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Spencer W Kimball


    It is a glorious privilege, my young brothers and sisters, to be attending this, the greatest university in all the world. There is no other one that can compare with it. There are many universities with greater enrollment, larger faculty and more elaborate facilities, institutions which develop the mind--but this one is designed to teach the mind, the heart and the spirit. Here you have the privilege not only of following the regular academic subjects, but to learn how eventually to exalt yourselves and to help yourselves to become Gods.

    Kimball, Spencer W. "A Style of Our Own!" Church News, 28 February 1951, p. 4. [Quoted in Ernest Wilkinson, Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years, Vol. 4, p. 393.]


      Not only carnal temptations of the flesh are here to be wrestled with but also the spirit of the so-called intellectual freedom, and this spirit may invade our ranks. one young man resisted the counsel given by me on one occasion saying, when I had assured him that a certain action was a wrong and sinful one, "That's your opinion and this is mine."

      And I replied, "Yes, if that were true, I would agree with you. Your mind may be brighter than mine, your gray matter thicker and grayer, your logic and thinking processes might be far more alert than my own, but you have forgotten one thing. Your opinion, no matter how erudite, is matched not by mine but by the composite of the inspiration of all the ancient prophets of at least six millennia and of the Creator himself. Your logic is hardly an equal to the inspiration and revelation from the Lord which I am representing to you. Your deliberations look rather puny when compared to the knowledge and wisdom of the God who made your mind and gave it function. (pp. 10-11)

      Kimball, Spencer W. "What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren." Address to Seminary and Institute Personnel. Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah, July 11, 1966.


      BYU must be a bastion against the invading ideologies that seek control of curriculum as well as classroom. We do not resist such ideas because we fear them, but because they are false. BYU must continue to resist false and capricious fashions in education, holding fast to those basic principles which have proved true and right and have guided good men and women and good universities over the centuries. (p. 9)

      "Installation of and Charge to the President." Addresses delivered at the inauguration of Jeffrey R. Holland, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, November 14, 1980, pp. 9-10. In BYU Inaugural Speeches and Responses, Brigham Young University Archives.


      Learning that includes familiarization with facts must not occur in isolation from concern over our fellowmen. It must occur in the context of a commitment to serve them and to reach out to them. (p. 385)

      Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1982).


      Secular knowledge has eternal significance. We believe in and encourage education, but not for education's sake alone. We educate ourselves in the secular field and in the spiritual field so we may one day create worlds, people and govern them. (p. 386)


      The secular without the foundation of the spiritual is but like the foam upon the milk, the fleeting shadow.

      Do not be deceived! One need not choose between the two . . . for there is opportunity to get both simultaneously; but can you see that the seminary courses should be given even preferential attention over the high school subjects; the institute over the college course; the study of the scriptures ahead of the study of man-written texts; the association with the Church more important than clubs, fraternities, and sororities; the payment of tithing more important than paying tuitions and fees?

      Can you see that the ordinances of the temple are more important than the Ph.D. or any and all other academic degrees? . . .

      The Lord emphasized: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

      If we spend our mortal days in accumulating secular knowledge to the exclusion of the spiritual then we are in a dead-end street, for this is the time for man to prepare to meet God; this is the time for faith to be built, for baptism to be effected, for the Holy Ghost to be received, for the ordinances to be performed. Contemporary with this program can come the secular knowledge, for even in the spirit world after death our spirits can go on learning the more secular things to help us create worlds and become their masters


      A highly trained scientist who is also a perfected man may eventually create a world and people it, but a dissolute, unrepentant, unbelieving one will never be such a creator even in eternities.

      Secular knowledge, important as it may be, can never save a soul nor open the celestial kingdom nor create a world nor make a man a god, but it can be most helpful to that man who, placing first things first, has found the way to eternal life and who can now bring into play all knowledge to be his tool and servant.

      Our training must not only teach us how to build dams and store water to dampen parched earth to make the desert blossom as the rose and feed starving humanity, but it must prepare us to dam our carnal inclinations and desires with self-denial, creating reservoirs to be filled with spirituality.

      We must study not only to cultivate fertile acres, plant seeds therein, and nurture them on to harvests, but we must plant in the hearts of men seeds of cleanliness and righteous living and faith and hope and peace.

      We must not only know how to kill weeds and noxious plants which befoul our crops, but learn to eradicate from the souls of men the noxious theories and manmade sophistries which would cloud issues and bring heartache and distress to men.

      We must not only be trained to inoculate and vaccinate and immunize against disease, set broken limbs, and cure illnesses, but we must be trained to clarify minds, heal broken hearts and create homes where sunshine will make an environment in which mental and spiritual health may be nurtured. . . .

      Our schooling must not only teach us how to bridge the Niagara River gorge, or the Golden Gate, but must teach us how to bridge the deep gaps of misunderstanding and hate and discord in the world. (pp. 390-391)


      In your pursuit of truth, remember that while some truths matter more than others, all true principles are a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no true principle that we need to fear . . .

