January 12, 2010
Thank you, Brent, for that
introduction. We just need to lower me into the ground now, and pull the grass
over the top, and we’d be done.
Thank you, students, for being
here. It’s always a big question if anybody’s going to show up when you’re the
president of the College and it is your turn to speak. So I appreciate your
faith and your confidence, and I pray for your continued faith and your continued
I want to say something about music in the Church for a
just a moment. Isn’t it powerful? Isn’t it wonderful how easily the Spirit is
invoked and brought into a meeting when there is good music? Now, I’ve heard
this choir before, and it’s magnified in the moment, isn’t it? It’s wonderful.
And when a group of good young people get together and they’re magnified by the
Spirit, and they’re singing something as holy and as worthwhile as Lord, I Would Follow Thee, there’s only
one thing that can happen, and you know what that is. The Spirit shows up, it
has magnified them and blessed us. So it doesn’t matter how good of a singer
you are, you should join that choir. Brother Buckley will tell you how to do
it—because it will bless your life, because it’s part of being—what I want to
talk about—part of being on the Lord’s errand.
I appreciate what Brad had to say
today about a peace offering. That’s an interesting idea. I know you could be
doing other things with your time. But
you chose to be here, and that says something to your Father in Heaven. He will reward you with a portion of his
spirit because you are here. You see,
I’m not going to say anything very profound, but I know the Spirit will say
something profound to you today, and that’s what you should write down. That’s
what you should record.
So you chose to be here, we have
prayed and invited the Spirit, we’ve had music to invite the Spirit, you have
been invited to record what the Spirit says to you. My job is basically done.
All I need to do is open my mouth and prayerfully hope that something comes out
that will be the door that opens your mind and heart to what the Spirit wants
you to know, feel, and do. Now let’s recognize your responsibility in these few
moments together. Second Nephi 33:1 indicates that the Spirit brings the
message of what is spoken or read in the scripture “unto” your heart. As Elder
Bednar taught us, that does not mean into
your heart. You have to receive it and record it. Moroni 10:3-5 reinforces the difference between
reading and receiving. The 50th section of the Doctrine and
Covenants reinforces that idea with the promise that both the speaker and
listener are edified and rejoice together (D&C 50:22).. And so you have to
open your heart and let the Spirit-tailored message for you come in.
A Temple of Learning
Well, two thoughts come to mind
today. Can I reinforce just a little bit what Brad had to say today about a
temple of learning? That’s not just an artful phrase for us. We’re very serious about it. And you say, “Why?” Well,
number one, in this very room an apostle said we were a temple of learning. And
I have faith—it doesn’t take much for me. If one of the Brethren, in their
official capacity say it, I’m going to believe it. And if I don’t understand
it, I will figure it out. That is my
duty and opportunity..
So when he said it, we sat back
and asked ourselves some questions.. Is a temple dedicated by a prophet? Yes.
Was this school dedicated by a prophet? Yes. Is a temple a place where you can
discover what Heavenly Father has in store for you in your life? Yes. Can you
do the same thing at LDS
Yes. Is the temple a light and beacon to the world? Yes. Is this College?
Yes. It is a beacon and light because of
you, who you are and the way you choose to live. You are peculiar, just as
Joseph Smith said we are. Is the temple a refuge from the storm? Yes. Is this
College? I promise, it can be. Is there a standard of worthiness to enter the
temple? Yes. Is there a standard of worthiness to be here? Yes. Is the Spirit
there? Yes. Is the Spirit here? Yes, if you allow it into your life.
Elder David B. Haight stated that
in a temple we are endowed with a “power which enables us to use our gifts and
capabilities with greater intelligence and increased effectiveness in order to
bring to pass our Heavenly Father’s purpose in our own lives and the lives of
those we love.” (Ensign, May 1992)
The Spirit is also here, and you
can leave here on any given day or class and say, “I felt it,” or “Hmm. Not
today.” But it is here. So we are committed to creating an environment that
protects the Spirit. Why? Because the spirit is very sensitive to the
environment. It doesn’t take much for Him to stand to the side and wait until
we and the environment are ready. So I
love you, though I don’t know you, because you are vessels of the Spirit. I’m
committed to creating an environment here where the Spirit is invoked and
evoked easily in your life. And all we ask you in return is to live worthy of
it. I plead with you to live worthy of it.
This is such an important time and
period in your life, and to be without the Spirit is walking too close to the
edge of a mountain road that has no guardrail. The Spirit’s influence is too
important in your life.
A Community of Saints
Now, let me say something about
that as it relates to our relationship with each other on campus. We are a
community of Saints. Therefore, we watch out for one another. There is an
interesting attitude in your generation that, in my opinion, is destructive to
a community of Saints and the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood that
prevails here. And that is, “I have a brother or a sister in the gospel, in
this community of Saints, with whom I affiliate. And they are doing something
that deprives them of the Spirit, and I will just let it be. It doesn’t hurt
me.” For some reason, in your
generation, “narking” on someone is about the most unethical thing you can do.
