Select Page

classicspphbb ( ** )


President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency, delivered at a Tri-stake Fireside at Brigham Young University, September 30, 1962

President Hugh B. Brown, in the Smith Fieldhouse at BYU

At this Stake Fireside chat, presumably we are all sitting around the fire for a frank and easy exchange of ideas.  From a rostrum a speaker feels obliged to speak in measured tones and with lofty phrases, assume a dignity he doesn’t feel, display wisdom he doesn’t have, and if he thinks he’s a wit, he’s only half right.  Tonight we have no president or faculty, officially, no guests — just an aggregation of wonderful students at a fireside.  Though we’re here to discuss some serious problems, let’s be jolly and good-natured.  Happiness is conducive to health, while “the surly bird catches the germ.”  Shall we then think together about such subjects as dances, dates, and danger; parties, people, and petting; rules, regulations, and religion; self denial, self esteem, and sanctity; about honor, home, and heaven; about truth, triumph, and tranquility; about sex, self, and salvation?  Shall we, in short, just browse around?  You know that these subjects and many other ‘vexations of the soul’ have been considered and observed by our species down through the ages.  But your parents and mine had some good old-fashioned ideas about life’s problems, and they used some good hard sense in solving them.  They had some standards and values which were based on discriminating wisdom, deep spiritual insight, and basic religious faith.  Your parents and my parents met, coped with, and overcame some of the very things that you and I have to face.  They had some good common sense with which to face their problems.  The ways they met them determined how they came out of the struggle, and in the main they did this with courage, fortitude, and faith.  The past can provide clues and guidance for the future.  Values do not change with time.

Many of you students are here for the first time.  You have come from various parts of the country — Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, the Dakotas, Florida, and a little country just to the west of us here, California, I believe they call it.  One young girl is reported to have said, “I just come here to be went with, but I ain’t yet.”  Here you will hae a chance to prove yourselves.  Each of you has an important task in life which is to make this a better world.  To quote the poet:
. Your task, to build a better world, God said;
.   I answered, How?
.This world is such a large vast place,
 So complicated now,
. And I so small and useless am,
 There’s nothing I can do.
. But God in all his wisdom said,
 Just build a better you.
This challenge he holds out to every one of us.  Each one of you, male or female, has a hope, an ambition, an ideal which supersedes and overshadows all other expectations and desire in life.  It is the most valuable, the most beautiful, and is designed to be the most enduring possession which man has every imagined or achieved.  I speak of a happy LDS home, where love, pure and undefiled, binds parents and children in a holy, eternal bond.  Who has such a home is rich, and who may have one and meanly misses it has played the fool.  The home, under the divine plan, is intended to last throughout eternity.  To protect its foundation is an obligation devolving upon both man and woman.

In the foundation of every enduring Christian home there must be purity, fidelity, and integrity.  Purity involves self denial and preserves self respect.  One of the most direct, persistent, and effective attacks being made on our civilization today is the one against the home, and the attack is coming from many directions and from many sources.  The hope of mankind in the fact of its present day difficulties is to preserve the family until intact.  If a man would have the full beauty of a Christian home, there are some things he must not do.  There can be no double standard.  Quoting Harry Emerson Fosdick: “Such an approach to the problem of self denial reveals its true nature.  It is not the negative, forbidding thing that often we shake our heads about.  In one sense there is no such thing as self denial, for what we call such is the necessary price we pay for things on which our hearts are set.  This truth stands clear in all concerns of moral character.  Many a young man is warned against the evil of illicit love, as though he were being asked chiefly to give up pleasure.  The emphasis is all upon the repression of an appetite.  Purity is made to seem merely a negative denial of deep desire.  In the young man’s thought, dissipation is the positively alluring life, built of charm and music, while purity is life stripped, straitened, and set in the forbidding grasp of prohibition law.  What wonder that so many turn to the warmth and color of a wayward life!  The gripping appeal for self-denying purity is not negative  Young man, the girl whom you are going to marry is now alive.  You may never have met her, but somewhere she is walking down a path which in the providence of God some day will cross yours.  Wherever she may be, she keeps herself for you, and in her imagination you are even now a prince whom some day she will gladly marry.  Not for the wealth of the world would she be grossly untrue to you.  How, then, are you living?  You have no right to take to such a girl a life besmirched with unchastity.  If you do, there is a secret shame you never will outgrow, a pang that you will feel whenever your children clamber to your arms.  To have a home free from all that, with memories high and beautiful, is worth anything that it may cost.  Those who have such homes do not call the price of them self-denial.  It is all clear gain.  They have surrendered dust for diamonds.  For this is the deepest truth about self-denial, that men positively set their hearts upon some high possession which they greatly want, and, paying the price of it in self-restraint, they count themselves the happiest of men to possess their treasure.  Self-denial is not negative repression, but the cost of positive achievement.  If we will not deny ourselves for a Christian home, we shall deny ourselves a Christian home!  What more appealing self-renunciation can there be?  If we will not deny ourselves a loose and unchaste life, then we shall deny ourselves self-respect and a conscience fit to live with.  If we will not deny ourselves bad temple and a wagging tongue, then we shall deny ourselves friendship, and God pity us!  If we will not deny ourselves those habits of thought and life that keep divine fellowship away from human hearts, then we shall deny ourselves God.  In short, if we will not give up evil for good, we shall surely give up good for evil.  Where there is a will there is a won’t.  Self-denial is inescapable.  It is not negative, forbidding amputation of self from which men often shrink.  It is the price men pay when they have positively set their heart upon some chosen goal.  At its highest, it is the privilege life offers us of buying the best of the sacrifice of something less desired.”

