BUT A FEW DAYS. Elder Neal A. Maxwell Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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BUT A FEW DAYS Elder Neal A. Maxwell Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Address to CES Religious Educators • 10 September 1982 • Salt Palace Assembly Room

As the Search Committee— consisting of President Romney, Elder Packer, Elder Hanks and myself, as Commissioner— began a search for two presidents eleven and twelve years ago—it was interesting to me how we had come to an impasse in the Search Committee. I went back to my office and one of those strong impressions came through to me . . . about Hal Eyring . . . so I immediately called President Romney back on the phone—he was chairman of the committee—and asked if we could reassemble the committee—which we did. I presented Hal’s name to them for the presidency in connection with Ricks College, and of course it was warmly received. Quite parallel to that—as is often the case in life—President and Sister Eyring were being prepared by impressions of their own. I simply mention that because it’s an added testament to us all, brethren and sisters, about the linkage that goes on in our lives—often across hundreds and thousands of miles—that binds us together and then give us the glorious association that you and I have. I surely appreciate being with Hal and Cathy, Stan Peterson and Frank Day (your Associate Commissioners), the Zone Administrators, and each and all of you. I love you. I think you’ll sense that before I’m through, if you don’t already.

artificial leg and having to be helped, but wanting to be appropriately respectful to the President of the Church. He’s just remarkable, as you know, and struggling at almost ninety-seven. Yesterday, because of Elder Petersen’s absence, he sat next to President Benson and his little quip was, “Well I’m really moving up in the world.” If you don’t know this about him, you ought to. He has, I think (at last count) a hundred and eight great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. And, not too many months ago, he went to a daughter’s golden wedding anniversary. How’d you like to have your dad come to your golden wedding anniversary? Being ninety-seven he can say things the rest of us can’t. On one occasion when President Benson very kindly and generously was counseling the General Authorities that, if we were feeling ill, not to try to go out on the weekend; he was being very solicitous of us, and very loving. This went on for a couple of minutes. And when President Benson finished, LeGrand Richards said, “You’re a good daddy!”

I thought you might be interested in knowing that President Kimball did come to our temple meeting yesterday and spoke to us briefly and stayed the full time. He doesn’t have much energy, but he’s not lost his sense of humor and it’s a delight to have him there. The man is the message in so many ways; and his very presence, and the way in which he endures so gracefully, is yet another dimension of that message.

But a Few Days

I want first of all to express my everlasting and personal appreciation to you brothers and sisters for all that you have done and are doing and will yet do in the Church’s program of religious education—whether in a seminary or an institute, or in a college or a university—all that you are doing to bless the younger members of the Church. And so as another academic year begins, I wanted to commend you for several specific things.

My own expectation, carefully arrived at, brothers and sisters, is that when the true history of the Church is written, it will show (among other things) a strong, even profound, correlation between the growth and quality of our seminary and institute program and our courses of religious instruction, and the growth of the Church’s full-time missions. It is not accidental that the seminary and institute program spread coincidentally with the spread of the missionary work around this globe. Indeed, the generations carefully instructed by you and your colleagues throughout the world will have

Brother LeGrand Richards was with us also. I was touched yesterday as President Kimball came into the room, to see Brother Richards struggling to try to get up—to stand up respectfully to greet him . . . with his

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Address to CES Religious Educators • 10 September 1982 • Elder Neal A. Maxwell

permit you to make a genuine contribution to the lives of your students. So I come, most of all, tonight, in gospel gratitude to speak in praise and appreciation of you, and perhaps to offer a little counsel.

provided crucial and successive waves of young disciples so needed in the overall development of the Church. Looking back one day we shall see how the development of student wards and stakes will likewise have made, simultaneously, a very significant contribution to the preparing of the rising generations of young Latter-day Saints to fulfill their destiny.

First of all, brothers and sisters, be successful husbands and wives and fathers and mothers. If anything is amiss at home and in your family, please set it right quietly and quickly, and the Lord will magnify you and lift you up in the eyes of those you are to influence. You can’t be a successful teacher in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor can I, if things are not right in our eternal callings. Those callings we have, as husbands and wives and fathers and mothers, will outlast any other Church calling we have, and when the time comes in the next world when stakes and wards fall away like so much scaffolding, there will be the eternal family! And there we shall be, installed as officers in those branches of the Kingdom. This is the calling, of course, that matters most and at which we most need to succeed.

