by Danielle Cronquist If you are a student at BYU then you may have noticed from all the Facebook updates and the posters around campus that BYUSA election season is upon us. Maybe this doesn’t seem important to you, but it is. BYUSA does a…
by Rachel Nielsen
Making big decisions is tough, and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that our Heavenly Father will help us make those big decisions through personal revelation—God’s means of communicating with His children.
On Tuesdays at 11am at Brigham Young University everything stops. Students are out of class, many on-campus employees clock out of work, computer labs close, and the BYU community participates in a devotional or forum. At these speeches, speakers from around the globe come and share inspiring and informative messages.
speeches.byu.edu is an archive with decades of these weekly devotionals and forums, and on their homepage there is a list of the most viewed speeches of all time.
So what comes in as the number one speech?
Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s devotional “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence” (http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=795) delivered in March of 1999. This is a talk that I have used several times to find comfort and direction.
In his characteristically powerful tone and straightforward style, Elder Holland tackles the issue of revelation and making important decisions in a rather unique way.
Starting with the story of Joseph Smith’s first vision and Moses’s vision of the Lord’s creations, Elder Holland illustrates the principle that one of my religion professors calls “the law of equal and opposite”: before or after moments of great spiritual revelation come moments of darkness, Satan’s attempt to get you to “cast away” your confidence in the light and truth you have been or will be given. For Joseph Smith it was a tangible darkness and for Moses it was an interaction with Satan himself.
Elder Holland’s advice to you when these hard times come is “don’t let your guard down” because “it isn’t over until it’s over.” He assures, “If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts.”
How do we continue on in faith as adversity mounts? Elder Holland provides three lessons that we learn from Moses’s experience crossing the Red Sea, the same experience discussed in D&C 8:2–3:
I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
Here are the lessons that Elder Holland shares:
Joseph Smith’s experience in the sacred grove and Moses’s experience on the mountain are experiences that Latter-day Saints hear often—the stories of two great prophets who had miraculous revelations. But those miraculous revelations didn’t come without a face off with the adversary, which everyone seeking for answers and direction will face—and I think that is all of us. So it’s no wonder that this is the most viewed devotional: it is an inspiring, timely, and straightforward message that is fit for everyone.
by Alissa Holm Every college student has experienced that moment: You’re starving. It’s midnight. Everything seems to be closed. So what do you do? Eat another bowl of cereal? Run to McDonalds and get a McDouble? Beg your roommates to make you food? Well, you…
by Brittany Bruner
Some people say that I’m stuck in old traditions because I love old things. I love elderly people; vintage clothing; classic movie stars like Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn; and old jazz music.
I especially love old jazz music. It has the ability to set so many moods, and the rhythms and sounds are just cool. I grew up listening to jazz, and one of my fondest memories as a child is when my dad would drop his voice, add some grovel, and do his best imitation of Louis Armstrong. Nothing gets better than Louis Armstrong.
Last week, BYU had an awesome opportunity for students to hear from some well-respected jazz artists, Loren Schoenberg and Jonathan Batiste. These two incredible artists were visiting from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem to participate in a lecture titled “Jazz and the Art of Civic Life,” put on by the new Humanities Center. One of the goals of the Center is to present interdisciplinary lectures. Thus, the presentation would be an “informance” meaning that there would be jazz playing and lecturing.
Since I am an English major, firm lover of intellectual lectures, and avid fan of jazz music, this event was perfect for me. I made sure to attend, and I was not disappointed. The music was incredible, and the lecture was informative.
These are some of the things that I learned about jazz music and how it can affect civic life.
Teamwork in Communities
In order for a community to function well, every member must work as a team. For example, Schoenberg and Batiste needed some other jazz artists to play with them to complete a full rhythm section and enrich the music. A student from BYU’s jazz band Synthesis played the bass, and a high school student getting ready to apply to Juilliard played the drums. Schoenberg and Batiste invited another student they had met an hour earlier to play the piano with them when they found out he was trained in jazz piano. Schoenberg played the saxophone and Batiste played the melodica, which is like a harmonica with a keyboard. Someone would start playing something, and then all of the members of the band would join in.
