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Pacific Ponderings

Dual Passports

On Saturday we hosted the Fijian ambassador to campus. After his campus tour, he held a Q&A in which he fielded questions about passports among other topics. He explained that it is now possible for Fijian citizens to hold dual passports—one from the Republic of Fiji and a second from any other country.

The thought occurred to me that at BYU-Hawaii we also encourage our citizens to obtain dual passports—one that admits us into the world of learning and another that admits us into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Education provides a passport to the land of learning. This passport opens the door to realms rich with opportunity. It fits us both to make a living and to live more interesting, aware, and abundant lives.

Similarly, the gospel provides a passport to our heavenly homeland. This passport also enables us to live more abundant lives—indeed, the most abundant life possible, which is eternal life, meaning a life with our Heavenly Father and like our Heavenly Father’s. We acquire a celestial passport not just by learning truth but also by living it. And by entering covenants whereby we pledge our loyalty to our Sovereign and fidelity to His laws, even in a foreign, fallen world far from our spiritual home.

We keep both passports current by lifelong learning. This is a secular necessity as well as a gospel imperative. Our celestial passport, however, must be stamped not only by diligent study but also by faith (see D&C 88:118).

Our dual passports open up opportunities to become productive, contributing citizens in the Church and in the wider world. We must never forget, however, which is our home country. Heaven is our true homeland; this world is but our temporary, adopted home.

As Elder Maxwell said: “The LDS scholar has his citizenship in the kingdom, but carries his passport into the professional world—not the other way around.” (Ensign July 1976). Similarly, President Kimball urged us to become bilingual in the language of faith and scholarship (“Second Century Address,” Educating Zion, 64), but we must never forget that our mother tongue is the language of faith.

During the campus tour, I took the ambassador into a classroom in the Heber J. Grant Building. I explained that students used these tables to study accounting on weekdays and the scriptures on Sundays; that the room served both as a lecture hall and a chapel; that herein students learned leadership skills both as study group leaders and leaders in a lay church, with faculty who might be both their biology professor and their bishop.

Dual passports indeed!

What a privilege to serve in a university that concerns itself with education for time and for eternity. May we keep our dual passports current and take full advantage of the blessings that each affords.

John Tanner

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