• I am so happy and honored to have been asked to speak to you on this day that represents so much hard work, careful teaching, and eager anticipation. I have many friends and loved ones here today, so it feels much more intimate here in the Marriott Center than it otherwise might have. Sitting and listening to this talk could be a real test of those friendships! I want to thank Dr. Brooks for those excellent insights into the poison of contempt and on how love is the great antidote. My remarks are in many ways connected. Thank you, too, for the fabulous music from the BYU Women
  • Brothers and sisters, I am grateful to be with you in this opening session of the 2017 BYU Campus Education Week. This year’s theme comes from Doctrine and Covenants 50:24, with special emphasis on these words: “And he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light.” I am going to take a different approach to this theme than might be expected by exposing and illustrating some very cunning and effective ways that the “wicked one” prevents people from progressing and receiving more light (D&C 93:39). Many gospel principles
  • Su Ge
    Dear Elder Clayton, President Worthen, ­faculty, fellow students, and friends: two months ago President Worthen kindly informed me of an invitation to receive an honorary doctorate degree in recognition of “outstanding life and contribution to society and the world.” Aware that this is the highest honor that the university confers on individuals, I replied in my email, “With full appreciation in my heart, the only uneasiness in mind is whether I have done enough to deserve this singular honor.” Then my daughter exclaimed, “What? I always thought that honorary doctorates were g
  • I always look forward to commencement and have now been doing so for quite a few years. For Sharon and me, this is a special commencement because it marks a change not only in our ongoing personal activities but also for Brigham Young University. BYU faces a very bright future with the leadership of President Kevin J Worthen. Because we are also leaving, we hope you will not be offended if we consider ourselves to be quasi-members of the class of 2014. We are sure for you graduates that your experiences have been different from our own during our shared time on this beautiful campus.
  • Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I love the changing colors of the leaves and the crispness in the air. I remember the excitement I felt in my younger years at the beginning of a new school year. Even though I am no longer attending school, I am blessed to be associated with all of you here at Brigham Young University. It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to share this exhilaration with you and express a heartfelt welcome to fall semester at this wonderful place. Hopefully your summer months were pleasant and the memories will not be forgotten during the
  • I am honored to represent the Brigham Young University Alumni Association at these commencement exercises. I am especially grateful to be here to express my appreciation for this university and the personal joy my 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 environment in which I have been able to flourish. I have been challenged academically, pushed physica
  • I admire those with musical talent. I sometimes wonder where I was when that type of talent was handed out. A best-selling book claims there is a way to excel. It claims that some of the greatest athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists, and musicians emerge after spending 10,000 hours in their chosen field as they master it. The book includes examples such as the musically talented Beatles and computer savvy Bill Gates, each of whom expended 10,000 hours of work in a specific field before achieving expertise.1 I was raised in the mission field and had never seen more than 200
  • Good morning, brothers and sisters. This is a real privilege for me to share my thoughts with you this morning. When Brother Skousen called me, I thought about any number of reasons why he would be calling. Giving a devotional talk was the furthest thing from my mind. But here I am. From the introduction you know that I was recently released as Primary president—one of the choicest positions in the Church. At this point I can guarantee you that doing sharing time in Primary is a lot less intimidating and stressful than standing before you this morning. Brother Skousen encouraged me t
  • I am grateful to be joined by my wife, Jeannie, and a number of our children and grandchildren today. In two months Jeannie and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. She has been a wonderful companion. She and my family are the source of my greatest joys. They are also the source of some of my greatest humor. A few years ago, in a joint family home evening, my daughter Julie gave a lesson, and then I started making a few concluding comments, as grandpas often do. My little grandson, Ethan, then aged three, had had enough, and he shouted out, “Just say amen, Grandpa!” Even th
  • The First Presidency has extended to me this wonderful opportunity to conduct and provide remarks at the April 2005 commencement exercises. I am honored and privileged to be with all of you this afternoon. I bring the love and best wishes of the Church Board of Education and the Brigham Young University Board of Trustees. This board consists of the First Presidency; Elders Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, and Robert D. Hales of the Twelve; myself; Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, general president of the Relief Society; and Sister Susan W. Tanner, general president of the Young Women or
  • We experienced a special day in our family on January 4, 1997. My brother organized a party honoring the 200th birthday of Gustavus Adolphus Perry. I am certain we were the only family holding a party for one born 200 years ago. Gustavus Perry was an important member of our family tree. He was baptized in 1832 and became the first of our family to embrace the gospel. The Perry family history records this remarkable event: On a beautiful farm in the state of New York, Gustavus Adolphus Perry and his good wife, Eunice Wing, with their three sons, Orrin Alonzo, Lorenzo, and Henry Eli
  • My dear brothers and sisters—my dear young friends. There are so many of you here and so many out beyond here. We have been speaking to some very large congregations recently—last Sunday in Guatemala City, 35,199 people. Earlier we were in South America and spoke to 35,000–40,000 in Santiago; 50,000 in Buenos Aires; and so on—crowded in great football stadiums. There is great faith out across the Church: wonderful, devoted people everywhere—some large congregations, some small ones, but everywhere there is tremendous faith in this, the work of the Lord. It is a wonderful thing to see
  • I know that most of you who gathered tonight from across the United States and Canada come with a determination to do what is right. You have had those feelings in your heart to live worthily no matter what others may say. I speak also to others present who want to have such feelings. You are of the finest generation that has come to earth. You have prepared yourself well in the premortal existence and have been selected to come forth in this singularly important time in the unfolding of Father in Heaven’s plan. I am deeply moved to be in your presence. I realize that the majority of you do
