President, Sister Worthen encourage students to discover divine identity, spiritual gifts

Arianna Davidson
BYU President Kevin J Worthen speaks during his devotional address on Jan. 8. (Arianna Davidson)

President Kevin J Worthen and his wife, Sister Peggy Worthen, opened the winter semester with a devotional on Jan. 8 encouraging students to know who they are and discover their spiritual gifts.

Sister Worthen began her address with a story of the Kim family, a Korean family in the Worthens’ ward. A few years ago, the Kims gifted the Worthen family with a musical performance on Christmas Eve. The performance became a tradition and the Worthens gifted the Kims a musical performance in return.

The Worthens do not consider themselves to be musically talented, Sister Worthen said, but they prepared a choir consisting of friends and family and prepared to perform “Silent Night” in Korean for the Kims. 

According to Sister Worthen, the Kims didn’t realize the choir was singing in Korean until the hymn’s last line.

“Up until that moment, (the Kims) had no idea what language we were singing, Sister Worthen said. “There are people we know that have talents that are very obvious, like the Kim family, and others, like us, whose gifts and talents may not be so obvious.”

Although the Worthens’ musical talents weren’t as obvious as the Kims, Sister Worthen said, their talents still existed. Sister Worthen urged students to seek, discover and develop gifts they may possess.

Sister Worthen quoted former Latter-day Saint apostle Bruce R. McConkie who said, “Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety.”

Following his wife’s address, President Worthen spoke about divine identity and eternal perspective.

President Worthen told a story of a man impatiently waiting for his flight at a crowded airport during the holidays. His patience ran dry and he exploded at the woman at the desk screaming, “Do you know who I am?”

The woman at the desk picked up the phone and said, “We may need additional help at Gate 19. There’s a man here who doesn’t know who he is.”

President Worthen then asked students, “Do you know who you are?”

While most would describe themselves as students, or by their place of origin, sport, church calling or relationship with others, those characteristics are only a portion of who students are, according to President Worthen.

He challenged students to accurately describe themselves at any point in their life in only one sentence, saying the answer is found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”: “Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”

“Within each one of us, regardless of our circumstances, there is a part of the divine,” President Worthen said. “No matter what. We still have a divine nature. It is part of who we are now.”

President Worthen gave three pieces of advice to help students retain an eternal perspective about their divine identity.

“First, we need to recognize and remember that we are not alone,” President Worthen said. “Second, we need to be more patient with the process. Direction is more important than speed. (Third), we need to return to the first truth that we are beloved sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents. God loves us.”

President Worthen urged students to spend more time thinking about what they can do for others rather than thinking about themselves. He also challenged students to ask God what He thinks of them.

“Ask God, with real intent, ‘Who am I to you?’ and if you are open, you will be presently surprised by the answers,” President Worthen said. 

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