• The other day, while walking through the Wilkinson Center on my way to the Cougareat, I noticed the windows of the Y-Serve office. Students had turned the name Y-Serve into a question—Why serve?—and, using colorful markers, they had covered the windows with responses to why they serve. I was intrigued and stopped to read them. A few of the answers were humorous—or just incredibly honest: “Because I usually get refreshments!” “To get dates.” “Women.” And “Because when you are in the service of your fellowman, you are closer to the food.” But most answers offered serious reflection: “Becau
  • It is a pleasure to welcome all of you back to Brigham Young University in 2006. It is a new year and a time for many resolutions to improve and change, but hopefully most of these are made throughout the year when needed and appropriate. For all of you 2006 is a year for realizing countless opportunities, setting goals, and anticipating accomplishments. It will present many choices and decisions for you. They are yours to grasp, make, and lead you forward—if you always remember to seek and do the Lord’s will amidst the challenges and excitement of life each and every day. It is both my husban
  • Eighteen days ago our daughter-in-law Sharon gave birth to twin boys, James and John. As you can imagine, there was much rejoicing the morning they were born. Excited and loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends all lined up in front of the hospital nursery window, marveling at the beautiful little faces and perfect little bodies. “Are they identical?” we all asked. The preliminary tests were inconclusive, which of course only made us more curious. We stared at them, placed side by side, and compared them from their ears down to their toes. Was one lighter, darker, fatter, thinner, s
  • How does the month of January affect you? Gone are the carols, the wrapping paper, and the lights. Put away carefully are the wreaths, garlands, and bows. Out on the curbside sits the dry tree, which has left a trail of pine needles down the driveway. Packed predictably on our hips and thighs are the holiday treats served lovingly by grandmas, neighbors, and friends. Has your “one-horse open sleigh” turned into a pumpkin with the first stroke of January? Has your “Silent night . . . all is calm, all is bright,” gone to “study all night; what is wrong? I have no life?” I would like to int
  • My subject this morning concerns the pursuit of self-esteem. I’m going to resist defining self-esteem and simply use the term to circumscribe a number of ways of viewing the self. I would like to explore the nature of the self and the conditions under which it flourishes. In particular, I want to ask this question: What is the eternal value of the pursuit of self-esteem? Whatever the valid uses of the term self-esteem are, however much good is intended, I wonder if self-esteem isn’t a red herring. The term red herring comes from the practice of dragging this smelly fish across
  • Why don’t you have crosses on your buildings of worship? Why aren’t your chapels built in the shape of a cross? Why don’t you encourage your people to wear and display crosses? What is the Church’s policy toward crosses? From Matthew 16:24–25: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. We in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in response to these questions, try to t
  • Every year now for six years I have worried and worked, studied and stewed, pondered and prayed—for a darn good way to get out of speaking to you. But Jeff has no sympathy for my anguish. He thinks he has such success making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear that he insists on using me as his visual aid. This morning I would like to share with you a personal experience that comes from anguish over an earlier speaking assignment, an experience that revealed to me a principle I believe to be among the most important in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the one principle I prayed my son Matt wou
  • It is an honor to be one of the participants of the Campus Education Week and to join all of you and the distinguished faculty who are participating here. I am at once humbled and challenged in trying to speak of a great human need, self-esteem. I refer to what we think of ourselves, how we relate to what others think of us and the value of what we accomplish. Shakespeare in Othello said, “I have never found a man that knew how to love himself” (Act 1, scene 3). The consequences of falling in love with oneself generally continue as an extended romance. This is what Thomas Carlyle, th
  • What a glorious sight! I welled up with pride as President Oaks brought to our attention the accomplishments of these great performing groups of athletes at this University. I have just returned from a tour of the South, where it was my privilege to be on two other university campuses, and the contrast here is terrific. Congratulations. As I listened to President Oaks this morning, I could not help but think of an experience that occurred in my life a few years ago at the University of Southern California. I was the institute director there, and because of my close association with the scho
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