‘We are not all meant to be the brightest star’: BYU professor talks on discovering self-worth

Denise Stephens wonders if Pluto is a reminder of God's love.

When she first saw pictures of the heart-shaped region on Pluto called the Tombaugh Regio , she "couldn't help but wonder" if God intentionally created a geographical feature in the shape of a heart, knowing it would be in the right location for the New Horizons spacecraft to see it on July 14, 2015.

"Did God put that feature on Pluto billions of years ago, knowing we would never see it until these last days, to remind us of His love?" she said. "To remind us that he is aware of us? I don't know, but maybe."

Stephens, an astronomy professor at BYU, further explored this idea during a July 3 devotional in the de Jong Concert Hall at BYU, testifying that, "we may not know the 'whys' of all of God's creations, but each of God's vast creations is a reminder that He is in charge, that there is a divine plan and that we are here on this Earth for a much greater purpose than what the world would espouse."

She illustrated this by explaining that though stars look the same from Earth, in actuality "they vary in glory."

For example, the Earth's own sun is neither the biggest or hottest star in the galaxy; however, if the sun was any bigger, Earth would be too hot for life, and if it was any smaller, Earth would be too cold. Therefore, "the sun perfectly fills its measure of creation," she said. "Stars like the sun are ideal for providing an environment that can sustain life. The sun has the perfect set of attributes to fulfill the calling it's been given."

Likewise, each child of God has different attributes and talents, each is at a different stage in their eternal development and therefore each has a different mission while on Earth.

And just like the sun, "each of you has the perfect attributes and qualities you need to fill the measure of your creation," she said.

Stephens also warned against the dangers of comparing, particularly through social media, by explaining her research on brown dwarf stars. Brown dwarfs are often called "failed stars" in the scientific community because they didn't have enough mass to ignite hydrogen fusion in their cores; however, she hates the label "failed stars" because brown dwarfs were never meant to become stars. Rather, due to how brown dwarfs are more like planets, they provide valuable information about the nature of gas giants. In this way, "they perfectly fulfill the measure of their creation."

"We are not all meant to be the brightest star, the largest star or the hottest star," Stephens said. "In fact, we may not even be meant to be a star, and if we keep comparing ourselves against something that we're not, we will never find true happiness in this life."

She continued: "The next time you doubt your self-worth or feel that you are lacking as you compare yourself to others, remember that you are a child of God. You are His creation. And you are perfect in who you are meant to be. Reach out to Him, and He will help you discover the gifts and talents He has given you, and the mission He has for you in this life. None of us are failures."

She also challenged listeners to set aside distractions and take time each day "to be a witness to creation." This could be as simple as taking a walk, feeling the grass or enjoying a starry night sky. By doing this, people can remember their eternal nature and that their current challenges are only a small moment in eternity.

Stephens concluded with her testimony that God knows each of His children and what they need to return to Him.

"Among all of our Father in Heaven's vast creations, you are the focus of His work and His glory," she said. "While earths will come and go, stars will live and die, you are eternal.

"Your exaltation is the reason for the creation of everything you see around you."