On Saturday night, I settled down with a mug of apple cider and a bowl of spicy butternut squash pasta to watch the worldwide devotional for young adults with Elder and Sister Cook. I was wrapped up in the spirit of autumn festivities, and a rather large blanket, waiting for the devotional to start.
When it came on, I was pleasantly surprised to see President Russell M. Nelson first on the screen. I hadn’t been expecting to hear from him, but I consider any chance to listen to the prophet a privilege. What he said made me put down my festive meal and ponder why I need to start attending institute. (Suggestions from prophets tend to make you do that.) President Nelson listed 13 specific blessings that come from attending institute, ranging from more joy in your life now to becoming a better peacemaker. While a few of these blessings definitely appealed to a more young adult crowd, they were blessings anyone would benefit from. I could certainly use all of these blessings. So I reviewed his message and created a list of the blessings he promised:
- Deepen your conversion to Jesus Christ
- Feel more of Heavenly Father’s great love for you
- Learn from inspiring instructors
- Make faithful friends
- Gain a feeling of belonging
- See why living the gospel leads to never ending happiness
- Help to live the gospel
- Feel more joy, right now
- Know the truth about who you really are
- Know the purpose of life
- Receive help to stay on the covenant path
- Learn how to let God prevail in your life
- Become a peacemaker
“I promise these blessings and express my love for you,” President Nelson said at the end of the video.
I’ve always known institute was a good way to spend my time, but that knowledge didn’t always translate into action. Dedicating my free time, even if it is only one evening a week, seemed like something I just wasn’t willing to give up. I already go church every Sunday and fulfill my responsibilities serving on the activities committee. But pondering President Nelson’s message has made me reconsider. God wouldn’t ask His prophet to remind us of the blessings of institute if He didn’t care about us going. And God only ever asks us to do that which is already in our best interest.
Is there something on that list of blessings that you need or want? A blessing that you know your family members or friends might benefit from? Perhaps your answer lies in attending institute. It might not be convenient, but it will be worth it, because if I know anything it’s that God keeps His promises. “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (D&C 82:10)
You can watch President Nelson's full video in the player below.