Every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., students, faculty and staff head to the Marriott Center for the weekly Devotional or Forum address. BYU President Kevin J Worthen and his wife Peggy kick off the semester and are followed by BYU professors, members of the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a range of industry leaders and political figures. Entertainment assemblies celebrating the talent of BYU Arts round out the semester schedule.
Devotional and Forums are open to the public and most are broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio and will be archived on speeches.byu.edu.
Fall 2016 Devotional and Forum Schedule
- September 6: President Kevin J and Sister Peggy Worthen (Devotional)
- September 13: Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, LDS Church (Devotional)
- September 20: Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary (Forum)
- September 27: David Dollahite, professor of Family Life (Devotional)
- October 4: Devotional: David Whitchurch, Religious Education associate professor (Devotional)
- October 11: Homecoming Opening Ceremonies
- October 18: Brett G. Scharffs, BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies (Forum)
- October 25: Devotional: Matthew Richardson, BYU Advancement Vice President (Devotional)
- November 1: Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School General President, LDS Church (Devotional)
- November 8: Dance Assembly
- November 15: Bonnie St. John, Paralympian and First African-American Winter Olympic Medalist (Forum)
- November 22: No Devotional (Friday classes)
- November 29: Jodi Maxfield, Cougarettes coach (Devotional)
- December 6: Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, LDS Church (Devotional)
- December 13: No Devotionals (Finals)
About the Fall 2016 Devotional and Forum Speakers
BYU President Kevin J Worthen
September 6, 2016 Devotional
Kevin J Worthen began serving as the 13th president of Brigham Young University on May 1, 2014. He previously served as BYU's advancement vice president and as dean of its J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he is the Hugh W. Colton Professor of Law.
President Worthen was born in Dragerton (now East Carbon-Sunnyside), Utah, and grew up in nearby Price. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Monterrey, Mexico, he earned an associate degree at the College of Eastern Utah (now USU Eastern). He then received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and his Juris Doctorate from BYU.
Following his graduation from the BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School, President Worthen served as a law clerk to Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court. After three years of private practice with the law firm of Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix, Arizona, President Worthen joined the BYU law school faculty in 1987. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Chile Law School in Santiago. He has published extensively on a number of legal topics, with particular emphasis on federal Indian law and the rights of indigenous peoples.
President Worthen currently serves as an area seventy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He previously served as a stake president, bishop, high councilor and early-morning seminary instructor.
President and Sister Worthen have three children and three grandchildren.
September 6, 2016 Devotional
Peggy Sealey Worthen, born and raised in Price, Utah, is the second oldest of five children. She is married to Kevin J Worthen, current president of Brigham Young University.
While she was attending the College of Eastern Utah, she met Kevin Worthen at a church dance and the two soon began dating. Although she grew up three blocks from Kevin and his family, their three-year age difference meant they never went to high school at the same time and didn’t know each other well. In college, she began meeting with the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and when she decided to be baptized, Kevin was able to baptize her. She and Kevin were married in the Provo Utah LDS Temple.
Early in their marriage, Peggy worked in a number of jobs to support their family as Kevin finished his education and started his career, including as a receptionist for U.S. Senator Jake Garn.
She was able to return to school when Kevin began teaching, and she graduated with a degree in English from BYU in 2003, the same year their oldest son graduated from high school. She has taken a number of courses since then, including two years of Norwegian.
Dallin H. Oaks
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
September 13, 2016 Devotional
Elder Dallin H. Oaks has served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since May 1984.
He is a native of Provo, Utah. He and his late wife, June Dixon Oaks, are the parents of six children. She died July 21, 1998. On August 25, 2000, he married Kristen M. McMain in the Salt Lake Temple.
Elder Oaks is a graduate of Brigham Young University and of the University of Chicago Law School. He practiced and taught law in Chicago. He was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980 and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling to the apostleship.
He has been an officer or member of the board for many business, educational, and charitable organizations. He is also the author or co-author of many books and articles on religious and legal subjects. In May 2013, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty awarded him the Canterbury Medal for “courage in the defense of religious liberty.”
Former White House Press Secretary
September 20, 2016 Forum
Ari Fleischer served as the White House press secretary for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003. He served as spokesman during the historic presidential recount, the attacks of September 11, two wars and the anthrax attack. His book, Taking Heat, reached #7 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Professor of Family Life
September 27, 2016 Devotional
David Dollahite is professor of Family Life at BYU where he teaches classes and conducts research on the links between religion and family life. He has twice been an Eliza R. Snow University Fellow and has served as an associate director of the School of Family Life. His scholarship focuses on religion and family life in the Abrahamic faiths, Latter-day Saint family life, and faith and fathering.
