As I prepare to speak to young adults throughout the Church, Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles collected comments.
Beginning with the Church’s educational system campuses—Brigham Young University, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, and Ensign College—and then expanding to BYU-Pathway Worldwide and religious institutes around the world, the leaders of these institutions helped glean issues that were of greatest concern to young adult Latter-day Saints today.
“It was a wonderful process, and at the end the questions were amazing,” Elder Cook reported on the Young Adult World Devotional Broadcast on Sunday, November 19.
Whether a student at an institute in Peru, an engineering student at BYU-Idaho, a BYU-Pathway student in Africa, or a professional working at an institute in Europe, “ young adults throughout the Church are united in their faith in Jesus Christ and share similar desires, aspirations and concerns. You are extraordinary and you play such an important role in the future of this Church,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook was joined at the vigil by his wife, Sister Mary Cook, as well as Clark G. Gilbert, a General Authority Seventy and Church Commissioner of Education, and his wife, Sister Christine Gilbert. The devotion was recorded at the Marriott Center on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah.
By grouping the questions into categories, Elder and Sister Cook and Elder and Sister Gilbert addressed five topics:
1. Face the challenges of life and faith.
2. Love and belonging.
3. Life planning and life balance.
4. Defend the truth.
5. Receive personal revelation and prophetic guidance.
Facing the challenges of life and faith
Because there is opposition in all things and an adversary who desires to thwart faith in God, “each generation must discover and obtain its own knowledge and testimony of God” and His eternal identity, Elder Cook said.
Questions about faith and one’s true identity as a child of God have existed and been questioned throughout history, Elder Cook said. “But the answer has always been the same. We are all spirit children of the same loving Heavenly Father.
President Russell M. Nelson emphasized three enduring designations: child of God, child of the covenant, and disciple of Jesus Christ.
“He also encouraged us not to label ourselves or others,” Elder Cook said. “Many of the problems we face would be solved if we recognized ourselves as children of a loving Heavenly Father.”
Those who wish to destroy the faith often assume or assert that large numbers of people have the same social preferences and are no longer faithful members.
In reality, “youth and young adults are not less active or leaving the Church in greater numbers than in the past, as has been widely publicized,” Elder Cook said. “The number of missionaries called to serve has increased significantly. The percentage of church participation for the rising generation shows a continued upward trend. Additionally, the number of young adults attending the institute has also increased.
The answer to every doubt or challenge of faith is the gospel of Jesus Christ, Elder Cook said. “I promise you: if you faithfully read the scriptures, pray, and practice religion in your life, over time you will find answers to your questions and dispel the doubts that may arise from time to time. »
Love and belonging
Sister Cook testified to the young adults that they are all children of God and belong to the Lord’s restored Church of Jesus Christ. “No matter our different situations, we all have our place. »
Scripture clearly teaches that God loves all of His spirit children, she said, and shared 2 Nephi 26:33. “He invites them all to come to him and share his goodness; and he does not deny any who come to him, black and white, slave and free, male and female; …and all are the same before God.
Last month, Elder and Sister Cook were with mission leaders in Ephesus, Turkey, where the Apostle Paul had lived and taught, Elder Cook said. One of Paul’s epistles to the Ephesians contains the statement: “Now therefore you are no longer strangers or strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints and with the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
“We all have our place,” Elder Cook reiterated.
The greatest example of God’s love is found in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Sister Cook said.
She then invited listeners to ask themselves, “Do my actions show my love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Am I helping others around me to believe? If I were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?
Life planning and life balance
When Brother Gilbert worked as CEO of the Deseret News, he was also a bishop. He and his wife had seven children. “It was an incredibly demanding season,” he recalls.
One day, the the late President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called and inquired about Brother Gilbert’s family, then assigned him to have a weekly appointment. President Packer then asked what time Brother Gilbert went to bed each night. When Brother Gilbert responded, “1 or 2 a.m.,” President Packer imposed “an apostolic curfew, which I have endeavored to observe ever since,” Brother Gilbert reported.
So how do they handle all their important responsibilities? » asked Sister Gilbert. It starts with shared planning and goals.
“Even when we have to be apart, we always feel united when we share a common goal,” she said. “So when my husband was traveling for work, or I was teaching an early morning seminary class, or he was on a ward mission, if we planned for these responsibilities and were aligned on our purpose, we were together even when we had to be apart.
Brother Gilbert encouraged listeners to set clear limits on certain choices. “For our family, this included Sunday church attendance, weekly family home evening, morning and evening family devotions, and time spent together as a couple each week. »
Defend the truth
When Brother Gilbert joined Elder and Sister Cook at the Washington DC Temple Open House, he said he marveled during their meeting with a group of prominent national journalists and academics. “The Cooks clearly shared the truths of the gospel, including the importance of temple marriage, moral purity and covenants, while establishing bonds of understanding with others,” Elder Gilbert said.
1. Avoid overly controversial settings.
2. Love others, find common ground, even when you disagree.
3. Stick to the truth.
4. Be a light to others.
5. Stay grounded in Jesus Christ.
In October 2023 general conference, Elder Cook said: “Peaceful Disciples of Christ don’t do it (don’t withdraw from the truth and don’t fail to love others). We are warm and engaged members of the communities where we live. We (also) love, share and invite all God’s children to follow the teachings of Christ.
Sister Gilbert said, “I think this is what President Nelson taught us in his call to be peacemakers. He does not want us to stray from the truth, but He wants us to do so with the love of the Savior.
Personal Revelation and Prophetic Guidance
The message, ministry and atonement of Jesus Christ are essential programs for receiving personal revelation, Elder Cook said. “No Scripture more characterizes a true quest for faith than 2 Nephi 25:26. “And we speak of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach Christ, we prophesy about Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know from what source they may seek the remission of their sins.”
The Book of Mormon has an important role to play in receiving personal revelation, Elder Cook taught. Although some may disparage or underestimate this sacred book, “a testimony of the restored gospel must be based on faith rather than on external or scientific evidence.”
Ultimately, Moroni’s advice to read and think, then ask God to confirm scriptural truths is the answer, he continued. “Clearly, the dividing line between those who hear the music of faith and those who are deaf or false is active study of the Scriptures and following the counsel of the Lord’s prophet. »
Elder Cook cited a quote from Spencer W. Kimball: “Of all the things for which…we should be thankful…it is that the heavens are indeed opened and the restored Church of Jesus Christ is founded on the rock of the revelation. Continuing revelation is indeed the lifeblood of the gospel of the living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Having served as an apostle under three prophets, Elder Cook testified that “continuing revelation has been received and is being received through the channels which the Lord has established.”
What Wilford Woodruff said about Joseph Smith is also true about President Nelson, Elder Cook said. “I saw “the work of the Spirit of God with him, the revelation of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of these revelations.” He is the prophet of the Lord.