Counseling Is an Eternal Skill Set, Teaches BYU President Worthen

Contributed By Noelle Baldwin, Church News contributor


Brigham Young University President Kevin J Worthen speaks in the Marriott Center at BYU's Women's Conference on April 28.  Photo by Savanna Sorensen, BYU.

Article Highlights

  • Family members can be one of our greatest sources of counsel.
  • Following prophetic counsel leads to blessings.
  • Heavenly Father is the source of all true and good counsel.

“Because [Heavenly Father] has greater knowledge, great love, and greater foresight than all mortal beings combined, we need to always remind ourselves that His counsel is superior to any other counsel we can receive.” —Kevin J Worthen, president of Brigham Young University

Giving and receiving counsel “is a skill set that is central to eternal life and the plan of salvation,” said Kevin J Worthen, president of Brigham Young University, at the recent BYU Women’s Conference. President Worthen said that counseling is “an eternal skill set—one that we used in our premortal existence and one that we will likely use in the next era of our existence if we are to be exalted.”

President Worthen, who followed Sister Carole M. Stephens, spoke in the Marriott Center on April 28.

He spoke on the need to give and take counsel in order to become like Heavenly Father. Learning to express and listen to counsel is necessary in order to progress in this life and the next, he taught.

President Worthen said that Heavenly Father has provided a multitude of counselors to help each person in this mortal life. The first one he mentioned was families “who can help us find and stay on the safe path.”


“Indeed, at times our close family members, especially our spouses, can be the most valuable counselors we have.” President Worthen shared several experiences in which he felt overwhelmed with his work and other responsibilities when his wife, through much-needed counsel, refocused his perspective on the gospel. “Inspired counsel from a loving wife instantly lifted my spirits and rekindled my faith,” he said. President Worthen pleaded with the audience to “recognize the essential and life-changing counseling role you can play as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, and aunts when you provide inspired and inspiring counsel at critical times.”

Church leaders

The second group of counselors in the multitude President Worthen spoke of was Church leaders. These inspired leaders, both Churchwide and local leaders, can help members along the path that leads to exaltation, he taught. President Worthen shared the experience of a Relief Society in southern Utah. President Brigham Young advised the sisters to save money and flour, which they began to do. In 1898–1899 there was a severe drought in southern Utah, and the Relief Society was able to provide the much-needed food.

If prophetic counsel is received and acted upon, said President Worthen, further benefits and blessings will come. The food that was not used during the drought was later sold to the U.S. government to help the nation during a food shortage caused by World War I. The money that was earned was used to help improve the health of women and children.

“Following prophetic counsel often blesses not just the direct recipients of the counsel but also those who are blessed by their resulting inspired actions,” he said.

Heavenly Father

The last counselor that President Worthen spoke of is Heavenly Father, who is “the source of all true and good counsel.” In fact, the divine role of all mortal counselors is to lead members closer to the Father. President Worthen said that this is when mortal counsel is the most powerful.

“Because He has greater knowledge, great love, and greater foresight than all mortal beings combined, we need to always remind ourselves that His counsel is superior to any other counsel we can receive,” said President Worthen. Heavenly Father wants everyone to come to Him in prayer and to share thoughts and feelings. However, President Worthen said, if Heavenly Father’s counsel is followed, “[we] align our will with His.”

President Worthen taught that learning to not only listen to but also to act on the Lord’s counsel is of “critical importance.” At times, he said, it will be uncomfortable and may stretch a person in ways that are painful, but it will be worth it. “Our willingness to hearken to the Lord’s counsel,” said President Worthen “in [a] whole-hearted and whole-minded manner may be one of the most important factors that determine our eternal destiny.”

Our Father wants to build and lift each person further than he or she could ever imagine. President Worthen closed with his testimony that counsel is an inspired, heavenly attribute. He also said that, “As we hearken unto His counsel we will be eternally blessed.”