Today’s young adults are facing more challenges than ever before. So to help them navigate a complicated world while also finding the best within themselves, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offer the following messages in hopes of specifically ministering to our young brothers and sisters, taken from We’re with You: Counsel and Encouragement from Your Brethren.
The Good News of the Atonement
President Russell M. Nelson
Jesus personally defined the gospel. This term [gospel] comes from the Old English godspell, which literally means “good news.” “The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his/her works. This atonement was begun by his appointment in the premortal world but was worked out by Jesus during his mortal sojourn” (Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Gospels,” 682).
I would like to share a remarkable quotation that I found in a rare book in London one day while searching through the library of the British Museum. It was published as a 20th-century English translation of an ancient Coptic text.
It was written by Timothy, Patriarch of Alexandria, who died in A.D. 385. This record refers to the creation of Adam. Premortal Jesus is speaking of His Father: “He . . . made Adam according to Our image and likeness, and He left him lying for 40 days and 40 nights without putting breath into him. And He heaved sighs over him daily, saying, ‘If I put breath into this [man], he must suffer many pains.’ And I said unto My Father, ‘Put breath into him; I will be an advocate for him.’ And My Father said unto Me, ‘If I put breath into him, My beloved Son, Thou wilt be obliged to go down into the world, and to suffer many pains for him before Thou shalt have redeemed him, and made him to come back to his primal state.’ And I said unto My Father, ‘Put breath into him; I will be his advocate, and I will go down into the world, and will fulfil Thy command’” (“Discourse on Abbaton by Timothy, Archbishop of Alexandria,” Coptic Martyrdoms Etc. in the Dialect of Upper Egypt, vol. 4 of Coptic Texts, edited, with English translations, by E. A. Wallis Budge , 482; brackets appear in printed text).
Jesus’ responsibility as Advocate, Savior, and Redeemer was foredetermined in premortal realms and fulfilled by His Atonement (see Job 19:25–26; Matthew 1:21). Your responsibility is to remember, to repent, and to be righteous.
When We Don't Receive Revelation
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
We do not always receive inspiration or revelation when we request it. Sometimes we are delayed in the receipt of revelation, and sometimes we are left to our own judgment. We cannot force spiritual things. It must be so. Our life’s purpose to obtain experience and to develop faith would be frustrated if our Heavenly Father directed us in every act, even in every important act. We must make decisions and experience the consequences in order to develop self-reliance and faith.
Even in decisions we think very important, we sometimes receive no answers to our prayers. This does not mean that our prayers have not been heard. It only means that we have prayed about a decision which, for one reason or another, we should make without guidance by revelation.
No answer is likely to come to a person who seeks guidance in choosing between two alternatives that are equally acceptable to the Lord. Thus, there are times when we can serve productively in two different fields of labor. Either answer is right. When a choice will make a real difference in our lives—obvious or not—and when we are living in tune with the Spirit and seeking His guidance, we can be sure we will receive the guidance we need to attain our goal.
Elder M. Russell Ballard
While it is not possible for me to shake hands with you and look you in the eye personally, I want you to know that you are precious in the sight of your Heavenly Father. He loves you. The leaders of the Church love you.
I look at you and see the future of the Church—not just the future bishops, stake presidents, mission presidents, and auxiliary leaders, but the great ranks of future mothers and fathers, Primary and Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, home teachers, visiting teachers, Scout leaders, choir directors, and countless others who will serve the Lord in the 21st century.
It will be a different century from the one before it. In some ways it will be better; in other ways it will be much more difficult for you and for your children. But one thing is inescapable: it will be your century—one in which you have the opportunity to leave your mark for good or otherwise. You will try to influence others, and others will try to influence you. Either you will share and promote your core values, rooted in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, or you will allow others to define your values for you and your posterity.
Preparing for a Life of Service
Elder Robert D. Hales
To assist you in living lives of service, let me suggest three essential principles:
First, help others succeed.
In the world you will discover many people who seem to be average in their intelligence and yet are very, very successful. Why? Because they know that it is impossible to succeed alone. The only way to truly succeed is to help others succeed as well.
Second, learn and develop your own talents and value the talents of others.
Which part of the process is most important? The only right answer to that question is: None is most important because all are necessary. Or, to say it scripturally, “The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (1 Corinthians 12:21).
Third, obtain a spirit of serving and giving.
Let me remind you that your capacity to obtain and act upon this spirit of service and giving may depend upon your obedience to temporal commandments. Let us reap the blessings that will come from obedience to this counsel.
What are those blessings? In time, as you work hard and pay an honest tithe, you will be able to provide for your own needs and the needs of your family. Then you will have the privilege of acting upon the spirit of service and giving.
The Manner of Happiness
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
I do not think God in His glory or the angels of heaven or the prophets on earth intend to make us happy all the time, every day in every way, given the testing and trial this earthly realm is intended to provide. But my reassurance to you is that in God’s plan we can do very much to find the happiness we do desire.
Above all else, ultimate happiness, true peace, and anything even remotely close to scriptural joy are found first, foremost, and forever in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When the Apostle Thomas asked the Lord the question young people often ask today, “How can we know the way?” (and that really translates, “How can we know the way to be happy?”) Jesus gave the answer that rings from eternity to all eternity, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: . . . And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. . . . If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:5–6, 13–14).
What a promise! Live my way, live my truth, live my life—live in this manner that I am showing you and teaching you—and whatsoever you ask will be given, whatsoever you seek you will find, including happiness. Parts of the blessing may come soon, parts may come later, and parts may not come until heaven, but they will come—all of them. What encouragement that is after a blue Monday or a sad Tuesday or a tearful Wednesday! And it is a promise the realization of which cannot come any other way than by devotion to eternal truth!
Second, learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune. We have choice, we have volition, we have agency, and we can choose if not happiness per se, then we can choose to live after the manner of it.
Happy people aren’t negative or cynical or mean, so don’t plan on that being part of the “manner of happiness.” If my life has taught me anything, it is that kindness and pleasantness and faithbased optimism are characteristics of happy people.
When Answers Don't Come Quickly
Elder David A. Bednar
Jesus Christ knows and loves us individually. He is concerned about our spiritual development and progress, and He encourages us to grow through the exercise of inspired, righteous, and wise judgment. The Redeemer will never leave us alone. We should always pray for guidance and direction. We should always seek for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. But we should not be dismayed or discouraged if answers to our petitions for direction or help do not necessarily come quickly. Such answers rarely come all at once. Our progress would be hindered and our judgment would be weak if every answer was given to us immediately and without requiring the price of faith, work, study, and persistence.
For more inspired words from the Brethren, read We’re with You: Counsel and Encouragement from Your Brethren, available at Deseret Book.