• One of the hardest, and I think the most important, realities of history to convey to students or readers of books or viewers of television documentaries is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. Any great past event could have gone off in any number of different directions for any number of different reasons. We should understand that history was never on a track. It was never preor
  • I wish to speak about a unique and inspiring chapter in Church history. It took place in recent years among the beautiful people of Africa. Too often we have misconceptions about Africa and its people. Africa is referred to as the Dark Continent, and the media usually portrays Africans as primitive, starving, or at war with each other. One African official observed that the darkest thing about Afr
  • This past summer I had occasion to visit the DUP Museum in Salt Lake City. While there, I was struck by the hundreds of pioneer portraits assembled by those inveterate collectors of Utah history, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Most of the silent faces lining the walls of four floors of the museum stared sternly into space, barely a shadow of a smile softening their earnest expressions. The men ap
  • This large congregation at the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University is but a fraction of the total audience assembled in centers throughout the world tonight. I wish that I could greet each one of you, and I am very sorry that is not possible. I am also thankful that Sister Nelson and several members of our family can be here. Their steadfast support means much to me. I bring love and gr
  • As a basis for my remarks this morning, I want you to assume—contrary to what we know—that in your premortal life you were permitted to see the end from the beginning. Assume also that you were told you would be privileged to come to the earth as a member of the restored Church and that you could choose one particular period of Church history in which you would lead your active adult life. Given t
  • My beloved brethren and sisters, I was very pleased that you were kind to me as I came in late. I remember Elder Orson F. Whitney, a member of the Twelve who was traveling out to a stake conference years ago by train. He was concentrating on the scriptures as he rode, and he went right by the place where he should have gotten off for the conference. He found himself two or three miles beyond at an
  • When discussing Mark Twain’s religious attitudes, his biographers have characteristically focused on the last decades of his life, those final, frustrating years in which Twain said going to church gave him dysentery. Nevertheless, the early years—the western years as it were—are crucial to any real understanding of Twain’s attitude toward religion, revealing moments of a remarkable religious expe
  • I find that the writing of Brigham Young University Centennial History is in some respects more difficult than being its President for a period of twenty years. While President, I could, within limitations of the rulings of the Board of Trustees, make my own decisions and let others either praise or gripe about them. As historian, I have become the critic and appraiser of eight P
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