PROVO — Stories of last-minute phone calls to loved ones by victims of last week's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center "made clear that the most important part of life is found in family relationships."
That was the message of Brigham Young University President Merrill J. Bateman, who spoke Tuesday in the Marriott Center at the LDS Church-owned school's weekly spiritual devotional.
"In the midst of the rubble, rescuers have uncovered the dead clutching family photos," Bateman said. "One man who escaped from the crashing towers indicated how grateful he was that he could hug his children one more time."
Bateman said he was touched by the crowds lining the streets of New York, holding pictures of loved ones who were at the trade center — and hoping for a miracle.
"Someone has said that God will turn the evil into good," he said. "If the citizens of this and other nations recognize their frailties and turn to God for help, good will be the outcome."
Bateman said the tragic attacks obviously have impacted the United States. But other countries also have been touched by America's grief, and many of the world's governments know that no one is safe if terrorism is allowed to thrive, he said.
Peace in the world, he said, depends on the youth of today. The first step to creating a peaceful world is finding individual peace — and that is found by remaining faithful to religious beliefs, Bateman said.
"As young adults, you are in the midst of the most critical decision-making period of life," he said. "It is important that you have the light and faith to make right decisions, to discern good from evil, to hold onto and develop the things that the Lord has in store for you."
Bateman challenged students to hold tight to moral beliefs and to dedicate time to learning from religious texts as well as academic books.
"You are at a critical juncture in life," he said. "Your temporal dependence on parents is diminishing, but do not let the spiritual links weaken . . . you must never be a weak link in the chain of the generations of your family."