LDS Business College Devotional Address
June 15, 2010
As I was driving here today I
passed several golf courses. I really
enjoy golf, although I’m not as good at it in real life as I am in my dreams. It is in incredible day outside, and with
those golf courses in mind as I walked into the building I asked myself “what
are we doing here today?” Last week
President Richards challenged us to ask “Why does your Heavenly Father want you
here?” I would like to explore that this
So, why are we here? Most of you will recognize that question from
Primary. It is the middle of 3 questions
that are the basis for the Plan of Salvation.
Where did we come from?, Why are we here?, and Where are we going after
Why is a word we learn very
early in life. We seem to have a built
in desire to understand how things work and why the rules exist. Dale Carnegie made the statement that “The
deepest drive inside all people is the desire to succeed, to be great, and to
excel.” I believe that drive comes from
an inborn knowledge of our agreement in the pre-existence and our commitment to
a personal plan of salvation. The veil
might be drawn over our eyes, but our conscience knows what we agreed to do. It propels us forward knowing that eternity
and eternal rewards are waiting.
As we grow into our teens, “why”
seems to be a constant question for us.
The answers that we receive or develop to the “why” questions usually
determine our behavior and our outcome in any situation. I believe that is why the prophets have
always taught that “were there is no vision, the people perish”. Without this vision of why we are doing
something, the task usually becomes meaningless and has no direction, so any outcome
An excellent example of how
our vision affects our actions is found in Section 51. The June Ensign does a great job of expanding
on these principles. Let me share a
little of Section 51 and then the quote from the Ensign.
“And I consecrate unto them
this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them
otherwise, and command them to go hence;
And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act
upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good”
“I like to picture those
early Saints hearing the Lord’s instructions and getting right to work. They plowed fields they didn’t know they
would harvest, planted trees whose fruit they might never eat, and built a
beautiful temple they would ultimately have to leave. I picture them living busy, productive lives,
not peering endlessly into the unknown, wondering where they would go next and
when. They acted “as for years”, trusting
that their work would not be in vain.”
Our vision determines our
Another example will
reinforce this principle. To the
question “Why are we here on this earth” you would be able to give some of the
answers we learned in Primary. Certainly
we gain a body, learn from our experience, and we have to walk by faith. In this month’s Ensign Elder Bednar has a
great article about the critical important of gaining a body. Clearly, those are all true answers, but if I
stop at that, my behavior might be quite a bit different than if I have the
vision given by the Lord Himself. When
He was teaching Abraham, He shared with Abraham a vision of why we are here.
22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the
intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these
there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good,
and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers;
for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and
he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou
24 And there stood one among them that was like
unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there
is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth
whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if
they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
My answer to the question
“Why am I here” is to be obedient. I
want to show the Lord that I WILL “do all things whatsoever” He commands me to
do. Can you see how that might change my
behavior and shape the course of my life?
Now, as you can imagine, I haven’t always been obedient. I would like to think that I am still alive
because the Lord is giving me another chance.
Having a “vision” is also so
very important to answer why we are here at LDS Business College. I have learned that I really don’t need to
ask “why did you come here?” Let me give
you an example from the mission field.
As a Stake President it was very important for me to ask a prospective
missionary why he or she was going to serve a mission. I really wanted to know
and to work on the reason for going and help the best I could with the
spiritual preparation, and to see that they were going for the proper
reasons. If not, we worked on that
together until they were ready.
As you know, there were a
variety of reasons. “It’s what we are
supposed to do, my parents expect it, all of my siblings have served, my
girlfriend wants it, things are awful at home, I want to get away from my
And yes, many, if not most
were going for the right reasons.
As a new Mission President I
would ask a missionary “tell me why you came on a mission”. However, I quickly stopped asking that question
as I realized it really didn’t matter any longer. What I saw happen in those two years of a
missionary’s life deeply influenced me.
I know that those of you that have served a mission know and feel what I
am talking about.
Just like the miracle of a
mission, now that you are here at LDS Business College, it no longer matters
why you came here. What really matters
(and the real miracle) is how you are, and who you are, when you leave.
