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University Conference

How to Act While Being Acted Upon

President of Brigham Young University

August 24, 2020

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President Kevin J Worthen shares insights on how we should act despite outside influences.

Welcome to our university conference. It is obvious that while the timing of this event and the subsequent commencement of classes next week follow a long-standing traditional pattern, much of the coming school year and even the format of this program will be quite different from what we have come to expect. Some of those differences are the result of preplanned improvements and some are the result of the coronavirus pandemic. To use the scriptural phrase in 2 Nephi 2, we have “both . . . act[ed] and . . . [been] acted upon”1 during this past year. And the result is that this year is much different from previous years.

The dramatic nature of these differences, as well as their two major causes—acting and being acted upon—are illustrated by the two most distinctive features of the setting in which we find ourselves this morning. I am presenting from a platform different from the traditional stand and podium we have used for this meeting in the past. You are sitting—well, I don’t know exactly where you are sitting, but it is clearly not in the Marriott Center, where we usually gather. The first difference is a result of our acting: it is a preplanned innovation that we debuted on March 10, when Steven M. Sandberg presented his moving devotional on forgiveness.2 The latter change was introduced the very next week, on March 17, when Elder Jack N. Gerard gave an equally ­impressive devotional on trusting God3 to a completely empty Marriott Center because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic—a clear example of being acted upon.

In the intervening week between those two devotionals, the world changed dramatically for everyone in our campus community. In a period of only five days, we completely changed the mode of instruction for almost every class and rethought and reconfigured almost every service we offer on campus to make it safe for both our students and our employees to accomplish what they set out to do despite the devasting effects of the worst pandemic of our lifetime.

Overcoming the Challenges

Let me once again thank each of you for your part in what I can only describe as a miracle—an ongoing miracle that continues to this day as so many have worked so hard and so diligently to prepare for the return of our students to what is still a unique and precarious environment. Your monumental actions provide definitive proof that we can act even while being acted upon and that, because of Christ’s atoning power, in the long run the impact of our actions can overcome all things that act upon us.4 Because that is one lesson I hope you take away from my message today, let me repeat it: We can act even while being acted upon, and because of Christ’s atoning power, the impact of our actions can overcome all things that act upon us.

Celebrate and Be Reenergized

The changes that have occurred on campus over the last five months are so monumental that many of us mentally divide our prior year’s BYU experience into BC (Before COVID) and AC (After COVID), with March 12—the date on which we announced we would shift to remote ­instruction—as the dividing line. That is both understandable and natural. However, if we overly emphasize that divide, if we remember and judge this past year solely by the dramatic changes that occurred beginning March 12, we may deprive ourselves of the full blessings, joy, and progress that God intends us to derive from our experiences this past year. Let me give a couple of instructive examples.

First, if we focus solely on how significantly things have changed since March 12, we may miss the opportunity to celebrate and be reenergized by the numerous accomplishments that occurred last year, many of which happened before March 12. Last year was an amazing year in that regard. Just to cite a few examples of our students’ successes, students from the Marriott School of Business took first place in at least five different competitions. [A picture was shown of the winners of the International Business Model Competition: Zoia Ali, Abby Warner, and Taimi Kennerley.]

Students from the BYU animation program—which is a collaboration between the College of Fine Arts and Communications and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences—won their sixth Student Academy Award for their short Grendel. Students from the animation program also made history by winning first place in two categories at the Intel University Games. Their video game Avast Ye received first place for both best game play and best visual design, making them the first team to win two first-place prizes in the same year.

Examples of achievements can be found in other aspects of the university operations. Construction on the new Westview Building commenced prior to March 12 and was completed after that date. It is now ready to be occupied. The last phase of our Heritage Halls living facilities has also been completed. And approval was given and construction has begun on a new music building.

In athletics, the men’s cross-country team won the NCAA national championship, and the women’s cross-country team took second in their national championship event. The women’s ­soccer team advanced to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament. At the end of the fall 2019 season, BYU was ranked fifth in the Learfield IMG Director’s Cup standings, which measure overall success among the more than 350 NCAA Division 1 programs.

