Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraging young adults to set goals, use social media wisely, and face the future fearlessly in a worldwide devotional on Sunday.
Originating from a stake center adjacent to the Washington D.C. Temple, the broadcast occurred on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Speaking briefly of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Elder Cook recalled the experience of his oldest son and his young family watching the hijacked plane crash into the second tower from the roof of their Manhattan apartment, before making their way to the Manhattan Stake Center for refuge.
"My purpose this evening is not to have you dwell on terrible events from the past," Elder Cook said. Instead, he encouraged young adults to emphasize joyful events, like the moment they received a testimony of the gospel, the day they were sealed to their spouse, or the day they opened a mission call.
“But I also want to help you contemplate the trials, tribulations, and dangers that you either face, or fear you will face in your individual lives,” he said, describing three different challenges—physical dangers, special challenges that may be unique to our day, and spiritual dangers and challenges.
Since physical dangers are the easiest to see and the first to be reported, Elder Cook described the uneasiness that accompanies living in a world filled with war, violence, and terrorism. "When we do not feel safe physically, we feel personally vulnerable," he said.
Elder Cook shared the response of two of the missionaries involved in the terrorist Brussels airport bombings, where four LDS missionaries were injured. He quoted Sister Fanny Clain, who said, "Passing through these kinds of things makes me better understand people, because people have really hard things in their lives, so now I've had hard things, too, so I can understand more."
Not only does her experience give her more understanding of people, but she also commented on how her experience led her to trust in God. "When we choose to trust in God, we can see how He helps us and how extraordinary it is. I trust in Him more now than before," she said.
Sister Fanny Clain (left) and Brother Richard Norby (right) were injured in the Brussels airport bombing. Sister Norby also pictured. Image retrieved as a screenshot from lds.org.
When facing special challenges, like making decisions about education, employment, marriage and family, Elder Cook emphasized the importance of setting and achieving worthwhile goals.
"I am particularly concerned about how many young adults fail to set righteous goals or have a plan to achieve them,” he said. “I am also concerned that many underestimate and devalue their own talents and capabilities. Resolving these two issues will bring much joy into your life."
Elder Cook asked young adults to evaluate how the internet and social media affect their personal goals and how they use their time. "My earnest plea is that all of us will evaluate how and when we use the internet and social media," he said. "We hear a lot about being authentic in social media. Being sincerely Christlike is an even more important goal than being authentic."
He encouraged young adults to comment on his Facebook page about their concerns about social media, as well as how social media blesses them.
Sister Mary G. Cook also participated in the devotional. Her remarks focused on those who may feel lonely or unsuccessful. She said, "I think it is important to keep in mind that we are never truly alone. The Savior has promised us comfort. We can be alone, but we do not have to be lonely."
She continued, "Regardless of your situation at this present time, find joy in everyday life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up every morning and say: 'I feel loved, I feel accepted and I feel successful.' We can all do this."
Watch the full devotional on lds.org.
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