Being Prepared for All Things
Thank you for that beautiful musical number. I love music and that’s a wonderful, wonderful message for all of us. As I was listening to that, I thought of another song that has a great message of why we fill the well within, and that is—it’s not exactly Tabernacle Choir music, it’s a Kingston Trio song. I realize that most of you don’t even recognize the singing group called The Kingston Trio from the 1960’s, although I see some down here with gray hair who may be old enough to remember. The song goes
“You’ve got to prime the pump, you must have faith and believe,
You’ve got to give of yourself, ‘til you’re worthy to receive.
Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet,
But leave the bottle full for others. --Thank you kindly, Desert Pete.” [“Desert Pete”; Billy Edd Wheeler, 1963]
As we fill the well within, as this beautiful song we just hear said, it’s not just for ourselves but for others who rely on us. And you will find, over your lives, there are many who rely on you for the great work that you can do, and there may be those that you don’t even know who are relying on you. In my patriarchal blessing, it says, “Look to the light which is above, and those who go with you will know that you seek for something higher.” I will just tell you that there are those who seek as well, and those who watch you when you may not even be aware. So thank you for that wonderful music.
I’m grateful also for your singing of that great opening hymn – which in German is known as “Sehet, Ihr Völker.” President Woodhouse and I sang that song, the first verse at least, in German, and it’s a great German hymn. President Monson was in Italy and heard the hymn and he just loved it. He went up to Germany and said, “I just heard the most wonderful hymn and I’m going to make sure it’s in the new hymn book.” And he whistled a little bit of it. President Monson will not sing a hymn like that, but he whistles it. And the Germans went ballistic. They said, “That’s our hymn.” And so it’s in the new hymn book as “Hark, All Ye Nations!” (Hymns, number 264) and it is a great, great hymn.
We are a worldwide church. I learned that when I was in Fiji just a week or so ago. I just returned Saturday morning. And I was in a meeting in Suva, Fiji on Sunday morning, and we were singing a hymn in priesthood meeting and next door I heard the Young Women singing, “Hark, All Ye Nations,” and I thought, “That is now the song that is heard ‘round the world.” Thank you for that.
I’m grateful to be with you here. You bring a lot of wonderful memories to me. President Woodhouse has shared with you our wonderful seven and a half years as a Young Single Adult Branch president, and we loved it so much that every time President Woodhouse or President Egan or President Ensign of the stake presidency asked us how long we’d been there, we’d always say, “Oh, just a little over a year,” because we wanted to be there as long as we could. And it ended up being seven and a half wonderful, wonderful years. We love the young single adults in this great kingdom. You have great potential and you have great serving power. You touch more lives than you can ever imagine. So thank you for who you are and for how you make us feel when we are in your presence.
I am also grateful for the memories I have of President Woodhouse. I wasn’t just his trainer. We all learned together, actually. We were a brand new stake presidency and we had only been in the stake for a little while, and we decided that we all needed to be trained in Scouting. So we had a stake Scouting Basic Training course, and the stake presidency was all there and all of the ward leaders were there. There happened to be one patrol that was not from the stake, and it was directed by this great big, handsome, tall man with wavy hair and a smile that just knocks your socks off. And I’ll never forget President Woodhouse being in that training, and we all learned together and it was a wonderful time.
I also think of the great time I had last time I was here as President Hinckley dedicated this lovely facility. And that was a wonderful, blessed day for all of us.
And when I think of President Hinckley, I can’t not remember my call. You know, while all calls to serve are different, there are some that are short and sweet and others that are longer and include more training. Mine was quick, powerful and life-changing. We were in Germany on a business trip and we had just finished most of the business. I talked with President Hinckley on the telephone for a few minutes, and his comment was like this, after we had spoken for a few minutes. He said, “Brother Dahlquist, in the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, the three members of the Seventy that are the Young Men’s general presidency will be released -- and you will be sustained as the Young Men general president.” That was it. How do you respond? I said, “Oh.”
Not knowing what else to say, I asked him about counselors, and he said, “The president chooses his counselors.” So that was a life-changing experience for all of us. We were instructed that, as President Woodhouse said, we keep our jobs, we serve just like all of you do in the kingdom, and like Area Seventies do, and I have a thriving law practice. But I am grateful to serve the Young Men of the kingdom.
I have 597,082 young men. And as President Woodhouse asked me on a couple of occasions, “How do you manage those?” I’ll tell you how I do. Can you imagine what it would be to have President Woodhouse as a scoutmaster, or as a deacon’s quorum advisor, or as a bishop? Well, that’s how it happens -- because young men are not saved 597,082 at a time, or even 1,000 at a time. They are saved one boy at a time. So that’s how it happens. It happens through you. Many of you either have opportunities or have had opportunities to serve in a Young Men calling, or Young Women for you sisters—and you’re the one that touch the lives of today’s youth. I am grateful for that wonderful opportunity that we have to touch the lives of these great young people all over the world.
When our daughter Kim was sixteen, she was having a particularly difficult day. She got upset at us, said we were the worst parents in the world, went downstairs, slammed the door and turned the music up to 8,000 decibels. It just shook the house. After a few minutes, I went downstairs to tell her to turn it down. When I got near her door, I heard the words to the music: “You’re not alone.” And I thought, “You know, if there’s any message that ought to be blasted into the center of the heart of every single teenager all over the world, it is that message – ‘You’re not alone!’” And so I turned around and went back upstairs. She never knew I was there. But after a while, the music came down on its own, and she came upstairs and said, “I’m sorry,” and we said, “We’re sorry.” And the Spirit came back into our home.
That’s been a lot of years since then, but I’ve never forgotten that one message, and that is you’re not alone. And you are not alone. There are over 1,200,000 young people just like you all over the world, who are trying to do the very best they can day in and day out. They’re struggling with tough decisions just like you are. The decisions that you make in the next ten years could be life-changing decisions. They will be decisions that affect not only your life, but eternity and generations to come. And that’s why I’m grateful that you’re here at LDS Business College, where you’ll work to build not only your intellect and prepare for the mortal challenges of life, but where you strengthen each other spiritually.
So today, as I begin, could I just suggest a few things? And let me start by expressing an experience I had just a week ago yesterday. I was in Tahiti, in Papeete, and I was coming back from the island of Mururoa. I took a taxi from the harbor to the hotel, and as I went, I started talking to the cab driver. I told him that I was a member of the Mormon Church. You also need to know that in Tahiti one out of every sixteen people on that island are members of the Church. As we spoke, the taxi driver said to me, “Oh, I have a lot of members of my family that are members of the Mormon Church.” I said, “Well are you a member of the Mormon Church?” He said, “No.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “Because I am already happy.” Then he continued, “I watched the members of my family, and they had difficulties and challenges in their life, and then they joined the Church, and they became—they had purpose and vision. They became happy.” He says, “I’m already happy. I don’t have any needs.” Then he said, “If I ever become unhappy or if something tragic happens in my life, maybe I will become a Mormon.”
And I thought, often we look at the Church as a fire extinguisher rather than fire insurance or fire prevention. And I thought about that. I thought about that an awfully lot. Do we wait until things are a challenge in our lives to become prepared?
President Woodhouse talked about my experience in Scouting, and one of the great messages of Scouting is “Be Prepared.” And that’s a great message for all of us, so I would like to suggest several things about being prepared that might be helpful to you.
When we were teenagers in the Boise 7th Ward, we memorized themes just like the youth do today. One year, it was from the 34th chapter of Alma, verse 32,
“For behold, [now] is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”
This scripture speaks about preparing and performing our labors -- now. Therefore, NOW is always the best time for preparation for all of us. Because we’re preparing for what happens in the future. But it’s also a time to make wise decisions now and to perform the very, very best that we can. Someone once said, “Five minutes before the dance is no time to learn the cha-cha.”
I learned the importance of proper preparation when I was in Washington, D.C. in May of 2006. I was there for a National Scouting Meeting, and President Monson and I were to attend a meeting of Latter-day Saints—about 200 of them. Because of President Monson’s schedule that day, we were a little late to the meeting. As we entered the front of the room, all rose in respect to President Monson. A sister had been playing the prelude, and we came in right behind the piano. And as we passed behind the piano, I headed to the stand and President Monson stopped behind the pianist. She looked up at him like this and says, “President, I’ll be able to do this a lot better if you’ll go sit where you’re supposed to.” As I heard this, I thought, “Boy, she’s got more courage than I do.” President Monson just smiled at her and said, “Oh, no, I’ll stand here and wait until you’re finished.” I thought, “This is going to be good!” So she hurried up and finished the prelude and vacated the piano bench. President Monson then sat down at the piano and play a small piano solo – the first he learned as a child. And then he turned to me, and, playing a small child’s duet, he looked at me and he said, “Charlie, do you know that?” And my whole life passed in front of me! I remembered the times as a teenager when I wanted to be out playing baseball, but my mother insisted that I practice the piano. And because she did and because I did, I was able to say, “Yes, President -- Top hand or bottom hand?” He said, “I’ll play the bottom hand.” So as I stood there, the two of us at the piano, I thought how would I have ever known when I was a 14-, 15-, 16-year-old boy, not liking to practice the piano—that one day because I did, it would allow me to play a piano duet with a member of the First Presidency who would later become the prophet. How grateful I am that when given the “invitation” from my mother to prepare, I did!