The men’s volleyball team finished its season ranked number one in the nation, and the men’s basketball team was ranked sixteenth in its final poll. In both cases their seasons were truncated by the pandemic. That rightly gives them and us cause for some lament. But please do not let us focus so much on what might have been that we miss out on the joy and strength that comes from celebrating what was—and is.

In that regard, let me note that in a typical year, the stand at this conference is filled with recipients of various university awards. This year we are recognizing forty-seven individuals for their unique and outstanding service to the university. Each has demonstrated exceptional competency and sacrifice in their work. I honor each of them and express my personal appreciation to them. While we are unable to have them join us here in this meeting because of our circumstances, I hope you will take time to read about them in upcoming YNews articles and in the university ­conference awardee booklet that will be available online at the conference website.

I urge each of you this week and in following weeks to take some time in your own departments and units to recognize the accomplishments of this past year—and don’t limit them to events in the After COVID era. Celebrate and recognize even the good things that were interrupted by the arrival of the coronavirus in Provo. The recognition that your God-given power to act produced good fruit before the pandemic can strengthen your faith that He will grant you the necessary power to act and overcome the challenges that will arise during and after the pandemic. Celebrating the past can help us remember that, because of Christ’s atoning power, the impact of our actions can overcome all things that act upon us.

“Be Not Weary in Well-Doing”

Second, too much focus on the Before COVID/After COVID divide may both unnecessarily ­discourage us and keep us from fully realizing our remarkable potential as a university.

If we view the world solely through the Before COVID/After COVID lens, we may erroneously conclude that we have only two long-term choices. On the one hand, we could hunker down and weather the storm with the hope that when it is over, we can pick up the surviving artifacts of the pre–March 12 world and piece them back together in a way that will enable us to return to our prior unaltered plans—surviving, but otherwise unaffected by the pandemic experience. Alternatively, we could conclude that the pandemic is such a disruptive force that we should jettison all our prior plans and traditions and accept a new normal that is so radically different from our pre–March 12 days that what we did before is automatically suspect and in need of replacement.

In short, overemphasizing the divide between the pre- and post-pandemic world may cause us to wrongfully believe that eventually we will have to either ignore the present, hoping it goes away quickly, or ignore the past, hoping it never returns. In my view, both those options are less than optimal. Fortunately, neither is inevitable.

I believe that if we fully engage, process, and remember the experiences of this present pandemic world, we can bring together the past and the present to make a better future. I hope that we do not just survive this unusual experience but that we lean into it in a way that both reconfirms the essential components of our prior core goals and also accelerates our progress toward them. That is admittedly a very ambitious, audacious—and some would say unrealistic—aspiration. But I believe that we are better positioned than any other university to do this—that we were, if you will, built for this.

The theme of this conference provides a key for how we can achieve this lofty goal. The theme comes from Doctrine and Covenants 64:33: “Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.” That verse contains both an admonition and a motivating reason for following that admonition. Both are especially relevant in the COVID world in which we currently find ourselves.

The admonition is very simple: “Be not weary in well-doing.” That advice seems tailored specifically to the situation in which we find ourselves. It is so easy to become weary in this very uncertain COVID world in which everything seems to be dynamic and fluid and in which projections change overnight. The term “COVID fatigue” has now entered our lexicon. It is used to describe a number of different phenomena,5 and several different causes of the varying conditions have been identified. But surely one of the principal components of COVID fatigue is the seemingly ubiquitous uncertainty that surrounds almost every decision we are currently dealing with.6 It is difficult—and incredibly draining—to work in an environment in which you do not know if the plans you are so carefully creating will be effective or even possible. And it is still more enervating to repeatedly see that your work is undone by unexpected developments, sometimes even before the task is started.

