Cross Bridges of Life, President Monson Counsels Young Adults

  • 6 May 2011

Article Highlights

  • To a great degree, our attitude can make us strong or weak, President Monson said.
  • Of integrity, President Monson said we must sometimes swim against the current.
  • We may not be able to serve everyone everywhere, but we can serve someone somewhere.

“That God may bless you on your journey and that you may successfully cross the ‘deep and wide’ chasms in your life is my prayer for you.” —President Thomas S. Monson

On Friday, May 6, 2011, President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed some 1,600 Dixie State College graduates on crossing the bridges of life during the institution’s centennial commencement ceremony.

DSC was founded by the LDS Church 100 years ago as the St. George Stake Academy.

DSC President Dr. Stephen D. Nadauld called President Monson’s address “a great opportunity for our graduates to receive counsel and encouragement as they prepare to enter into the next phase of their lives.“

From the Avenna Center Burns Arena, President Monson spoke of three bridges— attitude, integrity, and service—that would help one cross the “chasms deep and wide,” spoken of in a poem called “The Bridgebuilder” by Will Allen Dromgoole.

President Monson said the first bridge of life, attitude, can make all the difference in our lives—it can make us miserable or happy, content or dissatisfied, strong or weak, he said.

He suggested students try to change their attitudes by applying the “as if” principle. “If you want a virtue, act as if you already have it. If you want to be brave, act as if you are brave. If you want to be happy, act happy,” he counseled.

The second bridge is integrity. “Perhaps the surest test of an individual’s integrity is his or her refusal to do or say anything to damage his or her self-respect,” President Monson said. “The cornerstone of one’s value system should be the question, ‘What will I think of myself if I do this?’”

President Monson urged graduates to choose happiness, but counseled that happiness will mean little unless they can face themselves and know that they have held to their integrity.

In talking about the third bridge of life, service, President Monson shared a quote often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To know even one life breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”

There are opportunities to serve which are open to everyone, President Monson said, such as friendshipping the lonely, guiding the young, and encouraging the gifted.

“These benefits can’t be conferred by reaching for your checkbook,” he said. “Personal service is direct and human. …

“And whether it be in the morning sun or the twilight dim, the bridge of service will be steady and sure underfoot,” he said. “My young friends, these bridges are built for you.”

As part of the commencement ceremony, President Monson also received an honorary doctorate degree in humanities.

President Monson has long been a part of Utah’s education community—as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents and an officer in the University of Utah’s Alumni Association, and now as a trustee of Brigham Young University and the Church Board of Education.

The centennial commencement exercises will be archived and available for viewing on the college’s website.