Business College devotional
me share with you something Elder Paul V. Johnson wrote. He actually stated it
here in 2009 at our commencement. He is our commissioner of Church education.
He is one of my bosses, so I’m going to quote him, and send him a copy of this.
Elder Johnson: “There are no better days than these days, because ‘these are
[your] days’ (Helaman 7:9). You are here on earth at this time for a reason.
You have what it takes … You have skills, knowledge, and natural talents given
you from God. [And] if you live righteously, you will have access to the
inspiration and strength you will need to triumph over [every] challenge [you
may face]. You will have the protection of a worthy life, guidance from the
Lord through the Holy Ghost … prophets, seers, and revelators, and the power of
sacred promises that are yours because you keep covenants.” (LDS Business
College commencement address,
just want to echo and reinforce the words of Elder Johnson. You can do this.
You can do everything that is being asked of you to do here. You can be what
Father in Heaven intends you to be. Your time here is very critical in the
process of your becoming. You are here to learn what you must know so that you
can do what you must do, that you may become what Father in Heaven intends you
to become. Therefore, I beg of you not to waste your time in acts that would
rob you of the Spirit. I beg of you to not be casual about the covenants that
you have made. Your time here cannot be flittered away by small and
unproductive thinking. Do not take counsel from your fears. Every fear you have
hides a vision of your eternal potential. What you do with those fears will
mold your character and will bless your life.
grew up in my professional practice as a banker. I liked banking, because there
were lots of rules. As long as you followed the rules, everything worked very
well. They gave you a book of rules. Being a banker is a no-brainer as long as
you follow the rules. So the Ten Commandments—I understand half of them,
because they start with “Thou shalt not … ” Are you with me? I married a woman
who understands the other half of the commandments and that doggone scripture
in the Doctrine and Covenants that says you should “be anxiously engaged in a
good cause, and do many things of [your] own free will” (D&C 58:27)? What’s
that about? What am I supposed to do?
wife, and others of you in this room, have a love of success. Some of us have a
fear of failure. You can be just as successful leveraging a fear of failure
than a love of success, as long as those fears do not block your vision. You
are a child of God, and you are endowed with the capacity to become as He is. How
possibly, could you be a son or daughter of a parent, and not have the capacity
to become what they are? That’s impossible. And the morning that you wake up
and you truly believe that you are His and that you have a genetic disposition
to be like Him and to reach out to Him in every fiber of your being, when the
sun rises on the day that that truth beats in every recess of your heart, in
that very moment that you decide to put the past behind you, that is the day
that you will move forward at a more rapid rate in your life.
for somebody in here, just give it up. Will you just let it go? Nothing is
built by trying to saw sawdust. Today is the day to move rapidly forward, and
to let it go. This is the day you can begin to see what you are capable of; this
is the day that you can walk into a classroom with confidence that the Lord is
on your side and that He will support your efforts to gain an education. Why?
That you may be prepared in all things, so that He can “send you again to
magnify the calling whereunto [He has] called you, and the mission with which
[He has] commissioned you.” (D&C 88:80) That is the day that you will come
to know the joy of the Lord and rejoice in the moral agency that He has granted
you to choose the right.
Frost penned this poem, about the choices that we make every day to be
different in the world. It is being different that helps us truly become a son
or daughter of our Father in Heaven. You know this poem. Here’s what he wrote:
Two roads diverged in a
And sorry I could not
And be one traveler,
long I stood
And looked down one as
far as I could
To where it bent in the
Then took the other, as
just as fair
And having perhaps the
Because it was grassy
and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the
Had worn them really
about the same,
And both that morning
In leaves no step had
Oh, I kept the first
for another day!
Yet knowing how way
leads on to way,
I doubted if I should
ever come back.
I shall be telling this
with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages
Two roads diverged in a
wood, and I—
I took the one less
And that has made all
Edward C., ed., The Poetry of Robert
Frost, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p. 105)
and sisters, you have been called to travel a road less traveled by. You’ve
been called to stand—you’ve been called to stand in holy places, to stand in
the office of your stewardship, to be a light set upon a hill. Why shun that?
