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BYU-Pathway Worldwide Inauguration Dinner

"They Were Liberal to All"

March 10, 2022

Brothers and sisters, we are so grateful to have you here tonight. Thank you for coming. We want you to know that we love you and appreciate the sacrifice you made to be here. Now inaugurations are usually about defining a vision for the future of an institution. Later tonight I will share my hopes for the future of BYU-Pathway Worldwide. This dinner provides an opportunity to be a bit more intimate and to delve deeper into one aspect of that vision.

For decades the Church has spent significant sums of money on Church university campuses. This investment has blessed those who could attend those campuses enormously. Just think about how it has blessed many of your lives.

  • How many of you met your spouse at a Church university?
  • How did receiving a Church-sponsored education help you to stay active in the gospel?
  • Which friends did you meet there who continue to bless your lives
  • What leadership experiences or training did you receive because of your Church university experience?
  • How many of us enjoy substantial wealth because of a low-cost Church education that was subsidized by faithful tithe payers all over the world?

For those of you who didn’t attend a Church university:

  • Were you blessed by going to institute?
  • Was your spouse blessed by attending a Church-sponsored institution of higher education?
  • Have your children or grandchildren been blessed by a Church school?
  • Have you been blessed by a leader who was in a position to lead because of a Church-sponsored education?
  • Is there a devotional, a book, or research that has come out of a Church school that has blessed you?

When we take time to count our blessings, it is amazing how much Church-sponsored education has blessed our lives.

While this investment in education has indirectly blessed everyone in the Church, it has had an outsized impact on those who could attend Church schools and their families. For this reason, President Henry B. Eyring, after visiting South America in 1997 and then observing the newly built Taylor Chapel on the campus of BYU-Idaho, said with concern, “We do so much for so few and so little for so many.” 1
Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring, The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out (2011), 301
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently noted to the employees of BYU-Pathway that he had a similar experience while traveling internationally as a young Commissioner of the Church Educational System. Elder Holland went on to say, “BYU-Pathway is an answer to my 50-year prayer that we could find an equitable way to serve the entire Church with the blessings of education.”

I am one who has been blessed above measure because of Church-sponsored education. I know that it changes lives. I have also spent a lot of time with the faithful international members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our brothers and sisters in these regions need and want Church education just as much as you and me. Most of them have not had generations of educational blessings stacked one on top of another as Melinda just told us about. Many of them are poor. Yet Heavenly Father wants to bless them as He does you and me and will reward their sincere efforts.

I believe that the Lord will bless these wonderful Saints through the work of BYU-Pathway and its partners. I envision BYU-Pathway as a place where each student pays at least some tuition (good self-reliance principles require that), but where no one is excluded from attending because they are poor. I see us fulfilling the scripture from Alma 1:30, which is listed in your program tonight: “And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any…; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.”

Those of us who have been so richly blessed have an obligation to lift those who follow. The Lord has done that for us. As we generously give to others, we become the Lord’s hands. We figuratively stand in His shoes and become a type of savior for others. We also help to fulfill one of the requirements for establishing Zion — that there be no poor among us. 2
Both being a type of savior for others and working to establish Zion remind us of the House of the Lord, which should be the model for each Church institution of higher learning and the model for our lives.

Those BYU-Pathway students who receive a scholarship are far more likely to persist in their studies than those who do not. You see, many of our students simply cannot afford to do but a single year or sometimes just a single semester at BYU-Pathway despite our low tuition. As we heard from Edna earlier tonight, she was struggling to simply pay for the semester she was in, and so many of our students are in that position. For this reason, BYU-Pathway gave out more than 22,000 scholarships in 2021. We are so grateful to each of you who made this possible through your generous donations.

For technical reasons, BYU-Pathway has only been able to offer scholarships to students in their first year of study. But I am thrilled to report that, in 2022, BYU-Pathway will finally be able to extend scholarships to all students regardless of their year of study. The greatly expanded number of students who will soon be able to receive scholarships means there are many more students we can bless through donated funds. If you feel prompted tonight to help these students or to do more than you have already done, know that your donation will help students like Edna to get out of poverty and become the disciple leaders that God wants them to become. You will also help build Zion.

Again, thank you for being here tonight. We at BYU-Pathway so appreciate your support in blessing students throughout the world with Church education. I testify that this is God’s work. He loves His children and wants to bless them. He often uses us to do so because it helps us to become like Him and allows us to receive additional blessings. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.