Elder David A. Bednar offered a slight adjustment to a university motto during Thursday's spring commencement exercises: "Enter to learn, go forth to learn."
Elder Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and of BYU's Board of Trustees, spoke to more than 6,000 graduates and their guests at the Marriott Center April 24. He spoke to graduates about the importance of learning to love learning throughout life.
"Learning to love learning is central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is vital to our ongoing spiritual and personal development and is an absolute necessity in the world in which we do now and will yet live, serve and work," he said.
Though all learning is good, Elder Bednar said, some learning is more important. If we are to become like our Heavenly Father, we must learn things that are "temporally important and eternally essential" and then share those truths with others.
"Understanding who we are, where we came from and why we are upon the earth places upon each of us a great responsibility to both learn how to learn and to learn to love learning," Elder Bednar said.
Elder Bednar offered Brigham Young as an example of a man who continually learned throughout his life. Despite the fact that Young only had 11 days of formal schooling, Elder Bednar said, he never ceased learning from the Lord, from scriptures and from good books.
"We might ask, when shall we cease to learn? I will give you my opinion about it: never, never," Elder Bednar quoted Young as saying.
Much of the data and specific knowledge students have learned from a chosen program of study will become obsolete, he said, but the capacity to learn will become ever more important.
"As we press forward in life, spiritually, interpersonally and professionally, no book of answers is readily available with guidelines and solutions to the great challenges of life. All we have is our capacity to learn and our love of and for learning," he said.
Elder Bednar counseled that as the world changes and the requirements for jobs constantly evolve, graduates will need the ability to grow as well and to build on the formal education they have received.
"Each of us will have our spiritual and learning capabilities tested over and over again," he said. "Learning to love learning equips us for an ever changing and unpredictable future."
Finally, Elder Bednar reminded graduates that as they go forth into the world, they represent the Savior, their family, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Brigham Young University.
"You have the responsibility to help the world better understand who we are and what we do at this remarkable institution. How you live, what you do, and what you become ultimately define this university."
Writer: Alexis Plowman