My young friends, each one of you may be the cornerstone in the God-ordained institution of the home, and for that responsibility you are now preparing.  The prerequisite to ideal marriage and a happy home is deep and abiding love.  If this holy relationship is to continue, there must be purity of thought, word, and action.  The pillars of the home are devotion, loyalty, sacrifice, integrity, fidelity, honesty, and again unsullied virtue.  Mutual respect and consideration are, next to fidelity and love, the most important stones in the foundation of a happy home, and mutual respect is impossible without self respect.  Each person should revere and honor the sanctity of life and live on the high plateau where self-respect is paramount.  This he will do in he remembers that his life proceeds from God.  He will then be loyal to the royal in himself.  No fleeting gratification can compensate for the loss of self respect.  We, whose duties require us to travel, meet hundreds of thousands of the young people of the Church, and in the main we have every reason to be proud of them.  We trust you, we love you, we count on you.  But we are anxious for you because we know from experience something of the power and the tactics of an unrelenting enemy — hence this warning note!  Young men and women contemplating marriage should keep their lives sweet and pure, wholesome and invincible, not only that they themselves may have the deep satisfaction of maintaining self-esteem, but also that they may transmit to those who follow them the priceless heritage of innate purity.

The cement in the foundation of the home is respect, including self-respect.  When that cement is gone, the character of the individuals and the home itself begin to disintegrate.  The man whose heart is pure is invincible.  His integrity is his shield, and virtue is his armor.  He will be impervious to slander, envy, hatred, or malice, and they who seek to injure him will bring ignominy upon themselves.  Quoting Emerson: “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.  Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”  The righteous man is a courageous man because he has nothing to hide.  He is not afraid of the sunlight.  He does not live in the fear that “truth will out.”  He has done nothing of which he need be ashamed, and is therefore fearless.  Tennyson said, “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.”  Purity is the richest diadem in all the world.  It is a priceless jewel, a gift from heaven bestowed on all at birth.  God grant that you may wear it.  Though it is fragile, it should not be kept in a vault like crown jewels.  Its value is increased by wearing.  No treasure in this world is as rich as the consciousness of purity, and in order to retain it, one must avoid not only impure acts but also impure thoughts.

There is a distinction between innocence and purity.  One is passive and the other is active.  Someone has parodied one of Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poems as follows:
. It’s easy enough to be virtuous
 When nothing tempts you to stray,
. When without and within no voice of sin
 Is luring your soul away.
. But it’s only a negative virtue
.   Until it is tried by fire.
. And the soul that is worth the blessings of earth
 Is the soul that resists desire.

