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Deseret News

After years of studying, writing essays and taking tests, students from Brigham Young University, BYU-Idaho and BYU-Hawaii have gathered together before graduation to listen to commencement addresses. Over the decades, students from the three schools, which are all owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have listened as LDS leaders and other special guests have offered a few words of wisdom about goals, success and hope for the future. Below are some favorite pieces of advice they’ve told over the years:

This past April, Elder Bradley D. Foster spoke to BYU students, asking them to remember that more important than any professional success is the relationships they have with God and with others.

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In an April 2005 commencement speech, Elder Earl C. Tingey reminded students that BYU coursework is designed to help build faith. Faith and action can overpower fear, he said.

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“Live Younger, Think Older” was Elder Neil L. Anderson’s topic at BYU-Hawaii’s October 2016 commencement. He entreated listeners to trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with gratitude for the life they have been given.

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Elder L. Whitney Clayton spoke of the most important connections students will have in their lifetimes — with their school, with their family and with God. “Whatever we do that may tend to weaken our connection — our binding — with heaven should be assessed with wariness. Everything we do that tends to reinforce faith and promotes keeping our covenants should be embraced. Our connection with heaven is the most valuable blessing we have and the most important one we can secure. It strengthens every other worthy connection in our lives.”

At an October 2016 BYU-Hawaii commencement, President John S. Tanner quoted C.S. Lewis and the movie “The Lion King” to remind students that they have divine potential.

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President Howard W. Hunter spoke at a 1997 BYU commencement. In his address, President Hunter said that students should be proud of their university that combines education with spirituality. “But to find true happiness in your endeavors and real success in your life,” he stated, “you need to add to your education the elements of spirituality that you have learned here by following in the footsteps of the master.” Listen to the entire talk here.

“If you stay rooted in him, you will be able to withstand the mighty storms and the shafts in the whirlwind that will beat upon you,” said Elder Larry Y. Wilson at a BYU-Idaho graduation last December.

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In August 2007, Elder D. Todd Christofferson stated that to achieve greatness, it is imperative that students search for the will of God and commit to it with determination.

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Elder Ronald A. Rasband urged students in August 2013 to “continue to set lofty goals” once they received their diploma. “Know that you can draw upon the power of God to always have his Spirit with you on this journey,” he said.

Back in May 1957, movie producer Cecil B. DeMille spoke of the similarities between the LDS faith and the Israelites in the movie “The Ten Commandments.”

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