We are—and have been—operating in what cognitive psychologist Robin M. Hogarth calls a “wicked” learning and decision-making environment,7 one in which there are no obvious patterns and, as described by David Epstein, “feedback is often delayed, inaccurate, or both.”8 It is easier to work in what Hogarth calls a “kind environment,”9 in which, Epstein said, “patterns repeat over and over, and feedback is extremely accurate and usually very rapid.”10 That definition of a kind decision-making environment may describe much of what we did day-to-day before March 12, but it is clearly not what most of us have been dealing with since.

It is hard to operate in a wicked environment because, as Hogarth has pointed out, there is so much uncertainty and misinformation that reliance on one’s prior experience often leads to exactly the wrong conclusion with disastrous results.11 Operating in that type of environment for long can be exhausting—unless one has both a higher vision and a higher, more accurate source of feedback.

And this is where the second part of our scriptural theme comes into play. The Lord’s admonition that we “be not weary in well-doing” is accompanied by a statement that is both an explanation for why we should not be weary and a motivation for avoiding that mindset. We should not—and need not—be weary because we “are laying the foundation of a great work.” We are engaged in an endeavor that is of enormous import. And it is a work that is not ours alone but also God’s. If we truly believe that, as our mission statement declares, our task “is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life,”12 we should proceed with full confidence that our work is not only essential but God directed and God supported. That understanding will provide the most compelling motivation for not becoming weary in well-doing. We can be assured that, notwithstanding our current circumstances, God will give us the knowledge and ability to act in ways that will overcome all the effects of being acted upon.

Aligning Ourselves with the University Mission

Some might suggest that given the significant nature of the changes that have occurred, we should dramatically revise or even abandon our mission statement to adapt to the “new normal.” I believe that would be a serious mistake. We are—and have been for our entire history—engaged in a work that is enduring, even ever­lasting. We are laying a foundation for the eternities, not erecting a tent for temporary shelter.

  • The first objective is to “ensure alignment with the university mission.”
  • The second is to “enhance the educational experience of our students,” knowing that the shape of that educational experience is outlined in the mission statement and in the aims.
  • The third is to expand enrollment—to make this mission-aligned, enhanced education available to more students.

With that in mind, let me briefly review at a high level the things we have been working on in the past few years—and that we will continue to work on in the next few years, notwithstanding the pandemic. These come from the strategic five-year plan that we have developed as a President’s Council. There are three main strategic objectives. Each is grounded in specific provisions of the ­mission statement and aims of a BYU education:

There are several more layers of details associated with each of these three strategic objectives. Let me share just the next level so that you can see in a bit more detail what I believe we should continue to focus on even as we adjust to and emerge from the pandemic.

There are four major aspects of the effort to align ourselves with the university mission:

First, we want to ensure that all our hiring processes focus not just on the secular skills required but also, and more important, on mission fit.

Second and third, we need to ensure that our teaching and learning is “faith-based” and our research and scholarship is “student-centered.” I have attempted to describe what those two terms mean in prior university conference addresses that I believe are still relevant.13 

Fourth, we want to promote a sense of belonging among all members of the campus community. In that regard, let me thank and acknowledge both the members of our university Committee on Race, Equity, and Belonging and those involved in similar efforts in the various colleges and other units on campus. Both gospel principles and our mission statement commit us to developing “a loving, genuine concern for the welfare”14 of all of God’s children, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or other distinguishing feature, each of which is secondary to our common identity as “beloved spirit son[s] or daughter[s] of heavenly parents.”15 

For our second strategic objective, in order to enhance the educational experience of our students, we will continue to focus on inspiring learning, on expanding and enhancing experiential learning opportunities, and on improving classroom instruction. We will also continue working to improve access to limited enrollment programs and to develop BYU Online classes.

To achieve our third strategic objective, we will continue to work on our plan to offer our enhanced educational experience to more students by expanding enrollment by up to 3,000 more full-time students over a six-year period. I should report that it appears we may have started out at a more accelerated rate than we had intended this year because of the early entry of a number of missionaries whose service was interrupted by the pandemic. But, as with most things, we will be able to make the necessary adjustments while continuing to stay on course.