Furthermore, while I’m at it, the new publications of the scriptures (with which so many of you generously helped) will likewise prove to be a subtle but powerful and parallel influence in holding and nourishing the faithful members of the Church, especially the younger members. I am not sanguine that some of the older members of the Church will become accustomed to (and use heavily) the new publications of the scriptures; but under your tutelage, the rising generations will—and they will be much blessed because of that. And for all of you who helped in that project, my gratitude is given unstintingly. Every time I open those books, which is virtually every day, I am just grateful for all that you did, in addition to your other chores.

Now for a few words of counsel. Being experienced teachers, you already sense the relentless rush with which time comes at us. Years become days, especially when we’re happy. “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” (Genesis 29:20.) When thus calculated, brothers and sisters, you have but a few days left in your teaching career in the classrooms. And with your current students, those you will have this fall and spring, only an afternoon. Jacob, the poet prophet, observed how “the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream. (Jacob 7:26.)

Parenthetically, but no less importantly, when that same true history of the Church is written, it will reflect the many unique and marvelous contributions to the work of God made by Latter-day Saint women. That is a topic, however, for another time and occasion. In any event, brothers and sisters, you and your labors will have been satisfyingly and inextricably bound up in these and other signal achievements which will have made such a discernable difference in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Kingdom in the last days. Surely the labor you engage in is in compliance with the wise counsel of Nephi who said that we should avoid laboring “for that which cannot satisfy.” (2 Nephi 9:51.) You labor in one of the most satisfying assignments anyone could have.

Yes, one’s time and life is, dreamlike, running out—but outward, as a stream which empties itself into the wide expanse of eternity. Alas, with the clock running, you will actually give the last formal gospel instruction some of your students will experience, especially if they come from homes of inactive parents or if they fail to make it over Fool’s Hill. Do all you can to fortify them against the world. Let them, through you, sample gospel sweetness so that, ere long (as with the prodigal son) the ways of the world will taste sour to them. Even among those whose taste buds of the soul are scalded by sin, some will later recover their sense of spiritual taste. Like the prodigal son, these will remember and compare their sad condition with what once was, and they too will come to their senses. Help them to realize in a time when people

Each of you realizes, long since, that you teach what you are. It is that lesson in the memories of your students which will outlast all other lessons that you will teach. You, as a person, can bulk large in the memory of your students. Your teaching techniques will be secondary to what you are as an individual. Your traits will be more remembered, compositely, than a particular truth in a particular lesson. This is as it should be, for if our discipleship is serious, it will show, and it will be remembered. Such perspectives about how you will be remembered, plus your personal righteousness, will

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Address to CES Religious Educators • 10 September 1982 • Elder Neal A. Maxwell

view of what God is like, and how he loves them—what life is all about, including life’s felicity and adversity, both routine and splendor, both ordinariness and specialness. If students see in you, as I am sure they do, the quiet goodness and righteousness which goes with overcoming the world, and if they see true faith in the purposes of the Lord, they will remember. They will remember.

are particularly critical of institutions, that the Church is put in place “for the perfecting of the Saints”—not as an ecclesiastical country club for the already perfected. Encourage them to emulate in their relationships with their parents, Church leaders, and peers the generous attitude underlying these words of Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection . . . , but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections.” (Mormon 9:31.) Why? “That ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Mormon 9:31.) That spirit of generosity ought to pervade our families, our neighborhoods, our quorums, our wards, and certainly our classrooms.

I share now with you five scriptures which bear heavily upon what we should teach and stress about the central purposes of life. Jesus said to a worshipful woman of Samaria, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship.” (John 4:22; emphasis added.) Students should know what the nature and character of the God they worship is. One revelation describes Jesus’ growth from “grace to grace” while in mortality and then the Lord declares significantly, “I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship.” (D&C 93:19; emphasis added.) The challenge of moving along the strait and narrow pathway to perfection step by step is a divinely given challenge, from grace to grace, from experience to experience. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48.) And subsequently, the resurrected Jesus declared, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:48.) And then in describing what manner of individuals we ought to be, Jesus also declared, “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Nephi 27:27.)

