President Dallin H. and Sister Kristen Oaks
First Counselor in the First Presidency
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency and president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since May 1984.
President Oaks is a graduate of Brigham Young University and of The University of Chicago Law School. He practiced law and taught law in Chicago. He was president of BYU from 1971 to 1980, and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling to the apostleship.
President Oaks has been an officer or member of the board of many business, educational, and charitable organizations. He is the author or co-author of many books and articles on religious and legal subjects. In May, 2013, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty awarded him the Canterbury Medal for “courage in the defense of religious liberty.”
President Oaks is a native of Provo, Utah. He and his late wife, June Dixon Oaks, are the parents of six children. She passed away July 21, 1998, and in August 2000, he married Kristen M. McMain in the Salt Lake Temple.
Sister Kristen McMain Oaks, raised in Salt Lake City, has two degrees from the University of Utah and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from BYU. She was employed as an educational consultant in the publishing industry, instructing teachers and supervisors nationally and internationally. She was also a Visiting Assistant Professor of Education at BYU.
Sister Oaks served a mission in Japan. She has been an officer or teacher in all the organizations at the ward and stake level. In the Philippines, where her husband served as Area President, she worked for two years as a trainer and teacher to all the auxiliaries.
She served many years on the Board of Primary Children’s Hospital. She is the author of the book, A Single Voice, and the co-author of the recent book, The Testimony Glove.
Sister Oaks especially loves being a wife, mother, and grandmother.
Sister Kristen Oaks
Bovemebr 16, 2021
Good morning. It is so wonderful to be here, to be with you and at a house of learning that honors the Lord. We love you. We love our visits here because of the extra measure of spirituality you seem to have.
You know another temple is about to come to Rexburg. You are much of the reason. The Lord knows your hearts, your faith and devotion to Him, and your desire to be close to Him.
President Oaks and I live directly across from the Salt Lake Temple; we look out on the construction every morning and see the mud and the trucks and the cranes. The temple is now hidden behind scaffolding and is a work in progress being made stronger and steadfast.
My ten-year-old niece, Emma, came to visit and stood in our living room that looks out at the temple. She called in a loud voice, “Oh, no! Come quick Aunt Kristen the temple is gone!”
I laughed and explained to her, “The temple is still there, you just can’t see it. It is being upgraded and prepared by Heavenly Father to make it safe from earthquakes and provide the ability for more Saints to do the work of the Lord.”
Our times are unique because just like Emma—it seems so much around us seems to be changing and things we held on to don’t seem to be there. This world is full of surprises. The truth and doctrines that we know are questioned on every side. Our beliefs are peculiar and unique and holy and not of this world, and if we really want the assurance of our Heavenly Father we have to seek to find Him.
We do not know the future, but we do know with a certainty—just like the photo you saw—that under the scaffolding lies the temple, the House of the Lord and every day they work a bit more to reinforce and strengthen it. In three years, it will emerge more beautiful, more perfect, and able to stand in every circumstance.
We can be like the Salt Lake Temple. This is our time to become stronger, more dedicated, more faithful, even in difficult circumstances.
President Monson told us, “[Your] future is as bright as your faith.” 
The Lord is waiting and there to speak to us and lead us if we look for Him to do it. We have only to reach out to Him to guide us through the challenges that lie ahead from the smallest to the largest. For example: How can I ever pass this class? How do I prepare for the future? Who should I date? And what if I fall in love, and how will I support my family?
The Lord is there to inspire and direct us even in our darkest hours. Though often that direction is not immediate and sometimes requires every ounce of patience we can exert to wait to get an answer.
I can promise you that what lies ahead for all of us will require all the faith we can muster to meet it, and with every step we need to look to the Lord.
I can also assure you that an Apostle of the Lord has been sent here today to instruct to you. It is no coincidence we are here together this day. There are only 15 Apostles in the entire world, and one has been sent to you. He will remind you that it is within your power to increase your faith as you draw close to Heavenly Father and that faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes when we choose to believe and we seek it and hold on to it. Also, how much our Heavenly Father loves us and desires to bless us: “He claimeth all those who have faith in Him . . . and he advocateth the cause of the children of men.” 
To make this day memorable, remember that the dullest pencil is better than the sharpest memory. As President Oaks speaks to you, write down ideas that relate to you and, more importantly, feelings and impressions his words bring to mind. That is the Spirit talking to you.
We love you. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, May 2009.
 Moroni 7:18.
