Speeches By Topic

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
  • Abrahamic Covenant (4)

    • What a privilege it is to speak to you, a royal generation, who were chosen before the foundation of the world to come forth at this time to do an important work. I have met many of you during my service in the Church, and I have been impressed by your brightness and goodness. I can picture you now in your gatherings all over the world, from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and other countries in South America to the Philippines, Japan, Korea, and many European countries. I have even seen you arrive at meetings by the truckload in the Dominican Republic. We learn in the Book of Mormon tha
    • Thank you, President Robert L. Millet, for your introduction. We appreciate you and all who faithfully serve as leaders among the wonderful youth of Zion. We acknowledge the presence of Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, and each of you wonderful young adults. Thousands are attending here tonight, and thousands more will participate via satellite broadcast or taped delay in North, South, and Central America; Europe; Africa; Asia; and the isles of the sea. I am told that about a quarter of a million youth will be participating wi
    • Sister Nelson and I are thrilled to be with you on this special occasion. Whenever we come to BYU and are privileged to rub shoulders with members of the faculty and student body, we are better for it. In two days, people in this nation will set aside their usual labors and celebrate Thanksgiving Day. This custom fosters gratitude to God for the good things of life. Each one of you will offer your own expressions of gratitude in your own way, wherever you are. We have so much for which we are grateful—family, friends, food, freedom, faith—all of which come to us from a loving Father in Heav
  • Accountability (10)

    • 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
    • It is truly an honor and a privilege to be with you today. I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to address you graduates. You have my commendation and congratulations as you graduate from this very unique and choice university. I did not have the privilege of attending Brigham Young University as a student, but I was privileged to serve here in the administration for a time. My wife and I were richly blessed by that experience and cherish the years we enjoyed so much here. We are pleased that several members of our family are graduates of BYU. In fact, a son-in-law is among you g
    • My dear brothers and sisters, it is indeed a privilege to be with you this morning. It is now a new year—2005—as well as the beginning of a new semester here at Brigham Young University. My sincerest desire is that you have a wonderful experience as you flourish in the academic and spiritual atmosphere here and live amidst the outstanding students with whom you associate. There are many aspects of getting a valuable education, and one of these is having your head in books, books, and more books a great deal of the time. Perhaps most of these books at this stage of your life are textbooks as
    • This pleasant introduction reminds me of some of the things I’ve been up to over the vanished years. I heard recently someone say that nostalgia is a wonderful thing, but what good is it if you can’t remember anything? We have very happy memories, and some of them relate to these folks sitting behind me for whom I have the highest and most sincere regard. These kind words also reaffirm the feeling that I had when I gave an answer to a bubbly young woman who detached herself from a handsome boyfriend at the entrance of the Salt Lake Temple and walked over to shake my hand. “Didn’t you used t
    • I cannot understand how I agreed to come here today. We have just concluded a general conference of the Church and a number of associated meetings. I am hoarse from speaking and feel drained of things to speak about. On Thursday, day after tomorrow, I leave for London for a regional conference to be followed by the rededication of the London Temple and then the rededication of the Swiss Temple. There will be dedicatory prayers and many talks to be given in the numerous dedicatory sessions that will be held. How did I ever agree to come here today? I ask myself. Do you have the same probl
    • It was exactly thirty-nine years ago, about this time of the month, that I gave my best girl my South African diamond. We are delighted to be here today on this special Valentine’s Day, and also at a time when we recognize our national leaders. I’m happy I brought my valentine with me. She will always be one of my very special heroes. She personifies as much as anyone some of the important principles I hope to articulate today. Our Character It is the ultimate design and purpose of our Divine Creator that we develop a Christlike character. A noble character is the product of
