Out of all of the things President Russell M. Nelson is known for, his love for the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could be considered high on the list. In fact, the prophet hasn’t been shy about challenging the youth of the Church at every opportunity. He has even made enlisting the youth high priority.
President Nelson explained that sense of urgency he feels when it comes to challenging the youth in a worldwide devotional to the youth on June 3, 2018:
“Think of this, my dear young brothers and sisters, right now I am preparing for the day when I will be required to give an accounting to the Prophet Joseph Smith, to President Brigham Young, and others—and ultimately to the Lord—about my stewardship as God’s prophet upon the earth today. I do not want to be asked, “Brother Nelson, why were you not more clear with the youth about their part in gathering Israel? Why were you not more bold in enlisting them to participate?”
In that historic gathering, President Nelson invited every young woman and every young man in the Church to enlist in the "youth battalion of the Lord" and to take part in what he calls “the greatest challenge, the greatest cause and the greatest work on earth."
Here are just some of the ways President Nelson has challenged the youth over the last year.
President Russell M. Nelson greets youth prior to speaking at a devotional held in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, November 18, 2018. Photo by INTELLECTUAL RESERVE
5 Things to Know
Speaking at the youth devotional the night before the Rome Italy Temple dedication, President Nelson offered insights he hoped the youth would embrace.
First, the prophet shared five things to know:
- Know the truth and stand for it: “As the world grows more and more secular and less spiritual, your growth should be more and more spiritual and less secular. Strive to stand for principle instead for popularity.”
- Know and see yourself as the Creator sees you: “You are created in His image—male and female. You are divinely created. . . . Take care of your body.”
- Know you are accountable for your deeds and for your desires.
- Know your true identity: “You are the seed of Abraham, the seed of Isaac, the seed of Jacob.”
- Know your purpose: “You were sent to earth for a reason. Find out what that is. . . . Apply your knowledge to the benefit and blessing of other people."
5 Things To Do
Next, President Nelson shared five things to do:
- Prepare for marriage: “Prepare continually to be a wife or a husband. Prepare now to be a mother or a father.” If marriage doesn’t come immediately, “increase your education, your experience, and your emulation of the Lord so you become more desirable with each passing year.”
- Prepare and pursue an education and higher learning: “Education is a religious responsibility.”
- Feast on the words of the Lord: “It doesn’t matter what your career is or what your circumstances may be. . . . If you will read the scriptures daily, you will have spiritual life insurance.” He also instructed them to pray unceasingly. “Constantly consult the Lord.”
- Pay your tithing: “You learn to pay your tithing when you are young.”
- Honor your parents: “Learn from them. Learn from your grandparents.”
Youth sing during a devotional with President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson in Concepción, Chile, on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
5 Study Topics To Spiritually Prepare to Attend the Temple
Hours before the dedication of the Concepcion Chile Temple, the prophet reinforced his invitation to young people to enlist in the youth battalion and gather Israel.
“You are beloved youth of the noble birthright,” President Nelson said during the Oct. 27th devotional. “I believe in you. I trust you. I love you. And I bless you with all that God knows that you need.”
President Nelson spoke of the blessings of the temple and how youth can prepare for the eternal blessings that await them. He emphasized that anyone may enter the temple if they are willing to prepare for it.
“You as wonderful youth are especially welcome and wanted in the temple,” he added.
President Nelson invited all youth to prepare spiritually for the temple by studying five topics in the Bible dictionary:
“Keeping a covenant with God is both protective and empowering,” President Nelson said. “When we choose to deny ourselves of all ungodliness, we lose nothing of value and gain glory known only to those who obtain eternal life. It is the kind of life that God lives. It is truly well worth your effort.”
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Learn How to Receive Personal Revelation
During the worldwide devotional in June, President Nelson challenged the youth to emulate the teenaged Joseph Smith by taking their concerns and questions directly to Heavenly Father in prayer.
“Ask Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to guide you," he said. "You can learn for yourself—right now at your age—how to receive personal revelation. And nothing will make a bigger difference in your life than that!”
President Nelson promised the youth that they will be guided in their life and reap the rewards of personal revelation if they will do the spiritual work necessary.
“I promise you—not the person sitting next to you, but you—that, wherever you are in the world, wherever you are on the covenant path—even if, at this moment, you are not centered on the path—I promise you that if you will sincerely and persistently do the spiritual work needed to develop the crucial, spiritual skill of learning how to hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, you will have all the direction you will ever need in your life. You will be given answers to your questions in the Lord’s own way and in His own time.”
Youth gather at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, to hear President Russell M. Nelson on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Photo from ChurchofJesusChrist.org
Read the Book of Mormon
President Nelson taught the youth that offering the gospel of Jesus Christ to others is the most important work on the earth today and that the youth play a vital role in the gathering of Israel.
“There is nothing happening on this earth right now that is more important than [the gathering of Israel.] There is nothing of greater consequence. Absolutely nothing. ....This gathering should mean everything to you. This is the mission for which you were sent to earth.”
Reading the Book of Mormon daily, said the prophet, is central to the gathering of Israel because it will teach youth the doctrine. He said, “You will learn the doctrine of the gathering, truths about Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and the fulness of His gospel not found in the Bible. . . . In fact, if there were no Book of Mormon, the promised gathering of Israel would not occur."
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5 Calls to Action
President Nelson gave five specific calls to action that will help the youth not only change the world for the better but change themselves as well.
- Take a break from the negative influence of social media.
- Make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord.
- Keep on the covenant path. If you are off, repent and get back on the path.
- Pray daily that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Stand out. Be different. Be a light. Give to a friend one copy of the booklet For the Strength of Youth.
President Nelson shared how he has been blessed throughout his life by choosing to follow the prophet no matter what the counsel and no matter what the cost. He testified that when we do, we will be blessed, too.
“It is my testimony that when we follow through with whatever the prophet of God asks us to do, the way will be opened and lives will be changed," he said.