BYU seeks to develop students of faith, intellect and character who have the skills and the desire to continue learning and serving others throughout their lives. For the weekly devotionals and forums during the 2023 winter semester, select BYU employees, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and industry experts will bring their industry knowledge, life experiences and spiritual insights to aid students in achieving the aims of BYU.
Please plan to join together with students and employees each Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center for a truly unique experience as the campus gathers to receive spiritual and temporal edification.
WINTER 2023 DEVOTIONAL AND FORUM SCHEDULE
- 10 – President Kevin J and Sister Peggy Worthen
- 17 – Elder Neil L. Andersen, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 24 – Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 31 – Rabbi Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University (Forum)
- 7 – Elder Mark A. Bragg, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 14 – Sister Tracy Y. Browning, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 28 – Angela L. Duckworth, American academic, psychologist, author (Forum)
- 7 – Andra J. Duke, BYUtv
- 14 – Elder Paul V. Johnson, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 21 – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 28 – Shaylyn Romney Garrett, Author (Forum)
- 4 – Loreen Allphin, Associate Dean, Life Sciences
- 11 – Elder Gerrit W. Gong, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 18 – Unforum
ABOUT THE WINTER 2023 DEVOTIONAL AND FORUM SPEAKERS:
BYU President Kevin J Worthen
January 10, Devotional
Kevin J Worthen began serving as the 13th president of Brigham Young University on May 1, 2014. He previously served as BYU's advancement vice president and as the dean of its J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he was the Hugh W. Colton Professor of Law. President and Sister Worthen have three children and six grandchildren.
President Worthen was born in Dragerton (now East Carbon-Sunnyside), Utah, and grew up in nearby Price. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Monterrey, Mexico, he earned an associate degree from the College of Eastern Utah (now Utah State University Eastern). He then received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and his Juris Doctor from BYU. Following his graduation from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, President Worthen served as a law clerk to Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court. After three years of private practice with the law firm Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix, Arizona, President Worthen joined the BYU Law School faculty in 1987. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Chile Law School in Santiago. He has published extensively on a number of legal topics, with particular emphasis on federal American Indian law and the rights of indigenous peoples.
Peggy S. Worthen
January 10, Devotional
Peggy Sealey Worthen, born and raised in Price, Utah, is the second oldest of five children. She is married to BYU President Kevin J Worthen. While she was attending the College of Eastern Utah, she met Kevin at a church dance, and the two soon began dating. Although she grew up three blocks from Kevin and his family, their three-year age difference meant they never went to high school at the same time or knew each other well. She and Kevin were married in the Provo Utah Temple.
Early in their marriage, Peggy worked in a number of jobs to support their family, including as a receptionist for U.S. Senator Jake Garn, as Kevin finished his education and started his career. She was able to return to school when Kevin began teaching, and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from BYU in 2003, the same year their oldest son graduated from high school. She has taken a number of courses since then, including two years of Norwegian.
Neil L. Andersen
January 17, Devotional
Elder Neil L. Andersen was named an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2009.
Elder Andersen was serving as the senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy prior to his calling to the Quorum of the Twelve. He was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1993, at age 41. He previously led the work of the Church in southern Brazil and, again as a member of an area presidency, oversaw the Church in western Europe. Prior to his call as a General Authority, Elder Andersen served as a mission president in the France Bordeaux Mission and as president of the Tampa Florida Stake.
He graduated from BYU, where he was a Hinckley scholar, and earned a Master in Business Administration from Harvard University. Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy Williams Andersen, are the parents of four children.
Kevin S. Hamilton
January 24, Devotional
Elder Kevin S. Hamilton was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2013.
Elder Kevin S. Hamilton served for five years in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency and one year in the North America Northeast Area Presidency. He now serves as the Executive Director for the Family History Department.
He received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from BYU in 1979, and in 1982 he received a master’s degree in finance from the University of Washington. He married Claudia Keysor in July 1978. They are the parents of six children. Prior to his call, he was a co-founder and partner in a venture capital firm.
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman
January 31, Forum
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman is the president of Yeshiva University. Berman is widely published in outlets such as Forbes, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. He graduated with distinction from four of Yeshiva University’s schools. He earned his B.A. from Yeshiva College, his M.A. in Medieval Jewish Philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and his rabbinical ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).
His studies also included two years of learning at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel, under the tutelage of the seminal Jewish thinker and leader Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein. After making aliyah to Israel in 2008, Berman completed his higher education with a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, supervised by renowned philosopher Professor Moshe Halbertal.
Berman has a broad range of distinguished experience in the worlds of higher education and Jewish communal life. He led The Jewish Center in New York City as its Rabbi, served as Instructor of Talmud at Yeshiva College and Herzog College, served on the executive council at Herzog College and was chief executive (Rosh ha-Merkaz) of Hechal Shlomo – Center of Jewish Heritage in Jerusalem.
