• In my current assignment as Historian and Recorder for the Church, I have the privilege of working with some incredibly bright people. The Church History Department is housed in the Church History Library, just east of the LDS Conference Center. In this building are located the archives that house a marvelous collection of documents, books, journals, correspondence, film, and other important artifacts. On the fourth floor is a state-of-the-art conservation laboratory where historical artifacts, documents, books, and even textiles are brought so they might be preserved or restored. Let me sh
  • When I received the call to give a devotional, I accepted the invitation, got off the phone, and knew immediately what—at least some part of what—I would be speaking about today. Then I second-guessed this first impression and considered a whole variety of intellectually provoking things that I might talk about, and I realized that, whatever interesting ideas I might have, they were not the things the Lord was trying to inspire me to speak about. Maggie, who just offered the prayer, left me a note from some students who had taken a Freshmen Academy class from me a couple of years ago saying
  • My dear friends, over the years I have spoken many times to generations of students who have assembled in this great Marriott Center. Today, if you will bear with me, I think I shall change the pattern of those previous addresses. Whether that change will be acceptable or not will depend on you. Furthermore, it is Halloween, and that calls for something a little different, though I don’t know why it should. As all of you recognize, I am now an old man who has weathered many seasons and been touched and affected by many experiences. Emerson was once asked what books he had read that had most
  • I am humbled this morning to share a few words and pray I might say some things that will increase our desire and ability to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for university devotionals. They are a nice break from academic work and let us focus on the weightier matters of the kingdom. I know you students appreciate the chance to get away from writing papers and studying for exams. I have heard how difficult some of those exams can be. I was told of a zoology professor who is so tough a grader that nobody has ever received an A in his course. Last semester, history was being mad
  • It is good to be at Brigham Young University. There is a legacy of faith that I think everyone feels who comes here. I would like to speak today about heritage. Certainly 1996 and 1997 are years of heritage from a Church point of view. The year 1996 marks the 150th anniversary of the Saints arriving in California, and 1997 marks the same anniversary of the Saints arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. At the opening of this devotional we heard the hymn High on the Mountain Top, which is a good pioneer heritage hymn—the first words being “High on the mountain top / A banner is unfurled”
  • This summer I reached one of those time-dictated milestones in my life—the experience of a seventieth birthday. The family thought it was such a special event, they determined to organize a birthday party and invite all of the immediate family to join in. My brother felt it was important enough to drive all the way from Seattle to be with us. Another one drove from Cache Valley. My sisters were already in Salt Lake, and they were the ones, along with my wife, who arranged the celebration. There in the presence of those who mean the most to me, my family, I had a very enjoyable evening. We a
  • The title of my message tonight is “Reflection and Resolution,” for indeed this is a time for reflection on activities of the past, and for resolution pertaining to the future. This evening is a real milestone—the first Sabbath day of new semester, of a new year, and of a new decade. We are pleased to be accompanied by several members of our family, including my father. We had my father, Marion C. Nelson, seated on the stand. Then he felt a little immodest about doing that, so he preferred to sit by the family. But I’d like my father to stand. I want you to know that in four days we will, a
  • President Holland’s remarks about my former athletic accomplishments remind me that there is some virtue in growing older. That virtue is: (1) record books become covered with dust, and (2) memories of people tend to become fuzzy. Therefore, one can ride the bench with a team at the university, yet ten years later, in the minds of most, have been a regular performer. Twenty years after graduation, he is remembered as an all-conference player. Thirty years later, he is an all-American. In just two more years, if dust is not blown off the books and memories refreshed, I fully expect to be induct
  • In the last two months, Tuesdays have become special days in the lives of most BYU students and friends. It is the day when the TV and radio stations and newspapers announce BYU’s ranking. Today, before leaving to come here, I asked my secretary, “What is BYU’s rating this week?” I didn’t say anything about football. I was told, “They are No. 4 in the nation.” Being ranked in the top three or four of the nation in football is not only a new high for BYU but a worthy achievement. I wholeheartedly commend Coach LaVell Edwards, his associates, and team members on their rating and winning their ni