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Campus & Community

Kauwes speak on integrity and trusting in Christ despite loss during first Spring devotional

landscape shot of First Lady Monica Kauwe speaking at the pulpit for devotional in the Cannon Activities Center
First Lady Monica Kauwe shares her thoughts on integrity and the importance of the Honor Code during the devotional on May 3, 2022.

First Lady Monica Kauwe reminded students, during her address in the first devotional of Spring Semester 2022, now is the time for them to develop and nurture their integrity. She said, “Success comes and goes, but integrity is forever.”

Akesiu Fukofuka, a freshman from Tonga majoring in biochemistry, said that specific sentence captured her attention and helped her to be more confident in staying true to herself. “I now know that when I’m being honest, people will respect me, and in return, they will also be honest with me and respect my integrity.”

By adhering to the Honor Code, Monica Kauwe said students can strengthen their personal integrity. She shared her husband’s words from the New Student Orientation President’s Devotional on April 24: “Your actions here … on campus [and] at the Polynesian Cultural Center … directly impact the spiritual and temporal safety and stability of the Temple and the community that supports it.”

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Success comes and goes, but integrity is forever.
Monica Kauwe
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Brian Tejada, a senior from the Philippines majoring in mathematics, said Sister Kauwe’s message about integrity and commitment felt as if she was directly speaking to him. He said, “I need to polish my personal habits, be honest in my academics, and in everything.”

Monica Kauwe also included some questions students can start asking themselves, such as, “Am I living with integrity? Am I doing things in my life that I am proud of and willing to stand by? Are there areas in my life where I could be showing more integrity?”

The Honor Code is mostly emphasized she said because, as President Kauwe also shared in his new student devotional talk, “We have a responsibility to preserve this community as an oasis of righteousness and Christ-like love.”

Sister Kauwe then added, “Integrity is contagious. When we live according to its principles, others catch on.” BYUH students should support and encourage each other in this journey toward greater integrity, she explained.

landscape photo of Monica Kauwe and Alfred Grace standing in front of the greenery put up for devotional in the Cannon Activities Center talking to a woman in a dress whose back is facing the camera
Monica Kauwe, BYUH first lady, and Alfred Grace of the PCC talk with an attendee after devotional.

Following Sister Kauwe’s address, President John S.K. Kauwe III acknowledged that all hardships and unfairness have a purpose in this mortal existence, and no one is exempt from experiencing it.

However, despite this important principle and comfort from the scriptures, he said, “Trials are still difficult to experience and to observe.” He went on to share how he lost a dear friend due to cancer and he did not fully understand the Lord’s purpose.

“I feel like he was taken too soon,” he added.

President Kauwe shared the testimony of Apostle Dale G. Renlund about Jesus Christ as the only one who understands the pains and unfairness of the world: “Nothing compares to the unfairness he endured. It was not fair that he experienced all the pains and afflictions of mankind.

“It was not fair that he suffered for my sins and mistakes and for yours. But he chose to do so because of his love for us and for Heavenly Father. He understands perfectly what we're experiencing.”

Malati Sarkar, a freshman from India majoring in psychology, said hearing this message from President Kauwe reaffirmed her belief that Jesus is always near. “When he [President Kauwe] spoke of that, I was in tears. I was overwhelmed with the spirit. I was comforted with the truth that no matter what challenges we are facing, he [Christ] will always be there for me and for all of us,” she explained.

landscape photo of President Kauwe in an embrace with Kevin Schlag and others standing nearby on the stand at the CAC amongst red chairs and greenery
Operations Vice President Kevin Schlag hugs President Kauwe after his devotional speech on May 3, 2022.

Sela Pakalani, a freshman from Tonga majoring in accounting, said knowing Christ went through harder trials helped her not to quit life easily.

President Kauwe came up with two ways students can endure despite challenges and pain of mortal life.

He said, “We must have faith that his [Christ’s] suffering and atonement are infinite and eternal; faith that the unfairness of this world has purpose; faith to believe that situation is temporary; and faith that all things will be made right, the demands of justice satisfied, and mercy provided to us and all around us through our Savior Jesus Christ.”

Secondly, President Kauwe encouraged students to trust God and be of good cheer, and he re-emphasized the importance of gratitude, which he spoke on during a previous devotional in February. “Gratitude,” he reminded students, “allows us to see happiness and satisfaction through the glare of challenging life events. Without it, we can be overwhelmed by envy, contempt, and misery, rendered completely unable to see the good that is in our lives.” He added, “[Having gratitude] allows us to thrive temporally and spiritually amid … challenges.”

President Kauwe concluded his talk by responding to President Russell M. Nelson’s quote of having joy no matter the circumstances. Using the words from a Chinese parable shared earlier in the speech, he stated, “Good news, or bad news, you can find joy in the midst of it.”