• President Samuelson, faculty, and you very extraordinary graduating class: how exciting the day is for each of you. How happy I am to be part of these graduation ceremonies. With fifteen of us rotating this assignment, it is a special thrill to take my turn in offering you my sincere congratulations. From this view I just marvel at the wonderful potential I see in this room and the magnificent opportunities that lie ahead of you. I want to initially direct my remarks to you wonderful parents who are here celebrating this great event. That child you have watched over, trained, prayed over, e
  • I can remember only one occasion in all the opportunities I’ve had to speak in which they actually raised the podium before I spoke. I’m reminded of the first talk I ever gave as a member of a stake presidency eleven and a half years ago. I stood up to the podium and then asked the other counselor and the president to stand next to me. They were both over six feet tall, and I’m not quite six feet tall—I’m five foot something. The whole congregation burst out laughing, which is the reaction I expected, because then I quoted one of my favorite scriptures: “And thus we see that by small means the
  • Years ago, while visiting one of our institute buildings, I saw a beautiful painting on the wall. It was of a 16th-century ship with the sails tied to the mast, anchored safely in the harbor. At the bottom of the painting was the inscription “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” The phrase was in my native tongue of Portuguese. In that language the verb to be has two translations. One translation is the verb ser, and it means something that is fixed or permanent. The other translation is estar, and it is used to describe something that is transi
  • Today is January 8, 2008, and the beginning of a new semester at Brigham Young University. I always look forward to the start of a new year with great anticipation, wondering what the days will bring as the year unfolds. I do know that this beautiful campus will be filled with the excitement and activity that always occur when you are here. Each day can provide experiences that can make your time at BYU the means to achieving your goals and the righteous desires of your hearts. Each of you has taken a different pathway that has resulted in your attending Brigham Young University. You have c
  • 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
  • Brothers and sisters, each year I approach this assignment with some apprehension because I believe the Annual University Conference is one of the most important events of the year. It is an opportunity for the faculty, staff, and administration of Brigham Young University to gather together and reset our course, to synchronize our compasses. Since the university’s journey began well before we entered the scene and will continue long after we are gone, the directions set in these meetings are critical for us and for those who follow. I appreciate very much those in attendance today and hope th
  • Before I begin the formal part of my talk, I wish to express appreciation to Sister Bateman for the wise counsel given today and for the extraordinary companion she has been to me through four decades. While I have tried to fulfill my dreams, many of which pertained to a temporal setting, she has focused solely on matters of eternal consequence. Her time and energy have been given to supporting a husband, raising children, befriending neighbors, visiting those with special needs, and creating a wonderful, peaceful home. She is a quiet, self-effacing woman—one who does not seek the limelight. H
  • Good morning, my brothers and sisters. Thank you for being here today. I pray that we may share some insights that will lift and encourage our spirits and help us in our pursuit of excellence. My message is based on a statement made by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland back in the fall of 1981, when he stated: “The opportunity of a lifetime has to be taken in the lifetime of the opportunity” (“Virtus et Veritas,” in BYU 1981–82 Fireside and Devotional Speeches [Provo: Brigham Young University, 1982], p. 12). This morning let us look at opportunity in light of faith, opposition, and friendly supp
  • I hope that you, brothers and sisters, recognize that it is not an easy assignment to give the keynote address. But it is wonderful for us to just take time out form the classes you’ve been attending and gather here together in this wonderful edifice and feel the excitement of what we’re about and of this wonderful BYU Education Week. As you are aware, this year’s theme is “Education; Unlocking Opportunity,” and I’ve been invited to develop that theme. I know each one of you would perhaps do it in a little different way, but the Spirit has directed me to talk about education in a broader se
  • It is a great opportunity and a great privilege to be with you this beautiful morning. I appreciate the effort you have made to gather here. It has been the custom, reaching back many years, for a member of the First Presidency to speak to you at the beginning of a new school year. I would very much like to say something that will be helpful to all, and to this end I have prayed for the direction of the Holy Spirit. I bring you the love and greetings of President Kimball and President Romney. President Kimball serves not only as president of the Church but also as chairman of the board of t
  • It is reported that the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I have a greater sense of humility when addressing [young men and women] than in standing before kings and queens.” He felt this way, I suspect, because he knew perfectly who they were and what they could become. I share Joseph’s feelings, especially today, for I see before me representatives of a rising generation with almost limitless possibilities. I therefore pray humbly that I might be aided by the Holy Spirit in delivering a prepared message somewhat related to the process of becoming. It would be nice if I could present original mat
  • What a glorious experience it is for me to stand at this pulpit in the presence of so many of God’s noble sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you dearly! I sense faith and good works in you and face the future with keen anticipation as I contemplate your devotion to righteousness and your desire to serve the Lord and your fellowmen. I hope you draw strength and courage from one another in this setting and in your daily contacts with one another on this great campus. And I pray that you are looking forward to the future with the assurance and sereni
  • My brothers and sisters, I appreciate very much this great privilege of having some part with you and with the activity of this wonderful University. Not only do I always get a thrill when I come on this campus, but I get a thrill when I even think about the great numbers of you who have this wonderful privilege of coming here and spending part of your lives in studying, thinking, and enjoying the association of each other and the leadership of the wise teachers that you have here. This is a place where you can come to pray and live and enjoy the wonders that have been provided for you in this
  • 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
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