Seventy Tells BYU Grads to “Put Your Trust in God”

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • 19 August 2016

A student wears a personalized cap during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016.  Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Put your trust in God.
  • Learn to keep the commandments of God.
  • Bridle all passions.
  • “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”

“Your success in life and how you prepare for the responsibilities that will ultimately be yours is the accumulation of small and simple things you do each day.” —Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Seventy

“Your commitment to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and your willingness to form eternal families will ultimately influence everyone who comes to know you,” Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy told graduates during commencement exercises at Brigham Young University on August 11.

“Because of the foundation you have established while attending BYU, you are now prepared to go forth into ‘the world’ and to make significant contributions in your chosen fields of study, in your families, and in the lives of Heavenly Father’s children everywhere.”

Graduates and their supporters gathered in the Marriott Center for BYU’s 141st commencement. The class of 1,532 graduates from 43 countries and 45 U.S. states earned 1,954 degrees. BYU President Kevin J Worthen spoke and conducted the event, and Elder Christensen gave the keynote address.

“There may be some who view this transition into ‘the world’ with some trepidation,” said Elder Christensen. “You may feel a little like Alma the Younger, who, after observing the moral state of affairs of his day, felt ‘grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds and the contentions which were among them.’”

In explaining how to find personal peace and a sense of purpose, Elder Christensen encouraged listeners to look to how other faithful disciples responded to similar circumstances. Drawing from the prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon, Elder Christensen shared four points for people to follow.

1. Put your trust in God.

 

Graduates pose for a picture after the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

“Learning to trust in the Lord, even in the midst of trials and afflictions, is the way we manifest our love for Him and the key to finding true happiness in this life and in the life to come,” he said. “Alma knew this from personal experience—for he had been thrown in prison, mocked, and spat upon for preaching the gospel. Notwithstanding, Alma never lost his faith, and he wanted his sons to learn from his example.”

Elder Christensen invited listeners to consider how they will demonstrate their trust in God throughout their lives.

“What will you do to show God that you trust Him above everything else—above your own wisdom and especially above the wisdom of the world?” he asked. “Placing your trust in God means, as Alma taught his sons, that we do not boast in our own wisdom or of our own strength.”

2. Learn to keep the commandments of God.

“It has been said that ‘we pay for our schooling, but wisdom cannot be purchased,’” he said. “Wisdom comes from life’s experiences and from sacred experiences with the Holy Ghost.”

Elder Christensen encouraged listeners to continue their lifelong effort to learn wisdom and focus their priorities on those things established by the Lord.

“You didn’t come to BYU merely to increase your earning power,” he said. “You came to learn wisdom—to learn the mysteries of God—which requires much more than secular learning; it requires that we obey the voice of the Lord and keep His commandments.”

Elder Craig C. Christensen, a General Authority Seventy, speaks to graduates during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

3. Bridle all passions.

“We often view this charge as counsel associated with the law of chastity,” he said. “It is interesting to note that when Alma gave this charge, he was not speaking to Corianton, his son who had fallen into sin, but to Shiblon, his steady son who was faithful and obedient.”

When speaking of passions, Alma was referring to all passions—a person’s intense energy, enthusiasm, determination, and zeal for life, he said. “Passion, in this sense, is a good thing. It motivates our daily efforts, helps strengthen our vision, and drives us to succeed.”

Using the image of a horse bridle as an example, Elder Christensen spoke of how a harness controls power and gives focus and direction.

“Heavenly Father wants us to be bold and passionate about important things; He wants us to love the truth, and He values youthful energy and enthusiasm. But He also wants to help us channel this energy into righteous work. He wants us to be boldly committed to doing good in the world, using our talents to accomplish His eternal purposes rather than wasting them on things that really do not matter much.”

Graduates take a selfie during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

4. “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”

“Your success in life and how you prepare for the responsibilities that will ultimately be yours is the accumulation of small and simple things you do each day,” he said. “No matter what your ambitions for the future are, you achieve them step-by-step, one day at a time.”

Dedication to the small and simple things helps in accomplishing the most important things in life. “These simple acts, including your personal devotion to daily prayer and scripture study, will contribute to your long-term happiness and your ultimate success in life.”

Focusing his remarks on the importance of perspective, President Worthen encouraged graduates to be lifelong learners as they contribute to the workplace and communities around the world.

Kevin J Worthen, president of BYU, addresses graduates during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

“True learning is not a selfish endeavor,“ said President Worthen. “True learning is most powerfully experienced and most deeply engrained when it is used to improve the lives of others.”

Other speakers included Amy Fennegan, president of the BYU Alumni Association, and graduate Marcos Felipe Nazareth Gallo.

Graduates walk during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Graduates walk during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Elder Kim B. Clark attends the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Graduates walk during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Kevin J Worthen, president of BYU, applauds graduates during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Elder Craig C. Christensen, a General Authority Seventy, speaks to graduates during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Marcos Felipe Nazareth Gallo speaks to his fellow graduates during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Graduates applaud their families during the summer commencement at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, August 11, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.