Apostle admonishes college graduates to 'think straight'

"Think straight," Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve counseled graduates of LDS Business College June 10.

He exhorted the more than 170 graduates: "Be careful as you now join the work force, that you do not find your profession running you rather than you controlling your profession. In order for you to do that and to maintain balance in your life, it will be important for you to think straight at all times."Speaking in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, Elder Ballard was the main speaker during the college's 106th annual commencement exercises. Also attending was Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Seventy and Church Commissioner of Education.

Elder Ballard explained that prominently displayed in his office is a statement by his grandfather, Apostle Melvin J. Ballard, which reads: "Above all else, brethren, let us think straight."

"How do we think straight?' " Elder Ballard asked. "The book of Proverbs has a guide . . . found in the 19th chapter, 20th verse:Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise . . . .'

"I would suggest that straight thinking begins with straight and careful listening. The most important thing you should learn to listen to is the prompting of the Spirit, which is always a companion to the righteous good listener. Those with whom I have associated who are most successful in life are straight thinkers and are also good listeners."

Elder Ballard further said: "We can learn to think straight, and when we do we will build up our bank of knowledge and experience to draw upon in the future. Problems that seem insurmountable to you today will seem relatively simple in the future because you are trained to think straight.

"In all that you do," he continued, "keep all things in balance. Straight thinking is essential to living a successful, balanced life.

"There is a point," Elder Ballard counseled the graduates, "when you must go on to that which you have prepared for and want to accomplish in your life. There will be many things in your life about which you are going to be concerned. Some of you are undoubtedly thinking about marriage, family, employment and what you want to do with your life. The gospel plan provides essential teachings and covenants that we are to learn, receive and honor. Be sure you understand what is required of you by your Heavenly Father.

"Pray for guidance, and if you are living righteously the Holy Ghost will guide your thoughts and you will make good decisions. You are not going to be successful in everything you do. You will experience some failure and disappointment. However, I can assure you that your success will be much greater if you learn to think things out carefully and respond to the promptings of the Spirit.

"May our Heavenly Father bless you with the desire to cultivate straight thinking," Elder Ballard said. "Straight thinkers do not make serious mistakes in life. They do not have moral problems. They do not have problems with the Word of Wisdom. They do not have problems in paying tithing. They do not have problems in following the leaders of the Church. Build your memory bank with righteous sound thinking so you might bless others who will look to you for leadership in the world and in the Church.

"True comfort, peace and a feeling of eternal security is ours because we know that we are part of a divine plan designed by our Heavenly Father who loves us. When we understand this truth, then no one is pressured to compete for worldly position or acclaim.

"Rather," Elder Ballard continued, "we seek spiritual strength and an eternal assurance. Of course, you and I want to provide for our families and do the best we can with the talents God has given us. But when we consider our unique perspective for eternity, fame and popularity aren't nearly as important as loving and being loved.

"Above all else," he added, "keep the commandments of God. The eternal perspective that the gospel gives us is our anchor in life. As you face the future, let your testimony of Jesus Christ help you make the right decisions in life."

Conducting the graduation ceremonies was Stephen K. Woodhouse, president of LDS Business College. He commended the graduates for their achievement: "We congratulate you for applying and disciplining yourselves, for stretching and pushing yourselves to reach this point. Keep it up."

Being honored during the ceremonies as the 1993 Distinguished Alumnus of LDS Business College was David S. Meyer, manager of customer service for Questar Service Corp. Brother Meyer, a 1968 graduate of the college, is the 1993 vice chairman of the Pacific Coast Gas Association Conference on Information Technology. In 1994, he will become the chairman of the conference. He also advises the LDS Business College computer information systems department. Brother Meyer is first counselor in the Salt Lake Jordan North Stake.

Also receiving a tribute from faculty and students was LDS Business College educator Glenn R. Kirk, who died of a heart attack May 11.

Providing music for the graduation was the LDS Business College Institute Choir.

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