President Dallin H. Oaks
November 16, 2021
Thank you, Kristen, for that important message.
I have decided to speak to you about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the first principle of the gospel.
Faith means trust—trust in God’s will, trust in His way of doing things, and trust in His timetable. Faith must include trust. When we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must trust Him enough that we are content to accept His will, knowing that He knows what is best for us.
Nephi taught this principle to his wayward brothers: “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him?” 
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares us for whatever life brings. Faith prepares us to deal with life’s opportunities—to take advantage of those we receive and to persist through the disappointment of those we lose. In the exercise of that faith, we should commit ourselves to the priorities and standards we will follow on matters we do not control, and we should persist in those commitments whatever happens to us because of the agency of others or the timing of the Lord. Faith in Jesus Christ and a firm commitment to put the Lord first in our lives and to keep His commandments will bring us direction and peace and a constancy to our lives.
These principles apply to you, my young brothers and sisters. I asked President Eyring to gather some examples of faith in action in the lives of BYU-Idaho students that I could share with you. Here is one of the many that inspired me:
As I am the only member in my family, I had a tough time while preparing to serve my mission a few years ago. My family tried to stop me from serving a mission and all the paperwork was delayed. I doubted the value and purpose of my serving a mission; I couldn’t see hope and light. However, I heard a still, small voice whisper in my mind, saying, “Endure to the end.” I did not know how, but the only thing I can do is be patient and not give up. Eventually, I received my calling after nine months of waiting, and successfully went on my mission with my family’s understanding. Patience is a hard lesson for me to study, so I am still learning today. One of the ways that I maintain faith when the blessing came later than hoped is to try not to focus on the blessing I am hoping for but focus on trusting in the Lord. The truth is He knows the best of my needs, and He is in charge of all things.
My wife Kristen and her cousin, President M. Russell Ballard, often discuss the faith of our pioneers. He gave a great talk many years ago called “You Have Nothing to Fear from the Journey.” Here is what he said in that talk about the faith of the pioneers:
For the Utah pioneers of 1847, their faith was grounded in principle. They left their homes, their temple, and in some cases their families, in search of a place of refuge where they could worship without fear of persecution. There was little that they could carry with them in the way of provisions and material possession, but each wagon and handcart was heavily laden with faith—faith in God, faith in the Restoration of His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and faith that God knew where they were going and that He would see them through. 
The faith of the Mormon pioneers gives us a great heritage of faith. Are we measuring up to that heritage? That is the question I will pursue in this talk. To do so, I will give many examples of faith. But first let us consider what faith is.
If we think we have faith, we should ask, “Faith in whom or faith in what?” For some, faith is nothing more than faith in themselves. That is only self-confidence or self-centeredness. Others have faith in faith, which is something like relying on the power of positive thinking or betting on the proposition that we can get what we want by manipulating the powers within us.
The kind of faith that includes trust in the Lord stands in contrast to many imitations. Some people trust no one but themselves. Some put their highest trust in a friend or another family member or even a teacher or scientist or political leader. But that is not the Lord’s way. He told us to put our faith and our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” 
Elder James E. Talmage taught:
Faith implies such confidence and conviction as will impel to action. . . . Belief is in a sense passive, an agreement or acceptance only; faith is active and positive, embracing such reliance and confidence as will lead to works. 
Thus, faith in Jesus Christ impels us to action because we trust that God knows us and loves us and will hear our prayers and answer them with what is best for us. In fact, God will do more than what is best for us. He will do what is best for us and for all of our Heavenly Father’s children. The conviction and trust that the Lord knows more than we do and that He will answer our prayers in the way and at the time that is best for us and for all of His other children is a vital consequence and ingredient of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We would all do well to follow President James E. Faust’s frequently taught advice to nurture “a simple, untroubled faith.”  To do that, he said we “must accept some absolutes,” which he listed as Jesus as the Savior of the world, Joseph Smith as the instrument through which the fulness of the gospel was restored, the Book of Mormon as the word of God, and the current president of the Church as the prophet continuing the work Joseph Smith initiated. 
We all know people who say or show that they have “lost their faith.” A wise stake president taught us young elders that if this occurs it is never a “blow out”—always a slow leak, such as by ceasing to partake of spiritual nourishment, becoming prideful in our worldly wisdom, or shirking our duty. President Heber J. Grant taught:
There is no danger of any man or woman losing his or her faith in this Church if he or she is humble and prayerful and obedient to duty. I have never known of such an individual losing his faith. By doing our duty faith increases until it becomes perfect knowledge. 
