• In our Church history classes, we often talk about the importance—and blessing—of openness and candor. So, in a nod to that spirit of openness, I feel compelled to admit candidly that when I first received this invitation from vice president Matthew O. Richardson’s office, I mulled it over for a day, and then I wrote an apologetic email asking if there was any way that I could be excused at this time. A couple of things factored into my sense that I just did not want to give a devotional right now. First, I have always sort of dreamed that my debut on BYUtv would be a guest cameo on
  • Graduation ceremonies have been occurring at BYU since 1877; some have been more memorable than others. The graduation exercises of 1899 were unusual in several respects, especially when compared to the ceremonies we are holding today. The venue was smaller. It was held in the Provo Stake Tabernacle. And the procession was a bit longer. It went five blocks from the Academy Building to the tabernacle. The nature of the student achievements highlighted was also different from what we see today. We have students today who have worked on neonatal ventilators, NASA solar panel arrays, and the se
  • It has been said that a good talk will always comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. As you listen this morning, you might consider which of those two applies to you. If my message accomplishes either of these two results, I will feel it has been worthwhile. I have prayed that the Holy Ghost will carry my words to your hearts and that you will then apply them in a way that will bless your lives. There is a prevalent pattern of behavior in the Book of Mormon commonly referred to as “the pride cycle.” It is repeated so frequently that one begins to sen
  • Brothers and sisters, it is nice to be with you. You are an amazing sight. Being here today reminds me of an experience I had a few years ago. Sister Cook and I were asked to speak in another university setting, and when my mother-in-law heard about it, she said, “Oh, aren’t you scared?” Actually, I was a little scared, but feeling somewhat curious, I asked her, “Why should I be scared?” She said, “Because students are so intelligent!” That was a nice compliment for the students, but it didn’t say much for what my mother-in-la
  • I am grateful to be with you today. I pray that the Holy Ghost will be with us and that you and I might be taught and edified by the Spirit. One summer many, many years ago, my mother decided it would be a great project for her children to refinish the dining room chairs. The chairs were painted a dark cherry color, and my mother had discovered that underneath that paint was good, hard maple wood. I will never forget that experience. We began by applying a nasty solvent called toluene to all the painted surfaces, and then we scraped the paint off. Once the paint was removed, w
  • I am both grateful and humbled to be with you today. It is often the case in Church assignments that the one who is called to serve is not the most qualified; rather, those with a need for growth or insight are given the task. I have been greatly blessed by my preparations—blessed in more ways than I could begin to share in the time allotted. I pray that through the influence of the Holy Ghost you may benefit from what I have learned and that we may all be edified together this morning. In my preparations I have felt guided to focus my comments on the theme “Lessons of Pride and Glor
  • Why don’t you have crosses on your buildings of worship? Why aren’t your chapels built in the shape of a cross? Why don’t you encourage your people to wear and display crosses? What is the Church’s policy toward crosses? From Matthew 16:24–25: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. We in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in response to these
  • Thank you, President Oaks, and all of you. My thanks to Dean Clark for that beautiful prayer; I pray that it will be efficacious in my behalf. According to Brother Robert Webb and a recently published Richter scale of Provo popularity, my talks on this campus rate somewhere just between the Haun’s Mill massacre and a terminal case of acne. My goal this morning is to keep trying—keep moving forward, perhaps to take my rightful place with the rich flora and fauna of colorful Ethiopia. May I say, at the outset, that much of my message is intended to be seen against the backdrop of Presi
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