Now I would just tell you that that’s a small thing. Eternity doesn’t hang on the balance of whether Charles Dahlquist could play the piano like that. But we are all preparing for those things which will come – which will have eternal consequence! So may I suggest just five things that might help in your preparation. The reason I say five things is because I only have five fingers on this hand, and also because that’s about as much as we can all remember.
The first thing is, remember that you are a child of God. There is wisdom in the little Primary song we all learned.
“I am a child of God,
And He has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.” Hymn No. 301.
And in the fourth verse of that song, which only appears in the Children’s Songbook, there’s a wonderful promise to all of us:
“I am a child of God,
His promises are sure.
Celestial glory shall be mine,
If I can but endure.”
That’s a great promise from a kind Heavenly Father, and it’s scriptural. We have come here “a little lower than the angels.” We are gods and goddesses in embryo. We have been sent here by a kind Heavenly Father to gain a body, to be proved and tested. And it will all depend upon our preparations and upon the decisions that we make one day at a time. Life was not made to be easy; it was made to be a test. And I honor you for the great tests that you are making, sometimes in the face of great adversity.
I sat on the little island of Kirabati just a week or so ago, and talked with some students who had come through great adversity just to be there at Moroni High School. And I will just tell you that not only has our Heavenly Father sent us here, but He has not sent us here alone. He has given us a number of things that help us and guide us and direct us – and continually remind us who we are and the great work we have to perform. First and foremost, we have a prophet. Think what a great blessing it is; think of all the millions of people who have lived on the earth when there were not prophets and apostles. I hope that each one of you, just like I, kneel down every night and give thanks for the opportunity to live in a time when we have living prophets and apostles who can guide us and direct us and inspire us.
In this calling the Young Men General Presidency, we have the opportunity to meet with the First Presidency every six months. Recently, at the conclusion of our presentation, I said, “President Hinckley, what do you have to teach us?” He was very short of words that day, and he thought for a minute and he said, “Just say your prayers and do your work.” That was a message, not only to the Young Men general presidency but to our board and to all Young Men leaders all over the world, and to every one with whom I come in contact. That is a message that is important for all of us: Say your prayers and do your work.
Also the First Presidency has given us the For the Strength of Youth brochure. That’s not just for young people 12 to 18; it’s for you and it’s for me—all of us, because there are not two standards. That is why I carry it with me all over the world, and why I encourage youth and young single adults and adults alike to carry For the Strength of Youth. And not just to carry it, but to open it up and read it and re-read it, and recommit to what is there. You know General Conference is less than two weeks away, and it is a wonderful time of refreshing. But we must be open and we must be prepared. And so IL ask, “What are we doing to prepare ourselves? Have we read at least some of the conference talks to think about what happened last April and what is happening here and now? May we prepare to listen – and to be taught.
The second help in our quest to be prepared is the Holy Scriptures. In the Gospel of John it says, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye [find] eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The time of education is not a time, as you well know, to put gospel learning on the shelf. As I went through law school, there were a number of my classmates who did just that – and never returned to activity in the Church. There is a warning to those, particularly in our day, who treat the scriptures with disinterest or contempt: “Wo be unto him that saith: We have received [the word of God], and we need no more” (2 Nephi 28:27). I would just suggest to you that not one of us has enough of the word of God, and it’s a wonderful thing for us to be able to search the scriptures daily.
When President Packer came into our stake a number of years ago, I was a brand new stake president. After we had done a little business early on one Sunday morning, a very, very cold day, we sat in my car. And before he got out, I said, “President, if you were a young stake president, what would you focus on?” And I thought he was going to laugh, but he didn’t. He took out his hand—again and, pointing first to him thumb and then to each of his fingers, said, “I would focus on (1) doctrine and (2) covenants and (3) revelation and (4) priesthood and (5) scriptures.” Then he said, “One of our greatest fears is that many of our leaders may only have gospel understanding a quarter of an inch deep.” And that is the same for all of us. Sometimes we may do “touch and go’s” just like pilots who are trying to learn how to land an aircraft. They land over and over again, but it’s just a touch and go and sometimes that’s what we do in the scriptures. And yet we have been taught to FEAST on the words of Christ. 2 Nephi 31:20; 32:3 And that means a significant thing to me.
My third suggestion is to stand in holy places. That means being where you ought to be, and those of you who are here today are where you ought to be. I congratulate you on that. There are all types of experiences like that, being in the right place when we are invited to come to meetings or family home evening or in our classes. Wherever it is, be in the right place. And you will know what they are. You will know by the promptings of the Spirit. It also means not being where we should not be. Avoid those places, and the Spirit will tell you where you should not go. If you are someplace and all of a sudden you have a feeling that you should not be here—the spirit changes, and that happens—then take a great lesson from Joseph of Egypt, and flee.
Many of us have been in wonderful, holy places. Think of the places, the sacred places where you have been. I have been in the Sacred Grove. I felt a wonderful feeling there. I’ve been on the banks of the Susquehanna River, where John the Baptist appeared to Joseph and Oliver and restored the Aaronic Priesthood. I have been in a number of similar places where the Spirit has been very strong. For example, I have walked battlefields of Manassas, Virginia where the first Battle of Bull Run was held in 1861—the first battle of the Civil War. You have been in places like that, places that exude a feeling of reverence, of being holy – places we will never forget.
But I have also been in places that are normal places that have become holy, and I have found that we can control them. That same room where President Woodhouse and I sang Scout songs and did Scout cheers and did Scout training became a sacred place on one evening when we had a Little Philmont training. Our stake Young Men presidency put together a nice dinner with our wives that evening and asked Elder Maxwell to come. At the end of that evening, he did something that, up to that point I had never experienced before -- he gave an apostolic blessing. That evening that hall became a sacred place for us. One couple left to go home to their children. As they reported to me later that evening, they went out, got in the car, started the engine, sat there, looked at each other, didn’t say a thing, turned the keys off and came back in. That hall had, by virtue of what occurred that evening, because a sacred place that none of us present that evening will ever forget. It’s the same way with those places where we spend significant time -- whether it’s your home with your family or your apartment, or wherever it is. You can make it a holy place, by what is on the wall, by what is done there, by the music that you play. All of those things help us to be in sacred places.
There is a great scripture in the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants where it says to seek the Lord while he is near. There’s a great message there. And the message is this: Most of us, when we are away from the promptings of the Spirit, do not have an Alma the Younger experience. Most of us are like a young man in my stake. Feeling that I needed to spend some time with him, I took him to play golf one day. As we played, I said, “Jim (that wasn’t his name), the way that you’re going is leading down a devious path. You won’t be able to serve a mission if you continue in this direction.” He said, “Oh, no. I want to serve a mission. I will be just fine.” I said, “You know, onle day, if you continue down this path, you will get to the point where the Spirit will leave you and you will either do something that will cause you to not be qualified to serve a mission, or you will not have a desire to serve.” “Oh no,” he said, “I want to serve.” In spite of all that we were doing, including his parents and his bishop, he continued down that path, and as it turned out, he was not able to serve a mission. That doesn’t surprise you, does it? IAnd it didn’t me – though it saddened me. How important it is to seek the Lord while he is near. We need to walk and stand in holy places and be not moved.
Now, my third suggestion is learn to control your thoughts. King Benjamin gives us a wonderful scripture in the fourth chapter of Mosiah. It’s right at the end of his great last lecture, where he says,
“But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not” (Mosiah 4:30).
We can control our thoughts, but only if we are prepared, if we fill our minds with that which is good and true and right; and if we memorize poetry and scriptures and all of those things that we can call upon in times of need. You already know by now that all of us have challenges with our thoughts, whether it’s a thought that is unclean, something that emanates from something we see on the internet or hear in a song, or whether it’s just discouragement or depression. Challenges with thoughts come to all of us, and some way we must figure out what works for us to be able to lift our thoughts. I have found that two things help me: one is music, and the other is poetry—actually, one more, and that is getting involved in the service of others.
But if we will fill our minds especially with hymns and poetry and scriptures—wonderful things will happen and we will be able to control our thoughts. If I could just give you one last thought, and that is, you’re in a media world. And the media is a wonderful tool that we use. You use it in your classes. We will not be able to survive without being able to use computers, because they are part of us. We have cell phones. We have all of these things. I have a PDA in my briefcase that I use all over the world. That’s just part of us. But we can become addicted to that which is also good, and that which is good is also bad.
