News Story

Church President Addresses College Students

Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stressed academic and spiritual preparation for life as he addressed college-age students last evening in a meeting held at the Marriott Center on Brigham Young University campus, Provo, Utah, and broadcast via satellite to numerous other locations throughout the United States and Canada. The gathering, sponsored by the Church Educational System, was part of a regular series of educational broadcasts for young people in the Church.

Citing examples from the classic literary work Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, President Monson suggested that the students “have great expectations, not as a result of an unknown benefactor but as the result of a known benefactor, even our Heavenly Father, and great things are expected of you.”

The Church president counseled the students on the vital role of preparation to enter what he termed “the race of life.” He reminded the listeners of various periods of preparation in their lives, including the time prior to their earthly birth and the significance of the first eight years of their lives. Each of these preparatory periods contributes to their current learning environment and experiences.

“You have entered yet another great preparatory period in order that you may qualify for the race of life. I speak of academic preparation here that you learn to meet the challenges of this changing world in which we live. In your pursuit of this academic excellence, real effort is required. Learn from the experience of others to stand firm for principles, broaden your interests to be understanding of the rights of others and be reliable in the discharge of your duty.”

Four specific suggestions, according to President Monson, would assist students in achieving their “great expectations in the race of life: avoid pitfalls and detours like peer pressure and temptation; persevere — beware of the flashy start and the fadeout finish; help others along the race of life; and seek the Lord’s help is every decision.”

In addition, President Monson reminded the young people of the critical need for spiritual preparation for life’s experiences. He recounted the story of Joseph Smith’s search for truth and counseled the students to follow the same process when questions arise in their lives.

“This promise I leave with you, the Divine Father will attend those who humbly seek the truth. With His help and the preparations of which we have spoken, you can go forward in this race of life and achieve your own great expectations.”

A group of nearly 18,000 students gathered at the Provo location, while tens of thousands more viewed the message via satellite at various Church locations in North, Central and South America. In addition, the meeting was broadcast on BYU-TV, BYU-TV International and

Students on the BYU campus responded to President Monson’s counsel.

Elaina McCombs, Las Vegas, Nevada, found personal application in the words of President Monson. “I love how President Monson always knows exactly what we need to hear and addresses it with full force. With the beginning of a semester starting it is hard to get motivated. He talked a lot on the importance of a good education and the power of thinking. It really hit home when he emphasized what you sow is what you reap.”

Recent BYU graduate Natalie Ginos, Bountiful, Utah, examined the advice from a new vantage point. “As I prepare to enter the working world, the address really made me think about the great things that are expected of me as a member of the Church. It helped me consider whether or not the path I’m currently on will truly help me live up to my full potential and fulfill my responsibilities as I compete in ‘the race of life.’”

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