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Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Elder L. Tom Perry speaks at a BYU Devotional on Tuesday.

PROVO — Elder L. Tom Perry charged a crowd of students to start planning their careers during a Brigham Young University devotional Tuesday morning in the Marriott Center.

But before a serious prod on career preparation, Elder Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Boston fan, jocularly asked if the large gathering was to "celebrate the Red Sox winning the World Series."

Elder Perry addressed his "celebrating" crowd of about 9,000 about not procrastinating on making career arrangements.

"I'm afraid that I find too many (students) leaving much of life's experiences to chance, without planning and preparation," Elder Perry said. "I ask students, 'What are you majoring in?' I get a blank look."

Those bewildered by a question of what major they are committed to could be any one of BYU's 4,054 students who are considered "open majors," according BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead.

Those suffering from the indecision syndrome can learn to prepare for their life's goals by realizing at how God has planned his eternal design, Elder Perry said.

"Perhaps the example of his careful planning would motivate us to give more energy to spending sufficient time to plan what we want to accomplish in our mortal experience here," he said.

From a great council in heaven through each dispensation — "when the gospel is revealed anew"— Elder Perry spoke of God having a plan for his children.

Even the Fall of Adam and Eve, an event many Christians hold to be degenerating to mankind, was praised as necessary: "It was not a disaster; it wasn't a mistake or an accident," Elder Perry insisted. "(The Fall) was a deliberate part of the Lord's plan of salvation. (We are) innocent of Adam's transgression."

After a brief synopsis of each dispensation and lessons to be learned from each, Elder Perry spoke of observing counsel from LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley in order to organize our lives:

First, spend time with family.

Second, fathers are to preside over families with love and righteousness and to protect and provide necessities.

Third, serve by building the Kingdom of God.

"And, fourth was most interesting to me," said Elder Perry. "Every person needs time to prepare himself to accomplish the things he wants to accomplish."

Nathaniel Philbrick, author of the book "Mayflower," will address students Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center. BYU President Samuelson called Philbrick's speech on the early pilgrims timely and appropriate because it is "around the time of year we should be especially thankful."

E-mail: jhancock@desnews.com