Elder Bednar has taught us, if you take what the world is doing with something and flip it 180 degrees, then you can see what we should be doing in the kingdom. I encourage you to use the technology that you have to build strength and testimony, and to help you to become a better son or daughter of God and avoid those things that can become addicting. And it’s not just pornography. I’m also talking about just too much time on video games. In Korea they have a problem with college students there. It’s a new addiction that has to do with spending all of your time on video games. We waste this time that our Heavenly Father has given us, and we must do better. Remember, there are some things that we do to fit in. Remember, as Latter-day Saints, we were never meant to “fit in,” but to stand out and to stand up for what is right. If you have a problem with pornography or even with what may be addiction to video games, I encourage you to go see your bishop today. I don’t care if he has meetings all night tonight. Call him and get in to see him immediately.
My fourth suggestion is to do things that are hard to do. This is a time of growth for you – a time to establish, if you haven’t before, a pattern of learning and growing that will stick with you throughout your life! Don’t just scoot by. Rise up. I’m working on the Duty to God program, just like all of the young men around the world. The Duty of God program suggests that you read the Book of Mormon as a priest. Well, my goal was to read the Book of Mormon again in German. In the Duty to God program, there is a goal to give a talk, four to five minutes, two of them a year. I do that about the first week in January. My talk [goal] was to prepare and give a talk at LDS Business College – and not have students leave during the talk -- in groups. Thank you very much. I hope President Woodhouse will sign this after our meeting. I have my Duty to God manual right here.
In the Duty to God program, the priests are also required to run six miles in sixty minutes—not a big deal for you track guys. But my goal was in July 2009, to participate in the Spudman Marathon, a triathlon – a mile swim, a 26 mile bike ride and a 40 km run. And I’m training for it. I’m really excited for it, because I want to do hard things! I don’t want to just do the things that are easy.
Now finally, my fifth suggestion is that you serve. Joshua, in his great comments at the beginning of our meeting today, and he’s a great student body president, talked about service. I have learned that service is not a project; it’s a way of life. I watched this past Sunday, as I sat near the back of the chapel in my own sacrament meeting, as young Ben Ensign -- eight years old -- was coming in from using the restroom during sacrament meeting. As he walked up, a child had dropped her toy. Others had passed it, but he stopped, picked up the toy, and gave it to the child and the child’s mother. I grabbed him after, and I said, “I watched what you did. You will be a great missionary.”
Now I don’t know if any of us are busier than President and Sister Woodhouse, but I have watched them as they have served in other areas outside of their responsibility here at LDs Business College. For example, during the busy Christmas holidays, he and I have rung the Salvation Army Bell together on Main Street. I hope at Christmastime, when you see us out ringing the Salvation Army Bell that you dig deep into your pockets. We just love to give. But the reason we give is because we have been given so much, and also because you and I are the hands of the Master.
There is a great poem that goes:
‘Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“Who’ll start the bidding?” he said,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
A dollar, a dollar, and who’ll make it two?
Two dollars and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
And going and gone, but no.
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.
And wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer
In a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand, a thousand, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand and who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
And going and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?” Swift came the reply:
The touch of the Master’s hand.
And many a man with life out of tune
And battered and scarred by sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game, and he travels on.
He’s going once, he’s going twice,
He’s going and almost gone.
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Can’t quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
You and I are the ones that are the Master’s hands, because most of the miracles, unlike that which happened with Paul and unlike that which happened with Alma the Younger, generally—happens through others, through you and through me.
God bless you and God bless me that we might all be prepared, that we might rise up and be Latter-day Saints, that we might strengthen this great world, that we might strengthen ourselves that we might be prepared. I testify to you that God lives. This is His work. He knows you by name, He hears your prayers and He will answer them -- in His own time – often in unexpected moments as we are about His business. That I know, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Education Will Bless Your Life
What Kind of Leader Are You?
Sister Rebecca Merrill:
The Spiritual Nature of Creativity
A Spirit That Goes to the End of the Line
Well, brothers and sisters, I’m really grateful to be here. I’m grateful to have come and heard that beautiful number. I hope you’re going to do a CD. I’ll buy the first copy, if you’ll do it. I just thought it was beautiful. And if I could share with you—it’s just good to be with those that I can see, and those that are, I understand up on the ninth floor, Brother Herman in my ward and others, just to feel the Spirit of being here with you at LDS Business College. Thank you for coming this morning, and I hope that I can share with you just a few stories, some pictures, and you can have a feeling and appreciation for what the Church does worldwide.
It all begins with what they just sang, doesn’t it? That we are children of our Heavenly Father—a Heavenly Father who knows each one of us by name, and where we are and where we live and our needs, and He knows the needs of many people around the world. And then He realizes that we can reach out and help one another.
From the 26th chapter of 2nd Nephi, I thought of this scripture as these young men were singing. For he said, “He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black or white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (v. 33). I think the question then, comes to us: If our Heavenly Father has said through his prophet that all are alike unto Him—there’s no distinction, everyone is equal—then we have to ask ourselves the question: Are all alike unto me? Do I treat everyone the same? Do I strictly adhere to the same teaching?
President Monson has said so aptly: “Along your pathway of life, you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.”
You know, during the last 22 years, the Church has reached out in a very vigorous way, worldwide, to assist people. Now, it has been a real success. It has been a wonderful thing to do. And as was mentioned, the Church has reached out in 167 countries. I’ve had the privilege of being in 87 of those countries, and I have found that the members of the Church there have made a difference in the lives of their neighbors and friends.
Just two or three little observations, and then I’ll show you some pictures. I’ve determined that we are successful in what we do because we are part of the inspired Welfare Services Program of the Church. The whole essence of welfare is self-reliance—that we go to school, that we learn, that we support ourselves, that we take care of our own needs. And then we turn around and we reach out as far as we can to help others. So the Church is successful in its emergency response and its humanitarian work because we adhere to the same principles as Welfare Services. With our storehouses, with our supplies, with our members that are so willing to donate time and effort, we can reach out at lightning speed. When some organizations are determining what they might do or what the needs are, we’ve responded. We’ve been able to place trucks of goods just outside the footprint of a hurricane, and then have been able to move in immediately.
Ken Hackett, who is a good friend of mine and executive director of the Catholic Relief Services worldwide, said to me once, “Wherever we go, the Mormons are always there, and they’re usually there before we are.”
I said, “Can I quote you?” and he says, “Yes. I think you’ll quote me whether I say you can or not.” We are there, and we’re grateful to be there. And President Monson and others are generous, as the resources of the Church are established, so that we can do that. And the members of the Church are so very, very generous.
The assistance that we do worldwide doesn’t come from a government grant we receive or from other funds. It comes just from members of the Church across the world donating just a little extra—first of all donating as they should to the fast offering funds of the Church, and then donating a little extra to the Humanitarian Fund. And those little extras go together to allow us to respond in a very effective way, very often and usually not with cash directly, but in kind and assistance as it happens. We have distributed hygiene kits and school kits and quilts and blankets and food boxes and medical supplies.
The second observation I have made is that everything we do has a spirit that goes to the end of the line. How do I know that? Because I have been there. I have had the privilege of representing you in the distribution of these goods on the other end of the line. And as you give a hygiene kit to someone in need, there’s a spirit to it. Besides the toothpaste and the bar of soap and other things that are in it, there’s a spirit that carries all the way to the end of the line, because of the sacrifice of Church members making it possible.
The third observation is that people around the world are grateful for what is done for them. People want to care for themselves. Most people aren’t asking for a handout, and people are very, very grateful. They have said, “Will you please go home and thank those that have made the difference?” So you’re part of that group that I would say thank you to for making the difference.
President Marion G. Romney gave a very wonderful quote when he said, “There’s an interdependence between those who have and those who have not, and the process of giving exalts the poor and humbles the rich. Both are sanctified.”
So we have the givers and we have the receivers, and both are sanctified and both are edified. I’d like to tell you a little bit about the givers and a little bit about the receivers. Out at the Humanitarian Center—and if you haven’t been there, particularly if you’re from another country or out of state, sometime you ought to have a tour and just see the items that come together and the things that go out. They’re packaged, and there’s a message that they come from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We don’t put proselyting packets in it; we don’t put invitations to attend meetings. It’s just pure humanitarian help. Of course we hope that this will help people come to Christ, and that they could receive the saving ordinances. But we don’t do anything as an ulterior motive. It’s an Ammon approach. It’s feeding the sheep. It’s tending the horses, and then waiting when the king calls you and the work goes forward. We have so many that do so much.
There’s a little note came on this quilt: “Hi. We’re from Ivins, Utah. This is a little town [they said] that’s about the size of your family pet. It’s down near St. George. But we’re some of the nicest guys that live in the state of Utah. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We worked long and hard on this quilt. We got poked by needles and cut by scissors, but we did it to help people in need. We hope this makes a difference.”
