President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Peggy S. Worthen welcomed students back to campus with the first devotional of the winter 2022 semester. Sister Worthen spoke on becoming more considerate, and President Worthen explained how humility can be a life-changing trait.
Sister Worthen Sister Worthen shared a story about airport cookies and awkward misunderstandings to illustrate the importance of detaching judgment and assuming the best of others.
In her fictional story, a man and woman waiting to board flights unknowingly buy the same bag of cookies and sit next to each other. They both end up eating cookies from the same bag, but the woman assumes that the man is eating her treats. Her anger grows with each bite he takes, and she eventually stuffs the last cookie into her mouth and stomps off to her flight.
However, after being seated on the plane and finding her own bag of cookies in her purse, she realizes that the stranger “was not stealing her cookies; he was sharing his.” The woman was humbled by the patient stranger’s kindness but felt even more guilty because she couldn’t apologize.
Recognizing that we’ve all likely experienced similar guilt from mistaken judgments, Sister Worthen provided three suggestions for becoming more considerate of others: be slow to ascribe bad intent to others, don’t expect perfection and maintain diligent focus on Christ.
“By focusing on Jesus Christ, we invite his spirit into our lives. Through that spirit, Christ changes us. Through that spirit, he expands our perspective and helps us see things as they really are, which helps us to judge both others and ourselves in a more charitable and accurate light.”
President Worthen President Worthen enthusiastically explained that there is a life-changing character trait that members of the campus community should focus on for the new year and semester.
“It will aid you in your academic work, it will enhance your social relationships and it will better prepare you for future leadership roles … More importantly, it will help you enter and remain on the covenant path that leads to the fulfillment of your eternal destiny as children of heavenly parents.”
This remarkable and all-encompassing trait, explained President Worthen, is humility.
President Worthen listed features of humility as described by June Tangney, a researcher, professor and psychologist. According to Tangney, humility includes six characteristics:
- “An accurate assessment of oneself.
- Acknowledgment of one’s mistakes and limitations.
- Openness to other viewpoints and ideas.
- Keeping one’s accomplishments and abilities in perspective.
- Low self-focus.
- Appreciating the value of all things, including other people”
President Worthen acknowledged that this list may sound intimidating and that many cultural trends encourage excessive self-promotion and aggrandizement. However, he referenced the positive intellectual, social and professional impacts of humility proved by research from places such as BYU and Duke University.
He also insisted that humility is necessary for achieving BYU’s goal of being knit together in love.
“In essence, we are trying to create Zion — or at least, a Zion-like society.”
President Worthen added that as we strive to adopt Tangney’s traits of humility, we should look to the example of Christ.
“Throughout his mortal ministry, Christ made clear that it was his Father’s will — not his own — that governed his actions.”
Studying the Savior’s example of humility can help us overcome self-doubts and weaknesses, as well as provide us with an expansive, life-changing capacity for humility.
“It is when we voluntarily submit our will to His — when we choose to humble ourselves — that God can turn the temporal kind of humility which academic scholars have examined into an eternal transformational attribute that becomes part of our permanent nature.”
Next devotional: Sister Camille N. Johnson, Primary General President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will deliver the next devotional address on Tuesday, January 11, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.
Sister Johnson's remarks will also be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM and SiriusXM 143.