CONCEPCION, Chile — Hours before dedicating the Concepcion Chile Temple — the 18th in South America and the second in the country — President Russell M. Nelson reinforced his invitation to young people to enlist in the youth battalion and gather Israel.
“You are beloved youth of the noble birthright,” said President Nelson on Saturday evening, Oct. 27. “I believe in you. I trust you. I love you. And I bless you with all that God knows that you need.”
Speaking at the Concepcion Chile Temple youth devotional, President Nelson addressed the 28,000 youth in the temple district — 1,500 of which were gathered in the Talcahuano Chile South Stake Center, where the devotional originated and from where it was broadcast across the nation.
As part of the Church’s initiative to simplify and reduce, the event marked a shift away from the youth cultural celebrations that have been associated with temple dedications for more than a decade.
The meeting, said President Nelson, is about the youth of the Church in Chile — where there are 584,654 members, 77 stakes and now two temples. The Santiago Chile Temple was dedicated on Sept. 15, 1983.
“Many of you have already responded to my invitation to be members of the Youth Battalion,” President Nelson said. “You want to help to gather Israel on both sides of the veil.”
Why do Latter-day Saints gather Israel? “Because Israel is being gathered in to enjoy the blessings of the temple. There the highest blessings are conferred upon the children of God.”
Each temple — 160 in the Church — stands as “a symbol of our faith in God and as evidence of our faith in life after death,” said President Nelson.
The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson and every progressive step in the Church, he said. All of the Church’s efforts to proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints and redeem the dead lead to the holy temple.
“We cannot reach God’s eternal celestial glory without the ordinances of the temple,” said President Nelson. “Obedience to sacred temple covenants qualifies us for eternal life — the greatest of all of God’s gifts to His children.”
Anyone willing to prepare well may enter the temple, he said. “You as wonderful youth are especially welcome and wanted in the temple.”
President Nelson invited all youth to prepare spiritually for the temple by studying five topics in the Bible dictionary: “Anoint,” “Atonement,” “Covenant,” “Sacrifices,” and “Temple.”
“Keeping a covenant with God is both protective and empowering,” said President Nelson. “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.”
Ordinances of the temple relate not only to eternal glory but also to that of a person’s ancestors as well. “Their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation. They without us cannot be made perfect — neither can we without our dead be made perfect.”
Before the devotional, President Nelson met with a few young men and young women from the temple district and answered questions about gaining testimonies, keeping the commandments, preparing spiritually and repenting.
Also participating in the devotional were Sister Wendy Nelson, President Nelson's wife; Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenon; and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and his wife, Sister Valérie Caussé.
Speaking with a “broken English accent" that was translated to “beautiful Spanish,” Sister Caussé asked the young adults to never fear difficult things. “When we have the Holy Ghost, nothing is impossible.”
Bishop Caussé asked the youth to spiritually pitch their tents on the temple grounds and look to the temple. “I hope the temple in Concepcion will never become common place in your life,” he said. “Never take it for granted.”
Sister Stevenson spoke of her son turning 12, receiving the priesthood and being able to go to the temple. “What an amazing experience for the youth of the Church to go to the house of the Lord,” she said.
Elder Stevenson promised the youth, “you are never lost if you can see the temple in your lives. If you are worthy to hold a recommend, you can see the temple.”