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Live and Teach the Truth

My dear brothers and sisters, I am grateful to be with you on this very special and happy day. It is a day to reflect and to look forward. In that spirit, I want to share with you a thought about your future I hope will be helpful.

One of the great blessings of my life is to meet the graduates of BYU-Idaho all over the world. It happened again just two weeks ago in El Paso, Texas. I met wonderful BYU-Idaho graduates who are building up the Kingdom of God. Many years ago, they sat where you sit today. They are now out there in the world being exactly what this university sets out to help you become: disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and leaders in your family, the Church, your communities, and your work. That is your future.

Your success in that future will depend on the extent to which you live the truth. Truth, expressed in divine law, is all around us. In fact, the scriptures teach us that in His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ descended below all things, “that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth.” That light, the Light of Christ, is “in all things, . . . giveth life to all things,” and “is the law by which all things are governed.”[1] 

When we drive a car, use a phone, take our medicine, turn on the water, fly in an airplane, plant a crop, use a computer, work out in the gym, and many, many other things, we see and experience truth in action. All of those devices and processes operate according to divine law, and when we use them righteously, we receive power and blessings.[2]

The most important truths we have are the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whenever you and I live gospel truth, we receive the power and blessings God has prepared for those who obey His commands and live according to His law. That is true for all things, both spiritual and temporal.

Let me give you an example from my own experience. When I served as Dean of Harvard Business School there were about 230 faculty members. Many of them were world-famous, and all of them got there by focusing their energies on their personal advancement as teachers and scholars.

I decided to share a gospel principle with the faculty that I felt could help them individually and help the school. I had to use different language than I would if I was giving a talk in sacrament meeting, but one day in a faculty meeting I taught them this true principle:

If we invest in each other with our time and our ideas, and really help and support one another, even to the point of sacrificing our own work, we will create an environment that is so powerful that we will be more productive collectively and individually than we would have been if we all had behaved selfishly.

I told them it was a true principle and that they would all be happier and more productive if they lived it. What I said was so contrary to the competitive, publish-or-perish environment in which most of them had grown up, that I was not surprised that many of the faculty were skeptical. But over time those individuals and departments who practiced that principle flourished in all dimensions of their work.

One of my more cynical colleagues later told me that when he first heard me teach that principle, he could not believe his ears! He dismissed what I said out of hand, but later decided to try it. He said, “I am a convert! I am happier and more productive, and I am grateful.”

And so, my dear brothers and sisters, you are headed off into the world. In a coming day, you will have a job, perhaps in a big company, or a small company, or in your own business. You will be focused on your family and on service in your community, and your ward or branch of the Church. My advice to you is simple: take the truth with you and live by it and teach it wherever you go and in whatever you do. I know the Lord Jesus Christ—whose light is in all things, and who is the source of all good things—will bless you and help you become His disciples and His leaders.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] See Doctrine and Covenants 88:6, 13.

[2] A car, a phone, medicine, water, airplanes, computers and much else can be used for evil purposes. Heavenly Father has given us our agency, and we can use them according to our desires and our will. In the world of the natural man and the natural woman, the application of divine law can serve our pride, anger, appetites, and evil desires. It has always been so in this fallen world.