And it does make a difference. Young Women make quilts. Do you know, we have shipped literally thousands of quilts. A blanket is a wonderful gift, but the quilt carries a message all the way to the end of the line. I remember one time out to the Humanitarian Center of seeing another little note on a quilt that had the most clashing colors of red and orange I had ever seen. A little boy had penned a note and he said, “Whoever gets this quilt, I hope you like it because I picked out the material all by myself.” There is a spirit that really goes to the end of the line as these things happen.
I remember one time out to the Humanitarian Center helping a woman in the front door, and I said, “What have you brought us today?”
She said, “Thirty-eight baby blankets, and I made them all this week.” She said, “I’ve sewed and I’ve sewed and I’ve sewed. My husband went on a trip. It’s an addiction. I wish he would have taken the sewing machine cord. Oh, not really.” And then she just drops them on the counter and out she goes.
I was there when another wonderful group of sisters was there and I stepped over to them. I said, “What have you brought?”
They said, “We want to tell you about what happened at home first.” And then they said, “We are the stake Relief Society presidency in central Utah, in the little town of Genola, Goshen Utah Stake. And they said, “We’ve put a quilt on every Tuesday morning at our stake center and anybody who wants to come in and put in a few stitches or catch up on a little bit of gossip or anything, we’re just grateful to have them stop by.”
“But,” they said, “there’s a special sister in our stake that we wanted to come. She was depressed. She was discouraged. She would hardly leave home. She wouldn’t get up and get dressed. It was a challenge for her and a challenge for her family. We said, ‘Come over and help us.’ She said, ‘Oh, I think I’d ruin the quilt.’
“So after about the third time, she said, ‘Okay, I’ll come and I’ll watch.’ So we sent the word out to all of the sisters that we knew were regulars, ‘When you come and you quilt, just let those pieces of yarn lay, don’t pick them up, because we think we have somebody that will pick up the yarn.’”
And then they said they asked her to do that, and she said, “Well, I guess I could do that.” And so she picked up the yarn, and then she became a regular yarn picker-upper, and then later she began to quilt.
Do you know, a few months later I saw that same group of sisters out to the Humanitarian Center and I said, “How’s my sister that you’ve been helping out?” I never knew her name.
They said, “Oh, she’s just wonderful. She’s moved from our community now, but she still sends packages back of goods to come into the Humanitarian Center.” What we do to help others blesses us. It makes a difference for us, doesn’t it?
The school kits have been a wonderful gift. I remember one time taking the ambassador for Kenya and his wife through the Humanitarian Center. She took the school kit and dumped it all out, pencils and paper and scissors and erasers. She said, “I wish I could have had one of these when I went to elementary school under a tree in Kenya. Would you send one of these over for every student in Kenya?” Well, we send out about half a million a year of these.
I don’t know if we have anyone here from Haiti, but Haiti’s a country with a lot of challenges. The minister of education from Haiti was here at the Humanitarian Center. She saw the school kits. She had an idea. She went home and she talked to our area leaders, and she said, “Could we have school kits?” We’ve shipped 100,000 school kits to Haiti. And then we’ve shipped the components of another 100,000 kits so that our members of the Church in Haiti can have the privilege of putting them together and getting them out, so that we can have that kind of a young man, who doesn’t have paper and pencils, to have something to work with.
Isn’t it marvelous that we are able to reach out? We provide food. We’ve done a lot of food boxes, particularly with the hurricanes that we’ve had lately. These are groups that come together and box food, and as that box of food is opened up, they realized that it is often product that has been produced on our farms, has been canned in our canneries, has been boxed in our storehouses and it’s been given to them. And there’s a spirit that goes all the way to the end of the line.
I want to show you about some of the other things that we do. Let me tell you just one story, and then we’ll talk about the measles campaign. These boxes of food are reminding me of an experience that we had in El Salvador not long ago—oh, several years ago. There was an earthquake in El Salvador. We have sixteen stakes, or we did at that time, members of the Church in El Salvador, and many, many in need. Following the lead of area leaders and the approval of the Brethren here, we set out an airlift of food boxes and hygiene kits to El Salvador. Then the word came back to us from a man by the name of Roberto Kriete, chairman of the board of Taka Airlines, the regional airlines in Central America, where he said, “Anything you need to get into El Salvador, you take to my terminal in the Los Angeles Airport, and we’ll bring it down, space available.”
That was a wonderful offer. Airlifts are expensive. So we began to put pallets down there, and they began to put them on their planes, and it went down and it blessed members of the Church and it helped the community, and several months later I was invited into El Salvador along with a member of the Area Presidency, at an appreciation dinner for those that had done a lot to help with the earthquake. And as I was there representing the Church, my fortune was that I was seated right next to Roberto Kriete.
I said, “Mr. Kriete, we are so grateful for what you did to help us get our goods into El Salvador. Do you know that you took in the equivalent of seven truckloads of goods for us?”
He said, “I know that.”
I said, “You also have to know that there was a little bit of jealousy with some other humanitarian organizations, that you were favoring us.”
He said, “I know that as well.”
I said, “Why would you do us the honor?”
He said, “Three reasons: First,” he said, “when you brought that first planeload of goods into El Salvador, they brought me a hygiene kit and they brought me a box of food. And I looked at it, and I said this is exactly what our people need right now. I knew I would be bringing what they need and I wouldn’t be hauling junk on the airlines.”
I said, “What’s the second reason?”
He said, “Well, the second reason is kind of personal. My family and I landed in Las Vegas, rented a mini-van, saw the sites up through Utah, went to Yellowstone, flew back to El Salvador. No one really knew who we were. But as we crisscrossed across the state of Utah and elsewhere, people were so friendly that even my children started to say, ‘Well, Dad, it’s those friendly Mormons again, isn’t it?’”
And I thought, I thank the Lord for all the friendly Mormons across the state of Utah, and the assistance we give.
I said, “What’s your third reason?”
He said, “Well, that’s the most important of all. My third reason is Sam Pace.”
And I said, “Who is Stan Pace?”
“Well, he’s one of you that walks the walk. He doesn’t just talk the talk. He’s a consultant with a company that helped me restructure the airlines. He’s a marvelous man. He’s a good father. I think he helped me restructure my family more than anything else. I would have done it all for Sam Pace.”
And I thought, I am so grateful for members of the Church that make these kinds of opportunities happen, that we were able to build that kind of friendship and that kind of assistance.
Let me tell you about the measles campaign. You know, this has been a really exciting experience. We want healthy children around the world, and about the year 2000, the World Health Organization said, “You may not hear about measles in the United States very much anymore, but there are 47 countries around the world where we still need to get children vaccinated.” Only about 50% were vaccinated, and it was resulting in about 900,000 worldwide deaths from measles, from the most vaccine-preventable disease there is. And so World Health and Red Cross and UNICEF and other organizations came to the Church and said, “Would you help fund vaccinating children—it’s going to cost about a dollar a vaccination—so that we can catch up around the world and get children vaccinated, and we can cut this mortality rate from about 900,000 a year to less than 100,000 in a ten-year period.”
I went to Zambia at the direction of the Brethren and observed this, and recommended that we do it. But then the most wonderful part of it all was that when President Hinckley approved this, with the vision of a prophet, he said, “Let’s not only put money towards doing this, but wherever we have members of the Church, let’s have them be a voice in their community of telling others that we can vaccinate our children. Can they help get the word out?”
And so, five years later, 35-some-odd countries later, 60,000 Church volunteers have helped get the word out. They’ve marched in parades, we hired a town crier in Benin to get the word out, our members in Nigeria put the aprons on and helped man the vaccination posts, other members put on a badge and started going out door to door. We have had thirty couples go out in Africa on a short-term basis and organize members of the Church, because we want it to be a local initiative of the Church that they do. We had the Primary children sing to us in Nigeria, and then all roll their sleeves up and receive their measles shots. And it’s not very much fun.
But the Church has made a real difference. In Benin you receive your vaccination card, and in Nigeria and many other places around the world your thumb is painted to show that you have been vaccinated. It has made a marvelous difference.
I can think enough to suggest that maybe we put money towards it. But I’m grateful for President Hinckley and the Brethren who said, “Let’s put our members to doing this.” It was reported in meetings I was at a month ago that there were 198,000 deaths in 2007. We have dropped the mortality rate on an annual basis from 900,000 worldwide to 200,000, and we’re with them for the haul of going on down. There’s another spot or two, to show you where this is happening outside of Africa as this has been done in Mongolia.
But you know what? Again, it’s the givers and receivers. The givers—our youth and others in Mongolia as they put up posters, they got the word out. They were unified. They came away with a great blessing.
And then President Hinckley was always saying to us, and President Monson since then, “Now, what percentage of our own children are vaccinated?” Well, you can’t go give the message and not have your own children vaccinated, so it’s been a great work. Mongolia, can you see those twins? We don’t want to lose either one of those twins.