Why have a desire to be like the world? That is not your calling; it is not
your nature. It is not your divine commission. It is not what you were born to
do. Now, I know much of your training, growing up in this day and age, is how
important it is to be part of a team, to go along with group norms, to sit in
nice rows and not stand out, so we don’t have to deal with you. I testify to
you that you were not born to blend in. You were not born to be part of a
crowd. Yours is to stand out and to stand up.
to the scriptures: “Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up
your loins, and take upon you [His] whole armor.” I’ll stop—all of it, not part of it; not part that
is deemed sociable or acceptable, but all of it. Carrying on: “That ye may be
able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.
therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate
of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of
peace, which [the Lord has] sent [his] angels to commit unto you;
[upon you] the shield of faith wherewith [you] shall be able to quench all the
fiery darts of the wicked;
take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of [His] Spirit, which [He] will
pour out upon you, and [His] word which [He] will reveal unto you, and be
agreed as touching all things whatsoever [you shall] ask of [Him], and be
faithful until [He] come, and ye shall be caught up, that where [He is] ye
shall be also.” (D&C 27:15-18)
a promise! My young colleagues, this whole issue about becoming is more than
just simply doing. There is a difference. When we go through the motions
because someone told us we had to, and we act without desire and without real
intent, then we waste precious molding experiences that have been particularly
tailored by a loving Father in Heaven to help you with your own personal
to the words of Elder Russell M. Nelson: “Let your experience at LDS Business
College be a step in
your eternal progression. The diploma that a graduate gets is symbolic of a
task completed. Important as that is, what they are becoming is of greater
importance. To become is more important than to do.”
let’s be very practical and very specific on three points. The first has to do
with integrity. Francis Bacon, an English lawyer and philosopher, wrote this:
“It is not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; [it is] not
what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; [it is] not what we read but
what we remember that makes us learned; and [it is] not what we profess but
what we practice that gives us integrity.”
me just take one little aspect of it, and let me be your dad for a minute, and
let me give you a little lecture, a little blessing with a warning. Each of you
in this room made a commitment to a bishop and a stake president that you would
live the Honor Code. It applies to the way you act, the way you dress, and the
way that you are groomed. Your daily, consistent obedience to the dress and
grooming standard will bring you blessings. Your casualness about that will rob
you of the portion of spiritual help you are entitled to. You impact every
person on this campus in a negative way, and you have no right to do that. You
have no claim on the sacred tithing funds of the Church from those who are
supporting you here. You have no right to bring that kind of reflection upon
this institution. I have no desire to be a policeman, handing out citations for
unshaved faces or jeans that are ripped or holey. You have your own moral
agency. You have the integrity of the commitment that you have made. And with
all of the love of a tender parent, I would suggest that if you are not willing
to “man up” to that, I would invite you to withdraw, that the Spirit of the Lord
would not be impeded here in this temple of learning.
don’t care what is fashionable or what time you woke up in the morning. I don’t
care if the right clothes are in the clothes wash or if you are having a bad
hair day. I’m inviting you to have integrity. Yield to the will of the Brethren
who have set the standards.
Benson said this: “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes your
quest, in that moment you are endowed with power.” (Quoted by Elder Donald L.
Staheli in “Obedience—Life’s Great Challenge,” Ensign, May 1998, p. 81.
do we care so much about this issue of you living with integrity? Listen
carefully to the words of President Packer and then Elder Eyring. President
Boyd K. Packer: “Spirituality, while consummately strong, reacts to very
delicate changes in the environment.” Let me do that again: “Spirituality,
while consummately strong, reacts to very delicate changes in [the]
environment. To have it present at all and to keep it in some degree of purity
requires a commitment and a watch-care… The spiritual atmosphere in which
students are to learn and what they receive, will not emerge
spontaneously! [It will] happen only if
… caused to happen and thereafter
maintained [only] with unwavering determination.” (“I Say Unto You, Be One,”
Elder Eyring: “Outsiders are wrong when they say, ‘I can’t understand your
people on your campuses. You care about how your students dress. You care about
honor codes, you care about whether your faculty are faithful to covenants that
they [have] made. What’s that got to do with education? How uneducational.’ ”
he says, “Well, they just don’t know what we know, and that is, if we conduct
ourselves in such a way that we invite the Spirit of God and we work our hearts
out, our students if they do the same will learn at a rate that the world will
just be amazed.”
and sisters, that is a promise and a statement by prophets, seers, and
revelators. I invite you—I beg you—to not let obedience to the Honor Code be an
irritant. Let it be your quest, and you will be endowed with power, and you
will learn at rates that will just amaze the world. That is a promise.