    • It’s a special privilege, brothers and sisters, to be with you on this Sabbath evening. I’m grateful for the invitation to return to this campus and to share some thoughts with you this evening. It is always an awesome responsibility to confront a congregation of this magnitude in this facility. There is something intimidating about being behind this podium. Three Facets of the Plan of Salvation Tonight I would like to speak to you about a condition that is essential to the plan of salvation. I refer to the condition of personal accountability. There are three principal facet
  • Adoption (1)

    • It is a great honor to speak to you today. I have known this overwhelming task was coming my way for the last year or so. The Spirit has whispered it to me. And I, well, I have tried to ignore those feelings. It seemed too important a task to fall to me, so I tried to push the thought aside. But it returned from time to time and I thought, “Oh my, what could I ever talk about that would be worthy of the whole student body?” I would think about a few possible ideas but then quickly push them out of my mind again. I thought, “No! No! No! They’re not going to call me.” So when the dreaded phon
  • Adversity (27)

    • Good morning. I am humbled to stand where prophets, apostles, General Authorities, university presidents, important scholars, and world leaders have stood. As a student at BYU thirty years ago, I attended the devotionals and forums quite faithfully. I loved taking a break once a week to listen to remarkable individuals share their insights on a myriad of topics. I enjoyed listening and learning without any worry that I might be tested on what I was hearing. It was education at its best. I am what I used to refer to as the dark horse in the devotional lineup. A dark horse is a completely unk
    • Welcome to fall semester. We hope you have all been able to settle into your new schedules. Fall semester can be a time of fresh starts. It can be a time of great expectations. It can also be a time when things are practically perfect. For example, it is probably safe to say that right now most of you have perfect grades in all of your classes! It can be a time when hopes run high and your roommate situation is quite fabulous. It is a time when all of our athletic teams are on course for ­tremendous seasons—yes, even perhaps national championships! And it is a time when you are able to meet ne
    • 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
    • As an adjunct professor who has taught at BYU for several years, I am in awe of this amazing institution that attracts the finest, most extraordinary faculty and students on the planet. I honor you and believe that King Benjamin could have easily been describing you when he said: And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual. [Mosiah 2:41] Yes, you are awesome, and this could be the most important assignment I have ever had as
    • When I was a young adult, about the age of many of you in this room, I had my life carefully planned out. I was going to become a registered nurse, meet the most handsome and charming man, get married in the temple, and have four children and a wonderful life (whatever that meant). I was well on my way: I met and married a terrific man, I had two sons, and I was working as a nurse. My life was going according to my plan. July 11, 1981, was a classic Utah summer day with blue sky and sunshine. It was one of those days that starts out cool and crisp but in which the temperature rapidly climbs
    • Thank you for that introduction, President Samuelson. Fellow students, today I feel much like King Benjamin did when he spoke to his people: “For even at this time, my whole frame doth tremble exceedingly while attempting to speak unto you.”1 I have anticipated the anxiety of this moment for many months. Thinking that I would get a sympathetic reaction from my library colleagues, I told them about my invitation to give a devotional address. That news, however, was met with an almost universal reaction: laughter. That was not the sort of empathy I was hoping for. My exercise buddi
    • 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
    • Good morning, beloved students, faculty, friends, family, and my esteemed brother in the gospel for over 35 years, President Cecil O. Samuelson. I have always treasured our close and respectful relationship, and I say to you, President Samuelson, that Brigham Young could not have selected a better leader than you, who has reached great heights in medicine, in life, and, above all, in integrity. Thank you for such a generous introduction, and thank you to the beautiful choir from whom we have just heard. I am so privileged to be invited to this world-class university. My wife, Karen, and I than
    • Fellow graduates, these commencement exercises mark the summit of our educational experience at Brigham Young University. The journey thus far has not been an easy one. We have all encountered obstacles during our time here—some of which have seemed insurmountable. Our challenges have come in a variety of forms. Some of us have struggled with indecision regarding which major to choose. For others the challenge came each time we sat in the Testing Center wondering if we were the only ones noticing the rising temperature. Money has been scarce and sometimes even nonexistent. Our presence here
