“Embrace your days,” Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told LDS Business College graduates during commencement exercises held in the Tabernacle on Temple Square April 15.
Among the honors of LDS Business College’s 128th graduating class were 509 students earning two-year degrees; 214 certificates were awarded. Graduates range in age from 19 to 62 years old, and come from almost 60 countries around the world in addition to most states in the United States.
Drawing from the Latin phrase amplectere diem, which means “to embrace your days,” Elder Andersen encouraged graduates to be grateful for the time they are living, and to accept opportunities and challenges in both their professional and spiritual lives.
“Amplectere as a verb means ‘to embrace,’ ‘to put your arms around,’ 'to hold close,' or ‘to cherish,’” he said, and invited listeners to say the phrase with him.
“Your days, the days in which you live, are some of the most amazing that this world has ever seen,” he said. “The appearance of the Father and the Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove in 1820 meant the dawning of the Restoration of the gospel and the dispensation of the fullness of times. The Lord indicated to the Prophet Joseph Smith that it would not just be a time of spiritual revelations, but also a time of understanding and progress in all areas of the world.”
Recognizing major advancements before and since Joseph’s time, Elder Andersen spoke of the changes in travel, technology and the study of diseases.
“These advancements, these wonders, would not be limited to the amazing sealing power of the temple, binding in heaven what is bound in earth, but would also include remarkable advancements in science, medicine, transportation and communication.”
It is the Lord’s hand guiding the unbelievable progress of technological innovation in transportation, communication, medicine and science, he taught. Just in the past few years we have seen the development of a small, hand-held device that serves as a phone, planner, GPS navigation, camera and much more.
“In this world in which you are young and venturing, there will be change and opportunity,” he said. “Amplectere diem. Embrace your days. Do not be afraid of these changes, but learn to master them. As you move into professions, think of what you can learn, and how you can apply your learning to make your contribution of more value. Never stop learning.”
Life can be “beautifully unpredictable,” making it important for individuals to embrace their days, Elder Andersen said.
“As you have worked toward your degree, you have each come to better understand yourself,” he said. “Certain skills you have mastered, others seem to elude your grasp. Amplectere diem means you embrace who you are, and the talents you have been given, to master a world that is in constant change.”
Everyone has weaknesses and strengths, making it important to learn how to apply one's talent and minimize disadvantages.
“Learn how to use the tools of our changing world to magnify your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Amplectere diem,” he said. “With all of the changes in the world around us, we might think that change should apply to everything. But there are certain things that do not change.”
Laws, such as the Ten Commandments that the Lord gave Moses 3,500 years ago, have never changed, “and if you are wise, you will hold on to them for dear life.”
“Most of us in this room have taken upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We have embraced Him as our Savior and Redeemer. We love Him. We keep His commandments. We appeal to Him for the forgiveness of sins and we anticipate His return to Earth in the years ahead.”
Amplectere diem, Elder Andersen told the graduates, means that they embrace the technological and helpful changes of a modern world, while still holding tightly to the values, truths and eternal covenants that date from the time of Adam and Eve.
“Embracing your days means you know where you adapt and where you stand firm. Embrace the positive changes in the modern world, embrace the technology, all the great good that can come as we see progression in science, medicine, communication and transportation,” Elder Andersen said. “Embrace as well the courage and strength to hold tight to the eternal truths of the gospel. Be true to your testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Honored as this year’s Distinguished Alumnus was Jun Eae Kim, an interior designer who has worked on nearly half of the Church’s temples, both in refurbishing temple remodels as well as designing in new temples. Sister Kim, a native of Korea, graduated from LDS Business College in 1996.
“In 1996 I never imagined I would be here today,” Sister Kim said.
In her brief remarks, Sister Kim told graduates to fight their fears, keep dreaming and work hard.
“I have learned that fear doesn’t help anything,” she said. “Try many things to find what you are looking for. Do your best. Do all you can do even if the end result isn’t what you desire. Don’t stop dreaming.”
College president, J. Lawrence Richards conducted the graduation ceremony and Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy and commissioner of education for the Church was present. Other speakers included graduates Janaye Steadman and Allen Liao. The LDS Business College Choir performed musical selections during commencement exercises.
[email protected] @marianne_holman