At a moment in America defined by racial division and other historical challenges, the Church’s second-most senior leader challenged students at Brigham Young University and beyond to discover unity through Christ’s timeless love and in His gospel.
If circumstances allowed, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, would relish meeting face-to-face with every member of the “rising generation” of the Church to share his love and Apostolic counsel.
“Since I cannot meet with you individually as I would love to do, I must try to help you through teaching correct principles and trying to help you follow them,” he said at the beginning of his Tuesday, Oct. 27, morning devotional at Brigham Young University.
The gathering was itself historic, marking the first time since the outbreak of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic that a relatively small gathering of students was able to participate in a devotional at the Church-owned school in person. Approximately 1,200 listened to President Oaks inside the Marriott Center. Many more viewed his message via BYUtv and broadcast platforms.
President Oaks also addressed how people are seeking to erase certain individuals from history who had a connection to slavery. He acknowledged that calls had been made to change the names of some campus buildings, in addition to the name of Brigham Young University. He quoted Winston Churchill, warning about “quarrel between the past and the present.”
“The predecessors of many Americans of different backgrounds made great sacrifices to establish this nation,” President Oaks said. “Whatever those sacrifices—of freedom, property, or even life—let us now honor them for what they have done for us and forgo quarrelling over the past. Ours is the duty to unite and improve the future we will share.”