In the October 2005 General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley shared a talk titled, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear.” In his talk, he reviewed “calamities and catastrophes” that have been part of the human experience from the beginning of time. Since that talk over 15 years ago, we have continued to face “calamities,” including the unique circumstances of the past year, “that have come to pass and are yet to come to pass.”
At that time, President Hinckley said:
"What we have experienced in the past was all foretold, and the end is not yet. Just as there have been calamities in the past, we may expect more in the future. What do we do?
The Lord has said, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).
The primary preparation is also set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, wherein it says, “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come;” (D&C 87:8).
We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance…We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments.”
Since 2005, this guidance from President Hinckley has been repeated continuously by many church leaders, including President Russell M. Nelson. In his October address to the women of the church entitled “Embrace the Future with Faith,” President Nelson promised that “the future will be glorious for those who are prepared, and who continue to prepare to be instruments in the Lord’s hands.” It is clear the Lord desires for us to be prepared spiritually and temporally for the strength and security of ourselves and our families. From faculty to students, we here at BYU–Hawaii constantly strive to use the opportunities afforded to us to follow this counsel and be prepared.
Your fellow graduate, Hyrum Castro, shared the following with me via email.
“During my first semester, I entered the testing center without preparing much for one of my exams. While taking the exam, I was so nervous and so unconfident about my answers. After taking the exam, I saw my score on the monitor outside, and I was heartbroken. This painful experience of mine gave me a rule in life: I would never enter the testing room without preparing first. As I applied this rule in my college life, I have seen the blessings and happiness it brings to me as I take weekly quizzes and exams.
I [also] want to share my experience of two job interviews I had during this semester. The first interview I had, I didn't prepare at all; I took the job interview for granted. And I was embarrassed about my answers during the interview. On the other hand, in my second interview, I prepared for about two hours each day for the whole month of January. During the interview, I was able to share my answers confidently with the interviewers, and I was at peace the entire time during and after the interview. The following week, I got the job offer, and I was so happy because all the preparation and sacrifices I made for the past four years at this university paid off and will bless my family.
I have learned that if we prepare for whatever things we do in life, we can expect a result that we will be happy about. Even though our preparations now don't seem to have any significant effect on our life, in the long term, we can always look back and say it was all worth it. There's no effort or preparation ever wasted.
Like Hyrum, you are surely finding that there are many benefits of earning a college degree. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that you have learned ways to prepare and been given opportunities to experience the impact of proper preparation. Think of all the presentations, tests, quizzes, and homework assignments that have been part of your life over the past few years. You’ve learned to multitask and manage a host of responsibilities. You’ve not only obtained knowledge, but you have consistently disciplined your time, money, and energy to complete your schooling. The skills you have gained will help you in every aspect of your professional and personal life moving forward.
Your experiences at Brigham Young University–Hawaii have provided you with unique preparation to deal with the complexities and challenges of the world. Our vision as a campus community has been to “assist [you] in…efforts to influence the establishment of peace internationally through an intercultural, gospel-centered environment that…leads to a life of learning and service and preparation that promotes…international brotherhood.” I urge you never to underestimate or forget the degree of personal growth you have experienced as you have worked through your degree on this campus.
As graduates of Brigham Young University–Hawaii, you can feel confident in your capacity to prepare and your ability to face each new opportunity of the future with excitement and enthusiasm. You need not fear because you are ready for the future. I urge you to continue to treasure up wisdom in your hearts and minds. Seek to learn everything you can from your individual experiences, the experiences of others, and the events and circumstances in the world around you. When you face challenging times, as you certainly will, you can have the confidence that you are prepared and can turn to our Savior, who will provide the strength you need to continue moving forward. At the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, He declared: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
I testify that His teachings are true. May the Lord bless you as you continue to prepare to serve and remember Him throughout your life.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.