Brothers and sisters, Aloha! I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you on this important and happy day.
We celebrate today the inauguration of John Tanner as the president of BYU–Hawaii. John and his beloved Susan are the pioneers the Lord has called to lead BYU–Hawaii in this great season of revelation in God’s Kingdom.
I have called John and Susan Tanner pioneers because the Lord will take them to the frontier of His work in the education and development of the rising generation in His true and living Church. That is true of everyone associated with this school. We are all pioneers.
The Lord Jesus Christ has a great work for us to do with the rising generation. This is true at BYU–Hawaii and it is true all across the Church Educational System. It is a greater work than we have ever done before.
So this is my message to President and Sister Tanner, and to us all: whatever degree of faith in our Heavenly Father and in His Son Jesus Christ we now have; whatever strength of commitment and consecration; whatever degree of obedience, or hope, or charity is ours; whatever level of skill and ability we may have obtained, it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead on the Lord’s frontier.
Brothers and sisters, you and I need to be much better than we are now because we need to educate the rising generation more deeply and more powerfully than we have ever done before or that anyone has ever done before. And we will need to do that work in the strength of the Lord.
Deep learning is inherently a spiritual experience. The rising generation will learn deeply only in so far as the redeeming and strengthening powers of Christ work in their lives, qualifying them to receive His grace and the gifts He has prepared for them.
Inspired teaching and mentoring that lead to deep learning are also spiritual experiences. Teachers and staff and administrators, and all who work with the rising generation, also need the Atonement of the Savior to work more powerfully in their lives. We need to qualify for increased gifts and blessings from God so we can help the rising generation learn more deeply.
John Tanner is the person the Lord has prepared and chosen to lead BYU–Hawaii in that great work with the rising generation. Susan Tanner also has been prepared by the Lord to be here, to stand with John, to bring light, love and joy to all who work and study here. I love the Tanners; they are a great team.
And I love working with President Tanner. He is a wonderful teacher, an accomplished leader, a scholar, a writer, a poet, a man of great capacity of the mind and the heart.
Yet, the most important thing you need to know about him is that he is a true follower of Jesus Christ. He is a consecrated Latter-day Saint. What Mormon said of King Benjamin is true of John Tanner – he is a holy man in the land.
The coming of a new president is an important time in the life of a university. For the faculty and staff and students who are here now, this will be a time of revelation.
President Tanner has been here three months and you who are here have begun to see the mantle of the leadership of BYU–Hawaii come upon him. In the coming weeks and months you will see that mantle of presidency fall even more completely upon him, and you will see the Lord guide and bless and magnify him and Sister Tanner.
You will see President Tanner lead this school with a deep understanding of, and love for, the roots of this place, its very core of truth, and prophetic vision, and divinely appointed purpose. Grounded in that core, he will lead this school into the future, guided by living prophets, and by the hand of the Lord. The school will change and grow in the Lord’s way.
There is something else you will see: the hearts and minds of the people of BYU–Hawaii will be aligned with the Lord and with the prophets of God who will guide President Tanner. The people will walk in obedience, humility and faith in Christ, and they will feel the Lord’s love, His light and power in their families, in their work and in their lives. In all these experiences you will have a confirming witness from the Holy Ghost that the Lord Jesus Christ is in truth the head of His Church, and the head of this university. You will know that this is God’s holy work.
I bear witness of Jesus Christ, the Living Son of the Living God. I know He lives and I know He loves John and Susan Tanner. He has called them to be here in this place in this time. I pray His blessings upon them, and upon all who love and support BYU–Hawaii. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.