We will have a chance to discuss both our progress and our plans in each of these areas more in depth in the coming months. But I think it is helpful that we clearly communicate at the start of this academic year our intention to continue to focus on our pre–March 12 priorities. What was important before that date remains important today.

However, as I stated earlier, that does not mean that our plan is to batten down the hatches and wait out the storm, hoping to emerge unaffected. This COVID experience, like all our mortal experiences, can and should help us improve.16 If we emerge from the pandemic unscathed but unchanged, we will have missed out on the full benefit of this unique experience.

Making Our Classroom Experiences Come Alive

Let me give just a few quick concrete examples of ways in which our ability to achieve our pre–March 12 goals may be enhanced by the pandemic experience we are going through.

You will recall that one of the ways we have been working to enhance the educational experience of our students is through the continued development of BYU Online. As many of you know, BYU Online courses are designed not to provide online degrees or programs to those who can never come to our campus but rather to enhance the education of our on-campus matriculated students by helping them become lifelong online learners and providing them with increased scheduling flexibility. It also frees up classroom space to help with our expanded ­enrollment plans.

We first began the BYU Online program as a pilot eight years ago, relying primarily on college and department volunteers. After seven years we had reached the point last fall semester in which we offered 101 courses with 249 sections, which resulted in just more than 11,000 enrollments. Following the sudden change to remote delivery on March 12, there has been increased interest in quality online options among colleges and departments as they have seen the ways in which student learning can be enhanced by online courses designed at the outset for that kind of experience. As a result, this coming fall semester we are offering 136 BYU Online courses with 415 sections, resulting in more than 26,000 enrollments in BYU Online courses. As you will see, that represents a 35 percent increase in the number of courses, a 67 percent increase in sections offered, and a 130 percent increase in the number of enrollments in the past pandemic year. I seriously doubt our BYU Online offerings would be nearly as robust in either number or quality without the pandemic.

This does not mean that we will move to a system in which online learning becomes the exclusive or even primary means of instruction or that we will abandon other modes of instruction that are equally important to “the balanced development of the total person”17 to which our mission statement commits us. But this aspect of our efforts to enhance the learning experience of our students has clearly been accelerated by our post–March 12 experience.

I believe that experience will also improve our in-person classroom teaching, which is a key component to the faith-based teaching and learning we hope occurs here. As a result of the involuntary shift to remote instruction, I believe most faculty will be more adept and more comfortable in using technology to enhance learning even in the in-person classroom setting. I believe many already—and more will in the future—think more deeply about how they present material in a classroom setting. If all we do in a classroom is deliver a pre-scripted lecture, we must now surely ask ourselves if we need to meet in person or if there is something else that could be done in what we now realize is extremely precious and limited face-to-face classroom time. The pandemic experience should make us more willing and able to try new things and to connect more effectively with our students in ways that enhance and deepen their understanding of the subjects we are teaching.

Let me provide an example of an effort that was going on before last winter semester, before the pandemic, that illustrates the kind of creativity I hope our post–March 12 experience causes us to consider more frequently. [The video “Restoration Class Projects Inspire Creativity, Build Faith”18 was shown.]

Now our current circumstances prohibit us from gathering together in that kind of crowded environment you saw in the video, but I am convinced that if we think carefully and receive inspiration, we will be enlightened as to ways in which we can make our classroom experience come alive as we think again about how we use that very ­precious time.

Adapting and Moving Forward with Faith

I also believe that our pandemic experience can help us reach our goal to promote a greater sense of belonging among all members of our campus community. I hope the physical and geographical separation that the pandemic has forced upon us will give us greater appreciation of the benefits we can all derive from our relationships with others, especially those whose backgrounds are different from our own. If we reflect on the loneliness almost all of us have felt at times these past five months because of physical separation, I hope we will all be quicker to look for and reach out to those who experience that loneliness even when they are surrounded by people. I also hope that the less frequent interaction we have experienced since March 12 will cause us to be more kind, more patient, and less quick to judge; that it will focus us more on others rather than on ourselves; and that we will be more committed to demonstrating, in the words of our mission statement, “a loving, genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbor,”19 even in doing things as small and simple as wearing a face mask in public buildings and other places in which the safety of others might be compromised.