    • Whenever I visit my sister’s family in Salt Lake City, as I am about to leave, my six-year-old niece usually chirps up with “Wait, Carol! We haven’t written in my journal yet.” Writing in her journal consists of the two of us going out to my car, where she uses a small notebook I keep in the glove compartment to draw pictures of different fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty. She then spells out the names of the characters with my help. No matter what story she chooses, it inevitably consists of a princess and prince seeking to overcome difficult circumstances involving a wicked person and then
    • During the past year we have seen much economic turmoil—banks failing, businesses laying off employees, home mortgages being foreclosed, and retirement accounts shrinking. Thousands have lost their jobs, and many worry about paying for necessities such as food, clothing, and housing. In January of this year the unemployment rate in the United States hit a 16-year high at 7.6 percent, and it continues to rise. I am sure many of you students have asked yourselves, “After I graduate, will I be able to find employment?” In addition to economic troubles, across the globe terrorist threats contin
    • My beloved young friends, it is a thrill for Sister Holland and for me to be with you tonight for this worldwide satellite broadcast. It’s always a thrill to be in the Marriott Center. I wish it were possible for us to be in each of your individual locations, seeing you personally and being able to shake your hands. We haven’t figured out a way to do that yet, but we send our love and greeting to all of you wherever you are in the world. In spite of the vastness of our global audience, we hope all of you are individually able to feel the love we have for you tonight and that each of you can ga
    • Brothers and sisters, I’m grateful to be here. I’ve been rather sleepless while preparing my remarks. I’ve felt some concern. But standing here today, seeing you all before me, I feel blessed—blessed to speak from a lectern where saints and scholars and prophets have spoken, and more blessed to come to this campus each day to teach and be taught by wonderful students who are my brothers and sisters and to work with faculty and staff who are reaching for something here that is more than a job. Today I want to address my remarks to you who may be feeling tired and a little worn down, who may
    • 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
    • What a privilege it is to be here at Brigham Young University and to be able to address all of you wonderful students. Whether you know it or not, you convey a great spirit and are having and will have a great impact upon the world. As a result of the training you receive here and your personal righteousness, you truly are, as Jesus said, a “light . . . on [a] hill” (Matthew 5:14). Sister Cook and I have been privileged to have all of our children attend BYU—six of whom have graduated and two others who are preparing to do so. At least they hope so. I hope we are all very appr
    • I have prayed earnestly concerning the topic I have been asked to address—that we pray not for light burdens but for strong backs. I have come to understand that to honestly pray for a strong back is a very courageous thing to do. The spiritual exercise required is not an easy course, but the promised blessings make it worthy of our total commitment—whatever the cost. I learned of the importance of a strong back when I was about ten years old. In the summertime after we had put in a full day’s work, my father would take me down to the Belly River near the edge of our small Canadian town,
    • 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 grateful for your presence here today, especially in view of the fact that you anticipated hearing from President Howard W. Hunter today, and any replacement for him is clearly inadequate. Thank you for accepting a substitute with such graciousness. I bring you his love. He hopes to speak to you on another occasion. On an earlier occasion when I spoke to a large audience here at BYU, I spoke on the subject “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall” (7 June 1992 fireside; see Ensign, October 1994, pp. 11–19, or BYU 1991–92 Devotional and Fireside Spe
    • Since I am a relative newcomer to BYU and somewhat unfamiliar with its traditions, when I initially received the invitation to give this devotional address, instinctively the thought went through my mind, “Wow, maybe they think that I haven’t been working hard enough and this is the punishment!” A few moments reflection, however, convinced me that this invitation was an honor, although I can’t help thinking that the punishment is likely to follow the honor if my talk is not satisfactory! In fact, if you will pardon a “pun,” on looking behind me, I feel very much like a man in the firing 
    • Janet: We welcome you back to a new semester and a new year. For us, as for many of you, last semester was a first time BYU experience. And we really loved it. Over the years, Rex and I have shared many things, but since his training is in law and mine in education, we have never shared a job. Now, for the first time, we are even sharing that, and it has been one of many unanticipated joys that we have experienced over the last six months. Rex: It reminds me of something I think Willie Mays said right after he started playing professional baseball: “I can’t believe they pay me
