President and Sister Worthen speak in first fall devotional



Ryan Turner
Sister Peggy Worthen said she hopes students become better leaders during their time at BYU. (Ryan Turner)

President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Peggy Worthen gave the first devotional addresses of Fall semester on Tuesday, Sept. 6. They encouraged students to become stronger leaders and let the light of the Y shine in them. 

Sister Worthen began by sharing a personal story about losing her temper after her son locked the keys inside her car. Her father was there and calmed her down by reminding her that she could call roadside assistance. This experience made her want to improve as a leader and teacher, Sister Worthen said.

Leaders learn from their mistakes and other people’s good examples, she said, and leaders’ actions also set the tone for the people around them.

“No matter how high our emotions or how acute the crisis, there is always a space in which we can choose how to act,” Sister Worthen said. “And in that choice, great leaders are made.”

President Worthen talked about the long-standing tradition of lighting the Y and invited students to let the Y light them.

“More than you may recognize, you carry with you a light – a light that others notice,” he said. “My invitation to you today is that you enhance that light during your experience at BYU – or more precisely – that you enhance that light because of your experience at BYU.”

Ryan Turner
President and Sister Worthen gave the first devotional addresses of Fall semester 2016. President Worthen became the 13th president of BYU in May 2014. (Ryan Turner)

President Worthen suggested four ways students can do this: by recognizing that the Lord is the source of light, by living like the Lord would, by developing talents, and by never underestimating the effect of their lights on others.

“Gaining light by our experiences at BYU will help us progress eternally and bring us peace and joy in this life,” President Worthen said. “However, being lighted by the Y is not a selfish endeavor. The light is not given us for our glory. It is to help others, as they come to see the Lord through our actions.”

BYU’s honor code exists to remind students and faculty to build a community that reflects the Savior’s teachings, President Worthen said. This includes treating others with respect and dignity on and off campus.

President Worthen talked about a former BYU defensive back who let this light shine through him. Brian Logan, who was not LDS, joined the football team in 2009. Logan wrote a different scripture reference in his eye-black every week, and President Worthen said this reminded him of the importance of daily activities like scripture study.

“For the rest of that season, I looked forward to my post-game interaction with Brian,” President Worthen said. “I would grab him by the shoulder pads, look him straight on and say, ‘Let me read your eyes!'”

President Worthen also drew a comparison between lighthouses and students’ lives at BYU. He explained that sailors navigate treacherous waters by aligning beacons from lighthouses with other lights on the shore.

Ryan Turner
President Worthen said he appreciates the recent tradition of new students forming a Y at Lavell Edwards Stadium. He said it’s a good reminder that students represent the Y everywhere they go. (Ryan Turner)

“The lighthouse of God’s love for His children is ever present and never moving. Some people will see it and will be drawn to it, but they may not know how to get to it,” President Worthen said. “Your example may provide the lower lights they need to see the safe passage. More may depend on how you use your time at BYU than just your own well-being. The light you gain here may influence others for eternity.”

He closed his remarks by saying that no one is at BYU by mistake. He promised that students and faculty members who make God the center of their efforts will see miracles in their lives.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will address BYU at next week’s devotional on Tuesday, Sept. 13.


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