Students compared to pearls at Winter Commencement
Writer: Writer: J. Rebecca Smith
Elder Jay E. Jensen, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addressed 1,544 graduates at the Brigham Young University-Idaho Winter Commencement on April 10, 2010.
Elder Jensen began by telling the story of a merchant who purchased an invaluable pearl. Because he valued the treasure so much, he hired a craftsman to carve a beautiful jewel box, and lined it with blue velvet. The merchant was disappointed when everyone admired the box more than the pearl. "I believe that the beautifully printed graduation certificate ... is the box. You and all that you have in you-your skills, your knowledge, your eternal sprit-are the precious pearl," he said. "If we can draw your attention away from your diploma, we are here today to honor you."
Jensen also mentioned five ways to increase graduates' value as pearls: faith, service, moral purity, self-reliance and making and keeping covenants. He cautioned students that their lives would not be easy. Quoting President Gordon B. Hinckley, he stated, "Life is like an old-time rail journey-delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
Roger G. Christensen, assistant commissioner of the Church Educational System, also addressed graduating students. He encouraged them to remember their education by continuing to "create special learning environments where [they] can ponder new ideas and engage in important, uplifting and insightful conversations."
BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark also spoke, advising the graduates to keep the world out of their hearts and to serve the Lord. He concluded, "You have a marvelous destiny and a great work to do in [the Lord's] kingdom."