Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presides at ‘unusual’ devotional


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve announced the release of President Kevin Worthen as BYU president on March 21 in his devotional.

Elder Holland began his address by emphasizing that this devotional would be “unusual” and perhaps more of a “business meeting.”

Elder Holland recounted the story of Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 2. He emphasized the depiction of passing down the mantel that happens in this chapter and how it communicates equality in mission and purpose. “This equality is suggested in the significance of the mantle which they shared and the obedient parting of the river for both men in exactly the same way,” Elder Holland said.

Elder Holland said that it was in the spirit of this equality that President Russell M. Nelson had announced the conclusion of Kevin J Worthen’s service as BYU president.

“This is a significant moment in the history of the university, given the remarkable contribution that the Worthens have made,” Elder Holland said.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland visited BYU campus for a devotional. He announced the new BYU president, C. Shane Reese. (Anna LaTour)

At this moment, the audience stood in applause for the Worthens. Elder Holland pointed out that it’s not often that the audience claps in devotionals, but this was an appropriate moment.

“We could have done a woosh Kevin,” Elder Holland said.

Elder Holland announced the new BYU president will be C. Shane Reese starting May 1.

Elder Holland compared the Worthens to Elijah and said, “President Worthen and his companion may well be translated following this devotional. I did see a chariot warming up in his parking stall.”

Elder Holland finished his address by expressing his gratitude for the Worthens and invited both couples to speak.

Sister Peggy Worthen spoke to BYU students. She expressed her gratitude for the experience she has had serving alongside her husband during his time as BYU president. (Anna LaTour)

In her brief address, Sister Peggy Worthen expressed her love and gratitude for the BYU community.

“Kevin and I have spent most of our married life at BYU,” Sister Worthen said. “Little did I know the extent to which our lives would be influenced by BYU.”

Peggy shared her admiration for Kevin and how much he has devoted his life to BYU. “He is a BYU man through and through,” Sister Worthen said. She said being by his side at BYU has been a wonderful experience.

“In closing, I want to reiterate my deepest gratitude and appreciation for all of you who make BYU such a special place,” Sister Worthen said. “I pray that all of you will be able to feel the spirit that is cultivated at this remarkable institution and that it will continue to guide you throughout this life and into the eternities.”

Kevin J Worthen was released as BYU President on March 21. Elder Holland announced C. Shane Reese as the new president. (BYU Photo)

President Worthen began his talk by sharing how he consulted ChatGPT for help to keep his message to as few words as possible. He explained that the program gave him a 61-word, 20-second remark that began with, “I am honored to have served at BYU,” and ended with, “Go cougars!”

President Worthen went on to express his gratitude to the community at BYU. He first thanked his wife Peggy, saying, “One of the reasons that this has been the most joyous professional experience I have had is because, more than any other professional experience I have had, Peggy has been part of this, by my side.”

President Worthen then thanked the faculty and staff for being mission focused and selfless. Finally, he thanked the students for radiating goodness out and lifting others up with their presence.

President Worthen expressed his confidence in the Reeses’ ability to fulfill Spencer W. Kimball’s prediction that “Brigham Young University will become a leader among the great universities of the world.”

President and Sister Reese were called as the new BYU Presidents. Elder Holland announced this change. (Anna LaTour)

Sister Reese expressed her gratitude for the Worthens and the opportunity to serve in this capacity.

“The motto of BYU is ‘enter to learn, go forth to serve,'” Sister Reese said. “We look forward to serving and learning alongside each of you. BYU is truly the Lord’s university.”

Brother Reese shared the story of his first semester at BYU. He explained that he started off hopeful but as time went on, he started to feel alone and less enthusiastic. He reached a point where he wanted to leave BYU and go home but was encouraged by his home bishop to meet with a faculty member.

His meeting with the faculty member helped him feel seen and heard and was a turning point in his BYU experience. Brother Reese said his home bishop was Clyde Worthen, Former President Worthen’s brother.

“Brother and Sister Worthen, we love you,” Brother Reese said. “Our campus community is eternally grateful for your grace, wisdom, kindness, individual attention, and love that you have so generously offered us during your amazing 10 years as presidents.”

Brother Reese pledged his best efforts to build off the progress of the Worthens and work towards the prophecy of President Kimball.

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