Signposts for Your Future Course
It is sobering to stand before you and share thoughts intended to guide your footsteps into the future. For you graduates, today is both a culmination and a beginning. Looking back, you can say, with certainty, "I shall never pass this way again." At the same time, looking to the future you can exclaim, with wonderment, "I have never done this before!" My aim is to remind you of where you have been, then provide four simple signposts by which you can chart your future course. First, the reminder.
In the process of obtaining your education at LDS Business College, I hope you have not overlooked the school. There would be a gaping hole if your graduation represented only classrooms, lectures, studies, tests, grades and diplomas. Hopefully, each of you has a treasured appreciation for this institution, and the imprimatur it places upon you.
Officially established on November 15, 1886, LDS Business College has spanned 112 years from the Western Frontier to contemporary frontiers. Eleven men at the helm as its principals or presidents, have shaped a course of study that began with grades 7 and 8, moved to a high school curricula, and culminated in this fully-accredited, two-year college. But the curriculum of the LDS Business College has not focused on training and "book learning" alone. From the beginning, the aim has been to school the entire person, the spirit as well as the mind. "On the day the school opened, the Deseret News quoted Dr. Karl Maeser, who told the newly enrolled 84 students [in the class of 1886] that:
In order to insure success in their studies, the pupils would require, every day, two kinds of preparation. The first was familiarity with the lessons assigned for the day. This kind of preparation was required and was observable in the schools of the world; but the other was not. It consisted in possession of the Holy Spirit, obtained by prayer. Unless a pupil should have both of these preparations, his or her labors for the day will be a failure in this school" (Lynn M. Hilton, The History of LDS Business College and Its Parent Institutions 1886-1993, p. 40).
This approach to learning was underscored in the commencement exercises of 1900 when then-president, Joshua Paul, presented the school's first motto:
The Lord Is My Light
LDS Business College has remained true to these early tenets, and its graduates are the beneficiaries. In receiving your diplomas, mark well the fact that this school has given you more than training and "book learning." It has taught you much about life; about character; about dignity, responsibility, and the divinity of mankind. Upon this foundation, you can build your futures with confidence.
I now offer four simple signposts by which you can successfully chart your course. They are:
° Pursue truth
° Manage wisely
° Live right, and
° Leave a legacy
First, pursue truth. Thus far, your educational experiences have been mostly introductory. Much remains for you to learn. President Hinckley has observed:
"None of us can assume that he has learned enough. As the door
closes on one phase of life, it opens on another, where we must
continue to pursue knowledge. Ours ought to be a ceaseless quest for the truth. . . ."
(Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Hawaii Commencement Address, June 18, 1983)
Make learning your life-long pursuit. The Lord is hastening His work and increasing the reservoir of knowledge required to do so. What is known today will be changed or added upon tomorrow. Do not fear wholesome change--embrace it! Stay ahead of the ever-moving Bell Curve. Hearken to the scriptural admonition:
° "Seek ye diligently . . . .
° Seek ye words of wisdom . . . .
° Seek learning even by study and also by faith."
Be certain that your continuous "learning" is grounded in truth. New ideas can be intoxicating and misleading. Wrote Nephi:
"O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves. . . . To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." (2 Nephi 9:28, 29)
Therefore, be deliberate and judicious in your pursuit of truth. Here are the distinguishing characteristics that will help you recognize it.
A. Truth is centered in God, the Father, and the Lord, Jesus Christ (D&C 84:45). Therefore, it is unsullied, consistent and complete. It includes what is said, unsaid and intended. And, as a postscript, Satan neither originates, communicates or propagates truth. He only misrepresents or lies about it.
B. Truth is eternal, absolute, and all-encompassing (D&C 88:66; 93:24). It is not created, only discovered.
C. Truth is always in complete harmony, it never contradicts itself (D&C 88:40). Whether scientific or religious in character, it is never in conflict.
D. Truth comes by degrees and differs in importance (2 Nephi 28:30; D&C 84:45-46). Therefore, evaluate it carefully, making these familiar lines your motto:
"If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, [I] seek after these things." (13th Article of Faith)
Your first signpost reads: Pursue Truth.
Second, manage wisely. Upon graduation, you can choose to have all kinds of new experiences. For example, you can now save instead of spend, produce more than you consume, plan ahead rather than fall behind. But beware of deceptive contradictions such as:
° charge cards that promise a care-free life;
° indulgences that portray a long and happy life;
° possessions that represent the ideal life; and
° indebtedness that depicts a secure life.
Yes, graduation places you at the crossroads of many critical decisions. The days ahead will test your wisdom and your discipline. Rash judgments, unbridled appetites, reckless management of personal affairs can transform your otherwise bright future into a series of dismal defeats.
When making decisions, take the long view. Ask yourself, "Will this road lead to peace of mind or trouble?"
Caracas, Venezuela is a city with many beautiful buildings. One large, multi-storied structure captured my attention. It stood tall against the skyline. But instead of draped windows, reflective glass, and metal trim glittering in the sunlight, it was an empty, concrete shell. There were no gardens, only weeds. Decaying construction materials littered its courtyard. It stood as a monument to failure.
Similar testimonials are all about us. The half-painted house, the partially built fence, the frenzied family all say: "I am not wisely managing my life." Many lives are like unfinished buildings--begun with vigor, they stand wasting away in the wake of poor decisions. The Lord has taught:
"Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish." (Luke 14: 28-39)
To manage wisely means to start small and build with time, to measure twice and cut once, to resist the impulse and allow things to "simmer" a while.
Your second signpost reads: Manage Wisely.
Third, live right. Of this, John Ruskin said, "Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know; it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave" (cited in Richard Evans' Quote Book, p. 75).
So much is said today of values. There are society's values, company values, and family values. Correctly viewed, values can be of great worth. Unfortunately, in a world rife with the philosophy of "do your own thing," what one holds as a value is often defined by what one wants.
I commend to you this thought: "Live right by embracing virtue." Virtues are more than values, much more. Virtues mean not only excellence, but moral excellence. Virtuous men and women not only do good, they are goodness.
Though wealth and title hold great appeal, and by them the world gauges success, they stand for little more than what they are. After all is said and done, they do not connote a life well-lived. Decide now what you stand for. Be not afraid to say:
"[I] believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. . . . (13th Article of Faith). These are the things by which I measure my success."
Your third signpost reads: Live Right.
Fourth, leave a legacy. Society suffers from what some have called "dumbing down." "Good enough to get by" is all too often the high water mark of performance. Lowering standards so as to leave no one out harms everyone. It exploits the weak and demoralizes the strong. As a graduate of LDS Business College, you are duty-bound to make a difference in this world, to reach beyond the average, to elevate and edify those around you as well as the communities in which you reside. Where much is given, much is required (D&C 82:3). Said President David O. McKay:
"I look upon all recipients of true education as individuals and groups radiating an influence that makes less dense and ineffective the darkness of ignorance, of suspicion, of hatred, of bigotry, avarice and greed that continue to envelop in darkness the lives of men." (David O. McKay, Pathways to Happiness, p. 66)
Dr. Karl G. Maeser was fond of the admonition, "Don't be a scrub!" Decide now that whatever your pursuit in life, you will do better than your best. Leaving a legacy is an outgrowth of attitude. It emerges as we rise above ourselves.
In 1922, a seventeen-year-old young lady enrolled in this institution, then known as LDS High School. She was a farm girl from a small town in southwestern Utah, the eldest of seven children. Her mother suffered from ill health; the family's resources were meager. She boarded with her aunt that school year and successfully completed the twelfth grade. Her classes included English, Algebra, History, Theology, Physical Training and Oral Expression. Her grades were respectable. She was always quick to point out the campus of this institution and say, "That is where I went to school." The record shows she left LDS High School bound for the Dixie Normal School in St. George.
Three years later she married and, in time, gave birth to and reared three children. She never became a school teacher, was never in the public eye, did not graduate from a great university. But her family adored her, and countless people acknowledge the profound influence for good she was in their lives.
For Margaret Mary Savage, LDS High School became a launching pad for the betterment of others. My mother's legacy became my blessing.
Your final signpost: Leave a Legacy.
We commend you for the significant achievements that have brought you here today. Your graduation is a culmination and a beginning. Treasure always what you have received, and may the blessings of God and His beloved Son abide with and sustain you as you pursue truth, manage wisely, live right and leave a legacy.
© Intellectual Properties Inc.