Church Leaders Speak at Firesides, Devotionals, and Pageants
December 1999

“Church Leaders Speak at Firesides, Devotionals, and Pageants,” Ensign, Dec. 1999, 65–66

Church Leaders Speak at Firesides, Devotionals, and Pageants

During August and September President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, rededicated a museum in Layton, Utah; President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke at a BYU devotional; President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave an address at BYU’s annual Campus Education Week; President Packer and Elder Dallin H. Oaks met with Chilean leaders during a visit to that nation; Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke at a patriotic pageant in Logan, Utah; and Elder Richard G. Scott spoke at a satellite-transmitted Church Educational System fireside.

President Monson Rededicates Museum

President Thomas S. Monson rededicated the newly expanded Heritage Museum of Commons Park in Layton, Utah, on 13 August. During the event, President Monson unveiled a bronze bust memorializing Christopher Layton, a 19th-century pioneer, colonizer, soldier, statesman, farmer, industrialist, and Church leader after whom the city was named.

In his remarks, President Monson quoted from Christopher Layton’s journal: “‘I have ever found that when we are in the line of our duty and retain our faith in the promises of God and His inspired servants, we are watched over by Him who holds all things in His power.’”

A few days later, on 21 August, President Monson turned 72. Because he was traveling outside Utah on his birthday, staff and colleagues at the Church Administration Building gathered after he returned to extend birthday wishes. Born in 1927 in Salt Lake City to G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson, President Monson has served as First Counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley since 12 March 1995 and previously served as Second Counselor to Presidents Howard W. Hunter and Ezra Taft Benson. He was ordained an Apostle on 10 October 1963 at age 36.

President Faust Speaks at BYU Devotional

“Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume,” said President James E. Faust to about 14,000 students gathered for a devotional at BYU on 14 September. “Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last.”

He continued: “The golden pathway to happiness is the selfless giving of love, the kind of love that has concern and interest and some measure of charity for every living soul. Love is the direct route to the happiness which would enrich and bless our lives and the lives of others.”

President Packer and Elder Oaks Meet with Chilean Leaders

President Boyd K. Packer and Elder Dallin H. Oaks met with government leaders and Church members in Chile, 21–29 August.

Accompanied by Elder Dale E. Miller of the Seventy, President of the Chile Area, they met with the president of the Chilean senate, with the mayor of Santiago, and with a national presidential candidate. They also held three regional conferences.

“There is no other major nation in the world that has the proportion of membership [3.1 percent] that Chile has, a proportion that is even greater than that of the United States,” said Elder Oaks. “Chile is and ought to be an example for Latter-day Saints everywhere in keeping the commandments and maintaining the affairs of the kingdom.”

President Packer Addresses BYU Education Week

“Youth is the time for easy learning, and that is why the teachers of children and youth have been a concern for Church leaders from the very beginning,” said President Boyd K. Packer during his keynote address on 17 August at BYU’s 77th annual Campus Education Week. “Knowledge stored in young minds may wait many years for the moment when it might be needed,” he said. “It is the basic purpose of this Church to teach the youth, first in the home and then in church.”

At Education Week this year, about 30,000 people attended more than 1,000 classes taught by some 170 presenters. In addition, about 65,000 members watched selected presentations via KBYU-TV, the Internet, and the Church’s satellite system at meetinghouses in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and part of Mexico.

Elder Ballard Speaks at Patriotic Pageant

“The principles and philosophies upon which our constitutional law is based are not simply the result of the best efforts of a remarkable group of brilliant men,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard on 17 September at an annual pageant in Logan, Utah, celebrating the signing of the U.S. Constitution. “They were inspired by God, and the rights and privileges guaranteed in the Constitution are God given, not man derived. No nation or people that rejects God or His commandments can prosper or find happiness.”

Elder Ballard discussed modern efforts to prevent the public practice of religion. “In recent years, the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ has become almost a fixture in legal rulings,” he said, but rather than appearing in the Constitution the phrase “seems to have been lifted out of context from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson.”

Elder Ballard said: “The battle continues as efforts are under way to preclude the display of the Ten Commandments in a courtroom, a public school, or on other public property. These very commandments are the same ones James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, spoke of when he said: ‘We have staked the future of American civilization, not upon the power of the government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments.’”

Elder Scott Speaks at CES Fireside

“Unless you have already done so, make this decision now: ‘I will live to have no regrets,’” said Elder Richard G. Scott on 12 September to about 18,000 people gathered for a Church Educational System fireside and thousands more watching via satellite at more than 600 locations in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. “I cannot tell you how immensely important it is for your life here on earth and throughout eternity to be able to say, regarding those serious sins of immorality that could be committed on earth, ‘I have no regrets; I have not participated.’”

Elder Scott continued: “There are many ways to be motivated to do good in life. Perhaps setting goals is one that helps you. … You may have discovered that an even stronger motivating force to do right is to study, ponder, and distill truths from the doctrine of the Church as the very foundation of your life.” He also discussed other motivating forces, such as love for one’s marriage partner and for Heavenly Father and His Son.

President Boyd K. Packer, center, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks, right, met in Chile with Andres Saldivar, left, president of the Chilean senate. (Photo by Eduardo Montero.)