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Elder Clark's Address to Graduates

On this wonderful day in your lives, I want to share with you a story and two principles. I hope they will be helpful to you.

Here is the story. A mother knelt by the side of her bed one evening filled with worry about her fifteen-year-old son. She was worried about his friends, about his attitudes, and about his behavior. That night her prayer was very simple: "Oh, Heavenly Father, please help me with my son. I don't know what to do. Everything I try seems to make him draw farther away from me."

Far away from where that mother lived, a young man and a young woman sat at the table in their tiny apartment. They had a two-year-old daughter and were expecting their second child. The young woman had graduated the year before; her husband was planning to graduate in two months. They felt blessed to have job offers in two different places; now they had to decide. One offer was in a large city with a very prestigious multinational company; the salary seemed amazing to them. The other was in a smaller city, with a local, mid-sized company, and the salary was much less. They had fasted and prayed, and both felt they should take the job with the smaller company; it was really hard to turn down the money and the prestige. But they followed the promptings they received and took the job in the smaller city. When they moved they found an apartment that put them in the single mother's ward.

Within a few weeks, the young man was called into the young men's presidency in the ward. Here is how the mother described what happened, through her tears: "That young couple moved into our ward and the bishop called the young man to be in the young men's presidency. My son began to show more interest and started to attend young men's activities. I couldn't believe the change that took place: that couple has a special spirit about them. There is light in their eyes. They really live the Gospel and they seem to really love the young people in our ward. My son loves them. That young man has had so much influence on my son, he now talks with me about wanting to grow up and be just like him. My son is happy and loves to go to Church. I thank God for that young man and his wife. They were the answer to my prayers."

Now, here are the principles: Principle #1: Keep the world out of your heart, and the Holy Ghost in it. It is very easy for the honors, pleasures, and wealth of the world to get into our hearts. When that happens we end up loving the things of the world more than the things of God. I believe the best way to keep the world out of your heart is to keep the Holy Ghost in it. If you will live the plain and simple truths of the Gospel, the Holy Ghost will guide you, protect you, warn you and bless you. So, brothers and sisters, please don't do things, or go places that would drive the Spirit away. And please do the things that bring the Spirit into your heart - keep your covenants, pray with faith in Christ, read and study the scriptures, prayerfully partake of the sacrament and serve the Lord.

Principle #2: Be the answer to someone's prayer for help. If you live principle one the Lord will trust you and He will send you on His errands to lift and strengthen His children. You will be the answer to the prayer of a Bishop, or a mother, or someone you home or visit teach, or one of your own children. You will fulfill this remarkable charge President Monson has given all of us: "Not only by precept did Jesus teach, but also by example ... He stretched forth his hand that others might be lifted ... to succor the weak and lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. ... Each of us has the charge to be a doer, a lifter. ..." [1] There are those within the sphere of our own influence who with outstretched hands, cry out: "Is there no balm in Gilead?"

Brothers and sisters, I pray that the Holy Ghost will be in your hearts so that you will be the ones to bring the balm of Gilead, the love and the light, the healing and redeeming power of Jesus Christ to those who are lost, whose hands hang down, whose knees are weak, and whose hearts are heavy.

I know the Savior lives. This is His Church and kingdom on the earth. I bear witness that there is available to all of God's children peace, happiness and joy through the marvelous gift of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  1. With Hand and Heart, 1995