The Calling of BYU

September 18, 1962

At BYU we have a twofold responsibility—a grave responsibility which demands a great deal of our faculty and staff:

1. Proper academic development—to meet the tests and challenges of the world.

2. Proper spiritual development—to meet the basic inner needs of the student and to help him
understand his relationship to his fellow man and to God, the Heavenly Father. . . .

In practical effect, this means that each of us at BYU should be living and walking examples of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should strive as mightily as we can to live up to the principles of the Church every day of the week and not just on the Sabbath. For good or for ill, we stand as examples before our students. Any member of the faculty or staff who may scoff at and deride spiritual values is impairing his usefulness at this ­university. Though he clothes his skepticism in brilliant and fascinating verbiage, he ultimately will be an unhappy person in this particular campus community. Further, what can a student’s evaluation be when he observes that some of us pay only nominal attention to the spiritual principles that the institution publicly espouses? I strongly declare that once we become associated with this institution, we also carry upon our shoulders the responsibility of exemplary living. This may not be easy, but it is certainly a realistic factor in our lives. If we treat this obligation lightly, we could unwittingly, as well as deliberately, offend or disillusion a student to the point that he finds it very difficult to gain or retain a testimony of the faith. . . .

No student can truly succeed in this modern world—by the gauge of the whole man—without the firm support of religious devotion. His physical achievements of the future, no matter how impressive from the secular viewpoint, are but a mockery if he fails to recognize his deep obligation to God, the Father. If the student does not become deeply aware of his great personal need for spiritual motivation and does not work actively to obtain it, then our world is truly lost! Thus the obligation upon us, who deal so intimately with the youth of today, is indeed sacred and of preeminent importance.

This is an excerpt of a faculty address delivered by Ernest L. Wilkinson, president of Brigham Young University, on September 18, 1962.

© Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.