Finally, this pandemic has provided us with a remarkable opportunity to increase our ability to deal with uncertainty. As I noted before, the pandemic may present the most “wicked” learning and decision-making environment that most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. However, I am confident it will not be the last time we encounter such a situation. Many—including one of our forum speakers next winter semester, David Epstein20—have concluded, even before the pandemic, that we are living in “a rapidly changing, wicked world.”21 The ability to adapt and move forward in such settings is increasingly important in today’s society. And we can provide opportunities for our students to learn this skill in a wide variety of settings. A good illustration of this is in the following video, which shows how photography professor Paul Adams helped students learn how to adapt to new ideas using an old technology, which was for them fraught with all kinds of uncertainty. [The video “Vanishing Voices Inspire BYU Photography Project”22 was shown.]

Making a tintype image is a process that is very unforgiving and exacting. You have to get the mixture right in terms of coating the plate. You have to keep people still for a long period of time, and if there is a flaw, it comes out. It is there forever. It is sort of a wicked environment for these students. And the mixture of the chemicals themselves is flammable. The students involved in this project not only learned how to produce tintype images—which, as the video showed, led directly to one graduate’s current job—but they also developed the critical skill of dealing with the uncertainty inherent in using what for them was an entirely new and foreign method of photography, a skill that will serve them well regardless of the occupation they choose or the photographic equipment they will use.

More important, as Elder Bruce C. Hafen has noted, learning how to deal with uncertainty and especially learning how “to understand and live with competing true principles [are] essential skill[s]”23 in our eternal development. One of the purposes of this mortal existence is to learn to proceed with faith even in the face of great uncertainty when there is no guarantee—other than God’s word—that things will work out for our good. If we can learn to deal with such uncertainty and “ambiguities with a believing attitude,” Elder Hafen said, “our faithful choices will lead ultimately to our sanctification.”24

Thus, learning how to deal with the unexpected and unpredictable—such as a coronavirus pandemic—will not only prepare our students to “be capable of meeting personal challenge and change,”25 as a portion of our mission statement provides, but it can also help them achieve “the full realization of human potential”26 that another portion of that statement requires us to do.

Our challenge, therefore, is not just to survive the pandemic but to learn from it by acting with faith, even in the face of uncertainty, and trusting that God can truly make “all things . . . work together for [our] good,”27 as He has said.

We have a legacy in this Church of meeting such challenges. Let me share one simple example from our history. From the earliest days of his arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young focused on building a temple. It was one of his primary goals. After years of work, progress began to be made, but then other events—events that no doubt caused the Saints to feel acted upon—came into play. Our former colleague Richard O. Cowan described one of those events this way:

On July 24, 1857, as the Latter-day Saints were celebrating the tenth anniversary of their entrance into Salt Lake Valley, they received the . . . disturbing news that a potentially hostile United States army was approaching Utah. Not knowing the army’s intentions, Brigham Young had the temple foundation covered with dirt as a precaution. When the army arrived the following year, Temple Square looked like a freshly plowed field, and there was no visible evidence of the temple’s construction. As it turned out, the army marched through Salt Lake City without harming any property and set up its camp some thirty miles to the southwest, near Utah Lake. Even during the years when the army was in Utah, draftsmen in the architect’s office were busy planning the exact size and shape for each of the thousands of stones that would be needed for the temple. With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the army was needed elsewhere, and it departed from Utah by December of that year. The foundation was uncovered in preparation for work that would resume the following spring.28

