Brother Steven J. Lund
Young Men General President
Brother Steven J. Lund received an undergraduate degree in communications and a law degree, both from Brigham Young University. He worked as an attorney before becoming president and CEO of a large Utah-based cosmetics company. He is currently its executive chairman of the board of directors. He also serves as a regent of the Utah System of Higher Education.
Brother Lund was sustained as Young Men general president on April 4, 2020. His past Church assignments have included service as a full-time missionary in the Netherlands Amsterdam Mission, mission president in the Georgia Atlanta Mission, coordinator of the Provo City Center Temple Dedication Committee, member of the Young Men general board, and Area Seventy.
He and his wife, Kalleen, have four children and nine grandchildren.
Please respond to the question below on the devotional discussion board:
To establish whether a scale is true and accurate, one might test it against a standard certified weight. What are various standards you might use to establish if a spiritual assertion is true and accurate?
Thank you for joining us here virtually at Brigham Young University—Idaho, one of our favorite places. We express our love and support of President and Sister Eyring, with whom our lives have intersected before. It turns out the President Eyring and I went to the same law school but separated in time; and Sister Lund and I, and President and Sister Eyring, served as mission leaders, also together and apart. We entered the Provo MTC on the same day together as new mission leaders; they to go west to Japan and we to go east to Atlanta, Georgia.
The last time I came to the BYU-Idaho campus on a priesthood assignment was clear back in the 20 th century, nearly pioneer times. I was almost 19 years old when a letter was dropped in our family mailbox up on the highway where the dirt road we lived on intersected with the world. It was a paper letter, now almost as much of another era as when Brother Brigham used to extend mission calls from the tabernacle pulpit or send letters with a Box “B” return address. Getting an actual letter in one’s mailbox is rare today, but for an obscure priest living on a dirt road outside of town in the Santa Rosa, California, Third Ward, it was rare even then.
My letter was from Harold B. Lee, the President of the Church, calling me to the greatest adventure I could have imagined: as a missionary in the Netherlands Amsterdam Mission. I’m a little ashamed that 18-year-old me had to find a map to find the Netherlands. As I read more of the letter, it got better as I learned that I would be stopping off in Rexburg, Idaho, to study Dutch at the Language Training Mission.
My start date was January 6, which was pretty much the dead of the vaunted Idaho winter, with its astonishingly beautiful sun rises, experienced each morning anew as our little band of brothers walked to campus through the blowing, frozen, snow-drifting, feet-numbing cold of Idaho. While we were there, the college held an ice sculpture contest, and students built a massive, true-to-scale viking ship in the courtyard behind the Manwaring Center out of home-grown snow. For the months that we were there, the ship remained, and I think not a single snowflake melted from its frozen mast.
Over the eight weeks, our cohort of missionaries was on campus living up on the hill and hunkered down in small classrooms. We learned a lot more than Dutch. As happens when one commits to Heavenly Father’s service, we felt His Spirit often. Our morning devotionals, sometimes featuring President Eyring’s father who was then the college president, were powerful as we spoke of the gospel with an urgency we had not known in our earlier lives. Learning Dutch was pretty humbling. Most of us were constantly aware of our mortal limitations as we struggled to absorb the impossible multisyllabic Dutch sounds that had descended unvarnished from the Tower of Babel where they had been particularly designed to confound the nations as well as future missionaries. We became increasingly fervent in our desire that when we arrived in our mission field, even we, the weakest and simplest of things, would be worthy and prepared to extend the powers of Heaven into that distant land—or at least not embarrass ourselves or the Church. But truth of the gospel did distil upon our souls—including mine—as we did our best to focus our hearts, might, minds, and strength on serving God with an immediacy of purpose. There was an airplane waiting. The truth of the gospel became increasingly tangible. Your frozen campus became to me holy ground as the miracles of the gospel became indelibly etched into my soul. I am confident that this place can become that for you as well.
We would start most meetings with a hymn and prayer. One of the recurrent hymns that was on the LTM playlist was “Oh Say, What Is Truth?” Its powerful rhetoric and poetry moved my soul each time it was sung. The words seemed to me to be more than poetry, but rather advocacy: what we were learning to teach people in Holland and Belgium were not just good ideas but descriptions of how the universe is actually shaped and furnished for the nurture of God’s family. The Hymn’s title has gone on to become the very issue of our times.
Oh say, what is truth? 'Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch's costliest diadem
[All right, I had to look that one up. A diadem is a crown.]
Is counted but dross and refuse.
Then, verse four:
Then say, what is truth? ’Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o’er.
Tho the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore. 
You are here, irrespective of your intended outcomes, engaged with this campus and with this faculty, because you, all of you, are in pursuit of truth. When this campus is in full locomotion, true principles are being taught in every corner. Even today, scattered by pandemic as you are, truth is on the march at BYU-Idaho. I have a testimony of the value of the truths taught here.
If you look for it here, you will come to see that the bold line drawn at many learning settings between secular learnings and eternal doctrine is an artificial one. In many centers of learning, that line is cast so broadly as to constitute a no-mans-land to be avoided. But here, your scholarship is amphibious, moving freely through the boundaries. If the gospel is true, and I add my testimony to yours that it is, then it necessarily informs everything we might learn in places like this.
I love the story I have heard Ann Madsen tell of her husband, Truman G. Madsen. While studying philosophy at Harvard University as a PhD student, he would spend his days deep in the arcane philosophic discourses of the world’s great minds, coming to understand their attempts to describe the way things are. From the field of ethics—what is right and wrong, all the way to epistemology—how, and even whether we can actually come to know things, the “philosophies of man” would swirl in his head. Then, she said, he would come home in the late afternoon, absorbed in thought about an issue of the day and take a book to the front porch and ask the question aloud, “Well, let’s see what Brother Joseph had to say about this.” He sensed that he could not fully come to understand the ideas of men without exposing them to the light of the gospel.
