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President Kevin J Worthen and his wife, Peggy S. Worthen, opened the semester with the first BYU Devotional of 2018. They spoke about keeping our experiences in perspective as they shared personal stories and lessons learned. 

Lessons from Roses

Sister Worthen shared what she learned while pruning her rose bushes.

One season, she cut them back drastically and a month later than normal. Her neighbors told her she had ruined the bushes because she waited too long to prune them.  After more and more people shared their skepticism with Sister Worthen, she began to believe them. She needed reassurance, so she called her mom. Her mom told her that she had not ruined the roses, and suggested she buy a gardening book to be sure.

Sister Worthen learned from the gardening book that the only way she could ruin her roses was to stop watering them, pull them out of the ground and prevent them from getting sunlight. Eventually, there were beautiful roses growing again. She had not ruined them, despite what her neighbors thought.

Sister Worthen learned two things from this experience:

  1. Do not doubt what you know to be true.  “Sometimes we allow ourselves to listen and believe things we know that are contrary to what we know to be true,” said Sister Worthen. “When others question our beliefs, we may start to panic and begin to doubt.”
  2. The simple things are most important.  Just as roses need sunlight, soil and water, we need is prayer, scripture study, church and service to build our trust in God. “Sometimes we make things more complicated then they need to be,” said Sister Worthen.

The Plan’s Paradigm

President Worthen began his speech by defining a paradigm as a set of ideas that provide a way of interpreting events. He taught that viewing life, including student’s studies, through the paradigm of the gospel’s Plan of Salvation has great benefit.

“Given the confusion that competing paradigms seem to engender, we are blessed to live in a time and situation in which we have modern day revelation to provide a more complete and accurate framework in which all our life’s events, both individually and globally, can be better understood,” said President Worthen.

President Worthen promised three things would happen if people would view all their experiences and questions in light of the Plan of Salvation.

  1. Clearly understand gospel principles

When viewed through the lens of the gospel plan, commandments and questions are easier to understand.

  1. Respond more positively

The Plan of Salvation reminds us that our daily frustrations do not define our eternity. Even amid horrible experiences, the plan of salvation can help us through.

“If we will view our daily experiences in light of the gospel paradigm, we will find joy in unexpected ways, and we will discover one reason why God’s plan is called the plan of happiness,” said President Worthen.

  1. Able to act courageously in challenges

President Worthen illustrated this point by talking about Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ mother’s experience. Her husband died while their children were young, despite many priesthood blessings that promised healing. She tried to go back to school and work, but had a nervous breakdown. She had every reason to be upset and complain. However, Elder Oaks said his mother had no confusion about her covenants and the eternal nature of their family.

President Worthen finished with his testimony of Christ: “Christ is the key to the plan of salvation, the key to the plan of redemption – that is why we call him 'Savior and 'Redeemer'.”

Next week's devotional address will be given by Elder LeGrand R. Curtis, Jr., a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Curtis' remarks will also be broadcast live on BYUtv, (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio, and will be archived on