  • Thank you, President Snow, for that introduction. It is a thrill for me to think of you in so many settings. I have tremendous respect for you, the work you are doing, and the decisions you are making at this time in life. If I have ever visited with any of you in the past, perhaps you noticed that my name has changed. I was married in April to a wonderful man who had also lost his spouse. I am appreciative that not only did President Snow use the correct name, but he also pronounced it correctly. Has anyone ever mispronounced your name? I would guess that even though we each try to
  • Ruth E. Brasher
    Agency, the power we have to work out our salvation through choosing between good and evil, is the eternal principle that will be the focus of the time I share with you today. Agency is a divine birthright. Bruce R. McConkie encapsulated the doctrinal perspective of agency in these words: Inherent in the whole system of salvation that grows out of the fall of man; inherent in the great and eternal plan that makes of this life a preparatory and a probationary state; inherent in the very atoning sacrifice of God himself—inherent in the whole eternal plan of salvation is the eternal
  • Today I want to talk to you about the ownership of BYU. Who owns BYU, and what does this ownership mean? What are the privileges of ownership, and what are its responsibilities? If you look at it just from a dollars-and-cents standpoint, by far the largest financial interest in this university is held by the faithful tithe payers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their interests, and the interests of the Church in general, are represented by our policy-making body, the members of the board of trustees, the majority of whom we also sustain as prophets, seers, and rev
  • Like you, I rejoice at the beginning of this school year. From the time I began the first grade (Arizona didn’t have kindergarten in those days), late August and early September have always been among my favorite times of year, precisely because that is when school starts. Every year since that time, I have always felt the same way, and I feel it in even extra measure this year because for me, as for almost 5,000 of you, the fall of 1989 marks a new chapter in my own educational experience. I have been involved in this school in four different capacities over a period of thirty-six years, b
  • I would like to talk with you today about an area in your life that we sometimes address superficially but don’t discuss in-depth nor understand. I would like to talk with you about the importance of taking responsibility for everything you do. “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold,” wrote Aristotle in the fourth century B.C. (On the Heavens, book 1, chapter 5, lines 8–10). If a baseball pitcher lets go of the ball just one inch away from where it should be released, the ball will end up nine or ten feet away from where it should be by
  • Norma B. Smith
    I would like to thank the choir for their beautiful musical number “Let the Mountains Shout for Joy.” They couldn’t have chosen a song that I would have enjoyed more. You see, I collect mountains. I treasure them. I think it began by being raised at the foot of Timpanogos on the Wasatch side (that is where you can see the sleeping princess). I love that mountain and everywhere I have gone I have found a mountain to love. We lived in Salt Lake City by Twin Peaks, and in Preston, Idaho, by Little Mountain, that for no reason just sprang up in the middle of a valley. Now we look out of
  • Henry Adams once said that any succession of American presidents that could start with George Washington and lead to Ulysses S. Grant disproved forever the theory of evolution. I may well be striking it another fatal blow by inserting myself into an otherwise outstanding devotional calendar. But one of the advantages of being president of the university is that when you ask to be the speaker, they have to let you. Let me tell you why I’m intruding. I have been a little frustrated that the only real chance I get to address you is in our opening President’s Assembly the first week of t
  • My brothers and sisters, I come to you this evening with the desire that I can talk to you with plainness. Six years ago, as a new General Authority, I was asked to come to BYU and speak at a fireside in a setting similar to this one. I can remember at that time just looking at the missionaries. We have fifteen hundred here tonight who will be serving all over the world, and I want to give you my love and the love of the Brethren for the great example of you elders and sisters who will soon go out from here. About a week before that fireside six years ago I received a call from a you
  • It is a great privilege to be on the campus of this university—and more especially to be here tonight in the spirit of this fireside. I have prayed earnestly that, in organizing the things I would like to say to you tonight, I’d be guided by the Spirit to say what would be appropriate and helpful. I have earnestly sought, in organizing the things I would like to say to you tonight, I’d be guided by the Spirit to say what would be appropriate and helpful. I have earnestly sought for the power and influence of the Lord’s Spirit to help me to convey to you the message I have
  • 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
  • My brothers and sisters, I appreciate very much this great privilege of having some part with you and with the activity of this wonderful University. Not only do I always get a thrill when I come on this campus, but I get a thrill when I even think about the great numbers of you who have this wonderful privilege of coming here and spending part of your lives in studying, thinking, and enjoying the association of each other and the leadership of the wise teachers that you have here. This is a place where you can come to pray and live and enjoy the wonders that have been provided for you in t
  • This is the eighth time I have addressed the student body of Brigham Young University at the beginning of the Fall Semester. It is always a humbling experience for me. You have a right to expect a significant and useful message, and that poses a great challenge for the President of the University. In trying to meet that challenge I usually reemphasize some things I have said before. I do this because each year I face a new group; only about half of you were here last year, and less than that the year before. Part of my responsibility is, therefore, to stress the same ideals, to reaffirm the
  • 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
  • One of the most inspiring sermons I have had the privilege of hearing was delivered about the time I entered high school in one of our assemblies. Most of that sermon has been forgotten over the years; however, the central theme is vividly remembered. This sermon was delivered by a member of our stake presidency. He was the owner and operator of the local hardware store, a man who was familiar with hand tools, so it was natural for him to talk about the most common one of all—the hammer. He told a story of a French carpenter in the early 1800s who was having difficulty in his profess
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