Just as thinking about the gospel helped Dr. Madsen learn philosophy, and helped me to learn Dutch, the gospel will enlighten everything you study here and forever. President Eyring may tell you that this is true, even of accounting and finance. We both know it is true of the study of law. The blended and enlightened worldview you are obtaining in places like this will bring you added success in life, make you a better learner and a better teacher, and can help you to better appreciate the wonders of creation.
We are living in tumultuous times when, to find peace, and to be able to make your full contribution to the world, you need clarity. What will help most is broadly understood, full-bodied, indivisible now-and-forever truth.
In that pursuit, I would point you to a valuable resource that is new to campus since I first came here. If, when I was a missionary on one of those early morning treks to campus looking to the east across what was then a snow-drifted field, I had the eyes to see, I would have seen a then-future temple. Today, it stands as a resource that can serve something like the objective lens of a microscope that organizes the light that is poured into it and focuses it to create a real image. It can help you create order from chaos. Knowledge obtained there brings clarity to the rest of your learnings obtained here.
During a tumultuous time in the life of Joseph Smith and the Church, Joseph told the members from Liberty jail:
Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood. 
It is of that truth that I bear my testimony. My experiences with temples have gradually helped me find myself in the world. They have also, at least once, suddenly changed the direction of my life. Without time for elaboration here, I am aware that virtually every good feature of my life today can be traced back to insight and direction I have received in quiet moments in the temple—everything I know, which is not enough, but I know better because of workings of the Spirit which I have tried throughout my life to engage.
One Sunday, while serving in the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy, I was invited with my quorum to meet with Elder Richard G. Scott for training. It was a powerful experience, as he indicated that his purpose in bringing us together was to bear his witness of the Savior. He taught us to respect inspiration. Inspiration is always grounded in truth. My notes from his remarks closely paralleled what he said in general conference at about this same time. In conference, he spoke of how to study scriptures:
When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do. I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture; I ponder what the verse means and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures. 
On that Sunday, he taught us that this same protocol is also fruitful whenever we feel the Spirit or have an impression that has come under the influence of the Holy Ghost. He urged us to write such impressions down, then to pray about whether we had captured them correctly. Make corrections. And when it is right, we should ask if there is more. He said that in his experience, “Often, there is.” And if so, write it down, repeating the process until you have it right, and then ask what else you might learn.
My testimony to you, independent of Elder Scott’s, is that in this way, treasures of truth can come to us that we may never access without displaying this level of diligence and respect for the impressions we receive. It goes without saying, that to gain this benefit to our studies, we must live faithfully, repenting, and keeping the Spirit close.
As Elder Scott concluded, he said he wanted to share aspects of his testimony that he had learned through this process. He wanted to be helpful to us in our ministries, called as we were as members of the Seventy to stand as especial witnesses. He spoke in slow, deliberate phrases, his eyes often focused on some middle distance. It seemed to me that he was imploring the Spirit for permissions to say more than words might say, negotiating with the Spirit, wanting to share everything that he knew and had experienced as a special witness, but without offending the Spirit by crossing into understandings too sacred for expression. It was a time I think, worlds without end, that I will not forget.
As I drove home from that meeting down the I-15 corridor, fairly aglow with the spirit of what I had just heard and felt and experienced, my eyes fell upon a scene of singular drama. To the east, nestled in the cut of a mountain, was the Draper Utah Temple, glowing incandescently in an almost supernal way, lit as it was by a shaft of sunlight bursting from the west between jostling cumulous summer clouds that were shadowing the rest of the mountain side. Towering above the temple, the divided sunlight reflected off of an enormous summer thunder head pulsating 5 miles and more up into the air and, at its base, sending shoots of misty strands of fog down the canyons and escarpments of the mountain range below. Brilliant white at the top, it was nearly black with moisture at its powerful base, flashing lightning and rumbling thunder as it dwarfed and closed in on the luminous temple on the hill. I thought absently, “Look out, little temple. You are in for a pounding.” I don’t often talk to temples, and when I do, they never talk back—until then, when I heard a response deep inside of my soul. The temple didn’t talk to me. But I seemed to see its vertical walls round slightly as it leaned it’s shoulders toward the roiling menace in its approach. And I thought I heard it say, “Bring it. Bring your winds and your rain, your violence and your tumult, your confusion, your chaos. Gape open the very jaws of hell. I will not be moved. This is what I was built for. I am consecrated to this very purpose, to stand as a sanctuary from this and every storm. Holiness to the Lord. The House of the Lord.”
The temple has been for me that place of shelter from the storm. Each temple is, in its way, the very axis mundi, the center of the world, the centering of things. Connect the dots that comprise your connection to the purposes of life. Draw a line through every commandment, every calling, and every ordinance, every act of service, every work of salvation and exaltation of the gospel, and you will form a line that runs directly through the altars of the temple.
I close today sharing with you my sure knowledge that learning is a sacred enterprise. When the Savior of this world said of a temple that “my glory shall rest upon it . . . and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it,”  he was speaking not only of gracing a building—surely He has even nicer places to visit—but he was speaking of visiting His glory and grace and knowledge and intelligence upon those whom He finds there.
May we pray always, turning our eyes to the temple, and always toward Him whom we may come to know through all of our learnings, here and everywhere.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 “Oh Say, What Is Truth?,” Hymns.
 Joseph Smith Papers, volume E-1, 1708.
 Richard G. Scott, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,” Ensign, May 2012.
 Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–16.