15 Talks All LDS Teens Need to Hear

Rough Start, Great Finish

John Bytheway

"With the help of the Savior, all of us can turn our rough starts into great finishes."

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The scriptures repeatedly show that you have to go through the wilderness to get to the promised land. It was true for Lehi and his family, and it's true in our personal lives. Many people who had a rough beginning end up having a great finish. (For example, do you know which current member of the Quorum of the Twelve struggled so badly in arithmetic that on one occasion classmates threw rocks at him and called him "stupid?" You'll have to listen to find out!)

Using true examples from the lives of well-known individuals, this motivating presentation shows that your current problems will not prevent your future success. In fact, your current problems may prepare you for your future success!


John Bytheway

"You’re either on board or not. You’re either in or out, but you cannot be halfway. It’s physically impossible."

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In this motivating talk related to the 2015 youth theme, John Bytheway explains what it means to truly embark—to get fully on board in the service of God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Using scriptures, powerful stories, and his characteristic humor, John explains that with the Savior's help, we can remain on board and eventually stand blameless before God at the last day.

The Continuous Atonement for Teens

Brad Wilcox

"Christ doesn't make up the difference, He makes all the difference."

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Brad Wilcox's The Continuous Atonement is a landmark work that helps to clarify what the Atonement is—and what it isn't. It corrects misperceptions and offers hope to those who struggle again and again.

This teen adaptation will help teenagers better understand and apply the Atonement in their lives and help them teach the nuances of the Atonement to others, whether on a mission, at home, or with friends. As they better understand and apply the Atonement, its transforming power will have a lasting effect on their lives.

Each chapter opens with a teen-appropriate question and includes subheadings to clarify content, new stories relevant to teens, and a Prepare to Teach section to help readers internalize and share what they're learning. This shorter edition will be printed in paperback—perfect for teens to carry with them through their busy days.

Filling Your Testimony Tank

Brad Wilcox

"You have much more testimony than you're giving yourself credit for."

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Brad Wilcox maintains that young people who struggle with the gospel and claim that they don't have a testimony or have "lost" it really do have a testimony, even though their "testimony tank" may not be completely full. He explains in this fireside to LDS youth that members of the Church have testimonies at different levels—perhaps 1/4 full (a testimony of experience) or 1/2 full (a testimony through study), and so on. But adding to these 'testimony tanks' often is part of living the gospel— constantly finding ways to strengthen our testimonies, or "fill" them. In his typically enthusiastic way, Brad discusses what it means to have a testimony tank gauge indicating these various levels and how to keep your tank at full.

Thou Shalt Be Nice

Hank Smith

"When the Lord says stand ye in holy places, standing takes two feet. You don’t put one foot in the world and one foot in the Church. He does not say, stand one foot in holy places. He says stand ye in holy places. It takes 100 percent commitment."

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Before he met his future father-in-law, Hank’s experience with chickens was pretty much limited to the fingerlickin’ good kind or those little nugget things you dip in sauce. But Hank learned that chickens have a “pecking order” within the flock, and at the bottom of this order is often found a scrawny, pathetic bird just struggling to survive. Hank also learned that people can be a lot like chickens—especially in junior high and high school. In order to make themselves more “popular,” teens often break into little groups and pick on someone who doesn’t quite fit in. In this entertaining and eye-opening talk, Brother Smith describes how his life was changed by the example of someone who didn’t follow the flock, but instead reached out to others to help them feel loved. He shares what he calls the “Laura Larsen Challenge” as he invites others to rise above the pecking order and be nice!

Real Life

Hank Smith

"The armor of God is not convenient or comfortable, but that is not its purpose. God isn’t all that interested in how comfy you are. Why do we wear the armor God? Not to make us comfy and not to make it convenient, but to protect us."

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Sometimes, life doesn’t go exactly as planned. The fact is, in spite of our best efforts, real life can be tough and living the gospel can be difficult. In this inspiring and entertaining talk from popular speaker Hank Smith, we are reminded that life has its challenges, but eternal life has its rewards. Brother Smith likes Paul’s analogy of putting on the whole armor of God because armor isn’t designed for comfort. “We wear the armor of God,” says Brother Smith, “not the ‘sweats of heaven.’ We don’t put on the ‘hoodie of happiness,’ we put on the breastplate of righteousness. It’s not the ‘beanie of benevolence,’ it’s the helmet of salvation. Remember, the armor of God isn’t meant to be comfortable or convenient, it’s meant to protect us.” Using enlightening stories and impactful scriptures, Brother Smith teaches us how we can be sure we are on the Lord’s team and following His path. He reminds us that there is great power in truly living the gospel in real life.

Trusting the Savior in a World that Doesn't: Life Lessons for Youth

Christopher B. Munday

"Some many of us nibble the scriptures. So many of us lick the scriptures. But it’s when we feast upon the scriptures that we feel strength to our lives."

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Question: How can I be truly happy? In his charming British accent, Christopher B. Munday gives clear answers through his humorous, inspiring, and even life-changing stories about growing up in Gravesend, England. From dealing with a disobedient dog to saving a son from a giant wave to loving a wayward family member, Christopher B. Munday teaches powerful gospel lessons that will help young men and young women build faith and find true courage.

He also teaches the importance of making the right choice at the right time, learning to hear and recognize the voice of God in your life every day, and focusing on blessings that come from "fully trusting the Savior." Learn three simple keys that will bring spiritual protection and happiness to the youth of the Church.