The story is told that some shepherds once saw an eagle soar out from a crag.  It flew majestically far up into the sky, but by and by it became unsteady and began to waver in its flight.  At length one wing dropped and then the other, and the poor bird fell swiftly to the ground.  The shepherds sought the fallen bird and upon examination, found that a little serpent had fastened itself upon the bird while it had been on the crag.  The eagle did not know that the serpent was there, but it crawled through the feathers while the proud monarch was sweeping through the air and thrust its fangs into the eagle’s flesh.  The bird can reeling into the dust.  This could be the story of many a life if some secret sin has been eating its way into the heart.  Eventually a proud life lies soiled and dishonored in the dust.  When virile, ambitious young men – and we must say many of them – wear the badge of purity with the grace and comeliness of a virgin, we behold man’s innate Godlike status.  We can establish a virtuous society only when both men and women keep morally clean.  There must be a single standard.  Virtue is protected by modesty and should garnish the thoughts and adorn the lives of our people, young and old, that we may be known for our decency, propriety, culture, and integrity.  Let our thoughts, words, dress, and general deportment indicate our belief in the sanctity of the body as the temple of God, even as Paul declared it to be: “…for ye are the temple of the living God, as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  (2 Corinthians 6:16)  Also, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”  (1 Corinthians 3:17)  Young ladies, being ladies you must constantly wear the hallmark of modesty.  No decent man admires an immodest woman.

It is very dangerous to jump to the conclusion that an act which you have committed or are commiting is alright simply because you have plenty of company.  Quoting from Dr. Sorokin, “Sexual behavior, like any other kind, must be tested for rightness or wrongness by your own conscience.  Will it harm your community?  Your family?  Yourself?  If so, then it is wrong, and you cannot make it right by proving that fifty per cent of the population does likewise!  Some biologists spend their lives studying lower forms of life, namely animals, insects, and plants.  They observe that the entire life cycle of a potato bug or a fruit fly is devoted to insuring the survival of the species.  But we are not potato bugs and you cannot take theories that look good in a zoology lab and apply them unchanged to human beings.  Humans, unlike any other forms of life, are concerned not only with survival of the species but with what kind of lives we are going to lead while we are here and what manner of man is going to survive.  We experience life, love, spirituality, idealism, and creativity.  We have intellect, conscience, and hope.  These are scientific realities and they enter strongly into our personal reproductive habits.  Many scientists are already wondering whether or not there is a connection between the shaky status of our sexual morality and the rise in the rate of crime, suicide, juvenile delinquency, and insanity.  Personally, I believe there is.”

Great cities of ancient times were brought to rubble heaps and their civilizations destroyed because of the overemphasis and perversion of the sex instinct.  Today, commercialized vice and sexual promiscuity are striking hammer blows at the rock foundation of our homes and our society.  Every normal person is equipped with a sex urge.  Its misuse or promiscuous expression brings sorrow, heartbreak, disease, even death, and if this urge is not regulated or checked, our civilization must crumble as have others.  Some short sighted persons claim that what they do to themselves or between themselves is no one’s business but their own.  This is flimsy and absurd rationalization  No one lives in a vacuum and no man is an island.  Whose business does it promptly become if a BYU student yields to immoral conduct?  Is it nobody’s business but his own?  His family is concerned and all of his relatives, his school, the town or city where he lives, and the ward and stake.  The Lord is concerned and disappointed.  Yes, it is someone’s business how we behave.  Young people contemplating marriage, and young couples too, must know that improper sex conduct is not a private affair and that many innocent people may be seriously affected.  The young married couple should make sure that the children who come into their home have proper emotional patterns, habits, and training to guide them.   Unwise and unrestricted sex conduct can destoy love, which, if nurtured, protected, and kept sweet, can and should unfold its highest potentialities of joy, dignity, and moral value in the marriage state.

Hill and Duvall, in an excellent text entitled ‘When You Marry’, say that morality makes sense because:
.1. Our society is organized around moral behavior as a morn.
.2. Conscience needs to be reckoned with.  It’s more comfortable to be moral.
.3. Insight rests on an understanding of the social order — on a knowledge of the consequences of behavior.
.4. Social approval of friends is important to personal security, and the older we get the more conservative our friends become on moral issues.
.5. Self-realization, freedom to grow, and freedom to work with others lies in the direction of moral living.
.6. The consequences of immorality are harmful to personality and to members of society.

Sin is stealthy — it usually sneaks up on its prey.  Young people should know that, general speaking, people do not lose their virtue by one impulsive act.  Putting it in my own words, men do not go to hell in one jump.  I remember reading of a man in Canada who advertised for someone to drive six horses on a stagecoach over a mountainous road.  There were quite a number of applicants, but of three we will speak.  One came in and the man said, “How close could you drive to a precipice on a winding road without going over?”  “Well,” he said, “I think I could drive within six inches of it and be safe.”  The next man heard the first one and thought he would outdo him.  When he was asked the question, he said, “Why, I could just crowd the dirt off the edge of the precipice and still be all right.”  When the third man came up and was asked the same question, he said, “Sir, I don’t know how close I could come and be safe, but this I know, I am going to keep just as far away from the edge as I can get!”  Which one of the three do you think was hired?

