Closing Remarks by President Gordon B. Hinckley
Brigham Young University–Idaho Inauguration
October 11, 2005
What a great message we had from President Clark. What an inspirational thing. What a great leader we have. And how thankful I am that he has come here to lead this great and unique institution. Governor Kempthorne, President Summers, thank you very much for your regards and for all who have spoken. And now, in conclusion, a few words.
Pardon me first for telling a personal experience. Three or four days ago I was presented with a treasured volume that came from somewhere, I do not know where. It is the old textbook that I used 75 years ago when I was one of four students who studied Greek at the University of Utah.
I have long since lost my ability to read Greek and also Latin which I took at that time. But in the course of my studies I had the opportunity of reading the New Testament in the original Greek and gained from that a great insight of love and appreciation for my Savior and the great and glorious things which He taught. I gained a love also for those who think and say things. I gained even a reverence for the wisdom of great and inspired thinkers.
My love for the wisdom that comes of teaching and learning stems from the mandate given this people through divine revelation. Said the Lord:
And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another. . .
Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and also a knowledge of countries and of kingdoms (Doctrine and Covenants 88:77–79).
I know of no other religious body which has in its doctrine any such statement.
Education is a part of our religion. The Lord has further said: "The glory of God is intelligence" (Doctrine and Covenants 93:36), and "whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection" (Doctrine and Covenants 130:18). Knowledge, understanding, education, these are all eternal things. What a glorious and wonderful concept this is.
Now, I do not think that my Latin or my Greek have any eternal significance. But some of the elements that came with that study do have eternal significance. There are principles and concepts and statements of values which are everlasting in their nature.
It is for this reason that this Church spends millions of its resources on educating its young people. Our annual budget for education is the largest single budget we have in the Church, with the exception of expenditures for building and maintaining houses of worship as we grow and advance across the world.
We maintain BYU–Idaho, BYU–Provo, BYU–Hawaii and LDS Business College with a combined student body of approximately 45,000 full-time students. I wish we could maintain more. These are not only first-class institutions for the teaching of secular subjects. A fundamental and basic part of all of their curriculum is the teaching of values, of moral responsibility, of spiritual truth, of faith. They have demonstrated, as I think no other institutions in America have demonstrated, that a first-class secular education can be taught in company with a strong and solid teaching of values and spiritual truth and knowledge.
Where we cannot maintain universities, we have a program of religious institutes with facilities near the campuses of almost every major educational institution in America. We have one such at Harvard.
Dr. Clark, I understand that one of your special interests is the teaching of a management concept called modularity. I quote now: "Modularity is an efficient way to build a complex design from smaller subsystems that can be designed independently yet function together as a whole."
To my unknowing mind, I suppose that means various components are assembled into an operating efficient whole. Reduced to working terms, I suppose that means that one part of an automobile might be produced in Japan, another in Mexico, another in Canada, and another in the United States. Then all are brought together to constitute a beautiful and efficient automobile.
If that concept is correct, or if my understanding of it is correct, then might I suggest that on this campus you have the great opportunity and the great challenge of melding together in to a wonderful and interesting whole a tremendous variety of young people who come from all across America and from some foreign lands, bringing them all together in a great body of scholars who will learn together and assist one another and will work with each other to bring about vast good in the world in which they will live. This sick old world so needs people of integrity, people of principle, people of high ideals, and people of great talent and faith to strengthen and mold society in a far better way than it is now being molded.
As we look at our society there are so many problems we face. The family is falling apart. Infidelity and divorce are rampant. So many children are born to single mothers. A writer in the Wall Street Journal recently stated that the percentage of live births to single women was a mere 4 percent in the early 1950s. In 2003, it reached 35 percent, and a dramatic 68 percent among blacks (Wall Street Journal, "The Hallmark of the Underclass," by Charles Murray, Sep 29, 2005).
Every child who comes into the world is entitled to a married and loving father and mother. Every family needs a nurturing father. Every family needs the strength and stability of a decent, good, God-fearing man.
Alcohol and drugs are destroying the lives of millions. What a remarkable thing it is that you can walk about this campus and not pick up a beer can, or a hypodermic needle, or find a student addicted to binge drinking or the use of methamphetamines.
A recent issue of Newsweek carried a long article saying that methamphetamine is America's most dangerous drug. It tells the story of a woman named Kimberly Fields. She and her husband bought a house in a leafy Chicago suburb. Before long they were parents, with two sons, a black Labrador and a Volvo in the drive. But somewhere along the way this blond mother with a college degree and a $100,000-a-year job found something that came to matter more: methamphetamine.
Kimberly tried drug rehab but failed. She couldn't care for her children. Her husband divorced her. She was arrested three times for shoplifting — most recently, police say, for allegedly stealing over-the-counter cold pills containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient used in making meth (Newsweek, Aug 8, 2005, p. 41).
What a tragedy, what a terrible tragedy. And such tragedies can be found all over this land.
I think it unlikely that those who leave this campus, imbued with what is taught here, will ever stumble into so dreadful an abyss.
Dr. Clark, we welcome you most warmly. We are so richly blessed to have you presiding over this institution. You are a man of great learning. You are an individual with a demonstrated humanitarian spirit. You are recognized for your abilities across the world. Now you have been kind enough to come here, to build this university.
We are trying an experiment here. We think this school is different from any other university in America. Some of its features, of course, are the same, but many are unique.
We did away with intercollegiate football, and there was something of a howl that went up. But instead of a relatively few involved in intercollegiate sports, the whole student body is in intramural sports, and having a wonderful time. They are involved with the arts, with music, with other such activities on a very large scale.
The internship system is unique. Companies invite our students to serve as interns, because they can have them all through the year instead of during the summer only. The track system allowing for three entry points during the academic year, and requirements for computer learning are handled in an unusual way.
What a remarkable thing it is that the faculty have given up all rank. Where else will you find such a phenomenon on a large university campus?
Along side this campus we are constructing a beautiful new stake center, a house of instruction and worship, where these students may grow in a knowledge of the things of God, where they may gain knowledge of the Redeemer of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. And there will soon be a magnificent temple rising to the south of us with a statue of an angel of the Lord on its crowning steeple. Here the students will be taught things of eternity. Those who fall in love on this campus will be married not until death do ye part, but for all eternity.
I submit that this campus, with its adjoining buildings, may literally offer a foretaste of heaven with the imparting of knowledge, both secular and spiritual, with the encouragement of unselfish service, with the teaching of values that are everlasting in their consequence, and with faith in the Living God. I pray that it may be so, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.