Sunday, August 10, 2014

Some of My Favorite BYU Speeches

I have listened and read many speeches/talks given at BYU over the years and want to recommend a few of my favorites. Many of them I revisited multiple times. This is far from exhaustive (if you have time, listen to all of the Hugh Nibley talks on BYU Speeches or all of the Elder Holland ones! I haven't even done that yet...I have a tendency to repeat ones that I really like...), but these are ones that have resonated with me for years and I think about them quite often--they have just stuck with me. Many of these were given when Elder Holland, Elder Oaks and Elder Bednar were not Apostles yet, so they probably had more time to speak there, but I wish they still gave talks like this on a more regular basis!

Just click on the title of the talk and it will take you to that talks page on speeches.byu.edu (basically, I did all the work for you because I think these talks are worth your time!).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: I have to say, if you think Elder Holland is passionate when he speaks in conference, some of these speeches are much more passionate and straight from the heart. I love listening to these!
--For Times of Trouble--Oh man, this has one of my favorite Elder Holland quotes of all time:
"If there is one lament I cannot abide—and I hear it from adults as well as students—it is the poor, pitiful, withered cry, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” If you want to talk about discouragement, that phrase is one that discourages me. Though not a swearing man, I am always sorely tempted to try my hand when I hear that. Please spare me your speeches about “That’s just the way I am.”"
He is so open, so honest and just gives it straight in this talk.

--Remember Lot's Wife--This talk discusses the need to look forward, move on, repent and leave the past in the past. Don't dig it up. There is some great counsel for husbands and wives that applies to all of our relationships.

--"Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence"--Elder Holland relates the stories of Joseph Smith's first vision and of Moses talking with God from Moses 1. He focuses on the attacks of the adversary in these events and how we are not to "cast..away [our] confidence" just because we are in dark times but to remember the spiritual experiences that we have had. Doubts will come, but remember.

--The Inconvenient Messiah--I've listened to this one countless times. Elder Holland walks through the Savior's temptations and applies them directly to our lives and gives counsel on overcoming these difficulties. I always feel his love and concern for each one of us as I listen to this talk and reflect on much of the counsel.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
--Revelation--Just a solid, Elder Oaks style talk (roman numerals and all!) about revelation that reminds us of our part to make decisions for ourselves without being told what can of food we should take off the grocery store shelf.

Elder David A. Bednar:
--In the Strength of the Lord--Before reading/listening to this talk years ago for the first time, I had never thought much about the phrase "in the strength of the Lord", which is only used two or three times in the entire Book of Mormon. Elder Bednar helps us to gain a greater appreciation for going forth in our daily lives "in the strength of the Lord".

--Quick to Observe--Great talk about spiritual gifts that we may overlook but are just as real and poignant in our day to day lives.

--A Reservoir of Living Water--one of the best talks about studying the scriptures that I've ever heard and read. There is a story that Elder Bednar shares about him studying the gathering of Israel for a talk (or something) that I think about almost every week that reminds me that I need to be involved when studying the scriptures and be creative--I don't just need to be "conventional" about it. Listen/read it and you'll see what I mean.

Brad Wilcox
--His Grace is Sufficient--Hands down my FAVORITE talk on grace never given in General Conference! If you aren't familiar with Brad Wilcox, he was the most sought after 6th grade teacher at an elementary school when BYU caught wind of his abilities to really reach the students and inspire them. Long story short, he teaches at BYU now and is a powerful youth speaker and then hit it out of the park with this talk that has helped me to better understand the Savior's grace.

Terryl Givens
--Lightning from Heaven--one of my favorite talks about Joseph Smith and his impact in the world of religion. Terryl Givens is one of my current favorite LDS authors. He is very eloquent and is obsessed with the restoration of what he terms "dialogic" revelation--the concept of us talking with God personally to receive guidance. Good stuff.

Hugh W. Nibley: I love listening to Nibley. I read his stuff very often, but listening to him is WAY more fun! Highly recommended. Actually only one of these is available to read anyway, you have to listen to the others.
--Leaders and Managers--What's the difference between a leader and a manger? Why does it matter? How does it relate to the Gospel? Read or listen for some great Nibley wit and wisdom! This is one I'll be listening to this week :-)
--How to Write and Anti-Mormon Book--My sister Becky and I found this gem years ago. It is quite sarcastic, satirical and biting. Becky and I love it. If you want to listen to Nibley rant about anti-mormon literature, this will provide some interesting insight as well as humor. I have read (and run across) anti-mormon literature every once and a while as I study something and this talk set a baseline for me while I was young about how to consider other peoples motives, desires, sources, conclusions, etc...Some people think Nibley crossed a line here and was too sarcastic. Maybe he did, but I have to tell you, my feelings after reading that stuff almost requires humor and sarcasm out of sheer frustration sometimes. So, I still love this talk.
--Exaltation and Eternal Life--This talk is one of my favorite Nibley talks/articles/speeches of all time! He strings together a bunch of quotes from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (mostly) and discusses the transient nature of this life and what really matters. Listen to it!

Once again, these are only SOME of the talks I really enjoy. I can list others if people show an interest in these. Please comment if you listen to one and like it or even if you dislike it.