'Principles and purposes'
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BYU-Idaho continues to grow as shown by another record-breaking number of graduates who met for spring commencement exercises in the BYU-Idaho Center on the university's campus in Rexburg on July 22.
Elder Paul K. Sybrowsky of the Seventy spoke to more than 1,400 graduates and their supporters about the importance of identifying and setting proper principles and purposes.
He shared a story of when he was a young bishop and was trying to make a major career decision in his life. Elder Sybrowsky presented the situation to Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who was an apostle at the time, thinking the Church leader would agree with what he had decided. Elder Maxwell neither confirmed nor denied the decision he had proposed, but told him to keep in mind his principles and purposes, and he would make the right decision.
"Four little words, 'your principles and purposes,' have had a great impact on my life as I have thought of his wise counsel hundreds of times," Elder Sybrowsky said. "I consider this as personal revelation from the Lord directly to me ... for my growth and guidance. I might add that I have also learned to listen to our prophets every time they speak so that I might receive the Lord's personal counsel directly to me."
It is through properly aligning one's principles and purposes that individuals will be able to follow the example of the Savior and make right decisions. By following the principles of the gospel — faith in the Savior, repentance, baptism and confirmation —individuals are prepared for temple blessings and gain eternal life with their Heavenly Father.
"We must follow the principles of the gospel," Elder Sybrowsky said. "We must obtain the saving ordinances, the foundational covenants of the gospel. We must teach and offer these everlasting principles in all the world."
The Lord's purpose — His work and glory — is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. It is through following the Savior's invitation to come unto Him through the principles and ordinances of the gospel that individuals are able to have a divine purpose.
"Have sufficient faith to obey all direction from God, whether it comes to you through personal revelation or through our prophets and apostles," he said, "for our Heavenly Father will bless you and shape your lives in ways that you cannot imagine."
Elder Sybrowsky gave graduates advice as they "go forth into the world today." He said it is through honoring and being obedient to God individuals are able to be leaders in building the kingdom on Earth.
"Remember you can lead from anywhere," he said. "You do not need to be assigned as a leader. Let the world discover the Church by who you are in word and by your actions and conduct. How you live will have a greater impact on others than what you say."
Other principles Elder Sybrowsky spoke of included paying a full tithe and staying out of debt.
"All the money in the world belongs to the Lord," he said. "He asks you to return one tenth to Him. He then builds temples and blesses you again. … Spend less than you bring home. This is my definition of wealth."
It is also through following the prophets, daily personal and family prayers, temple attendance, scripture study and family home evenings that individuals access direction from the Lord, he said.
"Nothing you will do in life will assist you more than taking time to kneel before the Lord, calling upon His name and drawing ever closer to Him," he said. "You will do extraordinary things and you will be extraordinary. … At times you will need encouragement, and so you will feel the Lord's love for you. I testify that you will feel of His approval as you serve Him. As you continue to remember your 'principles and purposes' in life, you will always be guided to make the right decisions."