REXBURG, Idaho — The characteristic Christian virtue of hope — or trusting in the Lord that all will work out — will counter all current despairs and keep us moving, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the LDS Church told Brigham Young University-Idaho students on Tuesday.
Elder Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and chairman of the executive committee of the Church Board of Education, was at BYU-Idaho to announce leadership changes.
BYU-Idaho President Clark G. Gilbert will leave to oversee the new BYU-Pathway Worldwide online learning program. Elder Oaks announced that current academic vice president Henry J. Eyring will be the institution’s 17th and newest president beginning April 10.
Elder Oaks offered brief concluding remarks about having hope during challenging times after the announcements, acknowledgements and messages from others devoured much of the time for Tuesday’s devotional at the packed 15,000-seat BYU-Idaho Center.
He began by listing a few of today’s challenges — political uncertainties attending a new administration in Washington, the dismissal of time-honored values and standards and the replacing of service with selfishness.
"Evil is being called good, and good is being called evil," he said, echoing a message given by another apostle, Elder Quentin L. Cook, earlier in the day at BYU in Provo, Utah.
He encouraged his listeners to take heart, because there have always been challenging times, those withstood by past generations and those to be withstood by the younger, current generations.
Elder Oaks pointed to the Savior Jesus Christ, His mission and His ministry as the answer to all challenges, citing the Biblical verse of John 16:33: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world, ye shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
"What overcomes the world is the power of God, manifested through his Son Jesus Christ and given to us through the principles and doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ," he said. "That is what makes this university possible."
To deal with such stressful challenges, one must trust God and his promises and hold fast to the gospel principle of hope, Elder Oaks said. He cited Paul’s writings to the Corinthians: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
"When you feel down, put faith and hope to work in your lives," Elder Oaks concluded. "While others may abandon progress, you of faith should hope on and press on with your education, your lives and your families."