Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. He spoke on the great expectations for the rising generation, saying that our Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ have high hopes and aspirations for all of their children on the earth.
He gave two guiding principles help meet these expectations. First, Elder Cook counseled students to learn what is essential to protect and bless them and provide happiness, peace and success.
Essentials for protection, happiness, peace and success
In the 1960s, Elder Cook and his wife were living in San Francisco while the country was in turmoil: social unrest, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Vietnam War led to rioting and looting. Harold B. Lee, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave counsel in the face of the chaos.
President Lee promised that families and individuals would be protected if they followed three actions: (1), build Zion in your hearts and in your homes, (2) be a light on the hill and an example in your community, and (3), focus your vision and goals on the ordinances and principles taught in the temple.
Elder Cook said these principles apply as much today as they did 50 years ago.
“I assure you that the joy, love and fulfillment experienced in loving, righteous families produces the greatest possible happiness we can achieve, especially if we make our home a sanctuary of faith,” Elder Cook said. “It is also the foundation for a successful society.”
As students finish their education and leave BYU, they often find themselves in various jobs or with responsibilities where they can be a powerful force for good. “Your contribution to the place where you live in a positive sense is part of your challenge if you are to be an example, be a light on the hill, share the gospel, and live in accordance with the teachings you have received at this great university,” Elder Cook said.
Speaking to President Lee’s third action, Elder cook pointed to President Russell M. Nelson’s counsel that Church members to begin with the end in mind, and part of that includes making the temple and its covenants a priority.
Avoiding detours and stumbling blocks
Elder Cook's second guiding principle for students is to avoid detours and stumbling blocks that diminish the protection provided by the gospel.
Elder Cook described common detours as being addictions to alcohol, drugs and vaping. Pornography, addicting video games and social media also provide unique challenges that can be just as dangerous. These stumbling blocks negatively impact one’s ability to earn a living or have successful relationships.
In addition to dangerous addictions, Elder Cook advised avoiding other stumbling blocks. Specifically, he mentioned those of substituting the philosophies of men for the gospel of Jesus Christ or “foolishness,” or egotism.
“My counsel is to avoid all evil conduct that can block happiness, peace and success,” Elder Cook said. “Such evil [conduct] is contrary to God’s commandments and is usually deemed to be a sin. Throughout my life, parents and teachers and mentors have often used the phrase, ‘Avoid evil like the plague.’”
Elder Cook emphasized the importance of following these two categories of counsel to find true success and happiness.
“Our ‘great expectation’ for you is that you will love, serve and worship the Savior and that you will bless the world like no other generation,” he said. “Be determined to continue on the covenant path and to be righteous. With your BYU education, you can be a means of breaking down prejudice, bringing the Church more fully out of obscurity and building faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ziauddin Yousafzai, educator and social activist, will deliver the forum address next Tuesday, November 17, at 11:05 a.m.
His remarks will be broadcast on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, Classical 89 FM (89.1 FM) and BYUradio (107.9 FM).