    • Everyone Struggles Do any of you ever get discouraged? Men, women, fathers, mothers, young and old—discouragement comes to all. Let me share with you a story about a discouraged young college man. This young man couldn’t get enthusiastic about anything. He didn’t seem to have any sense of responsibility. He lacked motivation. I suppose there was no mission call, no engagement, nothing exciting on the horizon. He had a mature friend who came to him and said, “I can help you. Let me accept full responsibility for you, for your worries.” He then told him, “I’m going to
    • My brothers and sisters, it is a humbling experience for me to stand before you in this capacity. To me this is a second language that I am speaking to you. I sincerely hope and pray that the Spirit of the Lord be with us tonight so that we can communicate. Tarry Ye Here As I listened to this beautiful song, I remembered the great pain and agony, the ordeal of this holy man, the Savior Jesus Christ. After the Last Supper he led eleven apostles to the foot of the Mount of Olives, and from the eleven Jesus took three apostles, Peter, James, and John, to the midst of the grove o
    • It is always a special thrill and blessing to come upon this campus. My message today is simple, but one which you may not wish to hear. I have chosen to speak concerning the blessings of adversity. The theme was best expressed by the Lord when he said, “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days” (D&C 24:8). During the past two years, and indeed for about five years of my life, I have lived in countries where most of the people are far below the poverty level of the United States. During this last period
    • Thank you, President Oaks, for your gracious introduction. I am very pleased to meet with you wonderful students of Brigham Young University today and to express a few thoughts that I hope will be helpful. As I have had the opportunity of meeting with a number of you over the past few weeks, I am impressed with your concern, even a grave concern, for those things that come into your lives over which you have no control. When tragedy, sorrow, setback, disappointment, humiliation, wealth, unusual success, acclaim, and recognition come into our lives, what shall we do then? How do we cope w
  • Agency (31)

    • 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
    • One of the most cunning aspects of the adversary’s efforts to thwart our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness is his deceitful teaching that there is no evil influence or devil1 and his attempt to redefine evil as good and good as evil, darkness as light and light as darkness, and bitter as sweet and sweet as bitter!2 This is sometimes called a paradigm shift—or “when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way,”3 thus portraying things to be exactly the opposite of what they really are. In his classic novel T
    • I was born in Mountain View, California, the second of (eventually) eleven children. We settled in a relatively quiet neighborhood on the east side of San Jose, not far from the rolling foothills that are crowned by the imposing Mount Hamilton, home to the Lick Observatory, “the first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory in the world.”1 The weather was usually pleasant, even during the warm, sunny days of summer. As spring yielded to summer, the foothills would turn from a verdant green to a cozy, warm brown. But even on hot days, a cool breeze would flow off the bay every a
    • We are and will be faced with all types of choices throughout our lives. Each choice we make or action we take carries some type of consequence. The consequence can be positive or negative. A consequence does not always have to be negative; I think we are conditioned to think of consequences as negative. Sometimes consequences appear to be both negative and positive, depending on your point of view. Sometimes we make choices thinking we are doing good, only to have our good intentions and deeds backfire and make a bad situation worse. Sometimes we immediately regret a decision or choice. So
    • We deal with one key aspect of the remarkable plan of salvation many times each day (in reality, many times each hour): agency, or the ability to choose for ourselves. As I was preparing these remarks, I tried to think of a comparison to convey the importance of agency in the plan of salvation. First I thought of a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever put together a jigsaw puzzle and found out there was one missing piece? It can be frustrating, and the picture isn’t totally complete without every piece of the puzzle. But I realized that this is not analogous to agency in the plan because th