Now at this point the Saints had survived their version of a pandemic. But they did it while continuing to focus on their temple-building ­“mission” by doing the work the best they could under the circumstances. Once the threat was gone, they returned to the task with eagerness. However, something was different. Professor Cowan continued:

At this time, President Young examined the newly uncovered foundation and became aware that it was defective. He and his associates noticed large cracks and concluded that its small stones held together with mortar could not carry the massive weight of the temple. On January 1, 1862, he announced that the inadequate foundation would be removed and replaced by one made entirely of granite. The footings would be sixteen feet thick. “I want to see the Temple built in a manner that it will endure through the Millennium,” [Brigham Young] later declared.29

Now I am certain that Johnston’s Army was not a welcome sight to the Saints in 1857. They may have viewed it as a threat not unlike a pandemic. Their first instinct was just to survive. But they resisted that and continued to work on their prior plans as best they could. And when the danger was gone, they found new insights that allowed them to build an even better and longer-lasting temple. Would they have discovered the cracks in the foundation if their work had not been interrupted by the army? I do not know. But I do know that they emerged from a crisis with a better foundation because they did not abandon the project. They learned that they could act even while being acted upon and that because of Christ’s atoning power, the impact of their actions could overcome all things that acted upon them.

Although I have focused primarily on the traditional educational processes led by our outstanding faculty in the examples I have provided, there is a role for everyone and every unit to play in this process, including our academic support units. And their role is not limited to providing indispensable support to the academic colleges and departments. As amazing as those support efforts have been in the past five months—and they have been magnificent—the efforts of our academic support units in the central part of educating our students in a variety of ways have been equally impressive. The results may not be as widely known, but for some of our students, they are as eternally significant.

Let me highlight just one of many examples. This example shows what has happened with a student employee in BYU Publications and Graphics. [The video “Inspiring Learning: Brent Standley”30 was shown.] What a great example of inspiring learning—not in a classroom, not in a course, but through employment in an academic support unit. That is what we hope can happen everywhere on campus before, during, and after the pandemic.

I thank and love each of you for what you contribute to our mission, especially in these trying times. I do not think any university community has worked harder, more diligently, or more cooperatively than has ours to allow our students to gather in a safe way to learn in an atmosphere of faith the lessons of eternity that are available here.

I should acknowledge that no matter how hard we have worked, things will not all go according to plan. We will have to adjust. It is possible that we will have to abruptly return to remote ­delivery—and maybe early in the semester. But we will continue to focus on the essentials outlined in our mission statement, confident that we are laying the foundation of a great work and that as we act righteously even as we are acted upon, we will, with God’s help, succeed because this is part of His work that will not fail. I witness that God lives. He has a perfect plan for His children—for each one of us. Because of the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, Christ has the power to make all things right. And this is part of His work at this university. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

© Brigham Young University. All rights reserved. 

Notes

1. 2 Nephi 2:14.

2. See Steven M. Sandberg, “The Light of Forgiving,” BYU devotional address, 10 March 2020.

3. See Jack N. Gerard, “Could We Have Supposed?” BYU devotional address, 17 March 2020.

4. See 2 Nephi 2:26:

And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon.

5. As the months have passed, people have struggled to deal with the challenges the worldwide coronavirus pandemic created:

One description trending now is, “COVID fatigue.” It’s real and it’s strong.

Both the intensity and the length of time of COVID-19 stress takes a toll on everyone.

We’re tired of being cooped up, tired of being careful, tired of being scared. Our collective fatigue is making some people careless—one reason COVID-19 is rising sharply again in California and throughout the U.S. . . .

“This is a real challenge,” said Kaye Hermanson, UC Davis Health psychologist in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “There are no easy solutions.” . . .

“We know there are two kinds of stress that have long-term effects on our mental well-being and physical health—intense stress and prolonged stress,” Hermanson said. “We have both.”

Add to that the uncertainly about, well, almost everything.

