• My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear friends, Sister Uchtdorf and I are so grateful to be with you today. We bring you the love and greetings of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. You young people are the strength and future of the Church of Jesus Christ all around the earth. You are the Latter-day Saints who will be a blessing to the world. We love and admire you! One year ago, almost exactly to the day, Harriet and I spoke to all the young adults of the Church from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City regarding your adventure through mortality. We wi
  • Chad Lewis
    Shortly after accepting my job at BYU, I called Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s office to ask if he would do the voice-over for an athletics commercial during the height of Jimmermania. Because of my football career I had gotten to know Elder Holland, and I thought he would be the perfect person, with his distinctive voice, for the job. Then I had a meeting with Tom Holmoe, BYU’s athletic director, and I let him know how excited I was about the possibility of including Elder Holland in our project. I naïvely assumed that Tom would be thrilled about my phone call and invitation. I w
  • What a glorious sight you are! It’s an honor, my young friends, to be here with you. I feel the tremendous weight of the responsibility which is mine to provide you with a message which will hopefully be helpful to you not only for today but, indeed, throughout your lives. As I gaze at this vast audience, I’m reminded that each of you is one of a kind. Each has had experiences unique to you and you alone. You have come to Brigham Young University from locations across the country and the world. You come from varied backgrounds. And yet there is much that we have in common one with an
  • I am honored to represent the Brigham Young University Alumni Association at these commencement exercises. And, I have to say, you are an awesome sight! My oldest daughter, Mackenzie, is graduating today, so I am especially grateful to be here to express my appreciation for this university and the personal joy our 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
  • His reputation for concern for the one—particularly the widow or the wounded, the poor or the persecuted—is widely known. Perhaps you would also like to know, if you don’t already, that he is also very interested in and concerned about students. He continues to be most supportive of BYU and is particularly demonstrative when it comes to students. Even in these difficult times he wants you to be well housed, and shortly you will see the tangible results of his desire for more and better student housing on campus. I could say much more about our beloved prophet but will forebear for now.
  • Today as we gather for commencement, we come together with each of us wearing caps, gowns, hoods, and cords that signify different things. Someone with a trained eye can look at an individual’s commencement regalia and tell whether that person holds a PhD, a master’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree; the university that granted it; and even the person’s academic discipline. I’ve always been fascinated by the way we seem to understand and sort out our world through the symbols, colors, and cues with which we surround ourselves. We each tell a story about ourselves by what we choose to w
  • It is indeed my pleasure to welcome you, my dear friends, back to a new semester at Brigham Young University in a new year—2009. I tend to view a new year as somewhat of a fresh start in my life. It offers me the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to evaluate my life and the growth I hopefully have made as I strive to become the person I want to be in relation to the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I would surmise that most of you have done the same as you attempt to set New Year’s goals. As I went through this process and reflected upon the birth of Christ this p
  • Scott M. Ritter
    As I drove in to work today, I was reminded of how fortunate I am to teach geology at BYU, both because of the support that the department receives from the university and because of the geological diversity of the state. Nevertheless, there are certain geological features that cannot be seen in Utah. Therefore, every year or so, my colleague Tom Morris and I have taken a group of geology students to the Permian Reef complex near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The return trip takes us around the north end of the Oscura Mountains in southern New Mexico and within a few miles of the Trinity Sit
  • A wonderful painting hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Entitled Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, it was commissioned during a time when its creator—the great Dutch painter Rembrandt—was facing personal financial difficulty, made even more grating by the artistic demands coming from his patrons. Art historian Sister Wendy Beckett observed that, for Rembrandt, immersed in this period of personal and creative struggle, the painting seemed “to have sparked off some deep inner response”1 concerning creative integrity—what, and how, we choose to “create” with t
  • Several years ago one of our BYU performing groups was on tour in Riga, Latvia. As was customary, the students were assigned host families who would share their homes during the duration of our stay in that city. Two young men were assigned to a nonmember host ”mom.” Despite the cultural and language barrier that existed between them and the limited time that they would be together, one of these young men felt a strong impression to share the gospel with his new friend. Even the concept of a Heavenly Father was new to her, but, somehow, with the help of the Spirit and an English-Russ
  • My dear brothers and sisters, it is a privilege to be able to speak to you today as we begin a new semester as well as a new year. It was almost 10 months ago that I stood at this pulpit expressing to you my feelings of being humble and grateful in anticipation of the new assignment my husband had just received. The months since that March day have passed quickly, and today I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you publicly for the kindness and welcoming spirit that my husband, family, and I have received from you—the faculty, staff, administration, and, especially, th
  • Brothers and sisters, it is a privilege for me to speak to you this morning. I would like to begin my remarks by showing you two pictures. One of these has already been shown during a devotional several months ago, but it is so remarkable I hope you won’t mind if I show it again. The image is called by astronomers “the Hubble Deep Field,” and it is the deepest picture of the universe ever taken. Every swirl of light in this photograph is a galaxy containing billions of stars. Although it only covers a portion of the sky equal to a grain of sand held at arm’s length, scientists can count mor
