“Speaking Today,” Liahona, July 2005, N9
Elder Hallstrom Encourages Students to Live Their Heritage
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy reminded Brigham Young University—Hawaii students to appreciate and understand their heritages during a devotional at the school on February 11.
Elder Hallstrom, who grew up in Hawaii, spoke to students about four sources of their heritage: the heritage that comes to students from being associated with BYU–Hawaii, the heritage that comes from being members of the Church, the heritage provided by earthly parents, and a heavenly heritage.
Elder Hallstrom urged students to enjoy and actively participate in the opportunities to gain experience from BYU–Hawaii. “I have spoken with individuals in these islands, in the Pacific, in Asia, and on the mainland who have testified that their time on this campus changed their life in a fundamental way,” he said.
Elder Hallstrom also spoke of the importance of learning from the history of the Church. He mentioned the inspiring words of hope the Prophet Joseph Smith received from the Lord while in Liberty Jail, despite facing hardships and trials. “This is representative of our history,” Elder Hallstrom said. “It is an instructive and inspiring history directly applicable to you and to me as we deal with the struggles of our mortal existence.”
While speaking about heritage gained from earthly parents, Elder Hallstrom acknowledged that though people come from many different backgrounds, almost all people can learn from the positive examples of their progenitors.
Elder Hallstrom also stressed the importance of understanding our heavenly heritage and appreciating the blessings that come from Heavenly Father. “One of the blessings of heritage is an inheritance,” he said. “While our earthly inheritances may vary, that promised by our Heavenly Father and made possible because of the Firstborn in the Spirit and the Only Begotten in the Flesh is available to all the sons and daughters of God.”
“Are you living true to your heritage?” Elder Hallstrom asked. “Is the quality of your life reflective of the gratitude you have for your predecessors in the various aspects of your life?”
Elder Hallstrom said that while it is important for all people to understand and appreciate their heritage, merely knowing of it is not enough.
“We have the responsibility to continually be changing our lives—to actually ‘do’ and not just ‘hear,’” he said. “We should regularly study the characteristics of those who have come before, with a conscious, introspective effort to learn from their righteous examples and then live them.”