Law professor and associate dean Justin Collings shared his “certain idea” of BYU during the Feb. 1 devotional address and encouraged students to relish in uniqueness.
Collings quoted French army officer Charles de Gaulle who said, “All my life, I have had a certain idea of France.” Instead of having an idea of a nation, Collings said he has “harbored a certain idea of BYU” all his life. This idea is one of uniqueness and fulfilling “the visions of prophets and the dreams of professors” by becoming better disciples of Jesus Christ.
Collings offered six “seeks” or ideals BYU students can pursue during their BYU experience: seek holiness, seek learning, seek revelation, seek the best gifts, seek Christlike exemplars and seek the Savior.
To seek holiness, Collings encouraged students to more frequently attend the temple. “Enshrine the holy temple as the living center of your BYU education,” he said. “Temple worship must never supplant your formal studies, but it should always frame and enrich them.”
He encouraged students to not only focus on academic-entered learning, but to spend time “soaked in the scriptures.”
The call to seek revelation centered on President Russell M. Nelson’s plea to “hear Him.” Collings said nothing students learn at BYU “can rival in importance learning to hear the voice of inspiration.”
Collings also spoke of the grandeur of students across the BYU campus and their many talents. He quoted President Spencer W. Kimball who offered a prophecy “that not only will BYU students match some of history’s greatest luminaries, but that (students) — empowered by righteousness, enlightened by the Restoration and inspired by personal revelation — might well surpass them.”
Collings admonished students to seek Christlike exemplars while attending BYU and seek to be one for others. “Find friends and mentors who bring out the best in you — who foster the full flowering of your mind, your character and your faith,” he said.
The Savior has an interest in BYU’s well-being and student success, Collings said, encouraging audience members to allow Him into their lives and studies.
“Above all else you seek at BYU, I hope you will seek Him,” Collings said. “Although we sometimes speak of balancing our secular studies and our spiritual devotions, I hope instead to unite them in a spirit of ever-deepening consecration.”