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  • 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
  • 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
  • There are many iconic symbols here on campus that help graduates remember—hopefully with fondness—their time at BYU. For many it is the Y on the mountain. For some it is the cougar statue at the LaVell Edwards Stadium. For others it is a particular building. Who knows, with enough time and perspective, even the Testing Center may bring warm memories. Maybe not. For many, the symbol they will remember the most is the sign at the southwest entrance to campus: Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve. This seven-word injunction has been the topic of numerous campus devotionals,1
  • Years ago my husband bought me a cute little plaque that says, “If it weren’t for the last minute, I would never get anything done.” I am sure we can all relate. In our hurried and rushed lives, we often focus too much on the things that have deadlines, and we fail to make time for the things that matter most. We forget who we really are, and we lose sight of the eternal. We fail to take the time to pray, to ponder, to seek personal revelation, to follow the promptings of the Spirit, to recognize God’s hand in our lives, and to feel His love. With eyes cast down and focused on the ta
  • 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
  • Wade J. Hollingshaus
    Roughly one decade after the end of World War II, Samuel Beckett completed his second play, Endgame. The title refers to the final portion of a chess match—the outcome pretty much decided but the pieces still needing to be moved. At one point, just over halfway through Endgame’s action—if one can call it that—the character Hamm, frustrated with the unassailability of his reality, utters, “You’re on earth, there’s no cure for that!” (Samuel Beckett, Endgame: A Play in One Act [New York: Grove Press, 1958], 53, 68). In the decades since I first came across this lin
  • This is my first opportunity to address you in a devotional as president of the university. Let me begin by telling you, “You look really good.” That is different from being good-looking, though you are that as well. I hope that each of you has some inkling of the spirit you carry with you and the light that radiates from you. It is evident to visitors to the campus—who sometimes struggle to come up with words to describe what they see and feel in your presence. I thank each of you for your individual contribution to what is the real Spirit of the Y that those who come on campus experience
  • Douglas F. Prawitt
    A couple of months ago when I was asked to speak at today’s devotional, I was instructed to visit the university photographer’s office to have a picture taken for use in publicizing this event. During the course of the picture taking, one of the student employees asked me what I teach here at the university. I answered, “I’m an accounting professor.” After a short pause she said, “Oh, so it’s going to be a boring devotional!” I promised her I wouldn’t talk about accounting and that I would do my best not to be boring, and she promised that she would be here—so, I won’t
  • President Samuelson; trustees, faculty, and staff of Brigham Young University; honored guests; parents; family members; and graduates: My dear brothers and sisters, Sister Christofferson and I offer our congratulations, respect, and love to all of you. We thank you for the privilege of being with you on this grand occasion and rejoice with you in the achievements that we honor today. We are pleased to have been authorized to convey to you the greetings of President Thomas S. Monson, his counselors in the First Presidency, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We extend those
  • 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.
  • Several years ago I was attending the baptismal service for my daughter Mary. As many of you may know, there are generally a few talks on the topic of baptism that are given at this service. On this particular day, the man assigned to give the talk decided to teach a short lesson to the baptismal candidates rather than give a traditional talk. So he had each eight-year-old child move to the front of the chapel and sit on the front bench as he gave the lesson. He started the lesson by asking the following question to the children: “After you’re baptized, who is it that is there to guide you
  • Before I begin the formal part of my talk, I wish to express appreciation to Sister Bateman for the wise counsel given today and for the extraordinary companion she has been to me through four decades. While I have tried to fulfill my dreams, many of which pertained to a temporal setting, she has focused solely on matters of eternal consequence. Her time and energy have been given to supporting a husband, raising children, befriending neighbors, visiting those with special needs, and creating a wonderful, peaceful home. She is a quiet, self-effacing woman—one who does not seek the limelight
  • 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
  • Brothers and sisters, friends: welcome to the Brigham Young University 1999 fall semester. It is good to be here today. It is awe inspiring to look out over this vast congregation. We are all in the right place at the right time. How very blessed we are to be at this great university to increase our knowledge of truth, both secular and spiritual. The quest for learning is a ceaseless quest for truth. Ultimately, any person who seeks after truth will be led to the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it contains all truth. Gospel principles bless all who seek to understand God’s ways and His p
  • Sally Barlow
    A foundation of self-knowledge about our divine identity is critical to us. And it appears to be critical to God, since he wants us back: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). God spends a great deal of time talking about our divine identity through his prophets in the scriptures. In fact, he communicates his love of our individual differences in a number of ways. Witness the canon of scripture in the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They tell essentially the same story of the divinity of Jesus Christ. B
  • I am honored to be asked to speak at the devotional assembly this morning. Because the weekly devotionals at Brigham Young University have been such a significant part of my life, I have taken this invitation very seriously. My topic is “What We Believe.” Sooner or later you and I will be approached by men and women not of our faith—persons either sincerely interested in what we believe or else opposed to much of what we stand for. This is particularly true as the Church grows and as our influence spreads throughout the world. Perhaps it would be worthwhile for us to entertain a few
  • I give my sincere appreciation to President Lee and to those who have planned these important days for you and for this opportunity to be with you, brothers and sisters. My appreciation goes to Michael Ballam for the beautiful music and, just as important, for the quality of his and his wife’s personal discipleship. The title of my address, “The Inexhaustible Gospel,” is intended to convey the vastness and preciousness of that enormous body of knowledge we call the gospel and—if I am at all successful—some of my ever-growing excitement over it. Before using terms like truth
  • I want to visit with you this evening on a level that is both mutually understandable and mutually profitable. In order for that to happen I ask for your faith and prayers on behalf of all of us, that what is said and what is heard will be influenced and touched by the Spirit of God. I appreciate that. (It’s good to pray for one another; it helps everyone.) The subject I wish to speak on is one that I hope you will appreciate. I know I do. It is simply this: there is always hope. I have read and heard from different psychologists and teachers that we must hear something at lea
  • I welcome you to a Christian campus where discipleship and scholarship are uniquely blended. I salute your ecclesiastical and academic leaders, so many of whom are with us tonight. They will serve you exceedingly well. My brothers and sisters, as on another occasion at this pulpit, I will speak out of my own strugglings about another unglamorous but very crucial gospel objective. Then, the subject was patience, a virtue which is regarded by some as quite pedestrian but which is essential to our development and happiness. A Companion Virtue to Patience Ou
  • I do not know those for whom this message is specifically intended or to what portion of those present it directly applies. I am confident, however, that if I am supported by your faith and prayers as it is delivered so that I can give expression to the deep feelings of my heart, this message will be of significant benefit to some who need it, provided they apply consistently in their lives the principles emphasized. I do not say this with any degree of personal pride, but in humble recognition of the experience I have had in its preparation. Seldom have I struggled as long and as hard to c
  • 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
  • President Wilkinson, members of the faculty, honored guests, members of the board, graduating class, and the wonderful group of Brigham Young University student body, I am glad that President Wilkinson kept a little sense of humor in what he had to say, because I think that humor is a very essential part of rich and radiant living. I want to speak about humor for just a minute. J. Golden Kimball is reported to have said that the Lord Himself must like a joke or He wouldn’t have made some of you people. I hope none of you will take that personally. It is indeed a daring, if not
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