Speredon addressed three points that help lead to discipleship: the Spirit, the Word and love.
Starting with the Spirit, he read Romans 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
"Many times we have righteous desires but we cannot communicate that to our Heavenly Father," said Speredon. "That is what the Spirit is for--to help us with that."
Moving on to the Word, Speredon shared that after suffering a season-ending injury during fall camp, he wasn't sure if he should continue with football.
"After praying, it's amazing what our Heavenly Father knows about us," he said. "When we're in the thick of our trials our minds aren't always in the right place. Sometimes taking a step back is taking a step forward."
Speredon closed on the topic of love, sharing Moroni 8:25-26, scripture he says spells out a recipe for love.
"And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins. And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God."
Following Speredon's talk freshman offensive lineman Tui Crichton sang "Love at Home."
True freshman Alletto was the next speaker. He read a quote by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf on the topic of discipleship.
"Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God's will rather than ours.
Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessings of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, 'spectator discipleship' is a preferred if not a primary way of worshipping."
After sharing several examples he looks to as disciples of Christ, including Nephi, his older sister and his teammates, Alletto reiterated the importance of forsaking our sins and heeding the words of President Uchtdorf.
"We have to continuously try and become disciples of Christ," he said. "We must practice what we preach. Discipleship is not a spectator sport."
Today the team recognized Jana Nelson as its Thursday's Hero. Jana is the older sister of BYU outside linebacker Grant Nelson.
A native of Sewickley, Penn., Jana suffers from a degenerative disease of the central nervous system. She lost her vision at the age of two and by five-years-old had lost the majority of her hearing ability.
Jana graduated from high school with assistance from a full-time translator who communicated with her by doing sign language in the palm of her hand.
She was introduced to the team after today's practice by her brother, Grant. He signed to Jana for a few moments before senior linebacker Terrance Hooks presented her with a bag of BYU goodies. Then Grant and his mother helped Jana sign the team flag which is run out onto the field prior to kickoff each week.
Don't forget about the team's traditional pregame fireside tomorrow night at the American Fork Tabernacle. The fireside is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
What are you looking forward to most about playing here at BYU?
I'm looking forward to the success that is attainable through the football program at BYU. Obviously the success on the field is something that is very important to me because it is what takes the level of fun you can have to the next level. It's easy to have tons of fun playing football when you're seeing the fruits of your labors through wins.
There is achievable success in many other forums here at BYU. There are a lot of eyes on the the program and individual players which can be looked at as a positive or a negative. If you take that as a positive you realize that you can have a profound effect on many people--especially the youth. I remember when I was young, idolizing not only college and pro players but even some local high school stars. Now I realize that there are loads of young kids looking to us as examples. We can influence them for good and that is a great form of success that I am looking forward to here at BYU.
What are your goals for the season?
My goals for the season start with the team goals of winning the state, winning the conference and winning a bowl game. Personally my goals are centered around my role in helping accomplish those team goals. As a back-up I see it as a responsibility of mine to bring energy and enthusiasm to every meeting, practice, and game. It is also my responsibility to prepare to the highest level so that I am prepared if called upon. It is a goal of mine to make it as smooth of a transition for the offense if I am called upon.
Visit Riley's bio page here.
Check out this story written by Jeff Call of the Deseret News about Harvey and Victor Unga.
Don't miss our first home fireside Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Orem Windsor Stake Center. This is the team's first fireside here in the state of Utah so far this season and it will be packed so get there early! Hope to see everyone there!
Address to the fireside:
60 East 1600 North
And you shouldn't need any reminding about our home opener against Florida State on Saturday. Kickoff is at 5 p.m.
DON'T FORGET TO WEAR BLUE!!!
What are some memorable moments from your mission to Madagascar?
Some of the most memorable moments from my mission would have to be being and working with the members. They had awesome members who were just so fun to be around and to do activities with. They just knew how to have a party. The members were also just so enthusiastic about missionary work and would always be willing to help the missionaries teach and give us referrals. A lot of success that I saw during my mission was because of the help that members gave. They are just awesome people to be around and are so excited about the Gospel.