It was complete improvisation, like all great jazz, and it sounded beautiful. And when someone made a mistake or there was a shift in mood or key, the others worked with mistake to create a new sound or rhythm. That’s when the magic happened.
Batiste described mistakes in jazz as opportunities because the mistakes led the band to new and exciting territory. The people in the band needed to have done their outside work in order to play with the band, but when they came together they worked as a team and invited the audience into their world of jazz.
Individuality and Leadership in Communities
Good leaders do not seek to be the shining star in every situation. They allow their individuality to shine with the rest of the group. In jazz, if one of the members decides to play louder than the others or at a different tempo, it messes up the whole piece. Rather than shining individually, the person ruins the music.
Good leaders also know when to take the lead and when to back off. Every member in the jazz ensemble knew when to take the lead and the others followed. Some would think this would thwart individuality. However, each part could still be heard, and each part was impressive because it was distinct, but still blended well with the group.
This is a good life application. Shining as an individual does not mean that one has to beat everyone else or be better than everyone else. It means knowing when to shine alone, when to shine with other people, and when to let others shine. In good jazz, nobody demands the spotlight, and that’s why the music is so great. Everyone has the opportunity to be a great musician, and the music is amplified when they come together. When these musicians worked together, they produced a great show.
Jonathan Batiste is scheduled to perform with his band at BYU in October, so keep a look out for him. This is a concert you won’t want to miss.
For more information on the two artists and on the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, check out the following links:
Now go listen to some jazz!
by Danielle Cronquist For this lovely week of love, I thought it would be best to share a special Valentine’s Day treat. Even though these raspberry-filled chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting take a little extra time to make, they are divine. Cupcakes I started…
by Brittney Thompson
In elementary school I loved Valentine’s Day. I can still remember the excitement of decorating my little brown paper lunch bag and taping it to the end of my desk. Then, all the kids would go around with their little manufactured Winnie the Pooh, Star Wars, and Disney valentines that they had bought with their moms the day before and place them in each classmate’s bag. The candy, the cards and the punny little notes on the inside were so fun, it was impossible not to like Valentine’s Day.
But lately it seems like the holiday has taken a turn for the cynical and exclusive. I think I first noticed it when I reached high school. Gone were the little notes for each person in the class and instead every period I had to watch students deliver a candy-gram valentine that was never meant for me. Roses were handed out to two or three popular girls in class while the rest of us sat and wondered if we would be so lucky the next period. I think that is when Valentine’s Day became the snarky Singles Awareness Day (or SAD) for me and probably many others.
Since then I have never really paid much attention to Valentine’s Day. Because I have never had a “significant other” to share it with, I’ve always kind of ignored it. But this year I decided I wanted to celebrate the real meaning of Valentine’s Day: love. When I look at my life I recognize how blessed I am to have so many wonderful and true friends. And this got me thinking: why can’t Valentine’s Day be about friendship and fun like it used to be in those elementary days gone by? So this year not only am I recognizing the holiday, I am celebrating it.
My roommates and I are hosting a party for all of our friends. Like any good party there will be plenty of food (themed of course, with recipes found on Pinterest) and games. But I wanted to bring back that special feeling of childhood too. So there will be a table with brown paper bags and little Valentines cards for everyone to write notes to one another in the spirit of friendship. For many, Valentine’s Day will remain a romanticized excuse for card companies to make money. But for me? Well, I hope it’s something a little more meaningful and a lot more fun as I share it with those closest to me.
How will you spend your Valentine’s Day?
by Rachel Nielsen The article “3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married” by Tyler Ward has been travelling through the interwebs lately. Boasting over 73,600 likes on Facebook, its appeal comes from the author’s honesty about the difficulties in marriage and his…