President Worthen kickstarted his second year as BYU president by speaking at the first devotional of the 2015 fall semester.
Worthen spoke boldly about the importance of character growth while students further their education in the classrooms of BYU by focusing on the eternal perspective.
“Because character development is ultimately a question of inner attitudes and strengths,” Worthen said. “Humans, unaided by the Holy Ghost, can never fully and accurately measure how we are doing.”
Worthen used the example of Laman and Lemuel to highlight the idea of a need for improvement of moral character. Worthen said that although both brothers of Nephi were obedient to their father Lehi, they were the first to murmur. He explained that Laman and Lemuel could not obey with joyful hearts due to their lack of understanding of the eternal perspective.
Worthen noted that the same can happen with every BYU student if they fail to remember the greater purpose for which they are here. The president read a part of the BYU mission statement to teach this point.
“The mission of Brigham Young University … is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life,” Worthen said.
Many founders of BYU and other general authorities of the LDS Church have highlighted the importance of the growth in students’ characters. Worthen said character building has become a pillar of the BYU education that is easily forgotten due to the nonnumerical way of calculating character. He mentioned that students miss opportunities to truly use their new knowledge for the service of others as they become overly focused with passing their classes.
He said that the BYU education is made to help students prepare for eternal salvation by building the character they need; to act as Jesus Christ would act.
“We should, as the mission statement suggests, build an environment on campus and in our lives which reflects ‘those moral virtues that characterize the life and teachings of the Son of God,'” Worthen said.
He also said that student character is built each and every day through small things, and those examples are noticed by those around them. He said that students must choose to lift others to higher standards by the small choices they make.
Worthen closed his speech with a quote by Spencer W. Kimball.
“‘Let the morality of the graduates of this University provide the music of hope for the inhabitants of this planet,'” Worthen said. “What a challenge…You can meet that challenge as you daily live your lives in a way that builds and shapes your character on the perfect model of perfect character, even Jesus Christ.”