Elder Taylor invites BYU-Hawaii graduates to walk with God

Recalling a theme he made for himself in his own college days, Elder Brian K. Taylor, a General Authority Seventy, opened his June 29, 2019, commencement address to Brigham Young University-Hawaii students with the Savior’s teaching from the Sermon on the Mount: “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

“I locked into these words,” he said. “All these things shall be added unto you — if I can seek first the kingdom of God and put my own priority second.”

Elder Taylor then offered his invitation, setting the tone for the rest of his talk. His invitation was the same God had given to Enoch thousands of years ago.

Graduating Brigham Young University-Hawaii students gather on June 29, 2019, for commencement.
Graduating Brigham Young University-Hawaii students gather on June 29, 2019, for commencement. Credit: Monique Saenz and Trisha Panzo, BYU-Hawaii, BYU-Hawaii

“When God invited Enoch, he said, ‘Walk with me.’” said Elder Taylor, adding “the Lord is always inviting us to walk with Him . . . I invite you to not walk out of the door today without choosing to walk with God.”

Helping the students relate to Enoch’s experience in his walk with God, Elder Taylor said Enoch was quite unsure of himself and his capabilities. Despite Enoch’s claims of being young, hated and slow of speech, God still asked him to walk with Him. As Enoch walked with God, he was blessed with speech powerful enough to make the earth tremble, mountains flee and eventually establish Zion.

“You feel like you are slow of speech, like you are insignificant or inconsequential, like you don't have a chance once you walk out this door, I testify to you that if you will walk out of this door with God, He can and he will do for you what He promised and did for Enoch.” Elder Taylor said.

“We know Enoch is the great prophet who founded Zion, but Enoch at your age knew Enoch as maybe some of you know yourselves. We must be able to project out to how God sees us. Thus, a very important question that I hope you will answer for yourself this morning is, ‘Has God invited you to walk with Him? And Have you accepted?’ ”

Elder Brian K. Taylor, a General Authority Seventy, speaks to graduating students at the Brigham Young University-Hawaii Commencement on June 29, 2019.
Elder Brian K. Taylor, a General Authority Seventy, speaks to graduating students at the Brigham Young University-Hawaii Commencement on June 29, 2019. Credit: Monique Saenz and Trisha Panzo, BYU-Hawaii, BYU-Hawaii

God truly has invited everyone to walk with Him, but whether or not people have accepted his invitation is their own choice to make, Elder Taylor said. For someone to walk with God, that person must have the Spirit with him or her.

He shared an example from when he was on the basketball team during his own college days at Brigham Young University. One night before a home game, President Ezra Taft Benson, the Church president at the time, took 60 seconds to share some wisdom with the basketball team.

“For me, the 60 seconds became something to hold on to for life,” Elder Taylor said.

“The Spirit will be your greatest asset in life.” President Benson said to the basketball team. “If the Holy Ghost is with you, you will achieve all your righteous desires. If he is not, you won’t.”

With this understanding of the importance of having the Spirit, Elder Taylor asked the students to repent and do everything they could to be able to feel the Spirit in their lives. Whether people are diligently moving down the covenant path, far from that path or somewhere in between, daily repentance is key to having the Spirit and allowing the Savior to transform those who walk with Him.

He said he had the opportunity to spend a few moments alone with President Russell M. Nelson the week prior to his commencement speech. In their conversation, President Nelson said something very similar to President Benson’s advice to the basketball team. “If you have chosen the covenant path, you get all that,” President Nelson said to Elder Taylor. “If you have chosen otherwise, you miss all that.”

Elder Taylor said trusting God and putting His kingdom far ahead of anything else in the graduates’ lives will be the thing that changes and strengthens them when they felt as Enoch did. He concluded by reinforcing the way which God’s children find truth and joy throughout their lives.

“The way is choosing to walk with God and living in such a way that His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, will always be with us,” he said.