He is co-director with Dr. Loren Marks of the American Families of Faith Project in which 201 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim families from 17 states have been interviewed. Findings from this ongoing project have resulted in over 50 scholarly articles journals.
David A. Whitchurch
Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture in Religious Education
October 4, 2016 Devotional
David M. Whitchurch is an associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University. He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Utah for a year before going on the Southwest Indian mission, Navajo speaking. After returning home, he transferred to Utah State University. He taught for the Church Educational System (Seminary and Institutes) for twenty years and has been at BYU full time since 1998. His teaching career has allowed him to live in the Southwest United States, western Canada, the Middle East, and various places in Utah.
Brett G. Scharffs
Associate Director, BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies
October 18, 2016 Forum
Brett G. Scharffs currently serves as the associate director of BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies. He earned both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in international business and an Master of Arts degree in philosophy from Georgetown University and received his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School. During his academic career, Professor Scharffs has written more than 100 articles and book chapters and made over 300 scholarly presentations in thirty countries.
Matthew O. Richardson
BYU Advancement Vice President
October 25, 2016 Forum
Matthew Richardson is the Advancement vice president at Brigham Young University. He oversees Athletics, University Communications, BYU Broadcasting, Alumni and External Relations and Philanthropy. From 2009 to April 2014, Richardson served as the second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Richardson joined the Religious Education department at BYU as a faculty member in 1996. From 2002 to 2006, he served as Associate Dean of Religious Education. Richardson was selected by students to receive the Professor of Integrity award, received the Robert J. Matthews Teaching Award and BYU's Circle of Honor Award.
Richardson completed undergraduate, graduate and doctorate work at BYU. He holds a doctoral degree in Education Leadership, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
Tad R. Callister
Sunday School General President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
November 1, 2016 Devotional
Tad R. Callister was serving in the Presidency of the Seventy and as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy when he was called as Sunday School general president. He has served in a number of callings including full-time missionary in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission, bishop, stake president, regional representative, mission president and Area Seventy.
Callister received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of California–Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in tax law from New York University Law School. He spent most of his professional career practicing tax law. He and his wife Kathryn are the parents of six children.
Bonnie St. John
Paralympian, First African-American Winter Olympic Medalist
November 15, 2016 Forum
Bonnie St. John is the first African-American ever to win medals in Winter Olympic competition. She graduated from Harvard, earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, served in the White House as a Director of the National Economic Council and is currently CEO of the Blue Circle Leadership Institute. NBC Nightly News called St. John, "One of the five most inspiring women in America.”
BYU Cougarettes Coach
November 29, 2016 Forum
Jodi has been the Artistic Director of the Cougarettes since 1990. Adjudicator, Teacher, and Choreographer for over 30 years, dance team is her passion. While attending BYU as a dance major, Maxfield was a Cougarette from 1976 to 1979 and also served as Dance Captain for the team. Jodi has coached the Cougarettes to 16 National titles, which include 5 Hip Hop titles, and 12 Most Innovative Choreography Awards.
Under Jodi’s direction, the team has appeared in Dance Spirit Magazine as one of the top 25 collegiate dance teams, as well as gracing the cover of Dance Spirit magazine’s Dance Directors Guide twice. Jodi appeared on the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine’s March 2013 issue and was named as one of the nation’s outstanding directors in 2003 and 2004. She is married to John Scott Maxfield, is the mother of 3 children (all married) and has 5 grandchildren.
Bonnie L. Oscarson
Young Women General President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
December 6, 2016 Devotional
Bonnie L. Oscarson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but her family moved often and she lived in five different places in the United States before attending Brigham Young University to study commercial art. She met her husband, Paul Oscarson, at the temple site in Far West, Missouri. They later married in 1969 in the Salt Lake Temple and are the parents of seven children and grandparents of 24 grandchildren.
She served with her husband when she was still a young mother as he presided over the Sweden Göteborg Mission. Thirty years later they returned to Sweden to serve as matron and temple president of the Stockholm Sweden Temple. She has served as a ward Young Women president three times, in a stake Young Women presidency twice, and taught early morning seminary for nine years. Sister Oscarson loves working with the youth of the Church and doesn’t regret any of the sleep she missed while teaching seminary. She returned to school after 35 years and earned a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in British and American Literature. One of Sister Ocarson’s favorite scriptures is in Doctrine and Covenant 101:16 “Be still and know that I am God.”