Assist your students in developing a great respect for the fulness—not mere fragments—of the scriptures. Occasionally, read aloud at least some of the key verses to them so that these words are even more anchored in their memories, just as was done anciently. “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense and caused them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8.) I still remember the voice of my seminary teacher, James Moss, reading the scriptures. This ought to be something you do at least periodically, as I’m sure you do in your homes, so that your sons and daughters remember dad’s voice reading Joseph Smith’s experience in the Grove, and mother’s voice reading the Sermon on the Mount. Those scriptures are powerful words, and, encased in the human voice, they will be preserved in memory for years and years to come. Do all you can, as I’m sure you are, to sensitize your students to this subtlety. And that is this: you and I as teachers must at times say, in all candor, as did Nephi in response to a difficult question, “I know that he [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” (1 Nephi 11:17.) We must not go beyond that which we are prepared to teach and we must not be embarrassed when we do not know the meaning of all things. But having so stipulated, let us teach well the meaning of those things we do know— which, after all, are the things that matter most. It is of these fundamentals we can and should say, “We believe and are sure.” (John 6:69.)

It seems to me, brothers and sisters, that this cluster of scriptures are there to remind us and to sensitize us to the central objective of life, which is to become as our Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ are. It is not an optional objective. These scriptures were not placed there merely to satisfy our theological curiosity. They bear constantly and irrevocably upon the purposes of life and they are those scriptures which, if we ponder them, will explain the divine tutorials which come to each of us, the soul-stretching experiences which are designed precisely to give us the growth we need. And if we brush by them and if we feel it is an objective so distant and so out of reach as to be unobtainable, we do our students a great disservice. Now the Prophet Joseph Smith said it is a process that goes on beyond the veil. It’s eventual and not immediate in its attainment, but there is nothing casual about those declarations. They

With Mormon we can declare, “I do not know all things, but the Lord knoweth all things.” (Words of Mormon 1:2.) We cannot and we should not teach students what their detailed response should be to every challenge they will face in life. But we can help them to understand—in

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Address to CES Religious Educators • 10 September 1982 • Elder Neal A. Maxwell

ness are all growing rapidly and simultaneously. Being of good cheer, therefore, is not naiveté concerning conditions in the world—nor is it superficiality in reacting to the rigors of life. It is a deliberate attitudinal and intellectual posture, a deep trust in God’s unfolding purposes—not only for all of mankind, but for each of us as individuals. Indeed, this attribute which Jesus spoke of might well be called “gospel gladness.” It involves being constantly aware, and appreciative, of the ultimate justifications for our being of good cheer. Gospel gladness places the proximate frustrations and tribulations in needed perspective. If, however, our good cheer depends too much on the outcome of an election, or an athletic contest, or having a good date, or on interest rates coming down, or the outcome of a sales contest, then our moods are too much at the mercy of men and circumstance. There are, to be sure, proximate things over which we can and should rightfully rejoice, but it is the ultimate things over which we can be of lasting good cheer.

were not placed in the scriptures to taunt us, or as earlier indicated simply to satisfy our curiosity. But when you teach the nature and character of God and Jesus, please observe that their virtuousness (the Father’s and the Son’s) is not a vague virtuousness; it is not a generalized goodness. It is an attribute-byattribute reality. Thus the fundamental goal each of us has been given is the same. Young and old, married and single, rich and poor, men and women alike—we are to walk the same path; and as neighbors on that path, we are to help each other along the way. The degree to which you and I develop these cardinal characteristics in this world gives us so much the advantage in the world to come. These qualities are portable. These qualities are what will rise with us in the resurrection. Not much else will go. The cars, the homes, the clothes, the medals, the press clippings—all stay behind. What rises with us in the resurrection is the degree to which we have become like them, attribute by attribute. And that, of course, is what life is all about.

Note what Jesus said to the Twelve in this powerful scripture: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.) How was it possible for the Twelve to be of good cheer? The unimaginable agony of Gethsemane was about to descend upon Jesus; Judas’ betrayal was imminent. Then would come Jesus’ arrest and arraignment; the scattering of the Twelve like sheep; the awful scourging of the Savior; the unjust trial; the mob’s shrill cry for Barabas instead of Jesus; and then the awful crucifixion on Calvary. What was there to be cheerful about? Just what Jesus said: He had overcome the world! The atonement was about to be a reality. The resurrection of all mankind was assured. Death was to be done away with—Satan had failed to stop the atonement. These are the fundamental facts. These are the resplendent realities over which we are to be of good cheer, even in the midst of the disappointments of the day. Please help your students to focus on these basic things which are firmly and irrevocably in place. Then they can better cope with the frustrations and the tactical tribulations of the moment.