One the very brink of sorrow and disgrace are they who are guilty of immodesty, necking, petting, or other secret and unwholesome practices.  Neither person is at his best when he is petting.  Each discovers in the other and reveals in himself traits of which he should be ashamed.  He is voluntarily permitting himself to be led down the path of misery and shame.  Some pride themselves on never going further than petting.  They do not realize how disastrously far they have already gone.  Petting is prompted by lust, but lust is not abated by petting — it is whetted, and is the gateway to disaster.  Exploring and fondling the body of the opposite ex is reprehensible and tragically dangerous.  If you tempt yourself or others with the false idea that you can play with fire and not get burned, I warn you, as a father, that fire is no respecter of persons.  The folly of neither the ignorant nor of the self-styled sophisticate will be excused from broken law.  God’s law are immutable and inexorable.  If it’s a choice between being a poor sport and a simple fool — don’t be a fool.  If you young men cannot be gentlemen, do  not, I pray you, be cads.  Decent men looking for wives and choosing mothers for their children do not want girls who make a public display of their bodies, permit undue intimacies, or tell unclean stories.  They want wives who will become exemplars to their own daughters.  Modesty indicates moral integrity which is respected by decent people everywhere.  All true gentlemen honor and revere modest virgins and saintly mothers.  God himself sanctified and glorified both virginity and motherhood when he made them the vehicle through which His Son came to earth.

Any immodesty-inducing impure thoughts is a desecration of the body — that temple in which the Holy Spirit may dwell.  Young people, I plead with you, keep the air pure.  Do not make it foul by telling unclean  stories.  They who listen willingly to them are inhaling germ-laden gas.  Personally, I shall rebel if anyone tries to hold my head over a manhole into a sewer, and that is, figuratively, what happens when men or women tell or listen to unclean stories.  They who are guilty of this offense are usually seeking to get attention by making people laugh and thus become the “life of the party”.  They seem to forget that nothing foul is funny, and that though they for the moment “have the floor’, many of their captive listeners are offended and disgusted and they themselves are listed as socially repugnant.  The man or woman who is guilty of profanity, searing, or crude slang unwittingly reveals a soiled mind and a limited vocabulary, and is pitied and shunned by all cultured people.  Profaning the name of God is an affront to Him, and He has forbidden it.

The sin of unchastity, which in the Ten Commandments is listed among the “thou shalt nots”, is often compounded of, or calls in as allies, most of the other misbehaviors known to man.  The adversary intens it ot be followed by a chain reaction on the sinner.  Satan is never satisfied with one conquest but on the false promise of self protection, attempts to cut off all retreat by tempting his victim to follow detours into such downhill paths as lying, cheating, and even destroying the evidence of his guilt by killing the unborn victim of his lust.  There are various types and degrees of infidelity, lewdness, and licentiousness, various ways in which man and women tempt themselves or permit themselves to be tempted to commit adultery.  Lucifer uses all of them, even the secret thoughts of the mind and unclean conversation, as weapons in his arsenal to destroy mankind.  Don’t let anyone tempt you to believe that what you do is secret and won’t get out.  The evil one will see that it does.  Lucifer and his agents have unfortunately devised means by which men may partially protect themselves against the natural physical results of their indecency and have thereby led many into shameful acts by whispering the twin lies, “It is no longer dangerous,” and “No one will ever know” .  With these false assurances, thousands who might have been deterred by fear of consequences have been lured into transgression.

