LAIE, Hawaii — In a remarkable learning environment — with the beach across the highway, a temple nearby, a global student population and the Polynesian Cultural Center welcoming guests from all over the world — BYU–Hawaii students have the opportunity to learn and develop integrity.
Their choices will shape their integrity, and that integrity will be deeply rooted in their heart and soul, taught Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a campus devotional the evening of Friday, Feb. 9.
“My question tonight is how true are you? Where is integrity in your list of personal priorities? Your integrity is central to fulfilling your mortal charge to become, as best you can, like the Savior Jesus Christ.”
He explained that integrity creates trust, honors truth and values spirituality. It is being honest and forthright, fair and obedient, and willing to choose God’s ways.
Elder Rasband said his personal integrity is what has defined him in his marriage, business, relationships and service. He lived by the standard: to be moral, ethical and honest.
“Your word is your bond. That is what we learn from making covenants. We give the Lord our word and we hold to it.”
Never compromise principles
While some may say integrity is an old-fashioned virtue, Elder Rasband said integrity is a much-needed value in the world today.
The 13th article of faith states, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men.”
Elder Rasband said if all the world would live by such standards, things would be much different.
In years ahead, the students may be asked to bend the rules, look the other way or compromise. They may assume that is the way things are done. “Don’t you believe it,” he said. “Your integrity will be on the line, and the price will never be worth it.”
These days bring challenges to religious freedom and to sacred doctrine. The standards of the world are collapsing in every direction. But Latter-day Saints can keep the holy covenants they have made, stand strong, defend their faith and uphold the integrity of the gospel.
Elder Rasband said to remember the admonition in Helaman that “being built on ‘the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God’ the approaching ‘mighty storm ... shall have no power over you to drag you down ... because of the rock upon which ye are built’ (Helaman 5:12).”
He assured them that no accumulation of wealth, recognition, position or popularity can supplant a heart full of love for the Lord’s ways and God’s children.
How to be a little bit better each day
Elder Rasband gave some questions people could ask themselves to assess their progress:
Do they desire to stand in holy places, hold a current temple recommend, worship in the temple, and honor and wear the garment?
Do they listen for promptings to help someone in need?
When they make a mistake, do they face the issue and resolve it?
Do they strive to keep the Sabbath day holy and to live the Word of Wisdom?
Do they honor and sustain the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?
“The time to decide your epitaph is not at the end of your career or life but at the beginning. Right now,” Elder Rasband said. “I recommend you simply ask yourself as you face decisions going forward, is this moral, is it ethical and is it honest?”
A promise and a blessing
As students put down their foundation of a great work — their life — they should look to Jesus Christ as the ultimate example.
“Apply His word, and your life will speak of integrity without duplicity of attitudes or actions. Be humble. When you slip or falter, know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is just for that purpose.”
Elder Rasband left the students with a blessing that they will live a life of integrity, live true to the faith, know their Father in Heaven in prayer, and follow Jesus Christ.
“I promise that as you show love for the Lord by living your covenants, His unending example of integrity will become your standard.”
Sister Melanie Rasband testified of following invitations given by Church President Russell M. Nelson. “Our Prophet is inviting each of us to be willing to stand out, step up and more fully to step into our role as sons and daughters of God in these last days.”
His invitations to gather Israel, heed personal revelation, be peacemakers and build bridges — “all these things will help us individually to stay on the covenant path,” Sister Rasband said.
Sister Haylie Chase, 23, a member of the Young Women general advisory council, was once a student at BYU–Hawaii. She told the students about feeling inadequate when she received her new calling — about which her grandfather, Elder Rasband, had no idea.
But she told the students that they can know that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass (Alma 37:6).
“As we choose to walk with Him as small and simple disciples in our everyday lives, we might not change the world but we can change someone’s world.”
Also speaking was Elder Mark A. Bragg, General Authority Seventy and president of the North America West Area, which includes Hawaii: “As you seek to keep the commandments, you see things through a different lens. You are able to think celestial,” he said.