• The theme of this year’s BYU annual university conference comes from Doctrine and Covenants 128, which is a letter written by Joseph Smith to the Saints in September 1842. It is in the form of a rhetorical question: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause?”—the implicit answer being, “Of course!”1 The particular cause that Joseph was addressing when he wrote this inspired epistle was baptism for the dead—a great cause indeed. The cause in which we are now engaged is a different one. Or, more correctly, it is a different part of the same great cause—the greatest cause of al
  • Sister Jensen and I are pleased to be here, along with members of our family. I acknowledge my total dependence upon the Lord, and I have prayed and do pray now that during this devotional we will allow the Holy Ghost to be the true teacher that He is—about which I will say more in my message. The theme of this Campus Education Week and the title to my remarks is “That All May Be Edified,” coming from Doctrine and Covenants 88:122: Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that
  • Temple and School This year’s conference theme is drawn, as they so often are, from Doctrine and Covenants 88, the revelation that directed the Saints to build the Kirtland Temple and a school of the prophets. In 1977, then president Dallin H. Oaks described section 88 as “the first and greatest revelation of this dispensation on the subject of education.” He went on to state that this revelation, “which defined the objectives of the School of the Prophets and gave related commandments, counsel, and knowledge, is still the basic constitution of Church education. It defines B
  • We are grateful to be with you as we begin a new fall semester together. We hope that the summer has been as good for you as it has been for us. The year 2008 has been very special for our family. Since the end of April we have added four new grandchildren, who, frankly, have been the focus of our thoughts and prayers. While absolutely wonderful in the broad sense, we have had a few challenges and concerns that accompany the perilous adventure of our mortal experiences. Although I will share a little about our situation, I want to emphasize what a great blessing it has been fo
  • Brothers and sisters, colleagues and friends, it is always a pleasure to meet together in the BYU Annual University Conference. Each summer at BYU has been for me—and I hope for you as well—a season for both reflection and refreshment. Not that it is entirely free time, because it is not. Life, with its many attendant responsibilities and tasks, goes on, and we go along with it. However, it is a time when some of the pace of fall and winter semesters slackens just a little and we—figuratively, at least—gird up our loins for the expectations and excitement of another academic year. Ou
  • With you I sense the excitement and anticipation of inspiring events as we begin the 85th annual BYU Campus Education Week. I congratulate you for your decision to participate in this extraordinary activity that you may learn and develop from the experience shared here. There is nothing quite like it in scope and quality in all the world. I share with you a constant, continuing thirst to improve and grow through all of the various means of learning that the Lord has provided for us. As I travel throughout the world, it is evident that knowledge is power. Some use it to their own pers
  • The following season there arose a great persecution; the Saints were able to escape in the best manner they could. Joseph was carried away in a box nailed on an ox sled to save his life. Old father Joseph was taken out of a window in the night and sent away on horseback. These are the words of Zera Pulsipher, a third-great-grandfather of mine and probably a number of you—he had a large posterity. He continues: After most of the saints were gone to Missouri I remained in Kirtland with about four of the First Presidents of Seventies. We continued to hold our meetings in the Tem
  • Nephi said, “My soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn” (2 Nephi 25:4). He later explains that “after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men” (2 Nephi 31:3). The Lord truly does work according to plainness. Plain means pure, clear, uncomplicated, honest, simple, and without ornamentation (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, s.v. “plain”). Sometimes in the worldly scope of things plain has picked up a derogatory sense, meaning ordinary, not pretty, or old-fashioned, but it does not carry this sense in the eternal sco
  • Russell T. Osguthorpe
    I love the words to the song our choir just performed: Write [thy] blessed name, O Lord,  upon my heart There to remain so indelibly engraved  that no prosperity or adversity shall ever move me from thy love. [D. Grotenhuis and Thomas à Kempis (Dayton, Ohio: The Sacred Music Press, 1991)] When Thomas à Kempis penned those lines more than 500 years ago, he was in one sense talking about education—the kind of education that can occur at this university in a way that can occur at no other because we believe t
  • M. Gawain Wells
    In chapter 31 of Jeremiah the Lord says, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). My question for this morning is, “What can, or must, parents do to assist the Lord so that his law becomes internalized in the hearts of their children?” As some parents here can attest, it’s not that easy. I love the beautiful story in the Book of Mormon of the prophet and king Benjamin, a great example to all parents. After a lifetime of loving, teaching, and working alongside his people, Benjam
  • My respect associates of this great Brigham Young University, I am honored, challenged, and pleased to be with you on this occasion. I hope my remarks and observations will bring glad tidings into your various responsibilities and assignments as well as into your lives. As I stand before you, I remind you of what I constantly try to remind myself—that I was asked to be with you and speak on this subject because of the office I fill and not because of any superlative qualities I possess. A few weeks ago I was reading from some of the writings of our prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, and was
  • You Are All Teachers I am grateful to have been invited here tonight for many reasons. One reason is that I was able to bring my wife and my daughters. My wife Kathy loved the years I was a university professor. Wistfully, from time to time she asks, “Will we ever go back to the campus?” So every time you invite me here with her, you are moving forward my courtship. I am delighted that she could be here and that we are with you, as teachers, tonight. Now, some of you may wonder if I know that you are not all on a list of the faculty; but you all are teachers. My two sons, th
  • There is one more award we need to make. A year ago I hinted at my need for help in understanding the term provost. From several suggested definitions, the winner of the 1990 “Define That Provost” sweepstakes is Art Bassett from the College of Humanities, who says that the term obviously means “the person most like Provo.” Now, whether you like that definition depends, of course, on how you feel about Provo. We could be talking here about the happiest one in Happy Valley, or the one whose food storage room most resembles Storehouse Market. But the most unsettling implication o
  • I appreciate the music and the humility of the prayer and the courtesy of the introduction, and I am very proud of you girls and your basketball team. I have been following your progress and feel very good about what you have done and certainly congratulate you. I hope all of you this morning qualify, as I pray I do, for what the psalmist wrote when he said to a certain one that he had been “anointed with the oil of gladness.” I feel that way this morning perhaps largely because of the period of preparation that has permitted me more intensive access to the scriptures and some though
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