Those attributes include love, justice, meekness, mercy, patience, power, truth, and knowledge. And these qualities are not acquired by attending a lecture. They are acquired experience by experience, and “line upon line,” and “precept upon precept.” (See 2 Nephi 28:30.) They are also learned in process of time, and they are developed in mortality’s clinical experiences, in that intriguing scriptural phrase, “according to the flesh.” (Alma 7:11, 12.) In fact, when we see the scriptures that say there is no other way,” it is not exclusively a reference to the way of salvation but it also means (in my opinion) there is no other way that our Father in Heaven could bring this kind of growth and development into our lives except we pass through this mortal experience. It’s here that we’ll learn patience. Patience can’t be learned in the abstract, nor can mercy. And the relevant clinical experiences come to us relentlessly in life, if we will but use them. I sense for instance, as you no doubt do, that even among the young people in the Church who are faithful, there are so many lures and distractions which can blur their focus on the fundamentals we’ve just been talking about. I sense, too, in them, a genuine anxiety about the immediate future of this world. One of our challenges, therefore, is to so teach and to so live, that we can be contagious with our gospel’s good cheer. It is no accident, brothers and sisters, that nuclear fears, political fatalism, and behavioral permissive-

On another occasion, when Church members (apparently many of them) were being held hostage, their lives were to be forfeit if the signs prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite concerning Jesus’ birth did not appear. And what were they told by the Lord? “Lift up your head and be of good cheer.” (3 Nephi 1:13.) Why?

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Address to CES Religious Educators • 10 September 1982 • Elder Neal A. Maxwell

children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.” (D&C 50:40.)

“For behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world.” (3 Nephi 1:13.) The glorious and necessary mortal ministry of the Messiah was about to begin. That was cause for good cheer!

Will their temptations be cause for your students to feel they have been tempted beyond that which they can bear? No. How do we know this? “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13.) Your students can either escape or bear temptations. It is up to them.

On still another occasion Jesus healed a paralytic. And what did he say to him? “Be of good cheer.” (Matthew 9:2.) Why? Because “thy sins be forgiven thee.” (Matthew 9:2.) Emancipation from error, as well as emancipation from death, constitutes a fundamental reason to be of good cheer. In yet another episode, Paul was in jail. Jesus stood by him for a good part of the night and Paul was told he should “be of good cheer.” (Acts 23:11.) Yet Paul had just been struck on the mouth, publicly, on order from Ananias. Forty Jews were plotting his death. He was yet to face a trial for sedition. There would also be a shipwreck. Why, therefore, should he be of good cheer? Because, said Jesus, he would take the gospel to Rome. (See Acts 23:11.) How precious are the perspectives of the gospel!

And neither should your students mistake the seeming ordinariness and gradualism of their growth for a lack of God’s love. Just because their life is not dramatic in its proportions does not mean that something is failing to go on. The Lord has told us how he teaches us. It sounds like a seminary and institute curriculum. “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, 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.” (2 Nephi 28:30.) Therefore, while there are dramatic moments in each of our lives, most individual growth is incremental and quiet. Human growth is not that different, usually, from trying to watch the grass grow. We can’t see it grow, but it grows; and the students you teach this year, whom you may see next year, will have grown. But it is not something we can usually measure on a day-to-day basis; and yet, when they are righteous, it is relentless.

Brigham Young was a somewhat discouraged young man in the late 1820s. He hadn’t met Joseph Smith; he didn’t know about the Book of Mormon; there was no restored Church to join. Brigham disapproved of much of what he saw in the world and wondered if he might have a significant work to do. His loving brother, Phineas, said to Brigham, “Hang on, for I know the Lord is going to do something for us.” (P.H. Young to Elder B. Young, 11 August, 1845, Brigham Young Collection, MSD 1234, box 44, fd 4, item 6, Historical Department Archives.) Help your youngsters to hang on—to understand as their lives unfold, that when they are sometimes perplexed, they, too, have cause to be of good cheer, even when the circumstances of the moment suggest otherwise.

