What a busy weekend…. I found a recap of Richard G. Scott’s talk at BYU’s Commencement (from the Deseret News by Marianne Holman). I was so hot during that meeting and had a bad stomach ache from eating a JDogg, and we were literally on the very top bleacher in the Marriott Center, but I really loved the talk.
One of my favorite lines by Richard G. Scott was: “Strong character is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished.” Obviously possessions will not bring us happiness, but the other two items surprised me. We always put so much emphasis on education (even in church), and yet even in a commencement ceremony, where we are celebrating our academic milestones, the apostle points out to us that even the things we learn and accomplish are secondary to having and maintaining strong character. To me, that means that our life choices and our day-to-day actions, along with the real desires of our hearts, mean so much more to the Lord than any great academic accolades. It was particularly reassuring to me, as I have been thinking a lot about motherhood and the lifestyle I will be living for at least the next 20 years, or longer (feeling a little bit like my life is over!) That day I felt slightly jealous of those graduates in black, about to receive their Master’s Degrees. I could have started that path last year, but I chose not to. While that would have been a great and worthwhile endeavor, I was just grateful to be reminded that the Lord judges us according to our character and not by our degree, and that I have many other important things that I will do in my lifetime, particularly as a mother.(I was 7 months on the dot that day)
I also liked the concept of following the same guiding principles wherever you are; don’t allow them to change because of circumstance. Be the person you want to be everywhere.
Points 4 and 8 also stood out to me: Let the Lord guide you, and Serve wherever He needs you. Raimo and I are in a transient stage right now and have no idea what is coming next. We have been praying more fervently for guidance and for help in finding the right job and applying for the right locations. We really could go anywhere, start anything at this point, but I know He will help us find what is right for us. Not only that, but He will send us to the place where we will be able to serve the best.
I am grateful to have attended a school where everything is focused around the gospel, rather than on becoming great in the eyes of the world. The whole meeting focused on our life path and becoming people of great character, and I loved that.
Here are photos of convocations. The most magical part to me was when the organist began Pomp and Circumstance and then the dramatic parting of the curtains with all the graduates sitting behind it! The audience just all gasped together and started cheering–it was really beautiful, and Raimo was right there in the center. It was so intimate compared to my convocation in the Marriott Center!
Raimo is so cute
We had dinner at Texas Roadhouse afterward. Here are Marko and Amanda. We finally met their new baby, Laila!
The “Y” on the mountain was lit for graduation. Can you tell?
I pasted the rest of the talk below:
Individuals must be a force for good in a world that desperately needs it, Elder Richard G. Scott told more than 6,000 Brigham Young University graduates and their supporters on Thursday afternoon.
Students from every U.S. state and 72 different countries listened to the apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he spoke during commencement exercises in the Marriott Center on the BYU campus.
“This world is in serious trouble,” Elder Scott said. “The fundamental values of this nation are being undermined. There is a continual crumbling of principle, virtue, integrity and religious values — the foundation stones of civilization and the definitive ingredients of peace and happiness.”
But despite the difficulties in the world, it is a solid foundation of faith, character and integrity that will help individuals find peace, joy and purpose in life, Elder Scott said.
“God uses your faith to mold your character,” he said. “Character is woven patiently from threads of doctrine, principle and obedience. Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming. Your character will be the yardstick that God will use to determine how well you have used your mortal life.
“Strong character is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished. Your consistent exercise of faith builds strong character. In turn, fortified confidence in conquering the trials of life.”
Elder Scott shared ten specific points to help individuals to successfully developing their character and find joy in life.
1. Establish a set of principles to guide every aspect of life — home, church service, profession and community.
“Many people try to compartmentalize their lives and have a standard for Church, another standard for what they do in business, and in other aspects of their life,” Elder Scott said. “I very strongly counsel you not to do that. There really is only one set of standards that make sense. Those are the teachings of Jesus Christ which signal to us the importance of faith, service, obedience and integrity.”
2. Don’t make exceptions to your standards. “Never compromise them,” he said. “Be loyal to the teachings that you have received here and have received from your parents. They are the things of greatest worth. … If you integrate that with what you know about the teachings of the Lord, examples of those worthy people who are role models to you, you will have a solid foundation and you will be productive and do things that are worthwhile for others.”
3. Be loyal. Elder Scott said that individuals must be loyal to the BYU campus, parents, loved ones and above all, the Savior. “Success comes when your actions are consistent with the teachings of the Lord,” he said. “When you seek work find someone who challenges you, who raises you to higher levels of performance.
4. Live so that the Lord can guide you to where He wants you to serve. “Let the Lord guide you,” he said. “He can do that if you live His commandments worthily and strive in every way to be obedient to His teachings.”
5. Serve others. “Sharing what you know with others will bring you happiness and bless their lives.”
6. Smile. “You will soon learn that everybody has problems and nobody wants to hear about yours,” he said. “When you put those things aside and smile, have a good sense of humor as the prophets do. . . . A sense of humor helps you greatly.”
7. Don’t complain. “Life isn’t always fair. That’s a fact. But it’s always charged with marvelous opportunities if you know how to find them.”
8. Always have a church assignment. “Wherever you go in the world, wherever the Lord takes you, always offer your service to the presiding authority. Leave it to that authority to decide where and how. Be connected with the things of God and the ways to serve Him.”
9. Go to the temple. “Carry a current temple recommend. . . . It will keep you spiritually in tune, will allow you to remember the most important things of life and encourage you to give great service to others.”
10. Use the Savior, Jesus Christ as your example for life. “Use His teachings as your handbook for life. Never make exceptions to them. “
As individuals follow these suggestions, they strengthen their foundation of faith and are more able to lead others to do the same.
“Come to know of the great influence for good that flows from individual acts born of conscience and principle rooted in truth,” he said. “Resolve that each moment of your life will reflect your determination to humbly be an example of righteousness, integrity and conviction.”
Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, BYU President and member of the Seventy, spoke to graduates about the aims of a BYU education, and the important role it plays in becoming spiritually strengthened, enlarging their intellect and building one’s character.
“More than ever, you will be your own teacher and will create your own tests and quizzes,” Elder Samuelson said. “Some of what you learned at BYU will be timeless, but other specifics, facts or approaches . . . will change over time and you must be able to keep up … As your lives become even more demanding and complicated, your integrity and honor will come under ever-increasing attacks. Thus, you must continue to build and strengthen your character upon the already firm foundation of honesty, dependability and reliability.”
Other speakers included Chris Feinauer, BYU Alumni Association president, and graduate Paige Crosland Anderson. College convocations were scheduled to be held Friday in various locations on the BYU campus.