Devotionals from the Past: 1980s to 1990s


Karl G. Maeser first instituted daily assemblies at Brigham Young Academy for instruction and worship. A theology class was taught at the start of each school day during the late 1800s. Returned missionaries and faculty taught the students of the academy, along with special visits from General Authorities of the Church. Devotionals became a distinguishing factor of BYU. Moving from the Maeser Building to the old Joseph Smith Building and then over to the Smith Fieldhouse, the devotionals drew large crowds of students, a fact that still holds true today. The Marriott Center now holds thousands of student every Tuesday as they join together to hear the words of faculty, political leaders, religious leaders and General Authorities of the LDS Church. From the 1950s to today, the words spoken during devotionals still ring with truth.

Spencer W. Kimball, then- President of the Church, September 1980
“Be serious about your studies. This is a university. Your minds need to be filled and stretched and trained. Adequate social opportunities are available, and these are important in terms of balance in your life, but do not subordinate your studies to the fleeting things of the moment.”

Richard G. Scott, then- First Quorum of the Seventy, August 1982
“I discovered that we are not left alone to face the challenges of life, but can receive guidance and strength from a loving, understanding God in heaven.”

Marvin J. Ashton, then- Quorum of the Twelve, March 1982
“Brigham Young University does not exist to help you make money. It exists to make you rich.”

Jeffery R. Holland, then- President of BYU, Sept. 1987
“Tradition? Tradition! A lot of it, dearly earned and even more dearly defended. It’s tough keeping our footing on a slippery roof, but there we are, determined to stay so long as there’s a BYU. I am just biased enough to believe it is the best university in all the world for you to attend. That is why we care about your lives, including how you look as well as how you act.”

L. Tom Perry, then- Quorum of the Twelve, February 1988
“It is now 1988. You are presently enrolled in the University of Mortality, having arrived here without knowledge of the decisions you made in the premortal existence. In fact, you find yourself enrolled in one of the most exciting, challenging semesters of your entire earthly experience. It is the semester when many of the most important decisions in mortality must be made. The balance of your life here and in the eternities to come will depend on the decisions you make now. Your future happiness depends on these decisions. They are, of course, educational goals, career paths, talent enhancement, marriage, and the degree you want to obtain in this life to wear gloriously and proudly in the eternities to come.”

Ardeth G. Kapp, then- Young Women General President, November 13, 1990
“Principles are mingled with a sense of values. They magnify each other. Striving to live the good life is dependent upon values to measure our progress as we learn to like and dislike what we ought to. We learn to be honest by habit, as a matter of course. The question shouldn’t be “What will people think?” but “What will I think of myself?” We must have our own clearly defined values burning brightly within. Values provide an inner court to which we can appeal for judgment of our performance and our choices.”

Elaine L. Jack, then- Relief Society General President, March 1992
“Charity is love—not just earthly love or temporary love, but the pure love of Christ. Charity is so important that we must have it in our lives. It is not just nice to possess charity; it is essential.”

Rex Lee, then- BYU President, September 1995
I believe that one of the most important indicators of how honest we are is the seriousness with which we keep agreements that we have made.

Merrill J. Bateman, then- BYU President, January 1999
Brigham Young University is also one of the Lord’s garners. So, too, are BYU-Hawaii, Ricks, the LDS Business College, and the seminaries and institutes spread across the earth. Each is an important gathering place for young members of the Church as a refuge from the storm.

James E. Faust, then- Quorum of the Twelve, September 1999
May I suggest a further requisite in the continuing quest to live happily every hour, every day, every month, and every year of our lives. The golden pathway to happiness is the selfless giving of love—the kind of love that has concern and interest and some measure of charity for every living soul. Love is the direct route to the happiness that would enrich and bless our lives and the lives of others.

D. Todd Christofferson, then- member of the Presidency of the Seventy, October 1999
“There are those today who challenge even the authority of God. Because it is now so pervasive, if you are not careful, something of that attitude could seep into and infect your own feelings. I want today to reinforce in your mind and in your heart the love you feel for your Heavenly Father. I want to reinforce your allegiance to God and your desire to be a fit and loyal subject in His kingdom.”

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