“We have unknowns in every part of our lives,” she said. “At the same time, a lot of the things we generally do to cope, the things we enjoy and that give life meaning, have changed or been put off limits.” [“‘COVID Fatigue’ Is Hitting Hard. Fighting It Is Hard, Too, Says UC Davis Health Psychologist,” UC Davis Health, Newsroom, 7 July 2020, health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/covid-fatigue-is-hitting-hard-fighting-it-is-hard-too-says-uc-davis-health-psychologist/2020/07; see also Jamie Ducharme, “Are You Experiencing COVID-19 ‘Caution Fatigue’? Here’s What It Is, and How to Fight It,” Health, Time, 30 April 2020, time.com/5829312/covid-19-caution-fatigue.]

6. The uncertainty brought on by the pandemic has had a great impact on people’s decision-­making processes:

The pandemic is also amplifying our different ways of thinking about and acting in the face of uncertainty. We’re always making decisions with limited and possibly inaccurate information. We never know for sure whether or not we’ll catch an illness, have an accident, or be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s just that right now, for many of us the pressures are much higher than usual. That can stress us out. [Matthew Legge, “COVID-19: The Polarizing Impacts of Uncertainty,” Are We Done Fighting? (blog), Psychology Today, 12 June 2020, psychologytoday.com/us/blog/are-we-done-fighting/202006/covid-19-the-polarizing-impacts-uncertainty]

7. See Robin M. Hogarth, Educating Intuition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); see also David Epstein, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (New York: Riverhead Books, 2019), 21.

8. Epstein, Range, 21.

9. See Hogarth, Educating Intuition; see also Epstein, Range, 20.

10. Epstein, Range, 20–21.

11. A New York physician handled the tongues each of his patients and then moved directly to the next, trying to diagnose if they had typhoid, but he actually carried typhoid to each patient. See Hogarth, Educating Intuition, 85; see also Epstein, Range, 21.

12. The Mission of Brigham Young University (4 November 1981).

13. See Kevin J Worthen, “BYU: A Unique Kind of Education,” BYU university conference address, August 28, 2017; Worthen, “Fulfilling the Destiny of Zion,” BYU university conference address, 4 September 2018; and Worthen, “The Real Value of a BYU Education,” BYU university conference address, 26 August 2019.

14. Mission of BYU.

15. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (23 September 1995).

16. See D&C 122:5–8.

17. Mission of BYU.

18. “Restoration Class Projects Inspire Creativity, Build Faith,” 26 August 2020, Brigham Young Univer­sity, video, youtu.be/mZSAkL9mSLM.

19. Mission of BYU.

20. David Epstein is scheduled to deliver a BYU forum address on January 26, 2021.

21. Epstein, Range, 53.

22. “Vanishing Voices Inspire BYU Photography Project,” 4 September 2020, Brigham Young University, video, youtu.be/qfPIkSwyWt4.

23. Bruce C. Hafen, in Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, Faith Is Not Blind (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2018), 43.

24. Bruce C. Hafen, in Hafen and Hafen, Faith Is Not Blind, 45.

25. Mission of BYU.

26. Mission of BYU.

27. D&C 90:24; see also D&C 100:15. See also Paul in Romans 8:28.

28. Richard O. Cowan, “The Design, Construction, and Role of the Salt Lake Temple,” in Salt Lake City: The Place Which God Prepared, ed. Scott C. Esplin and Kenneth L. Alford (Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2011), 51; also Cowan, “The Design, Construction, and Role of the Salt Lake Temple,” BYU Religious Studies Center, rsc.byu.edu/salt-lake-city-place-which-god-prepared/design-construction-role-salt-lake-temple.

29. Cowan, “The Design,” 51; quoting Brigham Young, JD 10:254 (6 October 1863).

30. “Inspiring Learning: Brent Standley,” 4 September 2020, BYU Speeches, Brigham Young University, video, youtu.be/4rUr3dcoDTI.

See the complete list of abbreviations here

Kevin J Worthen

Kevin J Worthen, president of Brigham Young University, delivered this devotional address on August 24, 2020.