grateful for my wife, here on the stand with me, giving me her constant support. She really is my hero. I’m grateful for family members and friends who have shared with me the weight of saying something valuable to you during our time together. I’m also thankful for colleagues from the College of Fine Arts and Communications, who also are seated on the stand and in the front rows of this assembly. I appreciate their support. They are a remarkably talented, intelligent, and disciplined group. It is a great privilege to be counted among their number. A couple of weeks ago Dean Paul Co
  • There is a story of a minister showing a painting of Christ to a child. Anxious to reassure him, the minister softly explained, “Of course, it’s not really Jesus. It’s just an artist’s conception of him.” The child looked for a moment and then said, “Well, it sure looks like him to me.” Learning as Remembering We who are no longer children have forgotten some of the glorious things we once knew. According to Jung’s concept of racial memory, when we allow ourselves that fleeting glimpse into our subconscious self, we remember more than we know. Plato talks of all learning a
  • Good morning, my brothers and sisters of the BYU. I’m sure that you’re going to have a let down from the inspiration we have had and the beautiful singing. But I hope that I may be in tune with the heavenly powers, that I may say something to you that will be worthwhile. I do feel very humble this morning, and sometimes when I’m introduced I get the idea that ­others might feel that I’m untouchable, but I want you to know that I’m neither untouchable nor unteachable. And since I’ve been in this position in the Church, I have learned some very fine things from some of the members of the Chur
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