    • My beloved young friends and associates, it is a joy for me to be with you, and I want you to know what a blessing it is to be on this beautiful campus! There really is nothing like it in the whole world. I want to thank President Samuelson and all who make BYU possible. You are a light to the world, and you will become a brighter light as we go through this dispensation. Most of all, I am grateful for each of you, the students of this great university. Thank you for preparing yourselves to serve Heavenly Father’s children. And thank you for standing as a witness of the Savior “at all times
    • One of the key issues in the Council in Heaven—and one of the key differences between our Heavenly Father’s plan for us and the plan advocated by Lucifer—was whether or not we would be given agency, or the ability to make our own choices. Lucifer argued that he could return us all to our Father without any need for agency on our part. Lucifer said: Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But our Elder Brother said: Father, thy will be done, and the g
    • I offer you a warm greeting on this cold January day. Two years ago, in January, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to the leaders of the Church around the world, both men and women. Commenting on current conditions, he said: No one need tell you that we are living in a very difficult season in the history of the world. . . . . . . I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah. At that season, Abraham bargained with the Lord to save these cities for the sake of the righteous. Notwithstanding his pleas, things were so bad that Jehovah decreed their dest
    • What is relevant to you today? A few weeks ago I attended a young single adult ward in Washington, D.C., where I met Dean Magleby for the first time. As we came here this morning, I was a little apprehensive about this assignment until I was able to see some of you whom I have known: some of our missionaries—well, many of our missionaries; those of you we have visited in your mission—and we consider you ours; as well as mission presidents and others we have had experiences with. After sacrament meeting in Washington, D.C., we stayed in the chapel and took the rest of the block time to answe
    • A well-worn and much-loved poem by Robert Frost introduces the subject. You may know the work, or perhaps you have heard only the oft-quoted last lines: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that, the passing there Had worn them reall
    • A friend of mine who was critical of religion once asked me, “What does it really mean if a person behaves righteously because of external rewards and punishments? Every animal will choose reward over punishment.” Elder Maxwell gave a marvelous talk about agency from this podium three weeks ago. I want to reiterate one of the points he made: A central feature of agency is that God doesn’t coerce us. Think about it. Could we trust a God who behaved the way He did because He was coerced into it? Satan’s proposal to coerce souls into godly character reveals his lack of understanding. How could
    • Thank you so much, President Samuelson. You’re blessed to have this wonderful man as your president. But I miss him at Church headquarters—greatly and personally! It’s always easy to praise Sharon because she represents, as does my wife—as do so many others—the faithful women of this dispensation, without whom this work simply could not be done. They are the kind of souls who are high yield and low maintenance. I appreciate the special rendering of Merrill Bradshaw’s composition, having had the privilege of spending a little time with him just a couple of hours before he died. I appreciate,
    • My dear brothers and sisters, what a delight it is to be with you today. To feel your spirit and the greatness of this school is uplifting and edifying. My wife and I connect in a very personal way to this institution of higher education. No, we never studied here, but our daughter received a master’s degree here. As a proud parent, I am not only sharing with you that she graduated summa cum laude, but it is much more impressive and joyful for us as parents that she gave birth to our twin grandsons at the Utah Valley Hospital during the same year. Therefore, my wife and I love Provo. We lov
    • It is a great pleasure to be with you today in this devotional. I am prayerful that the time we spend together will motivate each of us to consider our lives and to evaluate where we are as we begin this new year. Have you noticed how the seasons of our lives move forward in a never-ending stream? I have been fascinated—sometimes surprised, but almost always invigorated—by the changes I have experienced so far in the seasons of my life. Our personal choices are different as we pass through each new season. Do you remember how many of your choices as a small child focused on play, on discove
    • My title and subject today is taken from the Savior’s denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees: “Ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23; emphasis added). I wish to speak about some “weightier matters” we might overlook if we allow ourselves to focus exclusively on lesser matters. The weightier matters to which I refer are the qualities like faith and the love of God and his work that will move us strongly toward our eternal
