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Fall Semester 2016 Commencement Address

Audio: Fall Semester 2016 Commencement Address
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First, I want you to know how much Sister Gilbert and I love you.  You are remarkable and represent the hopes and prayers of so many of us for the future of this great Church.  Please know of the confidence we have in you and the roles you will play in building the kingdom. 

Second, I want you to look around and remember the strength you feel in this auditorium tonight.  Isn't this incredible?  In fact, the gathering in this auditorium is a symbol of the strength of the Church in your lives.   

In a time not far from now, many of you will find yourselves in settings where you won't be gathered with such strength and you will have to stand for what is right on your own.  In those moments I want you to look back and remember the feelings you had as you were gathered in the strength of the Church.  I want you to look back and draw on the strength you feel tonight as we gather together one last time in this sacred space.  

This evening is particularly special for Sister Gilbert and me.  Many of the parents in the audience attend tonight in support of a son or daughter who is graduating; and while he is not our own son, this evening is meaningful to us as we watch one of our Boston youth graduate and join his wife, Nancy, as they head off as BYU-Idaho graduates to build a life and to build the kingdom in Northern California.  Danny represents the end of a generation of youth we knew and loved from Boston who found their way to this great university.   

Danny is the only son of Dominican immigrants.  His parents did not have the opportunity for an education.  Last night I visited with Danny and his family, and we marveled at what has happened since Danny left Boston.  He has served a mission, been married in the temple, and tonight he becomes a graduate of BYU-Idaho.  And, yet, if we fully understand the mission of this university, our work--Danny's work--has only just begun.  

In Doctrine and Covenants, section 64, verse 33, we read:

"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work."
Each of you graduates tonight has laid the "foundation [for] a great work."  And that work has only just begun.  It is my prayer and our hope that as you leave here tonight you will continue to grow in Christ and continue to prepare to serve in your homes, the Church, and your communities, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.