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Climb mountain, graduates counseled

Elder Brough expounds 'Caleb's 10 Suggestions.'

REXBURG, Idaho — Using the analogy of graduation and the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, Elder Monte J. Brough of the Presidency of the Seventy addressed graduates of BYU-Idaho during fall commencement Dec. 17.

In the book of Numbers, Moses sends a group of men to scout the land of Canaan, Elder Brough related. Among these are Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, son of Jephunneh. Upon returning, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who were positive about the land of Canaan. The other scouts claimed that Canaan was "too tough, and (the Children of Israel) could not succeed."

Joshua and Caleb remained optimistic, saying, "Give us the mountain."

Elder Brough told graduates that the world is more of a mountain than a lush valley. "Because of the complexity and importance of their condition, Moses gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments. I assert that every person in this room will benefit by knowing Caleb's Ten Suggestions."

These "Ten Suggestions" are as follows:

  • "Go ye up this way southward and go up into the mountain" (Numbers 13:17). Elder Brough added, "We must understand the requirements and expectations that are made for us. Leaders and mentors can help us to set righteous goals."
  • "Let us go up at once" (Numbers 13:30). Preparation is important, but procrastination is not, Elder Brough said.
  • "We are well able to overcome it" (verse 30). Caleb knew that a certain amount of self-confidence needs to be a part of our lives.
  • "The land . . . is an exceeding good land" (Numbers 14:7). Be optimistic about life.
  • "The Lord is with us: fear them not" (Numbers 14:9). Elder Brough continued, "The concept of knowing that the Lord is with us is one of Caleb's most powerful suggestions."
  • "I am this day fourscore and five years old" (Joshua 14:10). Life is a race for time, but, Elder Brough said, "The value of life's experiences completely overcomes the loss of time."
  • "So is my strength now" (Joshua 14:11). Care for your physical bodies.
  • "And your seed with you" (based on Deuteronomy 1:36).Elder Brough counseled, "We follow God with commitment so our posterity will benefit from our lives."
  • "To him will I give the land" (Deuteronomy 1:36). Elder Brough added, "The blessings we receive from the Lord can bless our children."
  • "And she said unto him, give me a blessing" (Judges 1:15). Caleb gave his daughter the necessary resources and let her work.

Elder Brough concluded, "We congratulate you, we honor you, we are proud of you. I speak for the university, the Church, your families, and I say to you wonderful graduates, go climb your mountain!"

In his remarks, BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark said that the university has sought to prepare its students to be both disciples of Christ and leaders, roles that depend on agency and adherence to the principles of the gospel.

Character, competence and confidence are "three principles that will help you realize the great promise in your discipleship and leadership," said President Clark.

During fall commencement, 758 bachelors degrees were awarded to BYU-Idaho students, 35 percent more than last year's fall graduation. The increase in students receiving bachelors degrees was mirrored by a decreased number of associate degrees; 283 were awarded as opposed to 355 last year.