Often it’s “I don’t want to get them in trouble.” I guarantee you, they’re
already in trouble. The question is, are you Christian enough to help them get
out of trouble.
And so, in love, in a community of
Saints, we help each other live a life so that the Spirit can accompany us.
Now why do you want the Spirit in this place? I will tell you why. You’re
bright, and you’re smart, and you have been given the gift of intelligence, but
you’re not bright or smart enough to learn on your own what you need to learn,
to know what you need to know, to do what you need to do to become what Heaven
wants you to be. You can’t do it on your own. Heavenly Father didn’t intend it
to work that way. That’s why every one of you but maybe a few, in this room,
was given the gift of the Holy Ghost, because He knew you would need it. You’re
growing up in a world that is changing so fast that you need the Spirit to help
you learn what you need to learn, and you need the Spirit to help you discern
between what is good, better, and best in your life.
I plead with you to be true to the
covenants made at baptism, and in the temple, if that’s applicable, that you
may learn, as President Henry B. Eyring said, at speeds that will just amaze
the world. That is an apostolic promise associated with your ability and
capability to learn.
On the Lord’s Errand
Let me change subjects now. I want
to talk about being on the Lord’s errand. It follows from the idea that the
College is a temple of learning, learning how to learn with the Spirit, and
having the Spirit in your life to teach you what is important and to keep you
safe. I will be very sensitive here, but let’s just say this: that with the
Spirit in your life and the covenants and blessings of the temple, you have the
foundation to be on the errand of the Lord. Those who have been through the
temple hopefully understand the fullness of that statement.
Finding Your Errand
Now, what’s an errand? What does
it mean to be on the Lord’s errand? An errand is something that the Lord needs
to have done. It always involves doing something for someone else. Brethren who
hold the priesthood, can you think of one act of using the priesthood that you
do for yourself? You can’t. The errand is often in answer to someone else’s
prayer or need. It may or may not require the use of the priesthood. It always
requires faith. It will usually be inconvenient.
Think about that, in your ward
this semester, when new callings are being extended. You may say, “Oh, I’m too
busy. I can’t do my home teaching; it’s inconvenient.” It’s supposed to be
inconvenient. Do you know why? Because service in the kingdom has the great
ability to center us back onto the strait and narrow. Life will divert us. What
could you possibly be too busy to do, brethren, than to go home teaching and to
be perhaps the only priesthood influence in the home or apartment of three or
four young women?
Sisters, it’s the same way. Service
in the kingdom is always inconvenient. It’s supposed to be, because it will
And finally, an errand is
something that will develop Christlike attributes. So a question: how do you
find your errand? Let me give you a couple of suggestions. Number one, you will
find part of your errand here. You may discover what it is the Lord would have
you do on the first leg of building a career or acquiring a skill. You’ll also
find the Lord’s errand in very subtle, very easy, quick ways. It could be a
conversation in an elevator that uplifts someone. It could be your arm around
someone. It could be just a smile and a hello. But you will find it here if you
look for it, are open to it, and take action when you see the opportunity.
You will find it in the
scriptures. You will find your errand in a patriarchal blessing, along with at
least one spiritual gift to accomplish that errand. You will find it in
personal revelation, if you ask and if you act and move your feet forward.
So you say to yourself, “Well, why
me? Why do I have to have an errand?” Brethren of the Melchizedek Priesthood,
raise your hands. You own an errand! You were foreordained to have that errand
before you came to this earth. How many of you, in your patriarchal blessing,
are Ephraimites? You own the blessings and obligations of Ephraim. For those
who are not of Ephraim, you’re part of the Abrahamic covenant, and the errand
of gathering is part of that Abrahamic covenant, so you own it too. So don’t be a zebra that tries to complain about
its own stripes. You own the errand. Embrace it.
Qualifying for Your
Now, how do you qualify for an
errand? The first principle of qualifying for your errand is obedience. What is
the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ. What is the first law of Heaven? Obedience. So, if obedience is the first law of heaven,
tell me how you get more faith? You must be more obedient. If you want faith in
the principle of tithing, pay it. If you want faith in the principle of the
Word of Wisdom, live it. If you want faith in the power of the temple, go
there! Do baptisms for the dead. Do ordinance work. Or, if you can’t do those,
just go touch the temple. President Monson says that’s okay—just go touch it.
Be near it.
We are told in scripture that
faith is a gift. It is a gift that comes from obedience. So how do you qualify
for an errand? First, be obedient and then move forward in faith.
Now, let’s draw a connection
between obedience and moral agency. True or false: we have “free” agency?
