BYU students must do more than just learn to earn, they must learn to live a life worthy of eternal salvation, President Thomas S. Monson declared at the university's first devotional of the 1989-90 school year.
Speaking Oct. 10 to a capacity crowd in the Marriott Center, the second counselor in the First Presidency told students and faculty that Jesus of Nazareth provided the road map for a life worthy of exaltation when He preached the sermon that has become known as the Sermon on the Mount. "It was on that mountain that He taught His disciples the way to live," President Monson explained."Today I would like to suggest some beatitudes that will be helpful to you and helpful to me as we contemplate our purpose here," he continued. "And for those beatitudes I have chosen to discuss with you my association with various presidents of the Church."
Citing personal experiences and anecdotes from the lives of these great men, President Monson shared with his listeners some favorite things of the modern-day prophets - including hymns, food, quotes and characteristics. From each of the last seven Church presidents, President Monson suggested a beatitude applicable in today's world.
"I feel the trait that President Heber J. GrantT would have you receive from him would be persistence," President Monson said. He told the audience that, even as a youth learning to play baseball and perfect his penmanship, President Grant recognized that in order to progress and improve, persistence was essential.
Continuing, President Monson then spoke of President George Albert Smith. "What would be the quality, the beatitude that he would leave with you today?" President Monson asked. "From my eyes and my heart, knowing President George Albert Smith, I would say compassion. This great leader had a compassionate heart."
Next, President Monson spoke of President David O. McKay. "Consideration would be the noble principle that I would share with you from President McKay," he said.
President Monson told of a picture that hung in President McKay's office, a picture painted by a sister who had spent all summer depicting what she thought was the Huntsville, Utah, home the prophet had grown up in. Upon receiving the picture, President McKay thanked the sister profusely and promptly hung the framed art in his office, never letting her know that, in actuality, she had painted a neighbor's home, not his own. President McKay commented: "Really, she painted the best home for my remembrance. This was the home I would view when gazing from the porch of my own ancestral home." " President McKay was always considerate of others' feelings," President Monson explained.
"What a marvelous leader President Joseph Fielding Smith was," President Monson continued. "What would be his lesson for us?" He then answered "Scholarship."
"I printed most of his books and he was not only a student, he was a scholar," President Monson explained. "I think that he would leave for you and for me today that example."
The lesson learned from President Harold B. Lee would be to be in tune with the infinite, to be responsive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, to have vision, related President Monson.
He cited the correlation efforts and the welfare, leadership training and teacher development programs - all programs implemented under President Lee's leadership - as ample evidence that the prophet was truly in tune with the Spirit and living worthy of that guidance.
Dedication is the beatitude learned from President Spencer W. Kimball's life, said President Monson. "[He wasT totally, completely and unequivocally dedicated to the Lord, dedicated to living the gospel. Oh, he was a determined soul."
The beatitude that can best be learned from our current prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson, is love, President Monson declared.
"This man is one of the most loving, kind, tender individuals I have ever known," he said. "It has been said that you cannot fool children. The children of this Church love the prophet and he loves them. Not a day goes by that he doesn't receive letters from children saying, `I love you.' "
Seven beatitudes that President Monson has learned from modern-day prophets:
- Be persistent (President Heber J. Grant).
- Be compassionate (President George Al bert Smith).
- Be considerate (President David O. McKay).
- Be studious (President Joseph Fielding Smith).
- Be in tune (President Harold B. Lee).
- Be dedicated (President Spender W. Kimball).
- Be loving (President Ezra Taft Benson).
Favorites of prophets
President Heber J. Grant:
Favorite Hymn - "Do What is Right."
Favorite Food - Bread and milk.
Favorite Quote - "That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but our capacity to do has increased."
President George Albert Smith:
Favorite Hymn: "Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words to Each Other."
Favorite Food - Apple pie with warm milk.
Favorite Quote - "Stay on the Lord's side of the line."
President David O. McKay:
Favorite Hymn: "O Say What is Truth."
Favorite Food - Cummings chocolates.
Favorite Quote - "True Christianity is love in action."
President Joseph Fielding Smith:
Favorite Hymn: "Prayer Is the Soul's Sincere Desire."
Favorite Food: Sweet pickles.
Favorite Quote: "Wickedness never was happiness." (Alma 41:10.)
President Harold B. Lee
Favorite Hymn: "Praise to the Man."
Favorite Food: Bread and milk.
Favorite Quote: "Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved." (D&C 87:8.)
President Spencer W. Kimball
Favorite Hymn: "I Need Thee Every Hour."
Favorite Food: Datenut bread, crumbled in a glass of milk and eaten with a spoon.
Favorite Quote: "Lengthen your stride."
President Ezra Taft Benson:
Favorite Hymn: "How Great Thou Art."
Favorite Food: Fresh raspberries.
Favorite Quote: "What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27.)
(From President Thomas S. Monson's adddress at BYU devotional, Oct. 10, 1989.)