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BYU Devotional: Individual worth

Julianne Grose, associate professor in the department of microbiology and molecular biology, delivered Tuesday’s Devotional address in the de Jong Concert Hall. Professor Grose spoke on the importance of recognizing our individual talents, gifts and roles in life.

Grose began with common questions in the field of biology: What is life? How do living things function? What is the unique role of each diverse form of life? Grose emphasized that every species has an important role to play on our planet.

“The abundance and diversity of life mean that biologists will always have something to do. It also means that in order to succeed on the planet a species must have a purpose and a place – much like trying to find a place at the family dinner table amid hungry siblings,” Grose said.

In life, there are viruses that play unique roles that most people don’t often see. Viruses can be bad, as people typically assume, but they can also contribute to the health of our planet by regulating the levels of bacteria in an ecological system.

“Both viruses and bacteria have an important place in our health as well as in the ecological health of our planet. This interrelated nature of life is complex and highly variable, as is the individual and essential roles that each form of life plays,” Grose said.

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Grose elaborated on these essential roles. “Each student has an individual and unique role to play. Each student has unique talents and gifts that are not quite the same in any other person.” One compelling example of this principle is the story of Anne Frank.

Frank and her family hid in an annex above her father’s warehouse as the Nazi army moved toward Amsterdam. For two years, Frank wrote of her experiences in her diary. When listening to the radio in 1944, Frank heard the advice given by Dutch Cabinet Minister Gerritt Bolkstein:

“History cannot be written on the basis of official decisions and documents alone. If our descendants are to understand fully what we as a nation have had to endure and overcome during these years, then what we really need are ordinary documents – a diary, letters from a worker in Germany, a collection of sermons given by a person or priest. Not until we succeed in bringing together vast quantities of this simple, everyday material will the picture of our struggle for freedom be painted in its full depth and glory.”

Frank had immediately found her purpose. She rewrote her diary for clarity and replaced names with pseudonyms so it would be publishable once the war had ended. Her journal gave the audience a glimpse into World War II that had never been seen before.

“Today, millions of people have read the diary. It has inspired countless, including survivors of unimaginable difficulties,” Grose said. “It is the story of one person’s great talents, Anne’s, interacting with many other great talents.”

Grose emphasized that while it is difficult to find the best use of our talents, we don't have to do this alone. Through the atonement, we can become the person that we want to be and know how best to use the divine inheritance we have been given.

Grose concluded, “If you find yourself struggling at times, if you are in the midst of your long-suffering, take heart and have faith. Believe that you have a divine purpose. Believe that you have unique talents that are unmatched in the world. Work hard and pray. The Lord will help. He will direct you to your best self – to your own “ecological niche.” He will open doors for you. You will find what he wants you to do and you will bless countless others in doing it.”

Next Devotional: Phillip Rash, First-Year Mentoring

Phillip Rash, director of First-Year Mentoring and assistant dean of Undergraduate Education, will deliver the next BYU Devotional on Tuesday, June 4, at 11:05 a.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall.

His remarks will also be broadcast live on BYUtv,, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYUradio.

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