Here is the word from Margaret C. Banning which I wish you girls would stamp on your hearts.  Put it on the mirror of your dresser where you will see it every day.  Listen to the words of Mrs. Banning: “Each girl’s chastity is the interweaving of her moral code, her nervous system, her physical being, and her mind.  Does she realize how profoundly that interwoven fabric may be altered in a few yielding moments?  Even without a sense of actual sin against religion, the ‘guilt sense’ persists in a large majority of cases.”  Much self respect and happiness ar lost forever.  Dr. Henry A. Bowman, a renowned expert on courtship and marriage, says the following: “When all is said and done, there is nothing gained from premarital adventure except immediate pleasure and that at tremendous risk and exorbitant cost.  No really intelligent person will burn a cathedral to fry an egg, even to satisfy a ravenous appetite.”  That is, figuratively, what you do when you surrender the most priceless thing which God has entrusted to your care.  The remarkable thing is that he has entrusted it to us because he believes in us, and he gave us our free agency.  Dr. Bowman adds: “During sexual excitement moral and religious consideration may be temporarily suspended, only to reappear and haunt one after his return to the somewhat cooler state of normalcy.”  Mrs. Banning has written further: “Without scolding, or without minimizing the rights of individual love, it ought to be shown that though the laws involving marriage may be evaded and broken,they do exist and penalties are still exacted for their infractions.  Experts, doctors, psychologists and friends may advise, but they do not decide in the end.  This is one of the social problems which is broken up into individual cases for decision.  Out of this tangle of impulses, some of them inherited and some the product of immediate environment, the burden of the race as well as individual happiness is laid upon each boy and girl.  The attitude toward chastity is as important a matter as may come to each one of them in a whole lifetime.  That means that the effort of their elders should be to keep plainly before them all these scientific, spiritual, and historical arguments for chastity which will strengthen their own normal resistance and make them equal to any task.”

Someone, whose name I do not know, wrote the following challenging statement: “If you would be among the noble, you must be noble.  If you would be among the wise, you must be wise.  If you would be among the pure in heart, you must be pure in heart.”  The password to these select groups is, “Are you worthy?”  You may get by with falsifying, but if you do (and I hope you remember this) you will have to suffer the misery of seeing your own mediocrity unmasked in the presence of greatness.  It is our painful duty, all too frequently, to have young people, and older people too, unmasked before us, and there is no heartbreak equal to the heartbreak of humiliation.  Sometimes you wonder why the church leaders speak so often and frankly on the evils of unchastity.  May I tell you one reason?  We think that sexual immorality is one of the most serious of sins because by it a person is warring against himself.  It may be called “individual civil war,” because no man can do wrong and fell right about it.  There is always something in him that protests, and he is fighting against himself.  We don’t want our young people, nor the older ones, to be guilty of things of which they themselves cannot approve.   If you do a good thing, a gracious act, a noble deed, every fiber of your being approves and rejoices.  There are no after effects of remorse, fear of detection, regret, desire to escape, avoidance of erstwhile comrades.  But if you do that which is wrong, you better self will resist, caution and warn, and try to dissuade you.

Heaven is not gained in a single bound
 But we build the ladders by which we rise
From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies
.   And mount to it summit round by round.

There is no greater tragedy than the perversion and degradation of love.  Wickedness never was happiness.   Consider the consequences of immorality:  1) Secret marriages, which become gossip-ridden  2) Rushed marriages, which give not time for lovely trousseau teas, receptions, etc.  3) Broken engagements  4) Temple recommends that can’t be issued, or must be waited for and repented for  5) Forced marriages to mates you never, never otherwise would have married (objective studies have shown divorce rates for these ‘forced marriages’ are disproportionately high)   6) ‘Broken hearts’ for your own parents and the parents of the person you violated.  Young people, keep close to your Heavenly Father.  Talk to him every day of your life.  Talk to him in the morning and tell him where you are going and what you are going to do.  Then all through the day remember you are going to talk to him again in the evening and tell him what you did during the day.  If you will remind yourself, when you are tempted to do wrong, that you must report to the Lord in your evening prayers, you will be given strength to resist.  You were made in his image,  you are his beloved child, he wants you to keep on speaking terms with him.  Keep active in the Church.  Many good studies have shown less crime, delinquency, immorality, venereal infection, etc. in those actively engage in church work than in the inactives, negatives, and others.

Girls, will you please not follow too closely the fashions of the day?  Now I know I am on thin ice here, but if young women knew how good men, young and old, react to improper exposure, we doubt if they would be so foolish and naive.  The exposing of the body to public view, or permitting intimacies, is like a “for sale” sign indicating cheap, shopworn, or marked-down goods.  In a mercantile establishment such merchandise generally invites handling and is cheapened and soiled thereby.  Dr. Pitirim A. Sorokin said: “Today one of the biggest threats to our continued existence as a healthy, powerful nation is the preoccupation of our population with the worship of sexual prowess.  We are in danger, as my college students put it, of going ‘sex crazy’.  I do not think it is going too far to say that the kind of sexual freedom which millions of Americans calmly accept as normal today is as menacing to our internal security as anything yet uncovered.  A consuming interest in sex has so penetrated our national culture that it has been estimated we encounter some kind of sexual lure every nine minutes of every waking day.  We must remember that the family is the first and most effective educator of the nation’s youth.  The family that is harmonious and solidly integrated delivers sound human material to bulwark society.  The family that is disorderly and unstable is likely to contribute defective members to the community.  Those families among us which frequently change husbands and wives, which fail in their duties to their children and adopt the moral cole of the gutter are pushing all of us along the road to chaos.”

