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Elder Uchtdorf offers apostolic assurance to FSY participants in Seattle: ‘Your strength is the Savior’


SEATTLE, Washington — Recharge your spiritual batteries by discovering strength in Christ: That was the defining theme during the Thursday, July 21, session of the For the Strength of Youth conference at Seattle University.

For starters, the 230 young FSY participants who gathered on this urban campus felt a collective “recharge” when they were joined by surprise guests: Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles along with his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, and several Uchtdorf family members.

The Uchtdorfs were in the United States’ Pacific Northwest for a family reunion and vacation and did not want to pass on an opportunity to spend a few hours with area Latter-day Saint youth.

“This is the highlight of our trip,” Elder Uchtdorf told the young FSY participants. “This is the highlight of our family reunion — to be with you on this day.”

For the youth participants and their young adult counselors, sharing the FSY experience with the Uchtdorfs seemed symbolic of the fellowship and fun found in every FSY event being held this year around the globe.

“I’m here at FSY because I wanted to strengthen my testimony of the gospel and to be around my friends and make new ones,” said Sarah Archibald of Renton, Washington.

Spending the morning with the Uchtdorfs, added Sarah, was an unexpected bonus. “It was fun to see their family unity — and I liked how the Uchtdorfs emphasized that we all have a divine center.”

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Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf bid farewell during an appearance at the For the Strength of Youth Conference at Seattle University on Thursday, July 21, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.

John Lok, for the Deseret News

At both of the Thursday morning devotionals for the young women and the young men, Elder and Sister Uchtdorf offered their audiences encouragement and assurance. The Uchtdorfs also invited their relatives to join them on the auditorium stage, including their children — son Guido Uchtdorf and daughter Antje Evans and their spouses, Carolyn Uchtdorf and David Evans — along with several grandchildren: Eric Evans, Robin Uchtdorf, Jasmin Uchtdorf and Niklas Uchtdorf.

Elder and Sister Uchtdorf were clearly thrilled to be in Seattle with their family — and thrilled to share them with their young FSY friends.

Elder Uchtdorf noted during the devotionals that the youth in the United States and Canada were participating in FSY conferences for the first time this year. Such gatherings have taken place in other parts of the world for over a decade.

“This year, we have about 100,000 of you attending across the United States,” he said. “Next year, we hope to have 120,000 or 130,000 attending. So when you go home, tell the people how wonderful it is so they can come next year.”

Each For the Strength of Youth conference, he added, is designed to help young people know that they belong to Jesus Christ, to His Church and to His gospel.

“You are the strength of the Church, of the future and of the world — and your strength is the Savior. The strength of youth is the Savior Jesus Christ. … He is the center. He is the purpose. He is the One who gives us strength and power.”

“You are the strength of the Church, of the future and of the world — and your strength is the Savior.” — Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The Apostle encouraged the Seattle FSY participants to follow his lead and carry their “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlets with them. He pulled out a copy of the pamphlet from his shirt pocket and held it high.

“Live up to the standards found in the pamphlet. Study it. Make its standards your own standards. Own them, because you belong to the Church of Jesus Christ. 

“Know that God is with you.”

Elder Uchtdorf promised that every youth who chooses to walk along the Lord’s path “will receive the blessings and the strength they need. The Savior is your strength.”

Sister Uchtdorf expressed her love for each of the FSY youth. She called it a blessing to be with them. She encouraged the young men and young women to discover joy in their journeys — and to lift up and look out for one another.

“Enjoy yourselves,” she said, smiling broadly. “Enjoy being here. Have fun reading the scriptures. Enjoy being together. Enjoy the journey. You will feel enjoyment when you are trying to live the commandments and when you are united with other wonderful young people who love the gospel.”

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Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles embraces an attendee during an appearance at the For the Strength of Youth Conference at Seattle University on Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Seattle, Washington.

John Lok, for the Deseret News

Sister Uchtdorf also challenged each youth to write a letter to themselves, stating where he or she hopes to be in five years. Then decide today what decisions are needed to become that person in five years.

Decide now to find strength in Christ, added Elder Uchtdorf. The Savior is available to His young followers.

“Focus everything you do on Him,” he said. “He takes you to safe places. The Savior will offer you safety wherever you are in your individual lives and in your communities. … The world needs you. The Church needs you. Heavenly Father needs you. He trusts you — and you may trust Him.”

The youth of the Church ‘strengthen us with their testimonies’

Between Thursday’s young men and young women devotionals, the Uchtdorfs stepped outside to enjoy the cool Seattle summer morning and interact with the FSY participants who were spread out in small study groups across the campus. 

Many of the youth were visibly moved to find themselves interacting with a globally recognized couple they had grown up with and whom they loved.

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Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf speak to a group of attendees at the For the Strength of Youth Conference at Seattle University on Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Seattle, Washington.

John Lok, for the Deseret News

The Uchtdorfs paused for a few minutes to speak to the Church News about the youth of the Church worldwide.

“There is no better place to be than to be with these young people,” said Elder Uchtdorf. “These young people are the future of the world and of the Church. Each one is so important to our Heavenly Father and they deserve the attention of the servants of the Lord.”

The Apostle then noted this remarkable gospel paradox: “Harriet and I have learned that when we come and try to strengthen our youth, they always strengthen us with their testimonies.”

Sister Uchtdorf discovers joy simply looking into the faces of her young friends.

“They have a certain shine in their faces. They are beautiful, and their goodness shines through them.”

Participating in gatherings such as the For the Strength of Youth conference also helps young people remember their own divinity, added Elder Uchtdorf. Each one is a son or daughter of God.

“Their purpose is to proclaim truth and to lift others through their examples. We are living in a world where there are many negative messages — and we need a positive response. We can be optimistic because the gospel of Jesus Christ offers that positive response.”

Sister Uchtdorf added there is power found in young Latter-day Saints coming together in large numbers. "They learn they are part of something strong and broad. They realize they are not alone. They can connect and become friends forever.”

Life has its challenges — so it is understandable that the youth’s “batteries” can become depleted, noted Elder Uchtdorf. 

“These are moments when they can recharge their batteries.”

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Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with members of his family, speaks to attendees during an appearance at the For the Strength of Youth Conference at Seattle University on Thursday, July 21, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. From left are, Eric Evans, Robin Uchtdorf, Jasmin Uchtdorf, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf and Elder Uchtdorf, Niklas Uchtdorf, and Carolyn and Guido Uchtdorf

John Lok, for the Deseret News

FSY: Experiencing life-lasting ‘moments’ — and making new friends

Several Pacific Northwest youth expressed thanks for the “moments” they are experiencing at FSY conference.

“I knew what kind of impact FSY would have on me,” said Elisabeth Jarman. The Renton resident added she was inspired by the Uchtdorf grandchildren and their missionary experiences.

Seattle FSY participant Bradley Krause of Yakima, Washington, said he “loves just being able to sit down with others at FSY and share my feelings about the scriptures and other insights.”

Bradley was also thankful for the Uchtdorfs’ assurance that God knows him and loves him.

Caden Hoffman of Oak Harbor, Washington, said listening to the Uchtdorfs on Thursday has helped him decide to serve a full-time mission. 

“I decided to come to FSY to learn more about the gospel — and it’s been a fun opportunity to meet new people.”

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