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Former LDS General Young Women President and husband address BYU-Idaho

October 21, 2009

Writer: Writer: Erica Colvin

Former General Young Women President Susan W. Tanner and husband, John S. Tanner, taught students and university employees at Tuesday's devotional how to achieve holiness.


Brother Tanner, the Academic vice president for Brigham Young University, explained that the word "holy" is an important term for Latter-day Saints. "It is not only carved above the entrance to every temple, it is interwoven across the pages of scripture," he said. "Holiness is a core concept of religion itself; and becoming holy is a fundamental purpose of life, for it means becoming like God."


Explaining further, Sister Tanner shared that "holiness describes the very nature of God and of everything that is godlike.... In fact, each member of the Godhead bears titles containing the term ‘holy.'"


Brother Tanner also explained the Old English or Germanic origin of the word, "which is related to the concept of whole.... A holy life must be a whole life. It is pure, undiluted. Holy people do the right thing for the right reason."


Holiness is evident in Sabbath and temple worship, which Latter-day Saints view as sacred and consecrated, Sister Tanner said.


However, Brother Tanner cautioned that today's society is becoming more and more profane-the opposite of holy. "Secular society has forgotten how to reverence what is holy, whether this is the Lord's name, or the Sabbath, or the temple of our bodies and our sacred procreative powers."


Together, Brother and Sister Tanner advised students to stand in holy places by attending the temple often. "The temple is intended to engrave holiness deep into our lives," Brother Tanner said. Another holy place, they said, can be found in the home and with family members.


Sister Tanner then commented on what she called "a great age of temple construction." With 130 LDS temples throughout the world, she explained that Heavenly Father "does not expect His people merely to build holy temples but to become holy temples. He does not desire us merely to go through the temple. He desires the temple to go through us."


In conclusion, Brother and Sister Tanner invited students and employees to repent, be humble, and do what is right. "This is our goal: to be a holy people, a Zion society," Brother Tanner said.