Integrity is number one.
two about becoming: Priorities. Sister Julie Beck, general president of the
Relief Society: “When our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we
need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to
be straight. Education is wonderful, but being able to feel the Lord’s power
and His Spirit upon us is the highest education we can receive. With that, we
have power and influence. Without it, we will not be able to navigate in this
life. The adversary will pick us off one by one, and we will be drawn off the
course by the many, many voices that are there distracting us. With the Lord’s
Spirit upon us, we are strong and solid, and will be able to walk with Him.”
now, President Eyring on the same topic: “Families and units of the Church of
Jesus Christ require leaders who know how to find out what God wants, know how
to do it, and are determined to get it done.”
let me add this to this issue of priorities: When we give more reverence to our
culture than to our covenants, our casualness will bring unintended
consequences to us, to our families, and to generations to come. My young
friends, when we are set in our priorities and that God and His work are first,
we can be taught from on high. We can be sanctified, and we can be endowed with
power to give as the Lord has spoken (See D&C 43:16).
comes from cleanliness, and cleanliness comes from submission. To the world
that is an incredible contradiction. I will read it again. Power comes from
cleanliness, and cleanliness comes from submission. To the world that is an
incredible contradiction. To those of us who know the Savior, it is a divine
truth. And what blessings come from setting our covenants as our highest
Scott said this: “Spirituality yields two fruits. First, inspiration to know
what to do, [and second, the power] to do it.” (“To Acquire Spiritual
Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 7.)
Elder Eyring concluded: “We may have to pray with faith to know what … to do,
and we must pray with determination to obey, but we can know what to do and be
sure that the [Lord has prepared a way for us to do it].” (“The Family, http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7912
the last point: Integrity, priorities, personal revelation. Elder Richard G.
Scott: “By careful practice, through the application of correct principles, and
by being sensitive to the feelings that come, you will gain spiritual
guidance.” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2009)
testify to you that that spiritual guidance will come as you study statistics
and English and anything else that bothers you. I beg you not to leave the Lord
out of your efforts to study spiritual things by the power of His Spirit.
conclusion, my friends: these are your days. You have been brought here by the
largesse of others and by the Spirit of our Father in Heaven and your good
decisions. We can do it, whatever we need to do here to become what Father
needs us to do, if we live with integrity, if we have our priorities in order,
and if we seek personal revelation. I invite you to join with me in my personal
quest this semester, to live at a higher level of personal consecration, that I
may be entitled to an extra blessing of the Spirit. I invite you to join me
with that, and to be serious about it, and to forget the past and move forward,
no matter what the grades were last semester. They don’t count anymore. What
counts is what happens today and tomorrow, and for the next 14 weeks.
do I wish that for you and for myself? I do not want to live below the
privileges that Father in Heaven may have for me, and that’s why I want the
same for you. I want you to reap all of the blessings Father has for you, and
feel His love in abundance. So I invite you to shave your face and cut your
hair, and sisters, watch what you wear. It does make a difference. You have
made a covenant; we will hold you to it. It’s only fair.
pray the Lord’s Spirit to be upon you. I pray that He will give you comfort. I
pray that He will give you courage. I pray that as you pray for courage,
remember that He may send you a lion. But also remember this: that all lions
that are not self-invited are eventually chained. Let me state it again. As you
pray for courage, Father in Heaven may send you a lion. But if it is a lion
that you have not invited, they are all chained.
May the Lord bless you as you try to become what
He wants you to be. I testify to you that He is real. He is your Elder Brother.
You have no comprehension of His love for you. Joseph Smith is His prophet.
Thomas S. Monson stands in the place of that prophet for these our days.
Fourteen other men who join him hold the keys to this dispensation and the
administration of it in these our days. And I leave you that in the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.