• Brothers and sisters, I am grateful to be with you in this opening session of the 2017 BYU Campus Education Week. This year’s theme comes from Doctrine and Covenants 50:24, with special emphasis on these words: “And he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light.” I am going to take a different approach to this theme than might be expected by exposing and illustrating some very cunning and effective ways that the “wicked one” prevents people from progressing and receiving more light (D&C 93:39). Many gospel principle
  • Dear Elder Clayton, President Worthen, ­faculty, fellow students, and friends: two months ago President Worthen kindly informed me of an invitation to receive an honorary doctorate degree in recognition of “outstanding life and contribution to society and the world.” Aware that this is the highest honor that the university confers on individuals, I replied in my email, “With full appreciation in my heart, the only uneasiness in mind is whether I have done enough to deserve this singular honor.” Then my daughter exclaimed, “What? I always thought that honorary doctorates were given onl
  • I always look forward to commencement and have now been doing so for quite a few years. For Sharon and me, this is a special commencement because it marks a change not only in our ongoing personal activities but also for Brigham Young University. BYU faces a very bright future with the leadership of President Kevin J Worthen. Because we are also leaving, we hope you will not be offended if we consider ourselves to be quasi-members of the class of 2014. We are sure for you graduates that your experiences have been different from our own during our shared time on this beautiful campus. I am c
  • Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I love the changing colors of the leaves and the crispness in the air. I remember the excitement I felt in my younger years at the beginning of a new school year. Even though I am no longer attending school, I am blessed to be associated with all of you here at Brigham Young University. It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to share this exhilaration with you and express a heartfelt welcome to fall semester at this wonderful place. Hopefully your summer months were pleasant and the memories will not be forgotten during the ex
  • I am honored to represent the Brigham Young University Alumni Association at these commencement exercises. I am especially grateful to be here to express my appreciation for this university and the personal joy my family experiences through having children attend BYU. Kathy Christensen, the recipient of a scholarship at BYU, thanked her donors by expressing this thought: I felt an intense gratitude warm my heart. There is nowhere else I would rather be. BYU has provided an environment in which I have been able to flourish. I have been challenged academically, pushed physically and str
  • The First Presidency has extended to me this wonderful opportunity to conduct and provide remarks at the April 2005 commencement exercises. I am honored and privileged to be with all of you this afternoon. I bring the love and best wishes of the Church Board of Education and the Brigham Young University Board of Trustees. This board consists of the First Presidency; Elders Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, and Robert D. Hales of the Twelve; myself; Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, general president of the Relief Society; and Sister Susan W. Tanner, general president of the Young Women organizat
  • We experienced a special day in our family on January 4, 1997. My brother organized a party honoring the 200th birthday of Gustavus Adolphus Perry. I am certain we were the only family holding a party for one born 200 years ago. Gustavus Perry was an important member of our family tree. He was baptized in 1832 and became the first of our family to embrace the gospel. The Perry family history records this remarkable event: On a beautiful farm in the state of New York, Gustavus Adolphus Perry and his good wife, Eunice Wing, with their three sons, Orrin Alonzo, Lorenzo, and Henry Elisha, an
  • Thank you, President Snow, for that introduction. It is a thrill for me to think of you in so many settings. I have tremendous respect for you, the work you are doing, and the decisions you are making at this time in life. If I have ever visited with any of you in the past, perhaps you noticed that my name has changed. I was married in April to a wonderful man who had also lost his spouse. I am appreciative that not only did President Snow use the correct name, but he also pronounced it correctly. Has anyone ever mispronounced your name? I would guess that even though we each try to overloo
  • Agency, the power we have to work out our salvation through choosing between good and evil, is the eternal principle that will be the focus of the time I share with you today. Agency is a divine birthright. Bruce R. McConkie encapsulated the doctrinal perspective of agency in these words: Inherent in the whole system of salvation that grows out of the fall of man; inherent in the great and eternal plan that makes of this life a preparatory and a probationary state; inherent in the very atoning sacrifice of God himself—inherent in the whole eternal plan of salvation is the eternal law of
  • Today I want to talk to you about the ownership of BYU. Who owns BYU, and what does this ownership mean? What are the privileges of ownership, and what are its responsibilities? If you look at it just from a dollars-and-cents standpoint, by far the largest financial interest in this university is held by the faithful tithe payers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their interests, and the interests of the Church in general, are represented by our policy-making body, the members of the board of trustees, the majority of whom we also sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators
