Ideals, virtue needed in today's ailing world

By having charity for all men and being conscious of others' best interests, BYU graduates can steer away from the crude and trashy elements of an ailing world, Elder Marion D. Hanks said, giving the BYU commencement address April 22.

Earlier on the commencement program, Elder Hanks received an honorary Doctor of Christian Service degree. Elder Hanks, an emeritus General Authority, spoke at the 118th Spring Commencement Exercises, saying: "I am persuaded in my soul that no group in the world is or should be better prepared to battle for the souls of God's children than this group."I pray and trust that you will carry the banner of BYU graduate in faith . . . with charity for all men and for the household of faith,' and that you will have the wisdom and be conscious enough of your own and others' best interests to let that which is virtuous and wholesomegarnish' your thoughts unceasingly, steering away from the crude and trashy."

Elder Hanks spoke to graduates about the contribution they can make in the world today and in the future.

"As you look ahead, do you think it will make a difference in the shop or office or territory where you will work that you are there?" he asked. "In the neighborhood, the community, the ward, the service club, the Scout troop?

"I believe that the answer to these questions can be and for many of you will be a hearty yes! You can make a difference in a society which confronts you with sobering challenges," he continued. "Your chief advantages are your character and the quality of your values and convictions, and the choices you will make because of them. We earnestly pray and believe that you can and will positively affect the homes and market places of a world in a positive sense which is in desperate need of what you can share."

The hope for society's woes lies in a change of attitude in the people, Elder Hanks explained. "We need more emphasis on sacrifice as a moral good, observance of rules that are objectively and historically beneficial - like fidelity, chastity, honor, truth, character, virtue, and restraint in sexual matters."

He noted that such teaching should occur in childhood and youth. "When we have children we accept the sacred responsibility of teaching and inculcating into their lives those values that we ourselves have chosen as supremely important, and then to share them with others."

With emotion, Elder Hanks continued: "Who will help fatherless boys become men if not you strong, educated, able men? I could weep as I say it, as I did when I wrote it, never myself having enjoyed from my babyhood any remembered association with my honored father." (Elder Hanks was an infant when his father became critically ill and died.)

One of the most vital needs in the world today is models of true manhood and womanhood for boys and girls who are on their way to becoming men and women, Elder Hanks added.

He also pointed out the importance of continued growth on the earth and the need to stretch the mind. "The greatest source of learning and relearning of the values of the spirit, the great traditional values that can save us are the best books, the scriptures, in which we are to search and seek."

Elder Hanks admonished graduates to be committed to serving their fellowmen. Quoting Dag Hammerskjold, he concluded: " `In our era the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.' " - Sheridan R. Sheffield

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