The Philippines has a lot of strength to it and so we had a humanitarian couple that had worked in Africa go in and do several days’ training, and then they had couples from all across the Philippines that organized 10,000 young adults—10,000 like you—that did just this. They put on a yellow vest that said, “Mormon Helping Hands,” and started out to tell families with children to get the message out. And World Health and many other organizations have come back and said, “We couldn’t have done it without you. We can provide the vaccine, we can do surveillance, we can be cautious, we can do everything. But if we don’t get the people out, we can’t be successful.”
That’s just one of the things that the Church has been involved with and it has been an exciting forum.
You know, I wanted to share with you that a year ago, we saw the Ohio Midwest flooding. In the town of Findlay, Ohio near Toledo we met Bishop Jones. He was a marvelous leader with vision. He called on the leaders in Cleveland to come in and help out. As they came in and began to pick up and clean up, one man said to the group that was there, “You’re not from here, are you?”
They said, “No, we’re from the Cleveland area.”
He said, “You wouldn’t know that I’m the Methodist minister in this town, would you?”
They said, “No, sir, we wouldn’t.”
He said, “But I lost something special that I intended on reading—it was given to me by a couple of your young men—in my flood. And I was wondering if any of you could get me another copy of the Book of Mormon.” And then they worked and helped him and he said, “You know, I am so impressed with you folks that I’ve got to ask for a Sunday off so I can come to your meetings.”
They went to another place, and they helped an elderly man clean his home, and as they came out they saw a flag in a tree. With Scout training, those young men and the young women too said, “Let’s retire the colors.” So they called the man out and they brought the flag, tattered and torn, down and they pulled it out and folded it and put it into a triangle and handed him his flag as the last thing they did. They said, “We all left with tears in our eyes.”
I want to share with you just a few of the other things that we’ve done in the last year. Peru, in the area of Pisco about three hours south of Lima, had a devastating earthquake. Fifteen thousand homes shook down within a few minutes. We are in the process of building 400 homes for Church members, where they’re doing a lot of work. But as soon as this happened, Mrs. Garcia, the First Lady, had been here and toured the Humanitarian Center and had attended General Conference. She got a hold of the area presidency and wanted to know if we could provide some of the medical supplies that she had seen at the Humanitarian Center. So we flew in medical supplies and hygiene kits. But the most marvelous thing again were the members of the Church. Members of 23 stakes in Lima came out to help brothers and sisters and neighbors and many others, first of all to make sure and rescue all the survivors, then to help bury the dead, then to help them into provisional tents and other shelters. And then, to rebuild homes with the few dollars that are given by the Church and a lot of labor that is given by the home recipients, making sure that it has the rebar and the other things that are needed. You see the final product of stalwart, good members of the Church, with a little home that had been rebuilt where they had lost their home. It’s been a marvelous thing to see what we’ve done.
Some of you are from southern California. You remember the fires, the devastating fires across San Diego and up in Running Springs and up above San Bernardino and other places. In the Poway California Stake, just to help out, they decided they could make a sifter for all the families that lived—members and nonmembers—within the confines of their stake, so that they could help them sift through the ashes. It paid off. I was out where two sister missionaries found a one-carat diamond in their sifting, and the woman was ecstatic to think that it had been found.
Our youth had a great experience as they did that. We distributed about 18,000 cleaning kits, and in that cleaning kit are brushes and liquids and other items that are needed, and then people were around right behind to help clean up. The wonderful experiences that happened as this occurred. You know, one member of the Church said, “Our wonderful volunteers shoveled, cut, carried, sorted, sifted, raked and swept. They did it with smiling faces. Most were filthy, sufficiently sore and very wet. I thought I knew the Saints. I’ve taken the sacrament with them. I’ve gone to the temple with them. But now I know them.”
Who are you—the giver or the receiver? That’s the missionaries from the California Carlsbad California Mission. Can you see someone there you know? Is there someone here? Step up and show us who it is. That’s exciting. I was showing this to a group that came out to the Humanitarian Center from BYU—Idaho, and one of the sisters said, “Well, I’m there.” Right there. Our missionaries are absolutely loved and appreciated and we get so many notes and thoughts.
You know, we hadn’t even finished with the fires of California and we had the flooding in Centralia, Washington south of Tacoma. Again, the cleaning kits, the volunteers that were out, the experiences that were there, the mud, the filth. But there we were, involved in the excitement that went on.
And then we shift forward a little bit and maybe you remember in the spring, the earthquake in China, and you think, “China? Can we help in China?” Of course we can, and the Church wants to be there and the Brethren have the vision and they approved it. The members from Hong Kong all went down and across the border out of Hong Kong and put together 10,000 living kits. And then these living kits, which are some food and some other basic items that were put together, were transported into the area of need. And when our priesthood leaders went into that part of China, they were allowed to be there and to help with the distribution to the end of the line. We didn’t do it for the TV camera that was there; we didn’t do it for any other purpose than just reaching out to the individual need. It changes hearts. It changes minds. It changes feelings. It helps those in need. It’s a win-win.
And then, more recently, we helped with the 2008 hurricanes that we’ve gone through—Ike and the rest of the family. Our chapels have become temporary bishop’s storehouses. Do we help those who are not of our faith if they come to our door? Absolutely. At the Pine Trails building in Houston, we couldn’t get our truck unloaded and we had a line of people a block long. We helped them all. We were there and provided other supplies. But again, we had the volunteers that came and the missionaries that were involved. And as they scrubbed and they helped, they made a difference. One set of missionaries told me that in the Texas Houston Mission that as they finished their work, the wife said, “You just have made my husband his happy 82nd birthday.” So they all stood around in their yellow t-shirts and sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
Then at another place, they were cleaning out on the perimeter of a property and a man came out. They asked permission to come onto his property to clean, and they began to work away at it. And then he came out with a pen and a pad of paper and he said, “I want all of your names and all of your addresses. I just happen to be the mayor of Katy, Texas, and I’m going to issue a proclamation recognizing the Mormons and the work you have done in this community. And I want each of you missionaries to have a personal copy of that proclamation.
And then another group of missionaries said, “Well, we had an interesting experience. We asked a woman if we could clean up her yard, and she looked us over and said, ‘Yes, if you will pick up every twig and you will clean it perfectly.’ And they thought, ‘Boy, she’s snippy. She’s difficult to deal with.’”
She went into the house and they cleaned and they worked and then she came out and offered to pay them. She thought she had hired them. And they said, “No. We’re missionaries. We’re just here to help out.” And there was great satisfaction as that happened.
Just before I read President Monson’s quote, Sandra and Don Barnes said, “The soap and towels and toothpaste were such a welcome sight in Slidell, Louisiana. Our friends who are members of your church have always been there for us, but they couldn’t be this time, so you came instead.”
And then another woman wrote. She said, “I want to thank you for all you have done for us. The box of canned goods was great. I just had soup and the Son is still shining.” Son, S-o-n. Another person said, “I looked at the hygiene kit and I looked at the bar of soap. I’m a Baptist. I wondered if I washed with it if I’d wash the Baptist off of me and make me a Mormon.”
And then another person wrote, “I’m speechless. God answered my prayer today. Tears rolled down my cheeks as your church members cleaned away the debris. I’m a nurse. I’m used to giving, not receiving. What they did reminded me of what Christ did for me on the cross. I can’t convey my gratitude to you.”
So striving together we can feed children, we can provide hope, we can preserve lives. And it again is that adage, the great teaching of our Savior: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these…”—who have you done it unto?—“ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). I bear witness to you that the work of reaching out to people around the world by the Church in a humanitarian way by the members of the Church in a sweet, wonderful way, the donations that come, the things that go out, make a difference. Thank you, each one of you, for who you are. You’re here to prepare so that you can have those opportunities of giving throughout life. But don’t forget as you’re here as students that you can give, you can be a humanitarian. You can be kind to each other. You can reach out to those that are in need. As you do so, you’ll feel better. Life will be better, and your testimony of the Gospel will be strengthened.
I bear witness of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of the prophetic calling of President Monson, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Do Good; Do More Than Just Ponder on It
Love God and testify of Him in word and deed
Ponder on it, then ask for the Lord’s help
Read and ponder the words of God, then act.
Accept callings from the Lord, and then follow the Spirit.
Love your family and demonstrate that love.
Think about others and do something for them.
Plan your career and life, and then move boldly.
In Concert with the Lord’s Purposes and Designs
My brethren and sisters, it’s wonderful to be with you today. I enjoyed this beautiful reminder in music of the necessity for unity in our lives, among each other, in our communities. Certainly we have seen over the past number of months over the elections here in the United States a lot of divisiveness, a lot of nasty things being said. It’s time to heal, not only politically, but for us to be reminded as this helped us to remember, it’s good to be united with each other with things that are holy and good.
It was wonderful for me to come in and greet a number of you today. I’ve known you in Moscow and in the Ukraine, in missions and other places. It reminds me that we have to be nice to everybody all the time. I have to say that when I served as the president of the Europe East Area, Elder Uchtdorf was my counselor, and then when I served as president of the Utah South Area, he was also my counselor. And now that he’s President Uchtdorf, I can tell you that I’m very happy I was nice to him.
