Skips to main content

Brett R. Merkley

Measuring Success: Particles to Pillars

Defining the measures of success in the way the world often uses; we see these images displayed in a variety of ways, and they are often distorted. To some success is measured by winning the race, reaching the summit, or becoming the ‘champion.’  
To others it may be finishing the race or just competing in it. Others may cheer in success of hiking the mountain, just walking life’s path, and others, like students: success is just getting out of bed for an early morning class.   
I believe that measuring success and viewing successes may be seen as great events of rising pillars or simple particles such as pausing before you act, from the driver that just cut you off. Nevertheless, successes should have greater meaning for faithful Latter-Day Saints with eternal perspectives.
At LDS Business College, we value the measure to achieve institutional initiatives and fulfill our inspired Mission which is:
LDS Business College provides a distinctive educational experience rooted in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We work together to cultivate a nurturing
environment, teach practical skills, and develop confident and skillful learners. 
We enlighten minds, elevate hope, and ennoble souls to strengthen individuals, families, communities, and the Lord's Church (
According to this mission; students become significant measures as particles of truth enlighten your minds that grow as rising pillars, building yourselves, your families, the Church, and your communities. Students are all about the college’s success! I will help illustrate this through the words of one your fellow LDSBC students:
“I just want to tell you how grateful I am to take this medical assisting program and have this experience with Cope family medicine. I have come to an end of my learning experience and have learned a lot; ready to work in any health care facility. 
My first week I was asked to join the doctor to assist him perform a procedure, for which I was nervous at the beginning, but I got the courage after that. It’s a surprise to be doing all this during my first week. 
My course work has given me the courage to prepare for this and I am happy for that... After my fourth week, I was okay in taking vital signs and taking patients to the office and obtaining medical [histories] and records…
Now that I am at the end of my hours, [I] am very happy and feel like not just being a medical assistant but to [become] a nurse and [I’m] happy for that. Thank you very much for all [the help you have given] me.” 
I would like to add my perspective of this student so you might know of the particles I witness in his growth and success. He is an international student and returned missionary. In his courses, learning the theory was challenging for him, yet he kept his grades above average. He would sit quietly and timidly in the back of the class, rarely adding a comment.
After his experience he noted above, he became a different young man, a different student. Proven knowledge filled him with confidence.  He radiates enthusiasm, adds insightful questions to enhance the learning environment. Some of this young man’s true success can be measured by his grades but the greatest measures are the evidences of his growth as a skilled and confident learner prepared for a professional career.
From particles to pillars this student gained much more than a degree. These are the successes we work toward and hope for each of you and others that will fill these halls and classrooms. This is our Mission!
In ‘ Preach My Gospel’ the attributes given for success are:
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others and measuring the outward results of your efforts against theirs.
  • Feel the Spirit testify to people through you.
  • Love people and desire their salvation (success).
  • Obey with exactness.
  • Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say.
  • ‘You are successful when you are obedient, live righteously, and do your best in helping others live the gospel’ (2010, pp. 10-11).
In the 180 th Annual General Conference, Sister Beck, drew these parallels of success: “…We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness. We are doing well when we seek to improve ourselves and do our best. We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need. We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit... Peace, joy, and hope are available to those who measure success properly (Beck, 2010).
While teaching some of His final sermons during His mortal ministry, the Master provides His example of measured success or as I refer particle to pillars.  In Matthew 25: 14-28 Parable of the Talents
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he agave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and areckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou adeliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful aservant: thou hast been bfaithful over a few things, I will make thee cruler over many things: enter thou into the djoy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I breap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with ausury (interest).
28 Take therefore the atalent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
What are the talents or gifts we have been given to help with our simple or great successes? Do we use these talents to grow our knowledge of truth, growing from particles to pillars? How many of you have received your Patriarchal Blessing? How many of you read and study it to know some of the gifts and talents which you have been blessed? Your gifts and other gifts you will acquire exist to help you succeed in your life path; a blessing to others and yourself, which the Lord states are the true measures of your success. 
I do not think it an accident, that we have a Learning Model at LDSBC that encourages us to exercise our given talents. Understanding the parable of the talents, it behooves us to use all our abilities to exercise our gifts so that we might also acquire additional talents, additional knowledge, and additional power to become. 
The endowments from heaven are often gained by diligence, dedication, and devotion in exercising our gifts. These attributes can create learning beyond learning, truths that raise us and rise with us for now and for eternity. The Master has promised as we are successful in practicing our natural talents we may receive more gifts to bless us, our families, and the kingdom of heaven.
To Joshua the Lord said, "This book of the a law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt b meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).       
The apostle Paul, provides an example of how important it is to have particles to build pillars or in his words we need all our parts to create the whole (1 Cor. 12:14-27).
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the ahead to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be amore feeble, are necessary:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same acare one for another.
26 And whether one member asuffer, all the members bsuffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of aChrist, and bmembers in particular.”
Each of you creates the student body of LDS Business College and you are also members of the body, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As the Apostle Paul states in this passage, we also need your examples as all of us work together and rejoice together as we meet the measures of our design. To those parts that are frail or ill, we seek the best ways to restore them to their full measure. To students that struggle in the college environment we nurture you with particles of truth, trust, aid you, and  encourage you to rise to your potential pillars of success.
Might I also add; each student needs to participate, having every class member present each and every day of class. Just as the Church needs every member, so that we may experience the abundant measure of the Gifts of the Spirit: instructors need every student and students need other students, so that together, learning by the Spirit will create the best learning. Learning experiences will be more powerful when we offer particles to invite abundant measures of the Spirit
 To claim these experiences we need to be prepared for them.
Students, you need to attend class often to speak one with another, teach one another, and offer your gifts or talents as we learn together and measure particles of success in the Lords way. 
It is through preparing, participating, and offering your talents or gifts that we learn in the more excellent way. This is how we can measure learning in the most successful ways. 
Success need not be measures of an end, but with the small and simple successes or particles, we measure to build ourselves, lift others, and elevate hope of growing pillars.
If the dust of the earth (or particles) can be organized into human flesh, then we need not be so quick to discount the seemingly small particles of success that we experience in learning while living this journey. 
Now I pray that we will not focus so much on the measure of our stature, nor of our final grades, but more upon the measure of the Spirit within us in the process of learning and growing, and how we use our gifts to measure our successes properly. Remember simple particles of knowledge can grow to pillars and successes can be measured from simple to great; growing as pillars within our families, the Church, and communities. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Beck, J. B. (2010, May 1). Upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. Ensign , pp. 10-12.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (2010, May 13). Preach My Gospel. Retrieved May 2010, from


Close Modal