President and Sister Worthen welcomed students back for Winter Semester at the Devotional Tuesday in the Marriott Center. Sister Worthen spoke first, sharing her allegory of the wedding cake. President Worthen followed, speaking on how relationships determine our happiness, along with four steps to create better relationships.
The Allegory of the Wedding Cake
Sister Worthen told a story BYU students and roommates who were asked by another roommate to make her wedding cake. The girls accepted and through proper preparation, were able to make the cake. When everything seemed to be going well, they got distracted and dropped the cake.
The moral of the story, Sister Worthen said, was the students didn't get discouraged and chose to make the best of the situation.
"At times, your life, including your life at BYU, will be like making a wedding cake. You will have many opportunities to take the things that you have learned and act upon them. You will be prepared to act. You will have the knowledge and training you need to succeed. You will have the right ingredients.
"But, there will be no guarantee that you will succeed. In such moments, you will have to decide for yourself whether you will proceed with faith, or be brought to a standstill by a fear of failure. Being able to proceed when the specific outcome is not assured is one of the great tests of life."
We are given many "wedding cake opportunities" in our lives, said Sister Worthen, where we will need to turn to prayer to get help from our Heavenly Father. Quoting from Elder Richard G. Scott's April 2007 General Conference address, Sister Worthen mentioned the three different kind of answers we can receive from prayer: feeling peace and comfort, feeling a stupor of thought and knowing your choice is wrong, or no answer at all. In times when we get the third reply, we may need to take a leap of faith.
"After we have made the decision to act and proceed in faith, knowing that we have taken all the right steps, and have carefully followed the recipe that we have been given, then we need to move forward and enjoy the process, without too much concern for the specific ultimate outcome," she said.
Building Relationships: "No One Can Flourish In Isolation"
"Whenever we experience something truly good in our lives, that feeling is enhanced when we share it with others, either in the very moment or at some future time... To a large extent, the depth of our eternal happiness will be determined by the quality of our relationships with others," said President Worthen during his Devotional address.
Sharing four steps to accomplish stronger relationships, President Worthen gave a new year's plea to all to increase the number and quality of the relationships that exist in our lives. But first he made a case for why relationships are so important now and for eternity.
"Heaven will be heaven because of the other people who will be there," he said. "And experiencing heaven on earth will ultimately depend, to a large degree, on the quality of our relationships with others."
Four Steps to Better Relationships
1. Look for, and take advantage of, opportunities to develop positive relationships with others.
"You are here with a remarkable group of fellow students. Take time to get to know them. Take time to get to know your faculty members. They too are remarkable. Some of them can become not only mentors, but life-long and eternal friends."
2. As we expand the group of people with whom we consciously seek to develop positive relationships, let us also expand our vision of who they really are.
"Everyone with whom we interact — even those with whom we disagree completely on fundamental issues of truth — is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents. And, we need to treat them as such, even when we cannot agree with them on anything else."
3. We should develop our ability to take joy in the success of others.
"The ability to truly take joy in the success of others — and to communicate that joy to them — is a key attribute of a celestial life. Think about it. God's greatest joy comes through the accomplishment of others."
"I know this is asking a lot. I am asking you to become more of a Zion society — one in which we are of 'one heart' and 'one mind.' The scriptures indicate that the Lord is 'well pleased that there should be a school in Zion.' I think that he would be equally well pleased if there was a little more Zion in His school. If we can make progress in that realm, we will be happier and more fulfilled."
"The choice to love others necessarily includes the choice to experience new and profound emotions of all kinds, both positive and negative. But the result is worth the price."
4. If we are to develop positive eternal relationships with others, we must first develop a positive and eternal relationship with our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ.
"Because of His great love for all of God's children, and as a result of the intimate and infinite nature of His great atoning sacrifice, Christ is personally affected — either negatively or positively — by the way we treat every single person with whom we come in contact. Thus, the quality of our relationship with Him will depend to a great degree on the quality of our relationships with others."
If you missed President and Sister Worthen's address, you can watch it on BYUtv.org.
Next Devotional: Elder Allan F. Packer, Quorum of the Seventy
The next BYU Devotional address will be held on Tuesday, January 12, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center.
Elder Allan F. Packer will give the Devotional address.
His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio.