In Our Opinion: Never underestimate the power of o

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    Daily Universe Editorial

    Many BYU students will be graduating next month and venturing out into the “real world.” They will hear many words of encouragement between now and then, and some of the sentiments expressed may be a bit trite or cliched. One idea that is perhaps worth repeating, however,is this: One person can make a difference.

    As we examine the events and movements that have shaped our history, we should note that very rarely has there been an amorphous group behind anything significant. Generally there have been individuals with strong wills and lofty ideas — good or bad — who have been the driving force. Granted, they have had people behind them, but nonetheless the determination and the plan was theirs.

    The beginnings of this country are full of these individuals: Washington, Madison, Hamilton. Abraham Lincoln kept America together despite Civil War. Rosa Parks wouldn’t move to the back of the bus and sparked the civil rights movement. Joseph Smith restored the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then Brigham Young helped colonize the West. Christopher Columbus sailed to America.

    On the other side of the coin, men like Hitler and Stalin have had the same strong convictions and the same energy, only with evil intent. They are sobering reminders that one person can make a difference for bad, too.

    In LDS culture, there are even still people who, as individuals, make a huge difference. Michael McLean, a fixture of LDS pop culture, was responsible for some of the church films that are now used regularly as missionary tools, along with his many songs that are considered uplifting by many. The same can be said for other LDS artists and musicians who have inspired people with their talents: Janice Kapp Perry, Kurt Bestor, Minerva Teichert, Orson Scott Card, Jon Schmidt, and yes, even the Osmonds.

    Businessmen like Stephen R. Covey and J. Willard Marriott have proven that one person can be enormously successful in a secular field without compromising the principles of the gospel. Covey surreptitiously teaches LDS doctrine in his best-selling books, and Marriott makes sure a Book of Mormon appears in each of his hotel rooms.

    LDS scholar Robert Matthews was able to view the original manuscript of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, in possession of the RLDS Church, and as a result is now the most noted authority on that subject. John Welch discovered chiasmus, an ancient poetic device, in the Book of Mormon, lending the scriptures some literary creedence in the outside world. And let’s not overlook Hugh Nibley, whose tireless research and intelligent devotion to the gospel has done a tremendous amount of good in answering questions and quelling debates.

    Sigmund Freud’s ideas about psychology and the inner self revolutionized psychiatry. Albert Einstein’s theories on time and the universe still hold water today. Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison — the list goes on and on.

    These people are all individuals. When they were the age of BYU students, they may not have imagined anything great for their futures. And yet for whatever reason, they wound up accomplishing a great deal. Sometimes this was through talent, sometimes through sheer luck. But most of the time, it was due to good old-fashioned determination, will-power, and courage.

    We should never under-estimate the power of one.

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