First, as a child of God. One of the greatest weaknesses in most of us is our lack of faith in ourselves. One of our common failings is to depreciate our tremendous worth. A firm I was associated with sometime ago embarked on a great executive development program at considerable expense to itself. The program was open to all who expressed an interest. All they had to do was sign up. The firm paid the costs and even allowed the employees one hour off from their normal daily work for classroom time—a free opportunity for an education in the art of management. During the two years the program was offered, only 3 percent of the employees signed for the course. I have observed another situation where this 3 percent statistic seems to be somewhat reliable as the number of the divine children of our Father in heaven who have enough faith in themselves to make the effort to do something important with their lives. Now, we are a special group assembled here because of the light and knowledge that have been given to us about our potential. Surely, we could never be numbered among the 97 percent who are not taking advantage of opportunities. . . Brigham Young has further defined our eternal relationship by reporting: “Things were first created spiritually; the Father actually begat the spirits, and they were brought forth and lived with him. . . . I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well acquainted with God our Heavenly Father. . . . You are all well acquainted with him, for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in his house and dwelt with him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with him, when the fact is, you have merely forgotten what you did know. There is not a person here to-day but what is a son or a daughter of that Being. In the spirit world their spirits were first begotten and brought forth, and they lived there with their parents for ages before they came here. . . . We are the sons and daughters of celestial beings, and the germ of Diety dwells within us. . . . We are all his children. We are his sons and daughters naturally, and by the principles of eternal life. We are brethren and sisters.” History has abundantly given evidence of man’s potential when he allows himself to be led by the power of the Lord. Do you remember the story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt? He was sent by his father to check on the welfare of his brothers as they tended the flocks. When they saw him coming, they seized upon the opportunity of finding him alone to satisfy the jealousy in their hearts and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to merchants on their way to Egypt. In Egypt, Joseph was purchased by Potiphar, the captain of the guard. Even as a servant in a far-off land, as a slave to a foreigner, he soon distinguished himself. . . Joseph’s life continued to have its ups and downs. He found himself accused falsely of being unfaithful to his master and was cast into prison. Once again, because of his faithfulness, the Lord provided an opportunity for him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph was given the opportunity because of this interpretation to serve Pharaoh. He so distinguished himself in this service that he became a ruler in Egypt while being only thirty years of age. . . We each have the choice of being worldly like unto the brothers of Joseph or living worthy of the blessings of the Lord like unto Joseph. President Romney has said: “We mortals are in very deed the literal off-spring of God. If man understood, believed and accepted this truth and lived by it, our sick and dying society would be reformed and redeemed and men would have peace and eternal joy.” With this divine knowledge burning within our souls, surely much will be expected of us. As a child of God, be the best of whatever you are.
Long ago, the renowned author Charles Dickens wrote of opportunities that await. In his classic volume entitled Great Expectations, Dickens described a boy by the name of Philip Pirrip, more commonly known as Pip. Pip was born in unusual circumstances. He was an orphan. He wished with all his heart that he were a scholar and a gentleman. Yet all of his ambitions and all of his hopes seemed doomed to failure. Do you young men sometimes feel that way? Do those of us who are older entertain these same thoughts? Then one day a London lawyer by the name of Jaggers approached little Pip and told him that an unknown benefactor had bequeathed to him a fortune. The lawyer put his arm around the shoulder of Pip and said to him, “My boy, you have great expectations.” Tonight, as I look at you young men and realize who you are and what you may become, I declare, “You have great expectations”—not as the result of an unknown benefactor, but as the result of a known benefactor, even our Heavenly Father, and great things are expected of you. Life’s journey is not traveled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls, and snares. Rather, it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say, “No,” the courage to say, “Yes.” Decisions do determine destiny. The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be.