Many young people come to the marriage altar almost illiterate insofar as the basic and fundamental function is concerned.  The sex instinct is not something which we need to fear or be ashamed of.  It is God-given and has a high and holy purpose.  Through the union of the sexes, God provided for the continuity of the race.  Reproduction is a law pervading nature everywhere.  Through the operation of this divine law, God’s creative work continues.  The powerful sex drives are instinctive, which is to day, God-given, and therefore are not evil per se.  In order that these instincts may be controlled and directed into proper channels, they should be indulged only within the divinely instituted sacrament of marriage.  Chastity throughout life requires self-control, reverence for personality, respect for the rights of others, and for the laws of God.  God’s law of chastity is as binding on men as on women.  Each has the same need and responsibility to be pure in heart.  One of the most lethal weapons used by Lucifer against the first offender is the disarming implication that, having once sinned, there is no hope and that therefore he might just as well surrender and sample all the other “scented poisons” prepared for his complete destruction.  Let all young pilgrims know that God is a Loving Father who stands ready to assist them.  He understands the weaknesses of his children, and, if they fall and sincerely wish to rise again, they can rely upon his love and mercy and may obtain the blessings that follow true repentance.  But let us all remember that in his economy there is an immutable penalty for every broken law.

There is no swift repentance can retrieve a violated principle
.   No crying, “I believe”.
No, we must wear them out by patient years.
 For each descent from fair truth’s lofty way,
For each gross error which delays the soul.
 By that soul’s gloom and loneliness we pay
And by the retarded journey to its goal.

If we are to hold high the torch which our fathers tossed to us, there must be personal purity in the home, on the campus, and in the Church  Immodesty in thought, word, or deed assails integrity at its foundation, and integrity is the bulwark of life.  Refuse to come down from your pedestal, refuse to be cheap, tarnished, or unclean.  Refuse to sell out.  Hold a high premium of yourself!  Abraham Lincoln said, “Here is my heart, my happiness, my house.  Here inside the lighted window is my love, my hope, my life.  Peace is my companion on the pathway winding to the threshold.  Inside this portal dwells new strength in the security, serenity, and radiance of those I love above life itself.  Here two will build new dreams – dreams that tomorrow will come true.  The world over, these are the thoughts at eventide when footsteps turn ever homeward.  In the haven of the hearthside is rest and peace and comfort.”

Each of us could well offer the prayer which the poet penned:
.  Refining fire, go through my heart,
.     Illuminate my soul;
.  Scatter thy light through every part,
.     And sanctify the whole.
This matches the promise of the Lord himself:  “…let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God, and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.  The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth, and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”  (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46)

My dear friends, one of the duties which forms part of the charge that is given to every man who becomes a member of the Council of the Twelve is that he shall bear witness of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  When Peter was asked by Christ, “Whom say ye that I am?”  he answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.”  Young people, humbly but with the same authority with which Peter spoke, I say to you tonight and to him, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  I know it as Peter knew it, by the revelations of the Holy Spirit.  Another obligation and privilege given to us is to bless the people.  Now, at the beginning of a new school year, the first college year for many of you, standing on this great campus which was established by inspiration, I humbly pray God to bless you. Father, bless and protect these young men and women. Protect them against the wiles of the adversary.  Give them the good sense, O God, to be clean.  Help them to be worthy of the blessings which are here offered to them.  I ask this blessing upon you, my young friends, and I say to each and every one present, you will be equal to any temptation that may come to you, provided you meet it with firmness when it first appears.  I repeat, no man goes to hell in a single jump.  Be careful with the first appearance of evil.  Remember this:  “Sin is a monster of so frightful mien, As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

I leave to you the blessings of peace, of companionship, of joy and happiness, and the special blessing that comes through education, the educating of the mind and the heart.  I bless you that you may be worthy of the parents who sent you here, and who are supporting you, praying for you, and counting on you.  I bless you that you may be worthy of the name you bear, and that you may have a testimony of the gospel of Christ.  I leave this blessing and my testimony with you tonight in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Click here to return to the Classic Talks index
Click here to return to the Main Menu page