    • Some of you may be wondering what it would be like to stand here at a podium where prophets, apostles, presidents of the United States, a prime minister of England, Nobel Prize winners, university presidents, and many learned men and women have spoken—particularly some of you who may feel you are not quite as qualified as those who have occupied this place. As the least-qualified devotional speaker in the history of BYU, let me describe the feeling. I last felt this way in August 1966, when I was taking prelim exams in economics at the University of Chicago. The purpose of the exams was to
    • This pleasant introduction reminds me of some of the things I’ve been up to over the vanished years. I heard recently someone say that nostalgia is a wonderful thing, but what good is it if you can’t remember anything? We have very happy memories, and some of them relate to these folks sitting behind me for whom I have the highest and most sincere regard. These kind words also reaffirm the feeling that I had when I gave an answer to a bubbly young woman who detached herself from a handsome boyfriend at the entrance of the Salt Lake Temple and walked over to shake my hand. “Didn’t you used t
    • 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
    • Just before the children of Israel crossed into the promised land, Moses, their leader, gave them a great final lecture. Their leader for forty years, Moses delivered this sermon about the essential knowledge of life, knowing full well he would not accompany his people into their new homeland. What would he have said this last time? Moses told his people the most important things to know if they were to live happily and return to their Heavenly Father. Near the end of his message he laid out their choices very clearly. He said these significant words: I call heaven and earth to record
    • In the thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy we read, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life” (19). With these words Moses challenged the children of Israel to renew their covenant with the Lord. We may have heard the same words earnestly addressed to us by parents, teachers, and church leaders. We know what they mean. Or do we? Perhaps we could gain by pondering them together one more time. Gifts from God When Moses stood before all Israel and said, “Therefore choose life,” he was only repeating what had first been heard by Adam: “Thou
    • It was exactly thirty-nine years ago, about this time of the month, that I gave my best girl my South African diamond. We are delighted to be here today on this special Valentine’s Day, and also at a time when we recognize our national leaders. I’m happy I brought my valentine with me. She will always be one of my very special heroes. She personifies as much as anyone some of the important principles I hope to articulate today. Our Character It is the ultimate design and purpose of our Divine Creator that we develop a Christlike character. A noble character is the product of
    • I appreciate this opportunity to participate in BYU’s annual symposium on the Book of Mormon. This year you are focusing on the second book of Nephi. That book provides some of our most important doctrinal insights on the significance of free agency in the gospel plan. I have therefore chosen to speak about free agency and freedom. The scriptural terms are agency and free. When we refer to agency, we usually combine the two words and say free agency. But we sometimes use this term to refer to freedom as well as agency. And the scriptural term free sometimes means
    • Lately I have been reading some of the discourses of the prophets and the Church presidents and I have found some interesting thoughts, which, in my opinion, are applicable at the present time. In October conference of 1867 George A. Smith said: It is very desirable that all of our brethren who are not acquainted with the English language should learn it. We do not wish to blot out the original languages that they may have spoken, but we want them all—men and women, old and young—to learn the English language so perfectly that they will be able to thoroughly understand for themselves
    • Agency in Mortality Last week a young man came into my office with a serious problem. He had been given a gift that was most precious and had misused it, as did the Prodigal Son. You and I have been given that same gift. Whether we succeed or fail in life will depend upon how we use it. That precious gift which the Lord has given us is agency—the right to choose for oneself. Since the beginning of time, wars have raged over this issue. Agency is the most vital political issue in the world today. The Lord said to Enoch, “In the Garden of Eden, gave I man his agency” (Moses 7
    • 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
