News Release

Sister Jones Urges Graduates to Become ‘Spiritual Entrepreneurs’

Primary general president delivers BYU-Idaho Commencement speech

“I truly hope that as you proceed from today, you will open your mind and your heart to all the possibilities that will be presented to you — but especially to the ones the Lord will carefully and lovingly place on your path,” said Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 


Sister Jones spoke to more than 2,600 college graduates at Brigham Young University-Idaho Tuesday evening during spring commencement exercises at the BYU-Idaho Center in Rexburg.

The leader of the Church’s organization for children encouraged the graduates to put God first in their lives. “We often hear the phrase ‘entrepreneurial spirit.’ I’d like to reverse that word order and talk today about being a ‘spiritual entrepreneur.’”

She focused her remarks on six traits of entrepreneurs, including enthusiasm, vision, boldness, seeking excellent mentors, constant progression and self-discipline.

“Are you excited about the gospel of Jesus Christ and your personal relationship with your Heavenly Father and His Son?” asked Sister Jones. “Because of their passion, entrepreneurs are inclined to be optimistic about their future. They don’t live in fear.”

Second, she said entrepreneurs also have vision. “We must all gain a vision of ourselves as the Lord sees us.”

Third, Sister Jones said entrepreneurs are known to be daring and bold. She explained that spiritual entrepreneurs are willing to do what other people won’t, so eventually they can do things others can’t. For example, she said the Prophet Joseph Smith was willing to endure extreme hardships and trials.

She posed the question, “Would you be willing to sacrifice an hour of television viewing or video gaming or sleep or hanging out or Instagramming for an hour of feasting upon the words of Christ in the scriptures, ministering to someone in need or attending the temple?”

Fourth, Sister Jones said that business entrepreneurs look for mentors to help them navigate “the bumpy paths of innovation.”

She said, “If there is anyone you want to be ‘LinkedIn’ to, wouldn’t the Savior be the perfect choice?”

Sister Jones continued, “The Lord mentors us in many ways — even through our membership in His Church. It is one of the best internship programs on earth. … In my opinion, whether in business, or in the Church, or in life, the best partner we can ever have is the Creator of the universe.”

Next, she stressed that the best entrepreneurs are constantly progressing. “As the spiritual entrepreneur, go the distance. Potential is often discovered through hard work and effort. The payday will come to those who ‘endure it well (see Doctrine and Covenants 121:8).’”

Finally, Sister Jones said that entrepreneurs are self-disciplined. “As spiritual entrepreneurs, you know that the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot merely be your ‘side hustle,’ and our Savior, Jesus Christ, must be more than just a ‘person of interest’ in your life.”

She shared a personal story about her wedding nearly 45 years ago. She and her husband, Robert, had their wedding rings inscribed with initials. “It was the first letter of each word in [former Church] President John Taylor’s life motto — TKOGON, which stands for ‘The kingdom of God, or nothing.’”

“I testify that by putting the Lord first, everything else will ultimately fall into place,” Sister Jones concluded.

The graduating class at BYU-Idaho consists of more than 1,900 campus-based students. But over 700 graduates took their courses online, with many of those students starting their college career with BYU Pathway Worldwide’s PathwayConnect program.

Watch and listen to her remarks here.

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