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Elaine S. Dalton|Sep. 13, 2009 It is a privilege to stand before you this evening. I want to thank everyone in the choir for that beautiful music. Thank you so much for the spirit that you brought. And thank you for the beautiful prayer. I am happy and humbled to be here, and I pray that tonight each of you will know how much the Lord loves you. I want you to know how deeply I love you. I am happy that my husband, Steve, and members of my family are also here. I love my husband. He and I attended Brigham Young University, and it is here where we made the decision to marry. I think it is interesting that I am standing before you on our wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, dear! You know, we have been married as long as it took to build the Salt Lake Temple! Or for the children of Israel to wander in the wilderness! And everything we have to show for it is sitting right here on the front row. Our children are our treasures. I love them. I love being their mother. I have watched them grow in the gospel and be tutored from pulpits of the Church. And I am grateful that they have chosen to heed the counsel of prophets, seers, and revelators. I have watched the youth of the Church grow in the gospel. I have a unique and special connection with the young women because of the years in which I have served as a member of the Young Women general presidency. We have essentially gone through the Young Women years together. We’ve earned our Young Women medallions together. We have stood every week and repeated the words of the Young Women theme together: “We are daughters. . . . We will ‘stand.’ . . . We believe . . . , we will be prepared.”1 I think of you as my young women. And I have seen many of you young men as you have received and advanced in the priesthood, honored your covenants and priesthood power, and prepared for and served missions throughout the world. I have met many of you in your mission fields. You are my heroes! You are amazing in your strength and courage and desire for righteousness. The Lord Will Help You Make Important Decisions Each one of you has embarked on a journey as a Latter-day Saint, and you are in the most critical time of life. This is the time for you to form eternal habits and make lasting decisions. You are the future of the Church and of the nations in which you live. You have been reserved “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). You will be presented with opportunities that far surpass your greatest expectations, and you will be blessed, as I was, with defining moments that will influence and affect this decade of decisions. It was here at BYU, in a devotional such as this, that it all began for me. I had been dating a young man. One night he began talking about marriage, and he was very persistent! I didn’t sleep well that night because of the things he said, and I knew I had to make a decision. I prayed that the Lord would help me know what to do, but I received no
Rex E. Lee|Aug. 24, 1992 Let me begin with a couple of personal observations. The first concerns my health. I get enough inquiries from time to time that I know many of you are interested. I appreciate that interest. As confirmed by my principal oncologist in my most recent visit last month, my health is as good right now as it has been in several years. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father and to my wife and my doctors for this favorable circumstance—and grateful to so many of you for the prayers that have been offered in my behalf. Now the other personal report concerns my effort over the past year to improve my humility. I’ve had a couple of recent experiences that have greatly contributed to that effort, and I need to report them to you. Two or three months ago I bought a bolt-end of material suitable for making suits. When I took it to a local tailor, he informed me that there was simply not enough in that bolt-end to make a suit that would fit me. Later that day, when I was in Salt Lake, I happened to drive by another tailor’s shop and decided to get a second opinion. To my astonishment, I was told: “Oh, sure. I can make you a suit from that fabric and, if you like, a second pair of pants and a vest.” I expressed my surprise and told him of my other conversation earlier in the day. He replied, “Well, you’ve just got to remember one thing. You’re not nearly as big a man in Salt Lake as you are in Provo.” Some of you may conclude that I’ve taken a slight bit of license with that first story, but I assure you that this second one occurred exactly as I tell it. At last spring’s Blue/White football game, I noticed that one of the freshman running backs was from Eagar, Arizona, a neighboring town to the one in which I grew up. After the game was over, I went down to the field, sought him out, and said, “I understand you’re from Eagar. That’s interesting, because I’m from St. John’s.” His response was, “Oh yeah, and who are you?” Over the course of a year I give a lot of talks. It would be difficult to rank most of them in importance, but one is clearly in a class by itself. I consider it the most important talk I give each year—both from the standpoint of the setting and the substance, and also the amount of agonizing that I invest in it. It is this one: the address that I give to the faculty and staff each year in August. This is my annual opportunity to share with you, my fellow toilers in the BYU vineyard, my reflections on where we are, where we are going, and what challenges and obstacles we need to overcome in order to get there. In my opinion, Brigham Young University is basically sound. Sound philosophically, educationally, financially, and in the dedicated spirit that the great majority of its people have toward the institution, toward its sponsoring Church, and toward our own particular individual responsibilities. Surely, in these areas as in all others, there is room for improvement.
Barbara W. Winder|Nov. 12, 1985 It is such an honor for me to be with you today—you who have come to this campus seeking a better life, a life of self-improvement. I’m sure there are many of you who have come with much sacrifice, which, in and of itself, is part of that better life. Life’s Most Important Decisions At this time in your life, you enjoy a wide variety of activities—sometimes too many all at once. In addition to class attendance and study time, many of you have jobs. There are important social activities and service groups, athletic and physical fitness activities—the list goes on. At the same time you have church callings and family obligations. That weekly letter-writing time comes all too often, and there is no one to help you with the washing or ironing when you’re in a bind. There are scripture study and journal writing. Most of you get very little sleep and are relatively new at juggling such varied and demanding schedules. Yet it is interesting to me that some of life’s most important decisions—Whom will I marry? What will be my life’s work? What and where shall I study? and Where will I live?—are all made between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four. That we have choices at all is a wonderful gift to us and a fundamental part of our Heavenly Father’s plan enabling us to prove ourselves. Abraham 3:25 states: “We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” And in Helaman 14, verses 30 and 31, we read: “For behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free. He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil.” Today I would like to share a story with you. Kieth Merrill, a filmmaker and Academy Award winner, tells this story about his youth. When I was a young man I lived in a small community close to the mountains. I was a lifeguard and did lots of swimming. . . . We went swimming at a place called East Canyon, a beautiful man-made reservoir. The dam is in a narrow neck of the canyon between sheer rock walls. None of us had boats, so we couldn’t water ski, but we would do what we called cliff diving. We’d climb up those rocks and dive into the reservoir. We’d always wear tennis shoes because the rocks were so sharp. . . . After we’d been there several times and pretty well knew the rocks, cliffs, and the water depth, two or three of us hard-core East Canyon divers got into the inevitable teenage contest of raw courage. One guy climbed up to where we always dove from and yelled down, “Hey! I’ll bet I dare dive higher than anybody here!” “Ah, go on!” So he climbed up to the top of the dam. The dam was about 50 feet off the water. Diving into the air he arched into the water, and like a bunch of sheep we crawled up the rocks, out onto the dam, and all of us dove off. . . .
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