How has serving a mission changed you and helped you prepare for the season?
A way that the mission has helped me prepare for the season is that it has taught me how to manage my time more efficiently. With school and football at the same time, the schedule can be a bit hectic. I'm just glad that I learned some time management skills so I can give both areas the required attention. It also helped me to realize that I was not giving enough of myself and that I needed to do more. It helped me to be more determined and committed to this program and even more committed to myself.
What are your goals this season?
My goals for the 2009 season are to do the best that I can and contribute to the team as much as I can. I want to be someone that my teammates can trust to do their assignment and perform it well whenever I would go on the field.
Visit Romney's bio page here.
The team just got back from its pre-game fireside held at the J.W. Marriott ballroom. It was fun to meet and interact with the fans from both the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Stakes.
Junior wide receiver BJ Peterson was the first player to speak. He started by sharing an experience he had while serving in the Philippines Cayan Mission. The experience taught him about the importance of serving others and overcoming natural man tendencies.
BJ shared a quote by Elder L. Tom Perry:
"When the spirit conquers the flesh, the flesh becomes a servant, not a master. When we clean out the corners of worldliness and are ready to obey the Lord, we are able to receive his word and keep his commandments."
Tying his talk into the team's theme, "Becoming disciples of Christ," BJ stated that true disciples receive guidance from the Lord on how to best serve those around him.
"Being a disciple means learning to think, feel and act like Christ," he said. "He loves the Lord and serves him with all his might, mind and strength."
Sophomore offensive lineman Terence Brown followed the musical number with his own talk. He used the Bible Dictionary to define a disciple as a pupil or learner who is a follower of Christ.
"The simplicity of that struck me," said Terence. "We all have our struggles and make mistakes, but as we learn we become disciples of Christ."
He went on to pinpoint three characteristics of disciples: humility, obedience and charity.
"Humility is not a sign of weakness, but spiritual strength."
Today's Thursday's Hero was 18-year-old Eric Woodruff. Eric's mother was involved in an accident during her pregnancy with him and doctors didn't think he would survive. But Eric just recently graduated from Syracuse High School with a B+ grade point average. He is a huge BYU fan and was happy to meet the team.
For those of you who will be in the New Orleans area tomorrow night, don't forget to come to the team's pregame fireside at the J.W. Marriott Hotel Ballroom at 7 p.m. CT. See you there!
Last night’s fireside at the Carrollton Stake Center featured talks by defensive back Landon Jaussi and wide receiver Spencer Hafoka. Both concentrated on the subject of “Becoming Disciples of Christ”.
Jaussi started by defining disciples as people who earnestly seek to make and keep covenants with our Heavenly Father. He stated service, prayer and scripture study as examples of discipleship. The junior also referred to his mission to Taiwan as life changing.
“My mission was the most amazing experience of my life,” said Jaussi. “For those of you who are contemplating whether or not to go, read the Book of Mormon daily and the Spirit will speak to you and help you feel the desire to serve.”
Hafoka was the next to speak, focusing primarily on faith and how it can help you live a higher standard.
“Times are difficult right now and everyone is fearful of different things,” he said. “The Gospel of Jesus Christ will help us through our trials and help us return to live with our Father in Heaven.”
He went on to say that the first step on the path to discipleship involves prayer, humility and faith.
“When we believe in and act on principals of Jesus Christ, our faith will increase,” he said.
The team continued its tradition of singing, “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” before Holly and head coach Bronco Mendenhall took their turns speaking to the congregation.
The Cougars held their last full practice this afternoon before their season opener in two days.
Today the team honored Alva Hunter, an 86-year-old man from American Fork who suffers from primary lateral sclerosis, a disease which causes gradual deterioration of the body's nerves and muscles.
Defensive lineman Russell Tialavea presented Alva with a bag of BYU gifts, saying, "We respect you and know that what you go through every day is much harder than what we go through."
Team captain Jan Jorgensen then asked Alva to sign the team flag which has been carried out before every game each of the past five seasons.
"This flag symbolizes our commitment to our university, faith and everything BYU stands for," said the senior defensive lineman.