Anyway, it’s wonderful to be with you. It’s a great pleasure for me to be with young men and women who are so anxiously engaged in education and learning, and bettering your life. Even with increasing numbers of students in universities and colleges across the world, where so many are having opportunities now that they’ve not had before, you still are among the great minority of young people who have opportunities for education, for the opportunity to express yourselves, to study what you wish to study, to pursue a life you wish to pursue. And I hope that each of you spends time on your knees each day thanking Heavenly Father for the opportunity for education and learning.
Education is the disciplining of your mind and spirit. I would like this morning just to reflect on a few thoughts regarding the pursuit of education in our lives, both temporally and spiritually. For me, education is the opportunity to discipline our minds and our spirit. Its very process is the unfolding and the discovery of the potential that lies in each one of us, and certainly in each of you. The education of your mind, the unfolding of your self and your potential both temporal and spiritual to a determined purpose is undoubtedly the hardest thing you’ll ever do in this life. Education is hard work. It requires dedication and focus on what it is you wish to achieve.
Now I’d like to discuss a couple of principles with you that I have learned through my life. I have spent a good deal of time on campuses in my younger years, not so much since I became more involved in my calling now. But I look back on my years of education. My wife and I and my family were in school for 12 years after we got married, and it was a long road, and I learned lots of things of value. I hope then, today, to pass some of these on to you.
The first thing that I wanted to spend just a minute with you on is the fact that each of us, each man and each woman, is a unique being. No one comes into this life with what is called tabularaza—that is a blank page, a blank mind. We each bring with us forgotten experiences, inclinations, gifts, talents, abilities that have been developing since the moment of our creation. Our mortal experience, of course, draws upon them, and our education enhances and fortifies and further disciplines them. One of the great challenges of our lives is to discover what is the unique part of us and to develop it.
The Lord revealed that “to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby” (D&C 46:11-12). But each of us, you and I, each has something that is uniquely ours—something that makes us uniquely us. And one of the great pitfalls of life, for me, is to think that we have to be just exactly like someone else. When we envy others their gift, or feel that somehow we must have one exactly like it, that someone is more gifted than I—then it seems to me that we miss the beauty of our own gift. We miss the beauty and strength and power of that which Heavenly father put in us.
We can spend entirely too much time acting or speaking or dressing like someone else, when we ought to be focusing on our own abilities and our own talents and developing them. This process takes courage, as you know. It also takes a willingness to try many things and to fail at some things along the way. It takes introspection and it takes education. But in the end, it is those who have discovered their own uniqueness and developed it who make the lasting contributions to the goodness of the world. And each of you is in the process of discovering that in yourselves.
I hope that, if you have poetry inside of you, that somehow you will bring it out. I hope that if you have music, if you have the desire to write, if you have the desire to create, if you have the desire to be the best legal secretary—whatever, it is that gift that you bring to the world. And the more you can bring that out in yourself, the more you can discipline, the more you can use it to create, then the better off we all are. And so, I want to say that each of us, you and I, has something that is uniquely ours, and to focus on that.
Secondly, I have learned that education takes both time and experience. The education of the mind is significantly more than the accumulation of knowledge, as important as that is. It is more than the accumulation of facts or figures, or even the mastery of a specific discipline. True education is beyond knowledge, understanding, or the ability to see the appropriate relationship of the various elements of knowledge, and to respect them.
For me, however, the consummate attainment of education is wisdom, or the judicious application of knowledge and understanding in our lives. Well might we follow the counsel in the book of Proverbs: “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; … Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:5-7).
The close link or bond linking knowledge and understanding and wisdom is also exemplified in a conversation that Solomon had with the Lord. “In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said…“Ask what I shall give thee” (2 Chronicles 1:7).
“Give me now wisdom and knowledge,” he said. (v. 10)
“And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself…wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee” (vv. 11-12).
Well, I don’t believe that Solomon was granted these gifts without effort on his part. Certainly he thought through the problem. I think he was a man of great power, leading a great nation, many wonderful things to do. Yet what did he ask for? It was for wisdom and for knowledge.
In our own case, the education of our minds and the acquisition of knowledge and understanding and wisdom are not achieved by two years at a college or four years, or even twelve years of higher education. The two or so years you spend here at the LDS Business College places into your hands only the foundation of knowledge for a specific and chosen discipline. But understanding and wisdom in the use of that knowledge will take you a lifetime.
I am reminded of a wonderful Russian proverb that I quote to myself all the time. It is that “We will live and learn our whole lifetime, and still die a fool.” And I just find that so wonderful to think about, because of the difficulty of acquiring for ourselves—not knowledge, but understanding and wisdom.
Thirdly, education of the mind is the product of consistent effort and personal discipline. I was interested in an article that appeared last week in USA Today. Maybe some of you saw it. I hope none of you were in it. It states that nearly one in five college seniors and 25 % of freshman say that frequently come to class without completing readings or assignments. I know that’s not you. And many of those students say they mostly still get A’s. The survey doesn’t address whether these students are lazy, busy, intimidated, bored or geniuses. Students report spending about 3 ½ hours a week preparing for each class. That’s about half what instructors expect from a typical student, and that was part of the article from USA Today. I suppose that many of the study hours may have taken place cramming for an examination, or meeting a deadline for a written report as we heard today about the conclusion of the semester now—hardly the stuff of consistent and personal effort and disciplined work, I think.
How far it is from the observation made by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not obtained by sudden flight.
But they, while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night.
This kind of effort has very little to do with grades, and everything to do with the achievement of true education. I cannot resist, really, the temptation to say a word about the importance of concise and clearly written goals, as Josh Bennett reminded you today. I hope you were listening. Such goals in our lives, and in our education, bring purpose and life to our effort and discipline.
I was just on a mission tour—and many of you have served missions; others are getting ready to go—I’m continually amazed that the missionaries want to work hard, and they want to work harder, all the time working harder. And then I ask whether they have set goals to discipline their effort, whether they have something in mind to achieve by their effort. And how quickly a discussion can change when that question is asked.
I recently read an interesting study about goals that I think you will be interested in. A study was done on Yale University’s graduating class some years ago. It asked seniors a long list of questions about themselves, and three questions were about goals. They were: Do you have set goals? Do you write them down? Do you have an action plan to achieve them? Only three percent of the class answered yes to these questions. Now, you would think from Yale University, among the best of the best focused, hard-working students, that they would have well-defined, written goals. But only three percent did.
Twenty years later, a follow-up study was done. It turned out that the three percent who had said yes to goals reported that they were more happily married, were more successful in their careers, had more satisfactory family life, and had better health. But get this—97% of the net worth of that graduating class was in the hands of that three percent. The power of written goals.
And you need to put it where you can see it every day, and many times through the day, whatever your goal is, whatever you wish to obtain. You need to write it and put it on the front of your books. Put it in your books. Put it on the mirror where you shave or comb your hair. Put it on the dashboard of your car. Put it on the door before you leave. Whatever. But your ability to achieve is somehow really tightly connected with your commitment to write a goal down, put it where you can see it, and then have a plan to achieve it.
When I was finishing my dissertation, I had a hard time getting at my dissertation after my qualifying exams. I was just diverted by good things, as we were taught today about Elder Oaks. But my department chairman finally pulled me off to the side and committed me to write my dissertation by the end of the year. And when I committed to write that dissertation by the end of the year, he then told me how to achieve it. It was very simple but very powerful. He said, “You will write your dissertation by the end of the year, yes. How many months does a year have?”
Well, I was a graduate student; I knew that. I said, “Twelve.”
He said, “Then I want twelve goals. And how many weeks does each month have?”
“Give me four goals for each one of those twelve. And how many days?”
“Then give me seven goals for each one of those four.”
What was he teaching me? He told me that if I achieved my goal today, then I would achieve my goal in a year. One of the things that is so difficult for young people to understand is that time passes quickly, and at the beginning of the semester, it seems like the end of it looks ten years off. And one day frittered away may not mean much. But it’s one day that does not bring you closer to your goals. So the power of daily goals, written down, and a plan to achieve it.
Fourthly, there must be more in your education than selfish motive. The purpose of educating your mind is to bring something into the world that is worthwhile and of service to our fellowmen. True education is never selfish. It reaches out to others.
So here are the four fundamental principles of true education: The discovery of our own unique qualities, time and experience, effort and discipline, and beneficial service to others.
I have applied these four principles to secular education, but they are equally valuable in the process relating to the education of our spirit. The Lord counseled us to “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). Let’s look at these principles very briefly in the time that we have, as they relate to our spiritual growth and spiritual development or spiritual education.