  • I extend a greeting to all of you today. I extend my best wishes for a happy New Year. We are one week into 1997, and the remaining pages of the days ahead are empty—a stark white. The empty pages are there to be filled. It is my wish that we may do it prayerfully and with purpose and that this year will be the best ever, overflowing with happiness and success. William George Jordan, editor of the Saturday Evening Post,made a wonderful statement about each of our lives in one of his articles: Man’s [or woman’s] conscious influence, when he is on dress-parade,
  • Thank you, President Lee, for your gracious and generous introduction. It is wonderful to be with all of you this morning. These weekly devotionals are a unique thing for a great university of this kind. I hope you take advantage of them. I do not say this because I am speaking here this morning. I say it because I believe they provide you with a remarkable opportunity for inspiration and the opportunity to share the minds and hearts of General Authorities of the Church and others who have matters of importance to bring to your attention. I can assure you that it is a great ch
  • My dear brothers and sisters, I am happy to be with you today, especially as you are beginning a new summer session of study at Brigham Young University. It is pleasing to me to see so many of my dear friends—President Holland, my family, and my mission family, who have come to lend their love and spiritual strength to me on this occasion. This is a devotional assembly. It is a moment for each of us to think of heavenly things, of things that will build our spiritual strength and draw us closer to our Heavenly Father. I realize, in part, the responsibility that has been placed upon m
  • My dear brothers and sisters, I am coming to you today in a very contrite, humble spirit as I am feeling I should address you with some matters of a more delicate nature but which, in my estimation, are of basic importance. I hope that I will be capable of expressing my feelings without being misunderstood—knowing that this can easily happen as I am not expressing myself in my native language. Something of More Importance Some time ago, when I was living in the mission field, the missionaries invited me to come see a couple they had been teaching for some time. The mi
  • This opportunity to speak to you tonight reminds me, I suppose in an intimidating way, of the sixty-six-year-old golfer who would drive the ball a long, long way down the fairway. The only problem was that his eyesight wasn’t very good, and he would lose golf balls right in the middle of the fairway. He was a strong golfer and could drive the ball a long way but couldn’t see where they went. So he went to the pro and said, “Would you mind helping me? I don’t like to lose golf balls and I love the game and don’t want to stop playing. Have you got any ideas?” The pro said, “Oh, sure, w
  • Thank you very much, President Holland. I know I speak on behalf of this wonderful student body when I express appreciation to Debbie for that marvelous musical number. I thought as she was rendering it, “I wonder what I was doing in the preexistence when all that talent was handed out.” I asked my wife that once about music and me. She said, “I know. You skipped church that week.” I’m glad Debbie didn’t. Seeing all these chairs placed in front of the podium reminds me of a little story concerning the lady who came to church who had a little trouble hearing, and she wore a hearing ai
  • We are privileged tonight to have a very honored guest. I’m sure none of you will notice him unless I point him out to you. L. Tom Perry IV, my grandson, is on the floor over here. You notice his position—right underneath the basket, if the basket were there. I have great confidence in this young man. Judging by his present rate of growth, I think between 6’10” and 7′ is about where we could expect him to be. If anyone from the P.E. Department is here, if you’d like to see me, we’ll sign a letter of intent immediately following the meeting. I&#8217
  • I was so delighted with that beautiful music. Someone has suggested that music washes away the dust of everyday living. And we have surely been cleansed by your sharing of your talents with us today. Thank you very, very much. I have had a long association with your president, President Holland, and I admire, love, respect, and sustain him with all my heart. I am thrilled, with you, that he is directing this university. There is one slight question I should like to raise, however. There seems to be a problem of role identification on the part of part of your athletic program,
  • 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 underst
  • I want you students to know that when a few of the favored were being applauded earlier and I received no applause you made me feel like a social reject. You can correct that if you like. [laughter and applause] I told someone tonight that when President Tanner called yesterday and asked if I would fill in for him—please note, not take his place but fill in for him—I thought that I could best relate my feelings by telling you that I know how Marc Wilson, a BYU second-string quarterback, felt when they asked him to go in for All-American candidate Gifford Nielson. Marc, I just hope I
  • 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 understa
  • I feel honored, indeed, to have this opportunity of addressing you this evening. I enjoyed that lovely rendition by the choir and wish to congratulate them. As we came in here this evening, I said to Sister Tanner, “It’s such a beautiful day. Why would people come out to listen to me tonight?” I’d really like to have the answer. As I was invited to come down here, they asked me to come and speak to a ten-stake fireside. Before I got here, it was a twelve-stake fireside. That gives you a little idea of how the Church is growing. I told in the general priesthood meeting of my experienc
  • I appreciated very much the music of the band [BYU Symphonic Band, directed by Richard A. Ballou]. You are all awake after that. I will do what I can to restore you to your former state. I have come here today without a written talk. I had one, but I discarded it. I awoke at five this morning thinking of something else. When I get through, I suppose you will say, “He should have slept.” I am not here to preach. I do not wish to preach to you. It is easy to preach, and we do a great deal of it to young people. I would simply like to talk with you. I believe you are worth spendi
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