• I am humbled and thankful to be among so many friends today and to see so many of my current and former students. Thank you for this opportunity, President Worthen. I grew up on a large cattle ranch, first near Eureka, Nevada, and later in Kanosh, Utah. I would start the days very early by catching and saddling my horse in the moonlit and frosty morning hours. As the first rays of sunshine would start coming over the mountains, the cowboys I was working with would scatter out and begin looking for cows and calves from among sagebrush flats and juniper-covered hillsides. The sight was surrea
  • My dear brothers and sisters, it is a joy and a blessing to address you this morning. You are such a remarkable generation in the history of gospel dispensations! Recently I participated in a dinner honoring the ambassador of a European nation. He had just finished a full day of visiting Church sites in Utah. I asked him what had impressed him the most. His face suddenly changed, and he responded in a voice charged with emotion, “What touched me most was the visit to the BYU campus and the Missionary Training Center. What beautiful youth you have!” Last year when the Lord decided to hasten
  • Thank you, President Samuelson. Good morning, brothers and sisters. It is a wonderful delight to be here with you. In fact, on the way over we saw a bunch of tents and students camped out at the ticket center. One of my colleagues, Craig Merrill, said, “Wow, Jimmy, how’s it feel to have all those students camped out to see the devotional?” I said, “Craig, they’re here to see a Jimmer, but not this Jimmer.” Seriously, I am deeply humbled to have been asked to address the BYU community today as the devotional speaker. Since being asked, I have prayed each day that the Lord would inspire me to gi
  • We older adults, including parents and Church leaders and professors and friends, often admonish you to plan for the future. We encourage you to pursue education and vocational training as preparation for life in the years ahead. We urge you to lay a foundation for marriage and family and to act on those plans. We caution you to think of possible consequences down the road when making decisions about what you do today (for example, what you put on the Internet). We counsel you to think about how you will measure success in your life and then to establish the patterns and practices that will le
  • In 1969 I had the privilege of living in the enchanting city of Cuzco, Peru. Each day as my missionary companion and I walked along the stone streets of Cuzco, I never ceased to marvel. Much of the city is literally built on ancient Inca ruins. The workmanship of the carved stones, all fit together without mortar, is exquisite. The strength of such walls made from precisely cut stones, many with interior interlocking arms (somewhat like giant ancient Legos), is incredible. It is ironic that we call them “ruins” because, even though they were constructed many centuries ago, most of them remain
  • On November 10, 1882, a young woman named Sarah Jane Carter married Alma Porter, a widower of 10 years. Sarah Jane was almost 18 years of age, and Alma was almost 48. To Sarah Jane and Alma were born 10 children. Their last child and eighth daughter was my grandmother. My grandmother was just five months old when her father died, leaving Sarah Jane a widow at age 38. In addition to losing her husband, four of Sarah Jane’s daughters died at a young age. Sarah Jane worked hard to provide for her family. Her only source of income was from what they produced on a small farm. From the cow’s milk
  • I am grateful for the honor and the opportunity to speak with you today. It is an honor because you are precious children of our Heavenly Father. In the life before this one you were His pupils. I am honored by this invitation from the First Presidency to teach. It is an opportunity because you have chosen to listen, among the many things you could be doing, and so you must have at least a hope that I will say something useful to you. I pray that will be true. We are unique. No two of us are in exactly the same circumstances. We have not had identical experiences in the past, nor do we have
  • Thank you, President Samuelson. BYU is blessed to have you serve as its president. It is an honor to be here today with this outstanding assembly of students. President Gordon B. Hinckley has spoken about how “you represent a great generation in the history of the world and in the history of this Church.” He has described you as “part of the greatest generation we have ever had” (“True to the Faith,” Ensign, June 1996, 2). As students here at BYU you represent one of the great centers of strength in the Church. Along with the future leadership you will provide to the Church, many of
  • It is a pleasure to have an opportunity to talk with you. I have planned my remarks in the spirit of Nephi of old—to speak with “plainness,” that I might be understood (see 2 Nephi 31:2–3). I also hope my interpretations of situation and scripture are obvious and straightforward. An incident in my own life may explain what I mean. A few years ago I lived in Blacksburg, Virginia, a university town in the Appalachian plateau area. I went to renew my driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. As part of the process the clerk asked me to look into a box on the counter to take an e
  • Good morning, brothers and sisters. It is for me a blessing and a remarkable responsibility to stand before you today. I appreciate the invitation from Elder Bateman to speak with you. As I entered the Marriott Center this morning, my mind was flooded with wonderful memories. I have been in this arena many, many times. I was a freshman at BYU in 1970 when the construction work on this building was started. I vividly remember sitting way up there on September 11, 1973, and listening to the teachings and testimony of President Harold B. Lee. I had returned from my mission to southern Germany
  • Brothers and sisters, this is indeed an honor to be back at BYU. It is an honor to be seated next to your president. I have had the opportunity of working with him, not only as he served as Presiding Bishop but also as a member of the Quorums of the Seventy. You are greatly blessed to have President Merrill J. Bateman as the president of this university. I am honored today to have our family here. We are lacking two of our sons, but the rest of the family is here with us. I see in the audience a number of you who were missionaries in Brazil when we served together there. Could I see just how m
  • My dear brothers and sisters, I am glad to be with you this evening. I pray that my message will be helpful to you in your current circumstances and throughout your lives. The Lord warned the first generation of Latter-day Saints to “beware concerning yourselves” (D&C 84:43). That warning provides the preamble to my message. I seek to remind each of us of the mortal susceptibilities and the devilish diversions that can unite to produce our spiritual downfall. Lehi taught that “it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, . . . righteousness could not be bro
  • I have been delighted, brothers and sisters, as you no doubt have been, with the quality of the music tonight. I always anticipate that portion of the program when I come. I appreciate the hospitality of your stake presidents—the able high priests who preside over the twelve stakes here—with whom we have just had a few brief, informal moments in a reception. I am grateful for these men and for the outstanding women who are ever at their sides. I appreciate, too, every chance I have to be with my colleagues, Dallin Oaks and Bob Thomas, and others who are here representing the faculty and admini