Faith is defined as a conviction so strong that it causes us to act in a way we otherwise would not act. It can be directed to many things. Going through the many deprivations and stresses of an education takes faith that this will give a better life later. Surely many of you and your families know this. To serve the Lord and keep His commandments during a time of higher education takes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His promises. President Nelson told me that it was twelve years after he began his medical education before he submitted one bill for his medical services. During that time, he and his wife began their family, which eventually numbered ten children. His biography tells that after nine years of marriage, as they were walking in South Boston, “Danzel pressed her nose against the windowpane of a furniture store and wistfully asked, ‘Do you think we’ll ever be able to afford a lamp?’”  Many of you may feel that way too.
We will be blessed in the face of enormous opposition if we have faith to follow the directions and commandments of the Lord as we face the unknown. In the midst of great problems in trying to establish the Church in Kirtland, Ohio, Joseph Smith needed the support and help of his most trusted fellow leaders. It took great faith for him to send a majority of the Quorum of the Twelve to England on missions.
It also took great faith for the Apostles called on missions to leave their homes and families and accept those calls. Today the Church continues to be blessed by many converts with great strength because of their obedience.
Nearly every day our missionaries arrive in countries where they have little knowledge of the language and where the food, culture, and living conditions are often much different from that which they are accustomed to. And yet they go boldly as modern pioneers, not fearing the journey, walking with faith in every footstep to bring to people everywhere the good news of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
If we have faith in Jesus Christ and if we are committed to the fundamentals of keeping His commandments and putting Him first in our lives, we do not need to plan every single event—even every important event—and we should not feel rejected or depressed if some things do not happen at the time we had planned or hoped or prayed for them to happen.
Here is an example of that, written by one of your fellow students about her husband’s experience when he decided to make a career change from industry to become a college professor. She wrote that “after much prayer and counseling with the Lord . . . we decided this was the right decision for him and for our family.” But his various applications to colleges were repeatedly turned down—five times! “Why was he being denied these positions?” she wrote, especially after they had felt prompted to pursue this new career path.
She continued, “While kneeling together in prayer one evening I got the distinct impression to not get discouraged and to encourage my husband to be patient; the Lord was preparing him and would lead him to the right school at the right time.”
Not long after this, a desirable teaching position opened up, he was chosen, and this turned out to be just the right college for him. His wife, your fellow student, now finishing her degree here at BYU-Idaho, wrote, “We realized that [the] Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and if we are patient and faithful the Lord will direct our paths to where He needs us to go. We just need to be open to His direction.”
That is a great example of the application and the power of faith in a circumstance most of us will experience in our own career paths.
Commit yourself to put the Lord first in your life, keep His commandments, and do what the Lord’s servants ask you to do. Then your feet are on the pathway to eternal life. Then it does not matter whether you are called to be a bishop or a Relief Society president, whether you are married or single, or whether you die tomorrow. You do not know what will happen. Do your best and then trust in the Lord and His timing.
In closing, I quote again from President Ballard’s inspiring talk about the power of our pioneers’ example of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are the inheritors of a tremendous heritage. Now it is our privilege and responsibility to be part of the Restoration’s continuing drama, and there are great and heroic stories of faith to be written in our day. It will require every bit of our strength, wisdom, and energy to overcome the obstacles that will confront us. But even that will not be enough. We will learn, as did our pioneer ancestors, that it is only in faith— real faith, whole-souled, tested and tried—that we will find safety and confidence as we walk our own perilous pathways through life. 
My dear brothers and sisters, as a witness of the name—which means the work and the authority of Jesus Christ in all the world—I testify of our Savior. I testify of the Father’s plan for all of us to have a mortal experience to pursue the pathways through life toward our eternal destiny—exaltation in the celestial kingdom. I invoke the Lord’s blessings upon you as you seek to serve Him and get on that path and pursue it through the difficulties of mortal life which you do through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 1 Nephi 7:12.
 M. Russell Ballard, “You Have Nothing to Fear from the Journey,” Ensign, May 1997.
 Proverbs 3:5.
 James E. Talmadge, Articles of Faith, 1899, 96-97.
 James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord, The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust, 1999, 303.
 Ibid., 305.
 Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, 1941, 7-8.
 Spencer J. Condie, Russell M. Nelson, Father, Surgeon, Apostle, 2003, 57.
 M. Russell Ballard, “You Have Nothing to Fear from the Journey,” Ensign, May 1997.