President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Peggy S. Worthen welcomed students back to campus with the first devotional of the winter 2023 semester. Sister Worthen spoke on the need to overcome spiritual logokophosis, or the inability to hear God and listen to His directions. President Worthen focused his remarks on the power of promises and their ability to help us overcome anxieties about the future.
Sister Worthen began by sharing a story of an experience she had during a job interview as a young adult. As the interviewer was sharing information, Sister Worthen was spacing out and not really listening, until she realized that she had been asked a question. She replied, “Are you talking to me?”
Expressing her regret and embarrassment in the way her past self had acted during the interview, Sister Worthen defined her lack of attention as having a bout of logokophosis.
“Logokophosis,” said Sister Worthen, “is a real medical condition in which one lacks the ability to comprehend spoken language…My bout of logokophosis was not brought on by any physical malady. Rather, it was self-inflicted. I allowed myself to turn a deaf ear to the valuable words that were being spoken to me in that interview.”
Often, many suffer from spiritual logokophosis as they ignore the counsel of the Lord and His servants, Sister Worthen pointed out. She continued by saying that it is vital to overcome spiritual logokophosis to become better disciples of Jesus Christ and help gather Israel.
“Too often, we ask God, ‘Are you talking to me?’ That question is as unproductive in the gospel context as it is in a one-on-one interview. When it comes to God and His prophets, we should assume He is talking to us because He clearly is, and we should listen.”
President Worthen welcomed the students to the New Year, making the observation that while a fresh start can be exhilarating, it can also be overwhelming to face the future with uncertainty.
He realized that this could become anxiety-inducing for many but that by focusing on the power of promises, it would help individuals maintain positivity and hope.
“I believe we vastly underestimate the importance and power of promises in our lives, especially in uncertain times and situations.”
Even though President Worthen spent time practicing law and teaching at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, he understands that while legal contracts are promises that are enforced by the law, they are still not the most powerful form of promises that can be made.
“A higher form of promise — one that is more sure and powerful than new year’s resolutions, legally binding contracts, and any other form of promise — is a promise made by God.”
Because God is perfectly honest and powerful, there is not even the possibility that He may break his promises made to his children, President Worthen declared. This means that when God promises something, there is a guarantee that it will happen.
“God’s promises are more certain, and therefore more powerful, than any promise made by any mortal being. We can rely on God’s promises not because they are enforceable in a court of law or through social or moral pressure, but because God is God, a being who the scriptures tell us ‘lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.’”
President Worthen shared several places one could find God’s promises: in the scriptures, in sacred temple ordinances and in the words of God’s living prophets.
With this in mind, President Worthen began increasing his attention to when President Russell M. Nelson and the other apostles say the words “I promise,” knowing they speak for the Lord.
He reflected back on President Nelson's counsel in his address in the last general conference to “seek and expect miracles.”
“Miracles are more common than we often recognize, and the angels who bring them often reside on this side of the veil,” President Worthen said. “Prophetic promises identify ways in which we can more readily recognize and benefit from those miracles.”
Promising BYU students that if they would study and apply the prophetic promises the Lord has made through President Russell M. Nelson and other prophets, President Worthen testified that they would have more joyful and productive lives.
“Your ability to meet and benefit from the challenges and uncertainty you will face in the coming year will be greatly enhanced.”