REXBURG, Idaho -- More than 2,300 people streamed onto the Ricks College campus June 3-5 for the school's second annual Campus Education Week.
Squeezed between the first and second summer terms, the three-day event, sponsored by the Ricks College Division of Continuing Education, offered more than 300 classes and events taught by nearly 60 experts in their various fields of study. Morning devotional speakers included Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy; Ricks College Pres. David A. Bednar and his wife, Susan; and Janette Hales Beckham, former Young Women general president. In his devotional address, Elder Jensen based his remarks on the theme of this year's Education Week, "Understanding is a Wellspring of Life." He expounded on the following:
Prophets: "I bear testimony that prophets see around the corners and will tell us what we need to know." He pointed to President Lorenzo Snow's emphasis on tithing and how this brought the Church out of financial bondage and to President Howard W. Hunter's emphasis on temple work that is continued today by President Gordon B. Hinckley. "All these things are known to our Heavenly Father who in turn makes them available to our prophets," Elder Jensen added.
Agency: "Without agency there is no growth," he explained. For example, in 1980 the Church implemented a consolidated meeting plan to "give us some discretionary time on Sunday. We were trusted to do something with it. Spiritual maturity comes from exercising our agency," he added. "Regimented behavior will never produce in us the attributes that we need to go back to our Heavenly Father."
The pre-eminence of our families: "This has so many implications as to how we spend our time and how we spend our money."
In his remarks, Pres. Bednar spoke about the scriptural meaning of the word "understanding." He said: "Within a Christ-centered home, love, trust and confidence invite the presence of the Holy Ghost. In such a home the Holy Ghost can teach children to understand. Ultimately, it is not parents who do the teaching."
He continued: "Certainly parents must diligently and effectively explain basic gospel doctrines, teach true principles and share sacred experiences. But who truly does the teaching and certifies the truthfulness of what we come to know? The Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead. He is the Comforter who knows all things."
Sister Beckham spoke on the importance of staying connected to loved ones. She encouraged people to establish family rituals that are personal and meaningful, to resist trends that fragment families, to turn off the TV, etc., and do more talking, to increase problem-solving skills, and to build memories together.
"With all you have learned this week, I hope you will go home and think about the fundamental importance of support and encouragement and feelings of connectedness. When you walk in the front door -- look, listen, smell and touch. Most of all, remind yourself of the importance of being home. It is important to draw strength from the past. It is important to live deeply in the present by taking advantage of things that strengthen connectedness to those we love. It is important to look to the future with determination and to keep our eyes on our destination."
This year, to make Education Week more of a family activity, teenagers 14 and older were invited with some special youth activities designed just for them. Special evening events featured pianist Marvin Goldstein, composer Janice Kapp Perry, soprano Angela Johnson, actor Bruce Newbold and LDS writer John Bytheway. Other speakers included pianist Del Parkinson and artist Del Parson.
Speaking of the success of Education Week, coordinator Kristen Foster said: "We hope that those who came could feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father here and be instructed by that Spirit. Our topics were designed to help people grow physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and we hope they left feeling that they had been fed."
She added, "I felt there was a spirit of tranquility and peace that reigned over campus. For me, it was seeing the people here, the smiles on their faces, their talking together, and the sharing going on both inside and outside of the classes."
The next Campus Education Week will be held June 1-3, 2000.