Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, speaking during the New Year's Eve youth fireside in the Conference Center, encouraged listeners to avoid being discouraged about the troubles in the world, and to be optimistic while living virtuous lives.
He acknowledged the struggle youth have with self-doubt, fear about the future, low self-esteem, and a general lack of confidence in themselves and in the world around them.
He said, "Time will not permit a discussion of all those issues a young person faces which bring some self-doubt and some lack of confidence, but I wish to speak pointedly tonight about how to have a very special kind of confidence in this New Year, a confidence which when rightfully earned does wonders for every other aspect of our lives, especially our self-esteem and how we view the future."
He told of attending a Young Adult conference where a young returned missionary spoke. He said the speaker, a convert, related an experience he had on a date soon after he was ordained an elder at age 18. Elder Holland said the young man wasn't specific about what happened, but admitted it left him sitting in his car lamenting his behavior.
At that time, his mother, not a member of the Church, rushed out to the car and frantically asked her son for help. His little brother had fallen, hit his head, and was having a seizure or convulsion. She referred to his priesthood and asked him to do something, apparently somewhat aware of priesthood blessings.
Because of his behavior that evening, the young man didn't feel he could respond, but he ran to the home of an older Church member, a man who had befriended him. The worthy man went with him to his home and gave the brother a blessing. The boy fully recovered.
Elder Holland said the young man told of the shame of sorrow he felt that night, and of his resolve to never let his behavior leave him in that position again.
Remembering the atmosphere in the meeting, Elder Holland said that in the silence he could sense everyone "vowing a little stronger to live by these powerful words given by the Lord: 'Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth"' (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46).
Elder Holland told the youth to have faith in the future and, if they have made mistakes, they can be repented of and forgiven.
"To have the approval of your conscience when you are alone with your memories allows you to feel the Spirit of God in a very personal and unique way," he said. "I want you to enjoy that Spirit, to feel that confidence in the presence of the Lord always."
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