  • Like you, I rejoice at the beginning of this school year. From the time I began the first grade (Arizona didn’t have kindergarten in those days), late August and early September have always been among my favorite times of year, precisely because that is when school starts. Every year since that time, I have always felt the same way, and I feel it in even extra measure this year because for me, as for almost 5,000 of you, the fall of 1989 marks a new chapter in my own educational experience. I have been involved in this school in four different capacities over a period of thirty-six years, but
  • I would like to talk with you today about an area in your life that we sometimes address superficially but don’t discuss in-depth nor understand. I would like to talk with you about the importance of taking responsibility for everything you do. “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold,” wrote Aristotle in the fourth century B.C. (On the Heavens, book 1, chapter 5, lines 8–10). If a baseball pitcher lets go of the ball just one inch away from where it should be released, the ball will end up nine or ten feet away from where it should be by the tim
  • Henry Adams once said that any succession of American presidents that could start with George Washington and lead to Ulysses S. Grant disproved forever the theory of evolution. I may well be striking it another fatal blow by inserting myself into an otherwise outstanding devotional calendar. But one of the advantages of being president of the university is that when you ask to be the speaker, they have to let you. Let me tell you why I’m intruding. I have been a little frustrated that the only real chance I get to address you is in our opening President’s Assembly the first week of the scho
  • My brothers and sisters, I come to you this evening with the desire that I can talk to you with plainness. Six years ago, as a new General Authority, I was asked to come to BYU and speak at a fireside in a setting similar to this one. I can remember at that time just looking at the missionaries. We have fifteen hundred here tonight who will be serving all over the world, and I want to give you my love and the love of the Brethren for the great example of you elders and sisters who will soon go out from here. About a week before that fireside six years ago I received a call from a young lady
  • It is a great privilege to be on the campus of this university—and more especially to be here tonight in the spirit of this fireside. I have prayed earnestly that, in organizing the things I would like to say to you tonight, I'd be guided by the Spirit to say what would be appropriate and helpful. I have earnestly sought, in organizing the things I would like to say to you tonight, I'd be guided by the Spirit to say what would be appropriate and helpful. I have earnestly sought for the power and influence of the Lord's Spirit to help me to convey to you the message I have brought. I trust that
  • This is a glorious sight indeed. I received a letter just last week from an individual who asked, “Why do the General Authorities have to be so hard-faced?” I do not know how to answer him. Following general conference, where I was speaking, someone called my secretary and asked, “Does President Tanner ever smile?” Well, I feel like smiling, but it is hard for me. But it is a glorious sight to see all you people assembled here in this student center, and to know that you realize that the glory of God is intelligence, and that you are here to increase your knowledge and understanding so t
  • 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
  • This is the eighth time I have addressed the student body of Brigham Young University at the beginning of the Fall Semester. It is always a humbling experience for me. You have a right to expect a significant and useful message, and that poses a great challenge for the President of the University. In trying to meet that challenge I usually reemphasize some things I have said before. I do this because each year I face a new group; only about half of you were here last year, and less than that the year before. Part of my responsibility is, therefore, to stress the same ideals, to reaffirm the sa
  • As I look upon this vast audience, I feel as if it must be the finals of the NCAA with BYU playing for the championship. But this is a thrilling sight to see all of you here and to be here in your presence. What a glorious occasion and opportunity for me to be here and to feel of your warmth and spirit and affection this night! Now I pray that I may have an interest in your faith and prayers; and that the light of Christ, the spirit of truth which emanated from the source of all intelligence and that lighteneth every man (see D&C 88:6, 11–13), will bless us all so that you will understand
  • One of the most inspiring sermons I have had the privilege of hearing was delivered about the time I entered high school in one of our assemblies. Most of that sermon has been forgotten over the years; however, the central theme is vividly remembered. This sermon was delivered by a member of our stake presidency. He was the owner and operator of the local hardware store, a man who was familiar with hand tools, so it was natural for him to talk about the most common one of all—the hammer. He told a story of a French carpenter in the early 1800s who was having difficulty in his profession kee