Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy told the LDS Business College Class of 2003 that their tenure at the Church-owned school was analogous to the dedication of the Kirtland Temple — an episode of dramatic spiritual breakthroughs and angelic manifestations and support.
The years that follow, he warned, may resemble the starker days of the subsequent Nauvoo Temple dedication.
"We may experience Nauvoo as the early saints did, in poverty and sacrifice," Elder Hafen said in his May 1 commencement address. "We will have our own frozen rivers and parched deserts to cross, a moral or intellectual wilderness to tame. It will not always be fun."
Indeed, after relishing the Kirtland-like spirit found on the LDS Business College campus, graduates may feel Joseph's isolation after he was sold into Egypt, Elder Hafen said. "But we, like Joseph, must bloom where we are planted, no matter what corner of the vineyard we may inhabit."
Two-hundred forty-three students received diplomas during the college's 116th commencement exercises at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. The school awarded 229 associate degrees and scores of one-year certificates in an array of professional and technical fields.
While difficult days may be ahead, Elder Hafen assured the graduates that blessings follow tribulations, as they did for the early Church members who survived the troubles of Nauvoo and headed west.
Encouraging graduates to remember the lessons of LDS Business College, he said, "I promise you that if you will gratefully remember and nourish the youthful spiritual wonder of your days in this Kirtland-like village, the armies of heaven who protected the saints on their way to Zion will also protect you along your same trail," Elder Hafen said.
LDS Business College President Stephen K. Woodhouse offered graduates three points of advice: keep learning; trust heaven; be optimistic and persistent.
"Our faculty has given you skills in your chosen profession, but what they most hope for is that you have learned how to learn," President Woodhouse said. "Whether you pursue further education in a formal setting, learn on your job or study in quiet hours at home, you must continue to expand your talents and abilities."
The Lord can see the future "and He has made ample provisions for you to do well," President Woodhouse said.
Some have a pessimistic view of life and are plagued with cynicism, he added.
"This negative view cuts their strength and inclines them to failure before they even start. Better is the person who sees the world's problems and its possibilities."
Richard C. Jensen, a businessman and creator of a scholarship trust fund at the college, received the school's Distinguished Alumnus Award.