Commencement Address by Elder Scott

Elder Scott gave one of the best talks I can remember from a General Authority. Part of what made it great was that it addressed the true pathway to happiness and success in life. The other part was that it was before graduating BYU students whose lives were young and formative, giving his formula for true happiness and success fertile ground in which to possibly grow. What follows is from my notes and an abbreviated report at LDS Church News. Some of my notes may not be his exact wording, but I believe I captured the intent and strength of his message. I looked for his address online and the full transcript is still not available.

He began by saying, “This world is in serious trouble. The fundamental values of this nation are being undermined. There is a continual crumbling of principle, virtue, integrity and religious values — [which are] the foundation stones of civilization and the definitive ingredients of peace and happiness.”

“But despite the difficulties in the world, it is a solid foundation of faith, character and integrity that will help individuals find peace, joy and purpose in life.”

“Character is woven patiently from threads of doctrine, principle and obedience. Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming. Your character will be the yardstick that God will use to determine how well you have used your mortal life. Strong character is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished. Your consistent exercise of faith builds strong character.”

“Learn to listen to the quiet whisperings of the Still Small Voice. The Holy Spirit will guide you in every choice you make.”

“Strong moral character is built by consistent correct choices.” He repeated this phrase several times.

“Satan cannot weaken or destroy your character. Satan is a master at making bad choices look appealing. Make decision wisely and prayerfully.”

“There is an urgent need for men and women to act boldly and courageously. Fight for what is right, not what is socially acceptable or popular. We need mothers and fathers who preserve the sanctity of the home.”

“Live so that the Holy Spirit guides you. Lean to hear and obey its sweet promptings to the greatest of your ability.”

“Truth is not determined by what men think – but by an unchanging God.”

Elder Scott gave 10 principles of success.

  1. Establish a set of principles to guide your life. “Many people try to compartmentalize their lives and have a standard for Church, another standard for what they do in business, and in other aspects of their life,” Elder Scott said. “I very strongly counsel you not to do that. There really is only one set of standards that make sense. Those are the teachings of Jesus Christ which signal to us the importance of faith, service, obedience and integrity.”
  2. “Don’t make exceptions to your standards. Never compromise them,” he said. “Be loyal to the teachings that you have received here and have received from your parents. They are the things of greatest worth. … If you integrate that with what you know about the teachings of the Lord, examples of those worthy people who are role models to you, you will have a solid foundation and you will be productive and do things that are worthwhile for others.”
  3. Be loyal above all to Jesus Christ.
  4. Live so that the Lord can guide you to where he wants you to serve
  5. Serve others even when you have very little to give.
  6. Smile. “You will soon learn that everybody has problems and nobody wants to hear about yours,” he said. “When you put those things aside and smile, have a good sense of humor as the prophets do. … A sense of humor helps you greatly.”
  7. Don’t complain. “Life isn’t always fair. That’s a fact. But it’s always charged with marvelous opportunities if you know how to find them.”
  8. Always have a church assignment.
  9. Go to the temple.
  10. Use Jesus Christ as your example for life. “Use His teachings as your handbook for life. Never make exceptions to them. “

“Come to know of the great influence for good that flows from individual acts born of conscience and principle rooted in truth,” he said. “Resolve that each moment of your life will reflect your determination to humbly be an example of righteousness, integrity and conviction.”

Elder Scott then said “As an apostle, I bear witness that Jesus Christ lives. As an apostle I have had unique and sacred experiences that have accorded me this special witness. I know that Jesus Christ lives in a most personal and sacred way.”

Brother John

© April 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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5 Responses to Commencement Address by Elder Scott

  1. Chris says:

    A free transcript (pdf) of his commencement address can be downloaded from this site:


  2. shauna allen says:

    I apologize for not being on topic, but I have a question from a previous post. My question refers to the words in the sacrament prayer, “always have His Spirit to Be with Us.” Is this referring to Christ’s spirit or the Holy Ghost?


  3. K-Jo says:

    Hello Brother John,

    Will you please post the source if you find a copy of his whole talk so that we may access it. Thank you so much.


  4. Lisa says:

    I agree, a powerful talk. Although I can’t find a transcript, it can be heard here:
    [audio src="" /]
    (We are going to listen for FHE tonight)


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