LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley urged Brigham Young University alumni Tuesday to appreciate and respect others, embracing them with kindness, love and tolerance.
"I hope that your university experience has given you an enlarged sense of tolerance and respect for those not of your faith," President Hinckley said. The leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to hundreds of local BYU alumni at a special Tuesday devotional in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.
"The true gospel of Jesus Christ never led to bigotry. It never led to self-righteousness. It never led to arrogance. The true gospel of Jesus Christ leads to brotherhood, to friendship, to appreciation of others, to respect and kindness and love."
Out of a BYU education and service as missionaries, "there should have come into your hearts an increased appreciation for people of other races, of other persuasions and other cultures. They are all sons and daughters of God, who is the father of all men. It follows, therefore, that we are literally brothers and sisters. I hope that as the years pass, your appreciation for others will strengthen and find expression in friendship, respect and love.
"In this very community we are accused of being intolerant, of being clannish, of being, if you please, self-righteous. I submit that the only true righteousness is that which comes of service to others, as exemplified and taught by the Redeemer himself."
He urged listeners to continue seeking knowledge. "A truly educated man never ceases to learn. He never ceases to grow. I hope you women, as you take upon yourselves the burden of rearing families, will never set aside the desire to acquire knowledge."
President Hinckley said his own father had come to love learning as a student of early BYU president and noted teacher Karl G. Maeser. After a long and successful career, the elder Hinckley would sit on a rock wall outside his modest home and ponder the things he read from his own large library. "Almost to the time he died, just short of the age of 94, he read and wrote, and contemplated the knowledge that had come to him . . . . All of this came as a habit that he acquired while a student under Dr. Maeser. It was part of his BYU experience.
"At times I envy him" the chance to sit in the sunshine and ponder, President Hinckley said.
A testimony of faith in God should also be a personal legacy for those who have spent time at BYU. "I hope that as the years have passed, there has been no dimming of that testimony. I hope it shines brighter than ever before. I hope that it is your strength in every circumstance."
Such virtues should always remain intact, he said.
"As you go forward with your vocations, as you assume responsibilities of leadership, may you continue to carry in your hearts from the root that grew in Provo, a quiet and solemn faith, a faith that will carry you through every storm and difficulty and bring peace to your hearts."I hope the lessons of the second mile, the prodigal son, of the good Samaritan, of the Son of God who gave his life in a great offering of atonement, will continue to motivate you throughout your careers."