BYU-Idaho employees are commissioned with the unique role and responsibility of preparing students for their future careers while developing them into devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged the employees and faculty of BYU-Idaho to continue in their efforts to strengthen and build students’ faith in the Savior during his address at this semester’s All-Employee Meeting.
Elder Cook recounted his recent experience meeting virtually with two representatives from the Northwest Accrediting Association as they discussed the accreditation of BYU-Idaho. He stated that he was pleased to attest to the excellent teaching that takes place on the BYU-Idaho campus, as well as the strong sense of belonging that permeates the culture of the university.
“I was also pleased that I could, without hesitation, emphasize the fact that there is a strong culture of belonging at BYU-Idaho,” Elder Cook said. “It is infectious, and it is extended to everyone—members and nonmembers. It is extended to those of different races and nationalities. Belonging is an integral part of BYU-Idaho.”
Given the recent focus on belonging that has been raised by several social campaigns worldwide, Elder Cook expressed appreciation for being able to attest to the spirit of belonging found on campus.
“I commend and congratulate you as faculty and employees for creating an exceptional culture of belonging,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook went on to talk about the unique role that BYU-Idaho has in the Church Education System in building devoted disciples of Jesus Christ and helping students prepare for their future, both in this life and in the eternities. He reiterated challenges, warnings, and promised blessings set forth by other Church leaders, past and present, including Elder David A. Bednar, to raise the vision and to continue on in humility and meekness.
“I would suggest that maintaining a laser-like focus on our responsibility to help build faith in Jesus Christ and in His restored Church should drive our efforts,” Elder Cook said.
At the crux of his message, and drawing from examples in church history, Elder Cook emphasized four major principles that he called “foundations for eternity.”
“Regardless of what you are teaching, or what your employment role is with these students at BYU-Idaho, you should also be emphasizing these four principles which are the work of salvation and exaltation,” Elder Cook said.
The four principles stated were, 1) living the gospel of Jesus Christ, 2) caring for those in need, 3) inviting all to receive the gospel, and 4) uniting families for eternity.
“If we are to be acceptable to the Lord, and if the younger generations are going to fulfill their responsibilities, we need to care for those in need,” Elder Cook said.
Of course, the ways and means of caring for the needy are many and varied, but Elder Cook emphasized the importance of fast offerings, ministering, and participating in worldwide humanitarian efforts.
Elder Cook went on to discuss the importance of students receiving the power that comes from attending the temple and making covenants with God.
“I know of no other institution that has placed greater emphasis on the temple than BYU-Idaho,” Elder Cook said. “This emphasis, and the powerful teaching that has occurred in the Rexburg temple, is a model for how to emphasize the temple and the covenants made there with God and the blessings in an educational setting.”
Elder Cook congratulated the employees of BYU-Idaho for their devotion to the temple and thanked them for their work in encouraging discipleship of Jesus Christ.
“I am confident that this marvelous institution will be a seminal voice for building faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior,” Elder Cook said.