Liz Darger, senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at BYU, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. She spoke on how three words from the Young Women theme, “receive,” “covenant” and “minister,” have helped her understand important truths about identity and purpose.
Darger shared an experience she had as a high school basketball coach that helped her realize that "receiving" is an action word.
As she worked with Morgan Bailey, a ninth grader, training her to become a better basketball player and receive passes, Darger realized parallels with the gospel.
“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we can become trusted receivers as we consistently and continually prepare and practice,” she said.
Darger suggested that, like Bailey, we can learn to become better receivers. And then, the heavens will open unto us:
“We can receive ordinances, including baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can receive a remission of our sins, we can receive spiritual gifts, we can receive blessings,” Darger said.
Darger also emphasized that we can learn to receive prophets’ inspired counsel and the Holy Ghost.
“[You] may feel clumsy or awkward in receiving revelation,” she acknowledged. “But remember, as we practice, with a humble and grateful heart, we gain confidence in our ability to ‘Hear Him.’”
Bailey went on to play basketball for BYU and had a very successful college career. But the lessons Darger taught her about preparation and receiving didn’t end with basketball. She then applied the principles of preparation to receive her temple endowment.
“As we make and keep sacred covenants, great blessings are in store,” including “an increased desire to stand as a willing witness of Jesus Christ,” Darger stated. “I have felt remarkable confidence in teaching and testifying of truth. The confidence I feel is real because God is real. And His power is real.”
Many of Darger’s experiences as a sports professional have taught her to encourage, uplift and celebrate the success of and lend compassionate service to others.
It started in her childhood home, with an unforgettable family home evening lesson where she was taught about the significance of creating a "home-court advantage" in her home.
"We discussed things like the importance of celebrating each other’s success, how to be patient with a sibling when they’re struggling, why we decorate our home with pictures of our family, the temple and our Savior and how to protect our home from influences that drive away the Spirit,” Darger recounted.
She urged the BYU campus community to extend her family's analogy to their lives by asking themselves a few questions.
“How can we create a ‘home court advantage’... for each member of our BYU campus community? How can we minister to others in ways that help create a sense of belonging?”
“Success,” she believes, “will require organizational efforts and individual efforts.”
"To create a home-court advantage for every member of the BYU campus community, organizational efforts must be matched by individual efforts. It is our covenant responsibility to have our ‘hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.’ We need real people who will reach out to other real people. This is a one-on-one, personal, individual ministry and we need everyone!"
Through her involvement with the NCAA Common Ground initiative, Darger has also developed a special testimony of connecting with those who appear different from us.
“I have learned that as we sincerely express love and listen, we can build strong relationships of trust that yield opportunities to share our perspectives in an environment of respect," she said. "But more important, the relationships themselves change hearts—ours and theirs—and enrich all of us.”
As we create a community of caring, “and as we strive to become trusted receivers and personal ministers,” Darger believes we can “feel the intense love that our Father in Heaven has for each one of His precious children.”
Chris Crowe, BYU English professor, will deliver next week’s forum address on May 25 at 11:05 a.m.
Crowe's remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM and SiriusXM 143.