With All Your Might, Mind and Strength

G. Sheldon Martin

"There is no better work to be involved in than missionary work."

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Young men and women wanting to serve the Lord as missionaries must prepare themselves in many ways. One of the most important and sometimes overlooked ways in which they need to prepare is emotionally. In this informative and enlightening talk, G. Sheldon Martin, a mental health counselor and instructor for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, shares practical ways prospective missionaries can be prepared to successfully serve the Lord. Using insights gleaned from his years of training and experience in the mental health field, Brother Martin presents eight hypothetical emotionally stressful situations missionaries might face and then describes what kinds of things potential missionaries and their parents can do beforehand to prepare. He addresses issues such as being homesick, dealing with rejection, feeling shy, getting along with companions, learning to work hard, and feeling worthy to serve. With All Your Heart, Might, Mind, and Strength will be an invaluable tool for all who are called to serve.

How to Survive Your Greatest Blessings

Emily Watts

"All things work together for our good, even when we can’t possibly see what Heavenly Father has in mind."

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If you have a job, or children, or a spouse, or a body, you probably understand the idea of a "mixed blessing." Popular speaker and author Emily Watts observes, "It's as if every mortal experience is a coin with two sides. If you want to be happy, learn to see the blessing side of the coin." She goes on to give many examples, framed by her own hilarious, real-life stories, illustrating how to shed our pride, rejoice in the blessings we've been given, and trust that the Lord knows what he is doing even when we can't see what He has in mind for us.

Who's That Girl

Laurel Christensen

"He knows who you are and what you’re capable of. He knows your name. He knows who you are meant to be. He knows all of the incredible things that are waiting for you."

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Laurel was sitting in her 2nd period Psychology class in high school when the loudspeaker announcement was made that she would be giving the high school graduation speech. The guy sitting behind her (who had been sitting behind her all year long) said, “Who the heck is Laurel Christensen?” The question haunted her for a long time. It's easy for girls to confuse or simply not know their identity in this world today. Drawing on life experiences, Laurel shares a message for all young women that God knows who they are — and He knows who He needs them to be.

Tuned In

Jack Marshall

"I know the gospel will make more of us than we will ever make of ourselves."

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"We are so tuned in on electronic things, it may be very difficult for us to tune into the spirit."

While the fight between good and evil is nothing new, Satan is constantly adding modern weapons to his armory in his attempts to bring down today's youth. In this entertaining and thought-provoking talk, popular speaker Jack Marshall shares insights into how to overcome today's high-tech temptations. "Your generation is challenged with something no other generation has been challenged with," says Brother Marshall, "and that is high technology and how the adversary uses it for your downfall."

With inspiring stories and quotes, personal examples, and teachings from the scriptures, Brother Marshall helps arm the youth with an arsenal of real tools to help them be "battle ready." In a world filled with mixed signals and confusing clamor, Tuned In will be a welcome message for every Latter-day stripling warrior.

Overcoming Spiritual Slumps

Justin Su'a

"Before we can even begin to make a difference in the lives of other people, we have to know who we are."

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As a performance psychology consultant who teaches professional athletes, elite dancers, Olympians, and business professionals how to enhance performance through mental skills training, Justin Su’a knows how to help people overcome challenges and do their very best. In this enlightening talk, Brother Su’a teaches four proven principles to help members of the Church get past the “spiritual slumps” in their lives. “In your pursuit of righteousness it is likely you will encounter trials, pain, and feelings of inadequacy,” says Brother Su’a. “One of the key components to a mentally tough individual is the ability to bounce back from setbacks.” Using colorful stories, examples from the scriptures, and his trademark enthusiasm, Brother Su’a shares what can be a life-changing message for his listeners.

The Devil Made Me Do It

Anthony Sweat

"There is no flaw in our nature that we cannot change through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

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You've heard people say it; maybe you've even said it yourself: "The devil made me do it." But such an idea is inconsistent with gospel principles and is just one more way Satan tries to trick us into blaming others and not taking ownership of our actions. (Other common traps include "That makes me mad!" and "That's just the way I am!") In this engaging fireside presentation, author and popular speaker Anthony Sweat extends six invitations that will help us learn how to better use our gift of agency. We can choose how we act and who we become. And when we stop making excuses and start taking responsibility, we can receive the happiness Heavenly Father wants us to have in this life.

You Are What You Speak: Why Choosing Your Words Matters

John Hilton III

"The words we say really matter."

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The tongue can be difficult to tame—but we will be judged by the words we use. In this talk, popular youth speaker John Hilton discusses different kinds of language, including both negative language (gossip, criticism, vulgarity) and positive language (honesty, integrity, compliments). In the strength of the Lord we can control the things we say and bless others with the words we use.

Dating and the Plan of Happiness: What Every Teenager Should Know

John Hilton III

"When we understand God’s plan for us, we realize that not only are we children of God but so are the people we are dating."

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"Why do I have to wait until I'm 16 to date?"

"Why is so much emphasis given to the law of chastity?"

"How far can you go and still not sin?"

These are some of the questions often asked by youth. In this candid talk, John Hilton gives straightforward answers, using teachings of the prophets, humor, and illustrative stories. John remembers what it was like to be a teenager on the merry-go-round of dating and has the additional perspective of a mission and temple marriage to help him discuss some sensitive issues about morality in the context of the "big picture." John focuses on dating in terms of the plan of happiness and explains the benefits of setting and following personal standards. This is a talk that will not only help you navigate the waters of dating but also have more fun doing so.

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