President Packer reminded us
of this at the dedication of the Conference Center in 2000. He quoted this poem to reinforce his remarks
which I slightly modified for our particular benefit:
We are all blind, until we
That in the universal plan
Nothing is worth the making
It does not make the
Why build these buildings
If [students] unbuilded go?
In vain we build the world,
The [student] also grows.
Now that you are here at this
wonderful College, it no longer matters why you came here. It’s OK that your parents wanted you here, or
that you wanted to get away from home without paying out-of-state tuition, or
that your sweetheart wanted you here, or you came to find your sweetheart, OR
even that you have always wanted to come here because of the unique educational
experience. What I would like to
challenge you on at this time is your vision of how you will leave these sacred
Who you are when you leave
here will be determined by your vision of what you are doing here.
In a video produced by the
College, Elder Nelson made these closing comments:
“The ultimate aim of true
education is the building of character.
Character becomes the substance of one’s eternal identity.”
Because this College is
unique, we want you to go away with some very practical, daily skills that will
make a difference in your character. There
are so many things you can learn here that will make a significant difference
in your life. They vary from the very
large to the seemingly insignificant.
There are a few practical
daily things that you can do that will help you to organize yourself and to
build and strengthen your character. Let
me give you a few examples of a few seeming small, yet powerful daily actions
that will make a difference.
#1 – Set a goal. Set a goal for each class AND
for your time here at the College. You
will find that this goal of a grade point average, something you want to take
from the class, a concept you want to master, etc. will guide and direction
Recently I was asked to teach
employees of a major corporation some principles of “Time Management”. In preparation for this presentation I did a
search of the Internet to find a quote, and my search returned over 1 Billion pages
on this topic. I decided to see if Time
Management was more popular than diets.
Diets only showed up with about 27 Million hits. I thought everyone in the world was looking
for a diet, but Time Management is 37 times more popular!
It is not an accident that in Chapter 8 of
Preach My Gospel, when the prophets are teaching us how to organize ourselves
they use the wording “Set goals and make plans”. They put those words in that order for a very
prophetic reason. Elder Ballard said:
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our
life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we
can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached
but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the
principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference
in the results he attains in this life.”
– ELDER M. RUSSELL BALLARD
TALK GIVEN TO SALT LAKE AREA YOUNG
OCT. 18, 1981
Your faith is strengthened as
you set goals and make plans. You cause
good things to happen. You literally cause
miracles to happen because you take small steps that set in motion eternal
principles. How is it that I can say
that you can CAUSE miracles to happen?
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven
before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it
is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. D&C 130:20-21
If a vision isn’t clear right
now, or if you want help to “master the techniques of living to reach your
goals” or “master the principles of setting a goal”, sit down with an advisor
or faculty member and talk about what you would like to accomplish. Let us help you develop a roadmap to your
#2 – Diligently attend your classes. I was told
that an internet search of the phrase “just showing up” returns over 240,000
quotes. Most of them are of the theme
that “half of life is just showing up”.
Just like Sunday School, Family Home Evening, Seminary, Institute and
other events in your life (like in your employment), there is a statistical
difference in those who diligently show up.
Street contacting, door knocking and other types of tracting on a
mission required some skill, but most of the success just came from being there
and doing it.
Most of you have been
baptized and confirmed. Many of you have
received your endowment in the Temple.
Some of you have even received the crowning ordinance of this life,
which is to be sealed for time and all eternity. What else is left? Among other places, 2 Ne 31 teaches us that
the last requirement in the Doctrine of Christ is to “endure to the end”.
As a young teenager, I was
pretty sure that I understand what enduring church meetings was all about. However, while there are many definitions of
“enduring”, the one that is now the most clear to me is found in Chapter 3 of
Preach My Gospel.
Faith in Christ; repentance; making, renewing, and keeping
covenants; and being cleansed by the Spirit become a pattern of living. Our
actions in daily life are shaped and governed by these principles. (p.66)
Enduring to the end is really
about developing patterns of righteous living.
