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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BYU Presidential Inauguration/Major General Conference Announcement

Friends, I didn't anticipate blogging today, but two things of note happened that are significant to Church History that I just had to blog about. So I am dedicating this blog post to those two events. I hope you're ready for the excitement, because this is some major cool stuff!

First of all, the inauguration of BYU's new president, Kevin J Worthen, happened today. Why is that significant to Church history? Because BYU has been under the same leadership for the last thirteen years. That's a good chunk of my lifetime. What else makes this significant? This marks the first time in several years that the president of BYU is not a general authority. While it's true that Worthen serves as an area seventy (in the Utah South Area, with specific responsibility for the greater Provo area), he, unlike his two predecessors, Cecil O. Samuelson and Merrill J. Bateman, is not a general authority. I predict that he may become one someday while still in his capacity as BYU President, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, the inauguration was a great event. The BYU Philharmonic Orchestra did the processional and recessional music. There was apparently prelude and postlude done on an organ, but I didn't hear any of it. The inauguration was attended by the entire First Presidency, at least three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Elder Russell M. Nelson, who conducted the event in his capacity as a member of the Board of Trustees and, coincidentally, turned 90 today, as I noted in my last blog post; Elder Dallin H. Oaks, who is also on the board and was pulling double duty being recognized also as a former BYU President; and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who was also a former BYU President); Bonnie G. Oscarson and Linda K. Burton (who also serve on the Board of Trustees in their capacities as General Young Women's President and General Relief Society President); Elders Samuelson and Bateman (both former presidents and emeritus general authorities); the widow of Rex E. Lee and her new husband; and several university presidents from surrounding universities. As each tribute and welcoming expression was extended to President Worthen, I hope he drew strength from them. It is surely a daunting task to preside over a university, and I admire him for his ability to take on such a task. President Eyring represented the First Presidency in speaking at the inauguration and giving President Worthen his official charge. Then President Worthen spoke. He spoke as one having understanding of what it means to be in his position. He paid tribute to his predecessors and made it clear that he couldn't and wouldn't try to match their legacies but would do his best to see that BYU continued to be a wonderful place for all who wanted to "enter to learn, [and] go forth to serve." as BYU's motto states. I believe he will do a wonderful job. I look forward to returning to  my schooling when the time is right. Hopefully it can be at BYU, and hopefully it will be during President Worthen's tenure.

The other significant Church History event was announced by Church spokesmen on Monday, though I only came across the story early this morning (Wednesday). It appears that the Church will now give General Authorities the option to speak in general conference in their native tongues. For those who don't speak their language (English speakers particularly), the Church will provide subtitles as they do for those who speak other languages but hear conference proceedings in English. This is a major step in Church history. I believe this will allow the gospel to become more available to all earnest seekers of it. In my opinion, when I read about this, it was as if a voice was saying in my head, "I wonder why they haven't thought of this before." I know that some general authorities have really struggled to get their messages across in English. Amy thinks (and I agree with her) that this will allow greater freedom of expression with addresses that are given in general conference because the speakers will be able to convey thoughts and ideas in their native tongues where there might not be an equivalent expression in English. So it will be wonderful to see what develops with this new announcement.

Anyways, I know it's late and I should be getting to bed. But these developments were so exciting I just had to blog about them! I hope all my readers are well and that you enjoy reading these updates as much as I enjoy writing them. All the best until I write again!