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BYU recognizes 4,644 graduates, Elder Wirthlin

PROVO, Utah — Labor to learn, strive to serve, think to thank and pause to pray, counseled President Thomas S. Monson during BYU commencement exercises April 26.

Elder Joseph B. Worthlin is hooded for a Honorary Doctoral Degree at BYU Graduation.  PHOTO BY STUART JOHNSON
Elder Joseph B. Worthlin is hooded for a Honorary Doctoral Degree at BYU Graduation. PHOTO BY STUART JOHNSON Photo: Photo by Stuart Johnson

"Today you graduate; tomorrow you enter the halls of justice, the plants of industry, the classrooms of learning, whatever your future may hold," said President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, to the 4,644 graduates gathered in the BYU Marriott Center. "You say goodbye to college and hello to life after BYU."

In addition to speaking, President Monson conducted and presided at the ceremonies, during which Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve was awarded an honorary doctorate of Christian service. Also awarded honorary degrees were Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., the only Holocaust survivor to serve as a member of the U.S. Congress, and John W. Gallivan, publisher emeritus of the Salt Lake Tribune since 1984. Lloyd D. George, a distinguished LDS Nevada jurist, was awarded a presidential citation.

During his address President Monson thanked the graduates for their excellence in a world where mediocrity is commonplace.

"I welcome you to a new world. You will confront grievous uncertainties. I do not warn you of such a world — I welcome you to it. Don't miss a second of it. Relish every moment. This big, wide, wonderful world we live in is yours."

President Monson then offered the graduates a four-point formula for success.

Labor to learn: "Graduation day," he observed, "does not mean closing the cover of the books of life, the books of literature, the books containing the revelations of God."

Strive to serve: President Monson noted that to find true happiness, graduates must seek it in a focus outside themselves. "Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy."

Think to thank: "In these three words you have the finest capsule course for a happy marriage, the formula for enduring friendships and a pattern for personal happiness," he said. "One of the problems of this troubled world in which we live is that people think more of getting than of giving, of receiving and not even stopping to express thank you for that which is received."

Pause to pray: President Monson asked the graduates not to pray for tasks equal to their powers, but rather for powers equal to their tasks. "Then the doing of your work will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle."

Concluding, he asked those in attendance to remember the Savior, Jesus Christ. "Will you make room in your heart for the Savior of the world, that He may dwell with you?" questioned President Monson.

Elder Eyring (left), Pres. Thomas S. Monson and BYU President Merrill J. Bateman chat as BYU graduates file by in the Marriott Center for BYU Graduation.  PHOTO BY STUART JOHNSON
Elder Eyring (left), Pres. Thomas S. Monson and BYU President Merrill J. Bateman chat as BYU graduates file by in the Marriott Center for BYU Graduation. PHOTO BY STUART JOHNSON Photo: Photo by Stuart Johnson

During brief remarks, Elder Wirthlin expressed gratitude for the honorary doctorate. "There are moments that fill our hearts with joy and gratitude," he said. "These are the days we look back with fondness and reflection upon from time to time. These are the days that bring a warm smile to our lips and tenderness to our hearts. I hope this will be such a day for you. It certainly is for me."

Elder Wirthlin also mentioned four principles that will guide graduates through the remainder of their lives.

  • "Study the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and emulate His example.
  • "Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • "Learn to work.
  • "Be of good cheer and have faith that your Heavenly Father will be with you if you are obedient to the commandments of the gospel."

Elder Wirthlin told the graduates that as they follow these principles they will be pioneers on the grand path of their mortal existence.

"As you emulate your Savior, and your fellow men, work with all your might, and have joyful faith in the Lord, you will avoid many of the pitfalls and sorrows of life," he said. "Although your life's journey may not always be smooth, I promise you a full measure of joy, happiness and the rich blessings of our Heavenly Father."

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