REXBURG, Idaho With the charge to move forward in faith and confidence, nearly 800 BYU-Idaho graduates received diplomas at summer commencement exercises held Wednesday, July 18, in the Hart Auditorium.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy was the featured speaker at the commencement services. Elder W. Rolfe Kerr of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education also attended.
In his remarks to the 779 graduates, Elder Rasband described four "safe harbors" the graduates should establish in their lives as they leave the university and go out into the world. These safe harbors, Elder Rasband taught, will help the graduates withstand trials and temptations.
The first safe harbor, he suggested, is family. Elder Rasband explained this principle by quoting the April 2004 general conference address by President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, in which he taught: "The safest place and the best protection against the moral and spiritual disease is a stable home and family."
Elder Rasband said he found this safety and protection in his own family as a child. "I can honestly say that during my younger years the things of the world, even the influences of the world, were sheltered for me by a happy, Christ-centered home where I always felt I was returning to a safe harbor," he said.
The second safe harbor Elder Rasband outlined is the wards and stakes of the Church. He encouraged the graduates to serve faithfully in callings and find comfort in the organization of the Church.
"Whether you are married or single, the ward is certainly a good safety net and protection from the storm, where a loving bishop and, for the stake, a loving stake president watch over their flock and where quorum leaders and Relief Society leaders provide watchcare for their members," Elder Rasband said.
The temple is the third safe harbor. Calling the temple an eternal protection from the storms of the world, Elder Rasband encouraged the graduates to attend the temple regularly. "As a young, post-university couple raising our family, Sister Rasband and I had many experiences where we went and participated in temple ordinances, and then sat quietly in the celestial room to ponder and pray, and receive direction on how we could minister to our own family," he said.
The final safe harbor Elder Rasband mentioned is a testimony grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he described as the most important of the four.
"This, above all the safe harbors I have suggested, is the greatest protection, in my opinion, for you as you leave this wonderful life in Rexburg, Idaho, and go wherever the opportunities of life may take you," he said.
BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark encouraged the graduates to be true disciples of Jesus Christ with three important characteristics: hearts that are pure, ears that hear, and eyes that see.
"The desires of the heart of a disciple, the deepest commitments, are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. His new and everlasting covenant is written deep in the heart of the disciple. In short, true disciples give their hearts to Christ," President Clark said.
Of the ears of a disciple, President Clark said, "They hear the voice of the Lord, and because they know the language of the Spirit, they understand that voice. The disciple not only hears, but also hearkens to the Lord and brings forth works of righteousness."
The eyes of a disciple, President Clark taught, "see clearly. They discern between truth and error. They recognize the Lord's hand in all things, and they see with the eye of faith what is not, but will come. They have vision and perspective, born of eternity. The Light of Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost enlighten the eyes of the disciple."
President Clark ended his remarks to the graduates: "You now represent the university. I hope and pray that wherever you go, whatever you do, the people around you will see in you the principles and the purposes of BYU-Idaho and will feel the Spirit that is on this campus."