No wonder in view of these realities, brethren and sisters, the Prophet Joseph Smith was counseled while in jail in Liberty, Missouri, in 1839, by being told that certain experiences would be given him for his good. It is this same spirit of good cheer, of accepting the individualized curricula that God has for each of us in his plan of salvation, that was so gallantly displayed by a young woman called Eliza R. Snow. Thanks to Ken Godfrey and his associates, this story is brought forward. In February, 1846, Eliza was crossing the frozen surface of Iowa “seated in an ox wagon, on a chest with a brass kettle and a soap box for our foot stools.” How did she feel about it? Eliza said she was, “thankful that we are so well off.” (Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey, Jill Mulvay Derr, Women’s Voices [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], p. 147.) Your students

Continue to help them to understand, as I am sure you do, that the divine tutorials through which they will pass individually are not cause for them to abandon their cheerful spirit toward life. “Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.” (Mosiah 23:21.) This is the kind of scripture that makes the soul shiver just a bit. But we must not let our students or ourselves take divine tutoring to mean divine indifference. The trials of our faith and our patience will be real. But they will not be so much as to overwhelm us, for God knows our bearing capacity. “Behold,” he said, “ye are little

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Address to CES Religious Educators • 10 September 1982 • Elder Neal A. Maxwell

made a noise of sanction, though they have forgotten about that moment. And it centered upon their appreciation for that plan of salvation.

will live in times when, like Eliza, they must be of good cheer and be thankful that they are so well off. The years of ease, the periods of plenty are gone—with yesterday. And the gallantry that is inherent in these budding young disciples whom you teach will come to the fore none too soon as the individualized curricula about which I have spoken come upon them.

So it is, my brothers and sisters, that the plan of salvation deserves to be presented, both by superb teaching and by the eloquence of your example, in order to offset the fatalism and despair that is growing in the world. So much of the current despair comes from iniquity. “As iniquity grows,” said Moroni, “so will the despair of people.” (See Moroni 10:22.) Some despair, however, comes from the absence of that gospel framework of understanding within which one can confidently live out his or her mortal span. Well taught, well behaved young Latter-day Saints have no need for despair from either of these causes.

I pause now to share with you this story of a wonderful man at Brigham Young University of Hawaii Campus, Herb—a comparatively new convert to the Church. Not long after Herb had joined the Church with his wife and family, his wife, his daughter, and his mother-inlaw were in a car. A young man, drunkenly celebrating the birth of his first child, ironically, plunged into their car with his car and killed all three of them. So soon in the Church; so soon tried! And in the midst of that deep anguish which you and I can only guess at, Herb, being the Christian he is, realized that as much as he was suffering, there was someone suffering even more: the young man who had caused the death of those three individuals. So Herb found where the young man lived, and went and knocked on his door. As the young man opened his door, he shrank back in fear, assuming that Herb was coming in the spirit of vengeance. Herb reassured him by saying, “Please don’t be afraid. I’ve come to tell you that I forgive you for what you have done.” The young man fell sobbing into his arms. Herb went to court to appear for this young man, not a member of the Church. Herb gave him a blessing. Why? Because Herb knows that forgiveness is a part of the gospel and we either take each principle seriously or it does not become a part of our personality.

Please instruct your students so that they will understand that even the divine tutorials are a part of this learning process, and that there can be gospel gladness if we have the precious perspective about what is really going on in life. I do not know if there will be an economic depression. But even if there is, it will not affect the reality of the resurrection. I do not know how bad the problem of terrorism will become in this world. But I know it cannot adversely affect that better world for which you are preparing your students. Nor will a case of cancer cancel out the promise of the holy temple endowment. There are fundamental realities over which we have everlasting cause to be of good cheer. And it is against these that we must measure the disappointments of the day in order to have a proper perspective. Jesus has told us of that triad of tools that the adversary uses to inflict casualties upon the children of God. And Jesus describes them as temptation, persecution, and tribulation. It is these that take us from the straight and narrow path. But even in the midst of these, as already indicated, we can “be of good cheer.”

I mention that story because the individualized challenges that come at the students whom you teach will come often more rapidly than they may feel they’re ready. It is so vital for them to understand that plan of salvation. We have treated it with triteness so often in the Church, when its grandness and its proportions exceed any capacity you and I have to describe that plan.

So, my brothers and sisters, as one who has spent a little time in the classroom, I am filled tonight with a sense of appreciation and commendation for you. I salute you for handling well those golden teaching moments—moments that are known only to you, to the student, and to the Lord (and sometimes not to the student)—when you say what needs to be said, and what you said is remembered and is acted upon. These are the moments, in the eternities to come, that will be gratefully remembered by your students and for which they will rise and praise your names everlastingly.

