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Sherri Patten Palmer|July 29, 2014 The title of my talk is “Convenient Service.” You may think this is an oxymoron, but during the course of this talk I hope to explain why it should not be. Jesus Christ preached: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. [Matthew 7:12; see also 3 Nephi 14:12 and Luke 6:31] Jesus also said: 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. [Matthew 16:24–25; see also Matthew 10:39] President Thomas S. Monson said: I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives. [“What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Ensign, November 2009, 85] Furthermore, we read in Revelation 2:19: I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notice how “works” is in this scripture twice—actually, I believe it is in there four times, as charity and service could also be “works.” Heavenly Father is saying here that He knows our works. So what works or service are we personally known for? Do we hesitate when confronted with the opportunity to serve? Is it convenient to serve? Or is service something we sign up for once in a while when the sign-up sheet is passed around? With my profession as a nurse and my job here at BYU, I have the opportunity to work both locally and abroad with the sick in hospitals and various communities. Much of what I see is humbling and life changing. I would like to relate an experience of service I had a few years ago. I was in a hospital in a developing country doing research for my doctoral project. In many hospitals or healthcare facilities in third-world countries, medicine is not available to the patients from the hospital itself. If the doctor feels the patient should receive a particular medicine, even if it is lifesaving, a prescription is written out to the family, and they need to take it to a pharmacy, pay for it, and then bring it back to the hospital for administration to the patient. Understandably, this is difficult for many patients, and they do not get medicines, as their family simply cannot afford them. Partly due to these situations, it is not uncommon for there to be many beggars just outside the hospital grounds with their hands outstretched for money. But once you get in the gates of the comple
Cecil O. Samuelson|Aug. 9, 2012 I am always grateful to participate in these commencement activities and once again add my commendations and congratulations to those being honored as well as to all who have supported and continue to support, encourage, and commend our graduates. I see not only many happy and proud faces but also some signs of significant relief and perhaps even a little apprehension with respect to what the future holds. For some, this special celebration is being shared in a rather brief period of time with other cardinal life events, such as an engagement, a marriage, the birth of a child, a new job, or a move to a new and distant place. For all, this is a wonderful time to both celebrate and remember. As is always the case, our graduates are diverse in age, experience, birthplace, citizenship, major, and many other ways. All, however, share the singular achievement of a Brigham Young University degree, which will help guide and define each one for the rest of mortality. Beyond that, I have no specific information to share. I have been attending commencement and graduation exercises for many years. Some are much more memorable than are others. For a number of you here today—and this includes more than the graduates honored—this occasion will have an influence on the rest of your lives. It will have nothing to do with what I or the others on the program will say. You will receive good counsel, well-deserved commendation, and encouragement. I suggest you listen carefully, because all the messages have been thoughtfully and prayerfully prepared. Nevertheless, they likely will not be the primary source of the memories you will cherish, except, perhaps, for the speakers themselves and their families. Let me illustrate what I mean, if I may, with a very personal experience that has had great influence on my family and me. I was about ten years old when I had the privilege of attending the commencement in which my father received his PhD degree. He, like many of you here, was not a traditional student in that he had not gone directly from high school to the university and progressed through undergraduate and graduate studies without interruption, except for perhaps a mission. No one in my father’s family had ever gone to college or a university before. After he graduated from high school, my dad spent a year in business college and obtained employment as a bookkeeper. Even though this was the time of the onset of the Great Depression, because of his tremendous frugality, hard work, and planning and also because of the efforts of his parents—my grandparents—he was able to serve a full-time mission when relatively few others had that opportunity. When he returned home, he was again gainfully employed but harbored a rather closely held dream of a university education. After his mission Dad met my mother, and things obviously developed as t
Monte J. Brough|Feb. 13, 1996 Today I wish to talk about significant events that occurred in the proximity of two gardens: the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane. Those events, and the spiritual and doctrinal issues that connect the two gardens, are among the most important we could discuss. I, therefore, title this presentation “Between Two Gardens.” After Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden, they began to till the fields and have dominion over the beasts of the fields. They were directed, as are we, to eat by the sweat of their labor. Among other commandments, they were directed to build an altar and to offer sacrifice unto the Lord. The account reads: And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. [Moses 5:6–7] Thus, the law of sacrifice was introduced as an important set of instructions by which Adam and Eve could come to personally understand and know the Lord Jesus Christ. The law of sacrifice was intended as a process to teach Adam and Eve about the great sacrifice of the Son of God. Now consider the events of another garden: the Garden of Gethsemane. In a prayer offered just before he entered the garden, Jesus declared that the fundamental requirement of eternal life is for each person to come to know Him after they first come to know the Father. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). The principles that connect these two important “garden” events are fundamental to our understanding of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Without this understanding, our full participation in the mission of the Church and the development of our personal testimonies are very restricted. For as Alma the prophet taught: And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. [Alma 34:14] Recently I had a meeting with two very important Jewish rabbis who are responsible for the administration of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance in Los Angeles, California. They were interested in exploring the possibility of having access to our family history software and database as part of their facility. During our visit we enjoyed a long discussion on the subject of the law of sacrifice. I asked my two rabbinical friends about the Jewish belief concerning the doctrine and practice of the law of sacrifice. Both confirmed their deep conviction that the law continues to be a requirement for every Jew. They explained their understanding of the biblical context of the law of sacrifice.
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