In keeping with tradition, President and Sister Samuelson addressed students Jan. 9 at the first devotional of the semester.
In her remarks, Sister Sharon Samuelson recognized the many opportunities and decisions presented to students throughout the semester as well as the difficulties they face. "At times such as these," Sister Samuelson told students, "there is the need for inspiration, understanding and guidance to assist you as you forge onward in your pursuits."
Sister Samuelson then encouraged students to seek and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in their academic studies, spiritual growth and social activities. Urging students to continually strive to remain worthy of the Holy Ghost, Sister Samuelson promised, "the Holy Ghost can abide with you every hour of the day wherever you may be."
Despite the difficult decisions confronting students, Sister Samuelson continued, they can "know what to do and what not to do to obtain happiness" if they have the guidance of the Holy Ghost. She then quoted President Boyd K. Packer, who taught, "You can never make a serious mistake without being warned [by the Holy Ghost.]"
President Cecil O. Samuelson began his address by posing the question, "What should a properly educated and motivated Latter-day Saint BYU graduate of the early 21st century know?" The answer, he said, "is both in what we share and in what we have to share."
To answer his question, President Samuelson first stated that a BYU graduate "should know what any properly educated college or university graduate should know." Although BYU asks more of their graduates in some areas, President Samuelson firmly reminded students that this does not excuse deficits in other areas, saying "We aspire explicitly to have our graduates be in the first rank of . . . all the dimensions that the academy would deem to be both desirable and essential."
The other expectation of BYU graduates, President Samuelson said, is that they have "a deep and profound understanding of and faith in some fundamentals and principles related to our Church and its doctrines." Referencing President J. Reuben Clark Jr., President Samuelson outlined two fundamental doctrines of the gospel everyone should know: first, a knowledge that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the redeemer of mankind; and second, that the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith and restored Christ's church.
"There is no better place than Brigham Young University, together with its student wards, stakes and other support systems, to find, round out and qualify for this remarkable knowledge," President Samuelson said.
But more is required of a BYU graduate than just knowledge. Citing the BYU motto, "Enter to learn, go forth to serve," President Samuelson reminded students of their responsibility to share the knowledge they have gained while at BYU. ". . . this means that if we have trained in education or engineering, nursing and neurosciences . . . and in every branch of learning available here at BYU, we apply the best and latest principles of these honored professions in the context of our ethical, gospel and moral understanding."
A BYU graduate should "commit to making a better world by contributing directly to strong families, communities, congregations, companies and other vital institutions," he said.
BYU students should not only live the principles of the gospel, President Samuelson continued, but also be ready to share "the reason for our optimism, faith and hope," and seek to plant seeds of faith through example. "We can behaviorally bear our witness of these fundamental principles to those who observe and interact with us," said President Samuelson.
In closing, he asked students to regularly reflect on what a BYU graduate should know, and then "get on with the exciting adventure of becoming and helping each other become more authentic examples of such."
Writer: Alexis Plowman