The thrilling thing that ought always to be in our memory about the young adults and the youth whom you teach is the realization that even when they are somewhat sleepy or rebellious or seemingly inattentive and indifferent, they were among those who in that premortal state when that plan was unveiled, shouted for joy! They voted with their lungs! And on those occasions when they seem noisy to you, and irreverent, please remember there was another time when they

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Address to CES Religious Educators • 10 September 1982 • Elder Neal A. Maxwell

for [him] not to have been there.” (Elizabeth Longford, Wellington: The Years of the Sword [New York: Harper and Row, 1969], p. 590.) Of you in your classroom, let that be said justifiably and quietly by others, that it would not have done for you not to have been there, so important is the service that you render!

I realize there are times when, as with all of us, a seminary teacher may feel he is almost anonymous. It is not true. It only seems that way. If I ask you here tonight, with the exception of a few historians among you, to tell me who Eleazer Miller is, you couldn’t do it. Who was he? It was the plain testimony of a simple Elder, Eleazer Miller, that firmly launched Brigham Young into Mormonism. And Brigham bowed to a man without eloquence who could only say, “I know.” I know. Of that man, Brigham said, “The Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true.” (Journal of Discourses, 1:90.) And Brigham was baptized on a cold, snowy day in April in 1832 by Eleazer Miller. Your students will know when you know. And even if they do not yet know, they will rely upon your words and have faith in your words.

I love you. I respect you. I appreciate you. And if there is any imagery upon which I would focus as I close, it is two scriptures from the Book of Mormon. The one in which we are reminded that Jesus himself is the gatekeeper and that “he employeth no servant there.” (2 Nephi 9:41.) Once I assumed, with partial correctness, that that scripture was a clear indication that Jesus would be there to certify, because he knows perfectly well who could enter and who could not. And I am sure that is one of the reasons he stands at that gate and “employeth no servant there.” But I will tell you . . . out of the conviction of my soul . . . what I think the major reason is, as contained in another Book of Mormon scripture which says he waits for you “with open arms.” (Mormon 6:17.) That’s why he’s there! He waits for you “with open arms.” That imagery is too powerful to brush aside—even for a sleepy sophomore. It is imagery that should work itself into the very center core of one’s mind—a rendezvous impending, a moment in time and space, the likes of which there is none other. And that rendezvous is a reality. I certify that to you. He does wait for us with open arms, because his love of us is perfect. And when he entreats us to become like him, it is that we might have his joy, the fulness of which we presently can only guess at.

I hesitate to make this suggestion, but do so knowing you’ll be judicious in how you apply it. I would only apply it if you felt so impressed. But would it be possible in each class, whether the class is a semester or a quarter or whatever the school year brings, that you would teach one lesson, one day, as if it were to be the last lesson you were ever to teach? What would you say if your next discussion or presentation in seminary or institute were, in fact, to be the last you would ever give? And may I suggest that, occasionally, at least once with each group, you teach that way. And say to them what you would say if, in fact, that were to be your last lesson, your last lecture. We must bear our testimonies to them regularly, but not constantly. We must not use testimony as a substitute for preparation. But testimonies ought to be borne regularly. On an occasion, why not teach a lesson or make a presentation or give a last lecture as if, in fact, it were your last. What would you say? And before that class departs, do it. They’ll remember. They will remember.

And so as I leave you, with a sense of being a part of your grand family, it is to remind you of that rendezvous that awaits us all. I do love you, and now in Apostolic authority, I bless you, that, individually, those added things that will make you even more effective in your teaching might come to the fore in your mental process so that these can be acted upon, so that that circle of influence you have, the circumference of which is already impressive, will become even wider and even more inclusive of those who presently stand just outside its borders. Because you care about that which you teach and you know that that individual about whom you teach, Jesus Christ, cares perfectly for you. And I so bless you in that Apostolic authority, and in love, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Now my brothers and sisters, I hope you sense my love and appreciation for you because it is very genuine and very real. May I suggest as I do to myself, in closing, that like an able and brave general who fought victoriously in a vital but far less vital battle than you and I are in, that you and I so comport ourselves that it can be said of us what was said of him. “It would not have done

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