False. You can’t find the words “free agency” it in the scriptures. It’s not
there. You’ll find moral agency. Moral agency has two components. One is the
right to choose what is right. Think about it, you did not battle Satan with
your testimony of the Atonement in the pre-mortal life to then come down here
and choose wrong. You came down here to exercise your moral agency and your
valiancy to choose what is right. That is important to understand. Moral agency also has consequences that come
with it. We cannot divorce the use of agency from consequences. You connect the
consequences in your life and you have a destiny. Obedience and faith to move forward, reaps the consequences
that combine to produce your life and
If you need a course correction to
put yourself on the errand the Lord wants for you, then use your agency to be obedient, exercise
faith, and you will reap the consequences. It makes sense. Sterling W. Sill called it the “As If”
principle. If you want a character trait act as if you already had it. Proverbs 23:7 states, “As a man thinketh so
is he” The English philosopher, James Allen, wrote a book with this same title.
So, first—qualify for your errand
through obedience and faith.
Second: education. Leadership is the key to church growth,
and the key to leadership is education.
Such was a conclusion drawn by those within the Church Education System
who sought to define the role and purpose of the Church’s significant efforts
to provide educational opportunities.
Sam Allred said this: “One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to ask
too little of ourselves. It’s important to learn that we can do hard things.” I
repeat: It’s important to learn that we can do hard things.
I invite you, when you are here in
this community of Saints where the Spirit is and we love you, to try something
hard. The Lord will bless you for it. If you’re going to try something and
fail, what safer place is there to fail than right here? We will pick you up,
dust you off, pat you on the head, build a scaffold around you, and help you
The third idea for qualifying to
be on the Lord’s errand is spirituality. As you sanctify yourself, so says
D&C 43:16, you will be endowed with power, to give as the Lord has spoken.
Seek the Lord’s Guidance
The fourth idea is to seek the
Lord’s help. Ask for it. The Lord is
ready to give you blessings that He is prepared to give you if you will just
ask for them.
Let me tell you a story. It is entitled, “I Was Born to Be King.”
It’s the story of King Louis XV of
He had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son, the prince,
had been taken by those who had dethroned the king. They thought that, inasmuch
as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he
would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon
him—to be the king of France.
So they took him to a community
far away, and there they exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that
life could offer. They exposed him to foods, the richness of which would
quickly make him a slave to his appetites. They used vile language around him
constantly, and exposed him to lewd and lusty women. They exposed him to
dishonor, to distrust. The young prince was surrounded 24 hours a day by
everything that could drag him down and drag the soul of man as low as it could
get. And over six months while he had this treatment, not once did the young
lad buckle under the pressure.
Finally, after intensive temptation,
the captors questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things?
Why had he not partaken? All the things they had offered provided pleasure,
would satisfy one’s lusts, and were desirable to everyone else. All of them
were offered to him, and he would not partake of any of them. Why? And the boy
said, “I cannot do what you ask of me, because I was born to be king.”
Brothers and sisters, you were
born to be kings and queens in celestial worlds. Satan would love to distract
you from that destiny and from your errand that will prepare you for those
May I just bear you my testimony
in closing, that your errand is to do the work of the Lord in small, and maybe
big ways, to prepare a place for His coming – in to your personal life and His
grand Second Coming. He has blessed you
with the gifts to perform that errand. He will lead you and guide you to find
it, and bless you as you move your feet to accomplish it. I know that because
the will of God and His comforting influence is made manifest to His children
through His servants, His agents—both ordained agents, and those of us who are
part of the community of Christ.
He is God, the Eternal Father. He
lives. He loves you enough that He gave you apostles and prophets to guide you.
He loves you enough to provide access to Him daily, through personal prayer. He
will answer your prayers. He loves you
enough that His answers will be in His time, and in His way, but I promise He
will answer. Part of our errand is to be ready for when He answers.
I testify that His Only Begotten
Son came to this earth, and that He did everything to please His Father,
including treading the winepress alone, and by so doing, wrought out the
Atonement, that thereby no matter what we have done, we may reap the blessing
in the 45th section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord
says what He will say to the Father about you at the pleasing bar of God. The Savior paid the price, and He will claim
you as his own because of your obedience, faith, and the errand you have run
for Him. Read it. It is powerful and
should give you comfort and courage.
You are a chosen generation and a
royal priesthood. You’ve heard it since your days in Primary. I pray someday
you’ll really believe it, and conduct yourselves in a way that the Lord can
bless you, because He wants to. He said it in the scriptures. He said, “I
delight [in blessing you] with the greatest of all blessings.” (D&C 41:1)
And then, He says later, giving you commandments, and not a few. (See D&C
59:4) Why? To bless you for your obedience and faith. That’s all He wants.
That’s all we want to do here.
I pray the Lord will expand your
minds this semester. I pray that He will protect you as you exercise your moral
agency. You are His. He lives; He is there for you. I so testify in the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.