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  • One of the most noticeable features of our ­valley is the Y on the mountain to our east. The Y’s expanse is so large and its presence so imposing that the mountain itself is named Y Mountain. The connection of the letter on the mountain to the history, purpose, and mission of the university is so deep and established that many refer to the university itself as simply “the Y”—a reference that continues to confound the alumni of Yale University. I hope that for today’s graduates, the Y on the mountain will serve as a reminder of the knowledge they have gained, the things they have done
  • When I was fifteen years old, I worked on a sod farm located close to where the Payson Utah Temple now stands. To cut the sod, we used a harvester that weighed about fourteen tons. One day I was assigned to work with my high school classmate on the back of the harvester. We were moving the harvester from one end of the field to another. I was walking alongside the slow-moving harvester, and I attempted to jump up onto the platform to sit next to my friend. I misjudged my jump and landed only partway on the platform. I lost my balance and fell in front of the double set of dual wheels
  • David F. Evans
    Thank you for the kind introduction. My wife, Mary, and I are very grateful to be here today with you and with many of our family. During this past general conference I had the opportunity to say the prayer at the beginning of the final session on Sunday afternoon. Let me tell you what happened while I said the prayer. As I was praying, I meant to say, “I pray that our faith may be strengthened.” Instead, I prayed that “our strength may be faithened.” I quickly corrected myself; however, I soon found that once something is said in a digital format, one can never take it back.
  • I am honored to represent the Brigham Young University Alumni Association at these commencement exercises and hope the opportunity you have had to attend BYU fills your heart with gratitude. This university embodies sacred strength as part of the Lord’s work. Petr Ruda, a native of the Czech Republic who graduated last December with a degree in nursing, said: BYU makes me happy; it connects me to Heavenly Father—even by just walking on campus. This place significantly changed me, and I’m grateful to those who made it possible for me to come. [In “Nurse, Immigrant from Czech Re
  • I am honored to represent the Brigham Young University Alumni Association at these commencement exercises and hope the opportunity you have had to attend BYU fills your heart with gratitude. This university embodies sacred strength as part of the Lord’s work. Petr Ruda, a native of the Czech Republic who earned his nursing degree in December—and who is with us today—said: BYU makes me happy; it connects me to Heavenly Father—even by just walking on campus. This place significantly changed me, and I’m grateful to those who made it possible for me to come. [In “Nurse, Immigrant
  • 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
  • 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 Can
  • Brothers and sisters, good morning! Several years ago a young returned missionary came to see me. I had been his bishop several years before and had helped him to work through some problems from his youth and to prepare to serve a mission. By the time he began his mission, he was ablaze with the fire of the gospel and served enthusiastically and honorably. It was now a year or two after he had returned home, and he told me that his excitement about the gospel and the Church had been growing dim. He also told me of a strained relationship with his parents and of his general discouragement an
  • Robert K. Conlee
    I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today. It is obviously with some fear and trepidation that I accepted this assignment. I thought that to break the ice I might tell a lawyer joke, but it seems a little risky given the present leadership of the university. I am encouraged, however, by the recent example of President Gordon B. Hinckley. The other day at the dedication of the Howard W. Hunter Law Library, President Rex Lee was conducting and remarked that as a lawyer in the presence of so many of his law colleagues, he shouldn’t tell any lawyer jokes on such an auspicious occa
  • 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 Fires
  • When my daughter Stephanie was five years old, I took her to register for kindergarten. When we arrived, she was invited to go into a classroom to “play games” with the teachers and other children. As a former elementary school teacher, I was certain the “games” were a method of testing for placement purposes. A teacher was sitting just outside the room with a box of crayons and several sheets of blank paper, and I smiled confidently to myself from across the hall as Stephanie was asked to choose her favorite color and write her name. “She could write all the names in our fami
  • Patricia T. Holland Just before commencement exercises last spring, my husband received a letter from a student which read something like this: Dear President Holland: I am completing my undergraduate experience at BYU this month and will be graduating in our upcoming commencement service. My parents are relieved, my professors are surprised, and I am holding my breath. Things could go wrong, you know, even at this late date. And that brings my one grievance with you. It is this late date business. My dates have been so late that most of
  • President and Sister Holland, brothers and sisters all, even more fervently than you, I wish President Kimball were here today to be appropriately honored as was planned. However, what was postponed, as President Holland indicated, can now be anticipated, and I join with you in prayerful anticipation. Growth of the Church Since President Kimball is not here today and since we are out of the immediate range of his modesty, it is perhaps appropriate to share several statistical indicators about the Church growth in this vibrant era. Thus far in President Kimball’s
  • I’m glad to be welcome. Facing a group like this, I wouldn’t want to be unwelcome. This is a marvelous sight, to see all of you here and feel your heartbeat. I like to think it’s yours—perhaps it is mine that’s beating so rapidly. As I consider the position you are in as you start another school year, I have a lot of empathy for you—from both sides of the fence, so to speak. I spent thirteen years, as you have already heard, trying to get out of school and then found myself back in school right here at this institution, for which I am grateful. Brigham Young U
  • I would like to be quite personal this morning—personal about you and personal about myself. I have thought about you a great deal over the past few weeks and have prayed to know what might be helpful to you. In doing so I have been drawn back to my own days as a student and some of the challenges I faced then. While such experiences now border on primitive history, fit only for a geology lecture, I’m nevertheless going ahead. I have wondered if some of your experiences and feelings might even now be very much the same. I come this morning knowing the semester is nearly over and that
  • What a wonderful sight to see so many young Latter-day Saints assembled in one place. I can’t help but contrast this with the days when I was about your age growing up in the South and in California when Latter-day Saints were not so numerous. I grew up in a stake where there were few girls my age. I had a bishop who was interested in youth, and quite frequently he’d stand at the pulpit and say, “Now you young people [all five of us], when you grow up I want you to marry in the Church and in the temple.” And I would look around and ask, “Who?” You are fortunate in that you don’t have to loo
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