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The problem did not lie in my objectives. My objectives were lofty--never stooping to dishonesty, not compromising my principles, standing forward to defend the right and make corrections when things didn't go as they should. The problem was that pursuing these objectives was a project too much in behalf of myself. I could not see it then, but in a very subtle way my quest continued the very preoccupation with myself I was trying to overcome. And it twisted my goal of being true into the goal of being true to me, and being true to me, for my sake, often came before the interests and needs of others. Perhaps my way of pursuing my quest was like that of the prodigal son's elder brother, outwardly ever faithful in his duty but inwardly resentful when his brother received the public honor he thought should be his. My way showed itself as I responded in a hurried manner to a student's question in the hall--because, after all, I had important things to do; and in a conversation with a colleague, thinking of what I would say next instead of listening appreciatively; and in becoming inwardly indignant about a brother's false doctrine in priesthood meeting. No matter how rigorous, a quest to be true when undertaken on one's own behalf can never put to silence the disquieting voice that says, "You're not honest, simple, solid, and true. You're still in it for yourself. It's your own agenda that you care most about." Stubbornly setting out to be true cannot be glorious if I do not lift my focus higher than myself.
Oaks: In the last 12 months, I never stand before an audience at a stake conference--these are in small audiences where you don't anticipate that it will be broadcast--without confronting the possibility that someone there is putting it on some electronic transmission, or would make notes and then go send an email to family members...
Dew: Or a blog.
Oaks: Or a blog... which they would press a key and send that to 150 people and so on. So when I want to speak very candidly to a particular audience, I have begun saying before I begin to speak to this audience of a 100 priesthood or auxiliary leaders, "I would like to know whether I am speaking to 100 people or whether I'm potentially speaking to the world. Because it is going to affect the talk that I will give. Now if I can understand that I'm just speaking to you and that you won't appoint yourself as an agent to transmit my words to the world, I'll speak one way. But if I can't have that commitment from all of you, I'll speak differently. Because I simply have to speak differently if I'm speaking to people unseen. And generally they get the message and I've not been disappointed by the outcome.
Not long after this decision, [BYU Professor S. Kent] Brown is introduced to Matt Whitaker, who wrote the screenplays for the second and third "Work and the Glory" feature films. Brown, Whitaker and Thomas Lefler, the associate chair of BYU's department of theater and media arts, hatch an idea to create a class at BYU called "Jesus Christ in Media." The class begins October 2001 with a dozen students. The next semester, winter 2002, the students develop scripts. The documentary is beginning to take shape.
For the next three years the project goes through several scripts -- each refining and building upon the last. But no matter how good the scripts, it will never be made without approval and funding.
I need thee every hourWhen I was in college, I didn't usually participate in the hospital or nursing home singing visits. My general feeling was that a bunch of young, healthy kids barging into the hospital for an hour was an intrusion, generally unwelcome. And (like most activities in college) impressing the opposite sex was a large part of the draw, and I felt weird doing "service" with that end in mind.
Stay thou nearby
Temptations lose their power
When thou are nigh
I need thee!
O I need thee
Every hour I need thee
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come unto thee
So plain was the vision, that I actually saw men, before they had ascended from the tomb, as though they were getting up slowly. They took each other by the hand and said to each other, ‘My father, my son, my mother, my daughter, my brother, my sister.’ And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me.
When Franklin Graham asked Obama recently how, as a Christian, he could reconcile New Testament claims that salvation was attainable only through Christ with a campaign that embraces pluralism and diversity, Obama tells NEWSWEEK he said: "It is a precept of my Christian faith that my redemption comes through Christ, but I am also a big believer in the Golden Rule, which I think is an essential pillar not only of my faith but of my values and my ideals and my experience here on Earth. I've said this before, and I know this raises questions in the minds of some evangelicals. I do not believe that my mother, who never formally embraced Christianity as far as I know … I do not believe she went to hell." Graham, he said, was very gracious in reply. Should Obama beat John McCain, he has history on his side. Presidents such as Lincoln and Jefferson were unorthodox Christians; and, according to a Pew Forum survey, 70 percent of Americans agree with the statement that "many religions can lead to eternal life." "My particular set of beliefs," Obama says, "may not be perfectly consistent with the beliefs of other Christians."
We can say: “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17.)After reading Sister Kapp's beautiful talk, I read a talk from Elder Featherstone (given before I was born.) His sermons have always touched me when I've read them in a reverent mood. He shared the story of a stuttering boy who overcame his obstacle, of a woman who overcame great trials and then lost and regained her faith in God, and of his own very difficult boyhood where he dealt with poverty and a difficult father.
There have been and will be times in each of our lives when such faith must be the bottom line: We don’t know what is happening to us or around us, but we know that God loves us, and knowing that, for the moment, is enough. [Not My Will, But Thine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 119]
What I am saying is that if the Lord will take a scroungy little kid like that, who had to wear nurses' shoes to church and had to go and beg for groceries, and if he will make him a high councilor or a stake president or the second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, can you believe what he would do for you? Many of you are covenant children. Your parents were married in the temple, and so you are born in the covenant. The rest of you are going to this great institution, BYU, where the greatest learning process in the world can take place. God bless each one of you that you'll feel your sense of worth, that you'll understand who you really are. You are a royal generation. You have a great deal to offer. I don't care what the handicaps are that you think are so severe; you can overcome them. God bless each one of you, I pray from the depths of my soul as I ask a blessing upon you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.The final conclusion for me? God does want us to prosper. He does want wonderful things for us. He won't always give them to us immediately (the pitfall of the proponents of the prosperity gospel), but he will give them; and the rewards will be greater than we can presently comprehend. God is great. I invite you to share my journey by reading the two talks I've linked above when you have a quiet moment.