First, the discovery of our own unique qualities, talents and abilities. Each of us is a son or daughter of God. This places in us wonderful potential and lofty goals. This mortal life has purpose and meaning. No less important and no less interrelated in our spiritual education than in our secular is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding and wisdom, as they relate to the spiritual matters of our lives. It is certainly true that knowledge of spiritual truths can be approached by study. We are counseled often to study the scriptures and to study the words of the living prophets. However, I have come to the conclusion in my own life that study alone will not and can not bring full comprehension of spiritual matters. Some truths must be revealed to be known, and the first step in receiving such revelation is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Events in my life over the last few years, including the death of my wife, having suffered some time with cancer, and meeting a new woman with whom I can share my life—I have learned by my own experience that I am grateful for my knowledge of the plan of salvation. I am grateful for my knowledge of priesthood ordinances. But it is my faith that brought me understanding. It is my faith that brought me solace and comfort.
The writer of Proverbs points out that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). And if we desire understanding of spiritual things, then we must employ our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, the purpose of our life’s work must be in concert with the Lord’s purposes and designs for us. I think of the words He spoke to Moses: “I am the Lord God Almighty,…thou art my son,…and I have a work for thee [to do]” (Moses 1:3-6). Each of us has a work to do in this life. Each of us—each of us—has something to do that no one else can, and when we pursue it, identify it, discipline our minds to achieve it, and discipline our activities and our lives to accomplish it, then our lives are in concert with that which the Lord would have us do.
One of your College’s cultural beliefs provides the framework for the time and experience step in our spiritual education, wherein the Lord says that He gives us “line upon line, [and] precept upon precept, [and] here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have” (2 Nephi 28:30).
The Lord’s educational program for each of us is a lifelong educational process. It never ends. You may look at us on the stand and think that we are ancient, and we probably are in some ways, but I can tell you that we struggle, just as mightily as you, to bring about good things. We work just as hard on our own individual righteousness and faith, as you do because it is a lifelong pursuit that never ends. It never stops. It always grows. We never reach the end of it. And the further we go, the more expansive it becomes. The more we move down the road of life, the more wonderful things there are to see and do and understand. And so, we are involved just like you are involved. Life is to learn from, not just to endure or to experience.
Well, in effort and discipline. What about that, in our spiritual education. To Abraham, the Lord said, “We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25).
I am reminded of—just very quickly, I will share a story with you from something that happened in Moscow, in Russia. I was asked by President Packer to speak with our staff in our Moscow office about things that were troubling them, the problems they had in their life. And it was interesting to hear their responses. All of these wonderful Latter-day Saints who were temple recommend holders and often went to the temple and sacrificed much to do so—as we spoke, I understood that many of them, after their baptisms, went through a period of some inactivity, some introspection, some deciding a very critical issue. And it seems to me that every one of us must make a decision in our lives, that we will accept or not accept the standards of the gospel as our own personal standard. And this was the cause of their inactivity. They had made the decision to be baptized, but they hadn’t yet made the decision to endure to the end. Only when they made the decision, often in a difficult moment where friends or family poked fun at the Church or poked fun at them or ridiculed the standards of the gospel—only in those moments did they have to decide. Then, “Is that me? Or isn’t it? Do I accept those standards for my personal standards, or do I not? And if I do, then I must stand up. And if I don’t, then I will go away.”
That’s called enduring to the end. That’s a harder decision for me—that decision to accept for ourselves a standard of life, a standard of living, of integrity and honesty and commitment that is tested in moments of opposition and difficulty. And so effort and discipline are every bit as much a part of our spiritual education as our temporal. And of course, the purpose of our experience is to be of service to our fellowman.
Well, those are the four things that I have learned, among others, about education. It’s a difficult process. It’s a hard road that you’ve put your foot on, lifelong—one that requires your best effort.
I pray that you will be successful and above all, that you will enjoy the journey. Enjoy the process of education. It is wonderful and a great blessing to have mentors and teachers who point you to good, interesting, wonderful, powerful ideas. Take advantage of this period of time in your life. Enjoy it. Don’t run from it. Use it for the betterment of yourselves and the betterment of our world.
I leave with you my testimony that God lives, and that the Church is true. The priesthood we bear is the Holy Priesthood of God, with ordinances that open the power of the Atonement of Christ to our individual lives. I bear witness to living apostles and prophets on the earth. May we have the courage to follow them in difficult and trying times, that our lives may be blessed with peace and safety, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Evidences of the Savior's Love
One of the great blessings in my life has been the opportunity for 18 years to work with students and faculty, and I want to say that truly you are lights in my life, and I am grateful for all of you.
“I Feel My Savior’s Love” is one of my favorite songs, and today I’m going to use the words and the ideas from that song to discuss the power of the Savior’s love in our life.
The first verse talks about the first step in coming to know our Savior, and that’s recognizing His love. It reads:
I feel my Savior’s love
In all the world around me,
His spirit warms my soul
Through everything I see.
(Ralph Rogers Jr., K. Newell Daley, and Laurie Huffman, Children’s Songbook, p.74)
Often we recognize God’s love in very simple things. I grew up in Ogden, living in the foothills at the base of a mountain, and the mountains in Ogden are very different than the mountains in Salt Lake. They’re rugged rock, and the shades of the mountains vary from various colors of brown to a salmonish pink. One evening when I was about seven, I was out in my front yard playing as the sun was setting. And as it set, the light from the sunset diffused in such a way that the colors of the mountain came alive. It looked like it was vivid or alive. It glowed. And even the sky above was rose tinted. I think it was the first time I recognized something so beautiful, and even at that age I knew that that beauty was created by God. I was filled with wonder and awe and fear.
I stood on the sidewalk for a few minutes, absorbing all of that beauty, and then I ran into my house to tell my mother that the end of the world was coming.
Many years later, I was working as an aide in an intellectually handicapped classroom, and we were with the children at the zoo. I was not very happy to be there because, although most of the children were very obedient and willing to do what they were told, there were a couple of them that were rebellious and very difficult to handle. We finished walking around the lower part of the zoo and we were walking slowly up the hill when I lifted my eyes, and above the trees I saw the head and neck of a giraffe. And without any warning, this powerful feeling started to envelope me. I was filled with gratitude as I realized the grace and beauty of this animal that God had created.
Now think about your own lives. What have you seen in your own life that has helped you to recognize the love of the Savior? I have shown you two very simple examples of the myriads of evidence that surround us, that show us that our Savior loves us.
In Psalms 33:5 it reads: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” And as we begin to see and recognize with our souls as well as with our eyes the beauty of the world around us and the blessings of living in the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we open our eyes to recognize the power of the Savior and His love for us.
In Alma 36, Alma is telling his son Helaman about his miraculous conversion and rebirth. We all know that Alma was in darkness for three nights, racked with pain and torment and sorrow. But finally he remembered the words of his father about one Jesus Christ, who was coming into the world to atone for the sins of the world. Alma changed the course of his life when he, recognizing the power of the Savior, cried out within his heart, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me” (v. 18). This awareness and recognition is a necessary beginning for our own spiritual growth, and for Alma it happened very quickly. But for us it takes time and experience for the love of the Savior to sink into our hearts. As we have these experiences, they become part of the process of coming to know the Savior.
The second verse of the song reads:
I feel my Savior’s love,
His gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray,
My heart is filled with peace.
The first time I realized the gentleness of the Savior’s love was when, just after I turned 16, I went to receive my patriarchal blessing. When I was 16, people didn’t prepare for patriarchal blessings like they do now. Today, your parents probably would have a family night, or you would talk about the blessings. You would probably fast and pray, and your parents might also. And your parents and even your brothers and sisters might go with you to the blessing. My mother gave me the address of the patriarch, and all alone after school, I walked to his house, knocked on his door, and he invited me in. I had never met him before.
He visited with me for just a moment, and then he invited me to sit on a hard, straight-backed chair, turned on an old-fashioned recording machine, and laid his hands on my head and began to bless me. As he spoke, a warm and tender feeling began to flow through my whole body. It was so intense, and yet the gentleness was so profound that silent tears ran down my cheeks. I knew God knew me. I knew God loved me, and I felt enfolded in His arms.
This verse also talks about God revealing His love through peace as we pray. About twenty years later I was studying the Book of Mormon, reading in a very thoughtful and serious way, and as I came to Ether 12:27, the words “if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness,” just stood out for me. The promise indicates that if we humble ourselves and exercise faith, weak things will become strong to us. I decided that it was time for me to face my weaknesses, and that I would pray to the Lord and ask Him to reveal them to me.
My intention was to just list them all on a sheet of paper and then work on them one by one, and feel that sense of accomplishment that comes as you cross them off. So for two days I fasted and prayed. Every day I prayed several times a day. After two days there was no answer. So I ceased the fast, but I kept on praying several times for two days longer. Then, after two days, as I was driving my young daughter to her dance lessons and thinking about what I had been seeking to know, and very quietly a voice came into my mind and said, “Karen, your weaknesses will be revealed to you one by one, when you are ready.”
At that very same moment, the car filled with that same gentleness and warmth that I had felt and described before. It filled me and lifted me, and the message that came into my heart was that God loved me and accepted me for who I was at that very moment. The peace and the joy of that experience lasted for several days, because I knew how much God cared about me.