Mark A. Bragg
February 7, Devotional
Elder Mark A. Bragg was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2016.
Elder Bragg served in the South America South Area Presidency and as an assistant executive director in the Family History Department and the Church Communication Department. He is currently serving as the president of the North America West Area.
Elder Bragg majored in marketing and Spanish at the University of Utah. He also completed executive education programs at UCLA, University of Michigan, and other universities. He married Yvonne King in 1984. They are the parents of four children.
Tracy Y. Browning
February 14, Devotional
Sister Tracy Y. Browning was sustained as Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2022. At the time of her call, she was serving on the Relief Society General Advisory Council.
Sister Browning studied at St. John’s University. She has worked in financial services for 15 years and is now an account services director in the Church’s Publishing Services Department. Sister Browning has also volunteered with various community and civic organizations. She married Brady Browning on May 2, 1997. They are the parents of two children.
Angela L. Duckworth
February 28, Forum
Angela Duckworth is co-founder, chief scientist, and a board member of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance scientific insights that help children thrive. She is also the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics.
Duckworth completed her undergraduate degree in Advanced Studies Neurobiology at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude. With the support of a Marshall Scholarship, she completed an M.Sc. with distinction in neuroscience from Oxford University. She completed her Ph.D. in psychology as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time. Her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a #1 New York Times best seller. Duckworth is also co-host, with Stephen Dubner, of the podcast No Stupid Questions.
Andra J. Duke
March 7, Devotional
Andra Johnson Duke is the director of content and heads up development and current programming for BYU Broadcasting. Her primary responsibilities include oversight of content strategy, program development and current production, programming and scheduling, acquisitions and production management.
Prior to joining the BYU Broadcasting, Duke served as VP of Unscripted Production at BBC Worldwide Productions in Los Angeles, where she oversaw a variety of television series for multiple networks. Before her work at BBC, she was a production executive with GRB Entertainment in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Duke earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from BYU.
Paul V. Johnson
March 14, Devotional
Elder Paul V. Johnson was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 2005. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the Utah Area. Elder Johnson previously served as commissioner of the Church Educational System, as a member of the Chile and Europe area presidencies, and as the administrator of religious education and elementary and secondary education.
He currently serves at Church headquarters as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, assisting four members of the Quorum of the Twelve in supervising the Asia, the Asia North, the Philippines, and the North America Northeast Areas.
Elder Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from Brigham Young University. He also received a doctoral degree in instructional technology from Utah State University.
Jeffrey R. Holland
March 21, Devotional
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 23, 1994. At the time of this call, Elder Holland was serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy to which he had been called on April 1, 1989.
From 1980 until his call as a General Authority in 1989 Jeffrey R. Holland served as the ninth president of Brigham Young University. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU.
Elder Holland was a student leader and varsity athlete at Dixie High School and Dixie College in his native St. George, Utah. He received his bachelor and master degrees in English and religious education, respectively, from Brigham Young University. He also obtained master and doctor of philosophy degrees in American Studies from Yale University.
Shaylyn Romney Garrett
March 28, Forum
Shaylyn Romney Garrett is the co-author, with Robert D. Putnam, of “The Upswing: How America Came Together A Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again.” A seasoned public speaker, Romney Garrett has given dozens of presentations to a wide range of audiences including policymakers, philanthropists, civic organizations, students and community groups. She is a passionate believer that everyday interactions are where we do the “heart work” required to transform our culture and reclaim the power of “We.”
Her writing also includes the uniquely-revealing portraits of religious communities across the United States in “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” which won Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award for best political science book of 2010-11. She writes about her personal journey back to community at Project Reconnect. Romney Garrett holds a B.A. from Harvard University and is a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in the beautiful red rock desert of Southern Utah with her husband and two children.
April 4, Devotional
Loreen Allphin, plant ecologist/conservation geneticist, received her Ph.D. in biology with an ecology and evolution emphasis from the University of Utah. She has served on the faculty of BYU since 1996. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences and an associate dean in the College of Life Sciences.
Her research interests include ecological and conservation genetics of rare plant populations, biogeography of endemism and rarity in plants, plant systematics, plant population and community ecology and plant reproductive ecology.
Gerrit W. Gong
April 11, Devotional
Elder Gerrit W. Gong currently serves as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He previously served as a member of the Asia Area Presidency and member of the Presidency of the Seventy.
During his 20 years in Washington, D.C., he served as special assistant to the undersecretary of state at the U.S. State Department, as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, China, and in several positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He was also assistant to the president for planning and assessment at BYU.
Elder Gong holds a doctorate in international relations and a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian and university studies from BYU.