• Years ago, when we were landscaping the yard of our new home, my father, who owned a hardware store, asked me if I would like some rose bushes that he had for sale at a very discounted price. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I thought that roses would look very nice next to the white rail fence that bordered our front yard. I bought more than twenty rose bushes. We live close to the base of Rock Canyon, which means that there is very little soil and a lot of rocks. Kevin took on the arduous task of digging the holes for the roses. Due to the difficulty of digg
  • It is a joy to join with Peggy in welcoming you to another school year. You are a wonderful sight, and this campus takes on new energy as you arrive here. We are grateful for that. My message today focuses on one of the most oft-repeated and yet most oft-overlooked and ignored and maybe violated commandments. By my count this commandment is repeated seventy-six times in the scriptures.1 The commandment was the first thing spoken by the angels who announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds outside Bethlehem.2 It was also the first thing spoke
  • Play Through Your Mistakes Music has always been a very important part of my life. Nearly every major memory of my childhood involves music of some kind: singing with my family on road trips to pass the time; learning barbershop music with my mom and sisters; listening to the Tijuana Brass band on the record player while decorating our Christmas tree; singing my father’s favorite song, “Love at Home” (see Hymns, 2002, no. 294), for family home evening; and admiring my mother as she played the organ in our sacrament meeting every week—something she still does at the yo
  • I would like to explain the sequence of how I was first contacted to speak at this devotional. It was on a Monday that I got a text message from a number I didn’t recognize. It had been a hectic day, and I didn’t read the text fully. Thinking it was a request to speak at an upcoming Church assignment, I texted back politely asking who the text was from. Matthew O. Richardson, BYU advancement vice president, responded that it was he who had sent the text asking me to speak at a BYU devotional. The first thought that popped into my mind was, “Are you crazy? Do you not realize th
  • Thank you for that beautiful and calming musical number. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today and for the support of family, colleagues, students, and friends who are here. I invite you to reflect on the last time you experienced the feeling of fear. Was it while wondering if you would be admitted into one of the many competitive degree programs here at Brigham Young University? Or while waiting to see if the girl you asked out wants to go out again? Or, worse yet, while wondering what to do when she does? For me, the feeling is as recent as sitting on this stand, looking
  • I am grateful to be with you on this cold December morning. I pray that the warmth of the Spirit will bless us that we might be edified during our few moments together. Today I want to talk with you about the greatest story ever told—and one of its less obvious but most important themes. You could probably recite much of this story by heart. It occupies little more than a page of scripture. It begins with the familiar duty of paying taxes. It continues with a journey that was not unusual for the time. The plot thickens when no room can be found “in the inns”;1 it culminate
  • Gregory Clark
    I am humbled by the opportunity to speak to you today, and I pray that what I have to say will be helpful to you and pleasing to the Lord. I approach this opportunity with some fear—fear that I might not get the doctrine quite right, fear that you who know me will recognize the extent to which I don’t practice what I am going to preach, and fear that because I have more questions about these matters than answers I won’t have much to say that is useful. But I’ll proceed upon faith. And that, really, is the point of my message today. I am, primarily, a teacher of writing. And for me th
  • It’s always a delight to be with you on this campus. My children and grandchildren have attended this university, and I love it very much. Thank you for your attendance today. President Holland informed me that you would probably all be sitting down, so I have decided to do the same if you will permit me. Surviving the Hard Times I know enough about your busy and hectic lives to know that you sometimes get frustrated. You might even worry a little bit from time to time. I know all about that. You’re probably somewhere between midterms and final papers, and the semeste
  • If my fourteen-year-old son’s vocabulary is any indication, it is in vogue to be “weird” or feel “weird” or act “weird.” I’d like to begin this morning telling you of a truly “weird” experience I had last year. A “Weird” Dream Some of you will remember that last November we had a concert on campus featuring Billy Joel. Now President Holland and I aren’t quite up to the Billy Joel kind of performance (we are more into the St. George Senior Citizens Chorus), so we didn’t attend. But the night after the Billy Joel concert, I had a very unusual dream—a “weird” dream, I th
  • True Crown Jewels Royal weddings and state occasions are top news items in our world. The reason for that is that people in general, of nearly every nation and culture, enjoy the show, pomp and ceremony that these occasions feature. A conspicuous aspect of many of these occasions is the use of crowns and crown jewels, of royal purple, and other finery. The use of crowns themselves is an ancient custom that seems to have four somewhat interrelated origins. Some crowns were first helmets, part of personal military gear. As the rank of the person increased, the helmet te
  • My dear young friends, I would like to share with you today some thoughts on the futility of fear. Anciently the Lord spoke to Isaac, saying, “Fear not, for I am with thee” (Genesis 26:24). The admonition to “fear not” was clear and direct and meaningful. The promise that “I am with thee” was equally plain and direct and powerful. Freedom from Fear Is Essential Down through the ages the same admonition, the same assurance, has been extended to every living soul who is willing to qualify. And yet fear is prevalent throughout the earth. It stifles initiative, sap
  • 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
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