In the interpretation of Lehi’s dream, the angel asks Nephi if he knows the meaning of the Tree of Life. And Nephi says, “Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things” (1 Nephi 11:22).
And then the angel added: “Yea, and the most joyous to the soul” (v. 23).
Alma, again in Alma 36 as he was recounting his experiences of recognizing the Savior’s love, says: “Yea, I was harrowed up [no more] by the memory of my sins…and oh, what joy and marvelous light I did behold…my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! …There was nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy” (vv. 19-21).
As we have these kinds of experiences, our desire to follow the Savior increases. Elder John H. Groberg writes: “God’s love transforms us. When filled with God’s love we can see and do and understand things we otherwise could not see and do and understand” (John H. Groberg, “The Power of God’s Love,” Ensign, Nov. 2004). Thus when we receive his love, we are willing to submit to His spirit and we have that mighty change of heart that Alma talks about.
The next verse of the song describes the change of the heart as yielding our hearts to Him. It reads:
I feel my Savior’s love
And know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart,
My shepherd he will be.
God wants us our desire to know Him to grow to the point that we’ll turn over our will to Him, and allow our will to be consumed in His will. Neal A. Maxwell writes: “Surrender of the mind is really a victory, because it introduces us to God’s stretching and higher ways…. As we yield our hearts, He trusts us, and our blessings of understanding and knowledge increase. We gain a more enhanced individuality, and we are then more capable of receiving all that the Father has” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Ensign, Dec. 2008).
Helaman, in Helaman 3, explains both the process and the blessings of yielding our hearts to God. He writes: “[Yea, and] they did fast and pray…and become stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, [even] unto [the receiving of] joy and consolation…even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God” (v. 35).
As we offer Him our hearts, we accept Him as our Shepherd and we come to know His voice. The 23rd Psalm has always been one of my favorite scriptures in helping me to understand the Savior’s ever-present love and His role in my life as a shepherd. The first lines read:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Our Savior knows the places that will nourish us with opportunities for our faith and our knowledge and our testimonies to grow. He knows how to bless us through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost and the living water of the Atonement that will calm and bring peace to our spirits. And as we partake of these blessings and opportunities, our souls are healed and our righteousness brings glory to him.
The next lines read:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they [leadeth] me.
A shepherd’s rod is a club about three feet long, and it has a huge knob on the top of the club. The shepherd uses it to beat away the wolves from the flock. A rod is also a sign of power and authority. A staff, which is longer than a rod, is used for guiding the sheep. The Savior knows that as we go through life, we are going to face trials and temptations, sorrow and trouble. But He will protect and guide us if we trust in Him.
The next lines read:
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
The Savior has prepared sacred altars for us—the sacrament table, the altars at the temple where we make and renew sacred covenants. The promises and blessings that come from these ordinances and covenants will fill our lives with abundance as we understand and honor them.
The last two lines are an individual affirmation:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
They testify of the great promises of God and that those who partake of these blessings and take the Savior as their Shepherd will receive all of the promises and will be honored in this life and in the life to come.
One line of the verse of the song “I Feel My Savior’s Love” that we just read says, “I feel my Savior’s love, and know that He will bless me.” Mormon, in Moroni 7, teaches us that one of these blessings is that the pure love of Jesus is bestowed upon the true followers of Jesus, and that, filled with this love, they can become like Him. They have that power to do that. This love is also called charity; it’s the pure love of Christ. And as this love changes us, as we become more like Him, it expresses itself in our loving and serving others.
The final verse of “I Feel My Savior’s Love” reads:
I’ll share my Savior’s love
By serving others freely,
In serving I am blessed,
In giving I receive.
You’ll remember that the Savior said to his apostles on the eve of his crucifixion, “As I have loved you, …love [ye] one another” (John 13:34). If we follow this admonition, then the pattern of the Savior’s life as He lived among men on earth should be the pattern that we try to follow in our own lives as we serve others. So how did He show His love for us when He lived upon the earth?
I’ve listed some of those things, and as we go through them, we could each ask ourselves how we could take each example and apply it in our own lives as we serve others. The first of those is that:
- He left an exalted position to come down among men.
- Second, He knew that He was God’s son, and knowing that gave Him clear perspective.
- Third, He was not influenced by the world.
- Fourth, He taught us His commandments, which are eternal truths.
- Five, He chastened us.
- Six, He alo blessed others, including the sick and the sinner.
- He prayed to the Father for strength and guidance.
- He also prayed to the Father for us for strength and guidance.
- He encouraged those who were weak.
- He allowed us to learn.
- He called others and entrusted them to do His work.
- He desires that we all return to our Heavenly Father.
- He faithfully fulfilled the commitments that He had made to His Father, in Gethsemane, as He suffered and atoned for our sins, and on Cavalry, where He died for our sins.
As we try to understand this love, we see that it has no bounds, and we begin to see others as God’s children, with divine potential. He wants all of us to have that opportunity to feel that love, and so He uses our hearts, our hands, our might, our strength to accomplish His purposes.
We have a good friend, Jim, who served as a bishop in Texas about fifteen years ago, and he shared the following story with us. One early Sunday morning in his bishop’s office, he got a call from another bishop in his stake. The bishop told him that he was calling to give him a “head’s up” about a woman who had just moved into Jim’s ward. The bishop’s Elder’s quorum had helped move her the previous day. The bishop told him that the woman had many problems, that she was demanding, manipulative and hard to please. And he also told him that although he was sorry that Jim would have to work with her, that he was very glad that she was leaving his ward.
Well, right after sacrament meeting, the woman was at the door of the bishop’s office, wanting to talk with Jim. She was not very clean; her hair was dirty and stringy, her clothes were rumpled, and she did not give off a very happy aura or attitude. The bishop’s call had already made Jim apprehensive, and as he listened to her wants, her needs and her expectations, he felt overwhelmed. Finally he stopped her and said, “I’d like to get to know you better. Why don’t you tell me how you gained your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ?”
That question led to her past history and a whole litany of problems that had occurred during her childhood and growing up years. Frustrated, Jim bowed his head and quietly prayed, “Father, how do you see this woman?” As he lifted his head, sitting in front of him was a beautiful woman, a daughter of God. Humbled and amazed, Jim understood. The moment of revelation only lasted for a short time, but Jim understood.
Elder [David B.] Haight taught, “God does not love us because we are lovable, or because we have a pleasing personality, or because we have a good sense of humor. He loves us in spite of who we are or what we have done” (David B. Haight, “Love All,” Ensign, Nov. 1982).
Alma’s experience is another example for us as he tells Helaman, “From that time”—meaning the time of his miraculous conversion—“…I have labored without ceasing… [to] bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste…the exceeding joy [that I tasted]” (Alma 36:24).
As we carry out our Church callings, as we look for other ways to serve, as we extend kindness and love to others, and as we follow the whisperings of the Spirit that sometimes come to tell us who needs to be loved or served, those we serve will not only feel of our love, but they’ll feel of the Savior’s love.
I remember many years ago feeling deeply disappointed because I felt that I had been overlooked for a position that I wanted very badly. I felt that I had failed, that I had been rejected by my peers whom I respected, and that I didn’t want to face the world. In my mind I knew I was being foolish, but the negative feelings persisted so after several days, I finally knelt down and just poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father.
Within twenty minutes, my doorbell rang. As I opened the door, standing on my front porch was Sister Scoville, a unique wonderful woman in her early eighties who was also my visiting teacher. She had in her hand some little booklets from a Christian organization that she subscribed to that was sponsored by Norman Vincent Peale, who was a prominent Christian minister at that time. And she said to me, “Karen, I suddenly felt that maybe you should read these booklets.”
Each one of them was a message about how to face discouragement or disappointment using God’s love and positive thinking. I don’t remember anything specific about what I read. But I will never forget the love and gratitude I felt to Sister Scoville for listening to the whisperings of the Spirit and following the promptings, and the love that I felt to the Lord for answering my prayer.
President Monson has said, “Of all the blessings in my life,” and he has had many, “one of the sweetest is the feeling that the Lord provides when I know that He has answered the prayers of a person through me” (Thomas S. Monson, “How Do We Show Our Love,” Ensign, Jan. 1998). And you will remember that the Savior said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
The chorus of this song reads:
He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior’s love,
The love he freely gives me.
Elder [Robert F.] Orton, in a 2001 conference stated: “Given the purpose of our existence, if we do not love our neighbor and God, then whatever else we do will be of little consequence” (Robert F. Orton, “The First and Great Commandment,” Ensign, Nov. 2001). I love the scripture which says we should be “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17) .Recognizing the love of the Savior in our life, coming to know Him, yielding our hearts to Him, and loving and serving others will help us to be rooted and grounded in love. Are we?
Does He know that we will give all our life to Him? It’s my prayer that each of us will have that desire in our hearts. I testify that as we enter into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ that He will make us whole and complete, through the power of His Atonement, which is the greatest evidence of His love. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.