Leaders Worthy of Emulation: Elder Nelson
Sister Wendy Nelson and I are delighted to be with you on this historic occasion. We thank President Henry B. Eyring for this opportunity and privilege to be with him, Sister Eyring, and with each of you. We are also grateful to be with my associate in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder David A. Bednar, and his dear wife, Susan.
This institution has had many outstanding presidents. Since the year 1971, it has been my privilege to work closely with six great men inaugurated as presidents of this institution. You know of their greatness and their goodness. They are Henry B. Eyring, Bruce C. Hafen, Joe J. Christensen, Steven D. Bennion, David A. Bednar, and Kim B. Clark. We are honored to be among them here today.
On this day of the dedication of the new BYU-Idaho Center, you could each take this opportunity to rededicate yourselves to the same principles that have made these presidents such great individuals. They follow the Lord Jesus Christ. As they emulate Him, they likewise set examples worthy of our emulation.
Though they come from different backgrounds in life, they have each become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have taken His holy name upon them. Willingly and submissively, they have allowed their will to be swallowed up in the will of the Lord. Among their many shared virtues, perhaps I could identify four attributes that we can apply in our own lives. They and their eternal companions
- Pray regularly
- Regard other people respectfully
- Study spiritual and secular subjects symmetrically, and
- Tithe faithfully.
You can easily remind yourself of these attributes by remembering four letters of the alphabet. They are p, r, s, and t standing for pray, regard, study, and tithe. You know these topics very well. And I know these men and their companions very well. I know them well enough to know that they are truly diligent in their commitment to pray regularly, to regard other people respectfully, to study spiritual and secular subjects symmetrically (in proper balance), and to tithe faithfully. As you apply these attributes in your own lives, as they have in theirs, you will also be blessed.
The highest hope in their hearts and in yours for joy and success here and hereafter is enabled by developing an unshakable faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This life can be mighty frightening at times, with its challenges, surprises, and heavy trials. Now is the time to fortify your faith. Believe in God. Believe in Jesus Christ. Believe in the Holy Ghost. Believe in your capacity to be strengthened and sustained by them even through your darkest hours of despair. Listen to these words of the Lord, as recorded in Section 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord . . . , and are recorded with this seal and testament the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; . . . all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name's glory, saith the Lord.1
Ponder that incredible promise! The Lord chose the strongest words to certify his intent. Your prayers are recorded with a seal and testament sworn and decreed with an immutable covenant that your afflictions will accrue to your good, and be certified by His holy name.
Later in that same section, this promise of the Lord is extended to the posterity of His faithful children. Listen to this remarkable promise: AI, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children's battles, and their children's children's,...to the third and fourth generation.2 Brothers and sisters, that promise can also be yours, through your faithfulness!
I testify that God lives. Jesus is the Christ. His Church has been restored. President Thomas S. Monson is His presiding Apostle today. As you follow the Lord and His leaders in His Church and in this University, you will be blessed now and forever more. I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
1. Doctrine and Covenants 98:1-3
2. Doctrine and Covenants 98:37