    • I have one advantage over President Oaks and his father. The time at which I served as a corporal in the 145th Field Artillery was just before Noah’s ark. They have claim to a more modern period. Those occasions on which I come to the Y always serve to put me in a position where my heart beats a little longer and a little faster. And I am in trouble—if I put this manuscript on the podium I cannot see it, and if I hold it up I cannot see you. I’ll hold it up. [laughter] Your youth, your hopes, your fears, your anticipations, your buoyancy, and, yes, your despairs seem to be so much a part of
    • It is a privilege for me, President Oaks, to be here. It is good to come back home again with friends and family and associates and co leagues. My mind goes back to the fact that I was scheduled to teach a class in this room when this building was built, and I remember the first time that I was in the room, before some of the seats were in, I had the responsibility of teaching a Book of Mormon course. I deem it a privilege, my brothers and sisters, to be asked to be here as your devotional speaker today. I consider it a great privilege to be associated with this University in any way whatso
    • I’ve been many places with my wife when, as we have met members of the Church, stake presidencies, high councils, and the like, they’ve said to me: “We’re surely glad to meet you, Brother McConkie, and we’re most pleased to have Sister Smith with us.” I’ve assured her that that was all right with me, as long as they didn’t call me Brother Smith. And now that’s happened.* I’ve sought the Lord diligently, as is my custom, to be guided and directed this morning in what ought to be said—sought him both for myself and for you, so that I might speak and you might hear by the power of the Holy Spi
  • America (32)

  • Angels (2)

    • The title of my presentation is “Angels, Chariots,
 and the Lord of Hosts.”1 Please know that I have, through various means, sought for the
 Spirit of the Lord. Please know also that the Lord’s angels exist and are empowered by Jesus Christ
 through His infinite Atonement. The Ministry of Angels Since the days of Adam and Eve
 angels have had significant responsibilities in the Lord’s great plan of happiness. Angels figure
 prominently in ancient and modern scripture. Angels have ministered to or communicated with such
 notables as Adam, Hagar (see Genesis 16:7–11)
    • My brothers and sisters, I am honored to have been invited to speak to you today. The topic that I have been assigned to speak on may seem a little strange to some of you for a setting like Campus Education Week, but I hope and pray that it will be both interesting and inspiring. The subject is death. Someone once said that life is a terminal illness; no one gets out of it alive. Death is both fascinating and somewhat frightening—­frightening in that there is normal apprehension about it. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the Lord in his wisdom had implanted the fear of death in every p
  • Articles of Faith (2)

  • Arts (8)

    • Today I want to explore the topic of creativity and the spiritual connection it can help us have with our Heavenly Father. While creativity is an attribute we often associate with the arts, it is an important tool for finding our inner artist in every discipline at the university. The scriptures teach us that Heavenly Father is a profoundly creative Being, and He has made us to be that way too. Creativity helps us bring light to the world and our relationships and to find deep and satisfying joy. At general conference in 2008 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf encouraged us to be creative:
    • I am very grateful for the privilege to be with you today. It is a great opportunity to speak to a very special and unique group of people like you. It is truly a blessing to study at this university, a place that allows each of you to live according to your beliefs. Not all students in the world have this opportunity. When I was your age, I studied at a respected university in São Paulo, Brazil—in the city in which I was born and raised. It was a good institution of higher education, but it didn’t have an environment as healthy as what you have here. It didn’t have the wonderful support
    • How fortunate we are to sing “Our Savior’s Love” this morning. Two former members of the faculty, Crawford Gates and Edward Hart, collaborated in its creation. And how wonderful it is to be taught and edified by this superb Men’s Choir. To be reminded of the love and mission of Jesus Christ so vividly through music is truly a blessing. The music performed as we entered this facility quietly prepared our minds and hearts to receive this blessing. I am grateful for music and for all of the arts, for they give meaning and richness to life. A Unique Institution We are privileged
    • Today’s devotional will be a little unusual. I was raised in a family of artists. My father and grandfather both chose sculpture as their profession. My grandfather was well known for his demonstration lectures at firesides and devotionals, during which he modeled a statue in clay while speaking. My father and I have carried on that tradition. At the encouragement of several friends, I have decided to abandon the traditional podium lecture and work on a piece of sculpture while speaking in today’s devotional. I am grateful to the people of KBYU for their willingness to project a live image on