      However, there is a lot in the world that attempts to pass itself off as truth when it is not. A good education will help you to distinguish between sense and nonsense. As you also receive real literacy in things spiritual, you will have added discernment with which to weigh and test ideas and assertions as you make decisions and judgments. (p. 391)


      BYU exists to build character and faith. This institution [BYU] has no justification for its existence unless it builds character, creates and develops faith, and makes men and women of strength and courage, fortitude, and service -- men and women who will become stalwarts in the kingdom and bear witness of the restoration and the divinity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not justified on an academic basis only, for your parents pay taxes to support state institutions to which you are eligible in every state of the union and most foreign countries. This institution has been established by a prophet of God for a very specific purpose: to combine spiritual and moral values and secular education.


      Life at BYU is not just preparation. Sometimes people go to college to prepare to live. Not so at the BYU. We come here to begin our life. We live every phase of life. We have our studies, our good clean fun, our athletics. We do our courting, we marry, we have our families. We have the Church with all its quorum, ward, and stake activities. We have missionary work. The whole Church has moved in to be at our beck and call. We at BYU are living, not merely preparing to live. (p. 395)


        BYU students are guests of the Lord and his tithe-paying people. Beloved students, you are guests here -- guests of the Lord, whose funds pay in large measure for your education. You are guests of the Lord, his Church, his leaders, his administration, his people. You and your parents make a smaller but necessary contribution.

        In a faraway land to the south is an old man, somewhat crippled, untrained. The children, several, are ragged, the clothes are hand-me-downs, and winter or summer they trudge barefooted to a little primitive school. The home is tiny -- two small rooms, one under the other with a ladder connecting. The little mother makes baskets and sells at the public market. The father makes chairs and tables out of the native jungle trees and, in his calloused, leathery bare feet, walks long distances, carrying his furniture those miles to market, hopefully. The middleman or the bargaining buyer leave him very little profit from his honest labor; but because he is a faithful member of the Church, he takes his tithing to his branch president and it finally reaches the treasury house and part of it is allocated to the Brigham Young University. And he, this dear old man, and she, this deprived little mother, and they, these gaunt little children, along with their fellow members and numerous others who are tithe payers, become host to you, the guests, and supply a goodly percentage of the wherewithal for land and buildings and equipment and instructions.

        The boy working in the cornfield in India is your host, for he returns his 10 percent.

        The rich man living in his luxury who pays his tithing is your host.

        The widowed mother with several hungry children is your hostess.

        The janitor of your meetinghouse is your host.

        The Navajo on the desert following his little band of sheep trying to find enough grass -- he is your host. His dollars are few, his tithing is meager, but his testimony of the gospel, his dreams for his children, and his love for his fellowmen and his Lord induce him to send in his little tithing. He also becomes a joint host for you. (p. 396)


        Maintain a special character for BYU. I joy with you in this greatest university under the sun. Perhaps it is not the largest, though it is impressive in its size; perhaps not the most renowned, though it is known favorably and appreciated from ocean to ocean and pole to pole; perhaps not the most richly endowed, yet having a host who is at once generous, firm, secure, and financially adequate. But here is the institution with every proper advantage: a great, dedicated administrator; a loyal and highly trained faculty; a strong, devoted staff; with excellent facilities; and presided over generally by men and women of faith, character, devotion, and love; and a student body unexcelled -- students with purpose, understanding, strength, and proper direction. What a great school and what a desirable place to be, and how grateful we should be! . . .

        We are different. We are a peculiar people. We hope we shall always be unusual and peculiar. On this great campus, we need not dress as extremists do on other campuses. We need not follow the world in thought or action. We need not bow to pressures which restrain and limit and coerce. Our programs -- music, drama, etc. -- need not be the type that others produce. Our journalistic work need not follow the world. Our standards need not be set by men of selfish minds. We may live in the outskirts of the world yet be not of the world. Why must people ape in every field the stupid and silly actions and plans and programs of the world? . . .

        Let us keep it an island of beauty and cleanness in an ocean of filth and destruction and disease. Let us keep it as a spring of pure, cool water though surrounded by sloughs and stagnant swamps of rebellion and corruption and worldliness outside.

        Let us keep it a place of peace in a world of confusion, frustration, mental aberrations, and emotional disturbances. Let us keep it a place of safety in a world of violence where laws are ignored, criminals coddled, enforcement curtailed, buildings burned, stores looted, lives endangered.

        May we keep this glorious place a home of friendships and of eternal commitments; a place of study and growth and improvement; a place where ambition is kindled and faith is nurtured and confidence strengthened; and where love for God and our fellowmen reaches its highest fulfillment. (pp. 398-399)


        "Installation of and Charge to the President." Addresses delivered at the inauguration of Jeffrey R. Holland, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, November 14, 1980, pp. 9-10. In BYU Inaugural Speeches and Responses, Brigham Young University Archives. Quotes.