It is forming the habits that become our eternal character. Our final judgment isn’t an accounting of
good and bad and balancing the ledgers.
It’s all about who we have become because of our pattern of living.
President Richards said this
a different way last week when he quoted the following:
“We are what we repeatedly
do. Excellence is not an act, it is a
We can only develop a
“pattern of righteous living” through the daily habits of what we do. Why we do them is part of the development of
the condition of our hearts. Showing up
and being where we are supposed to be is part of who we become.
As a young man, when my
mother would ask me to do something, I remember having several responses, among
which were a tendency to debate the relevancy of the task, passive
disobedience, and even outright rebellion (which, by the way, I have witnessed
all of these here when it comes to assignments and homework). She passed away a short while after I
graduated High School, but since I was a late bloomer, she passed away long
before the “common sense” part of my brain started to develop.
Oh, how I wish I could go
back and change so many things. One of
them would be that I would try to get accepted into the 2,000 stripling warrior
club. I would like to be able to say to
“Yea, and I did obey and
observe to perform every word of command with exactness;”
It would be a way that I
could show my mother how much I love her.
I learned that from the Savior, when he said:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
I have also since learned a little about the other
side of this diligence to be obedient equation.
One Chapter later in John, we are shown the other side when he taught:
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my
love;” John 15:10
Diligently attending your
classes is just one way you can practice the habits that develop patterns of
#3 – Turn you assignments in on time. This seems so
simple, but so important. With the
exception of the first week of class, you know weeks in advance when an
assignment is due. Part of the Learning
Model found in the 88th Section is to “Organize yourselves and
prepare every needful thing.” Chaos is,
by scientific definition, the opposite of harmony. When you are in chaos, you can’t do your best
and your certainly aren’t prepared to be taught by the Spirit. By organizing ourselves to turn in our
assignments on time, it contributes to the miracle that somehow we develop the
tendency to be organized in every other aspect of our lives.
This is an example of how you
cause success in your life through your pattern of living. When you are well organized, you have a
tendency to meet your commitments, and they are always much better than when
they are thrown together at the last moment.
In fact, the Lord has given us counsel that is hidden from our
youth. There is a scripture that is
hidden from the youth of our Church.
Asking forgiveness of President Richards, I will share a scripture that
is only understood by High Priests in the church.
retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary;
arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. D&C 88:124
When I was young, it seemed
like when I asked why I was having a hard time, the answer from my mother was
always “clean your room”. It took me
years to clearly understand how much better everything seemed to be in my life
when “figuratively” my room was clean and my life was organized.
seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118
This scripture to learn by actual studying and by
faith is followed by the scripture that talks about putting our house in
order. Not a coincidence!
As part of attending class
and turning in your assignments on time, you prepare in advance for your
classes. Learning in a classroom isn’t
nearly as effective as getting a clarification or even a verification of things
you have already learned through your own efforts. Read the material in advance of the
class. You will be amazed at how this
simple change in schedule will allow you to process material learned in the
class and how it will help your retention.
You might argue that it takes
the same amount of time and effort if you don’t prepare in advance. That is not true. Even more importantly however, as we were
counseled last week, this is part of casting your nets on the other side of the
boat. It really makes a difference!
#4 – Have faith. You are a son or daughter of
Heavenly Father. He loves you. The only begotten Son of God Himself came to
this earth and sacrificed Himself just for you.
You are important! Quoting
President Monson, “Your future is as bright as your faith”.
Sister Virginia Pearce (who
is President Hinckley’s daughter) made the comment that with very few
exceptions, most of the pioneers made it to the Salt Lake Valley simply by
making the effort to put one foot in front of the other day after day.
The textbook we use in the
Sales class states it this way:
“The successful people of the
world seem to gain the habit of doing those things that unsuccessful people
don’t like to do”.
What a powerful statement
about “enduring to the end”. We develop
a habit of righteous living. We develop
a habit of successful living. We develop
a habit of successful learning.
These simple steps, maybe
even arguably insignificant in and of themselves, when added together form a
powerful pattern and therefore, a powerful character.