On the eve of the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple, President Russell M. Nelson offered the youth of the temple district 10 thoughts — the first five pertaining to “things I want you to know,” and the second five pertaining to “things I want you to do.”
“I have learned a lot of things in my life,” he said. “Years in medicine, years in the development of heart surgery. Nothing do I know more than I know that God is our Father and His beloved Son Jesus Christ is our Savior.”
Speaking during the Rome temple youth devotional, President Nelson told a capacity congregation gathered in the Church’s stake center located adjacent to the temple, that he wants them to know the Savior, too.
“Now that we have a temple in Rome, your friends will watch you more carefully than they ever have before,” he said.
Participating with President Nelson on the program were Sister Wendy Nelson; President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy; and Sister Loredana De Feo. Classical artist Nathan Pacheco performed two musical numbers. Luca Mema, 13, of the Tirana Albania Stake and Andreea Musat, 13, of the Bucharest Romania District offered prayers.
The devotional was held just hours after President Russell M. Nelson met the Pope Francis and became the first leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have a formal audience with the head of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican.
Speaking to the youth, President Nelson said he wanted to help them by sharing what they should know and do.
First President Nelson shared five things to know:
- Know the truth and stand for it, even if the truth is not politically popular. “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.”
President Nelson also 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 your education. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “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.” Pray about all of your matters. “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.”
The future generations of the Church
With his grandson, Elder James Huntsman of the Italy Rome Mission, serving as his translator, President Ballard promised the youth they will never forget this time in the history of the Church.
“Look around and see how many there are of you — the future generations of the Church.”
President Ballard shared “simple suggestions” with the youth. “If you will remember these simple things, you will stay true and faithful to the Church your whole life.”
- Think deeply and often about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement. “Love Him.”
- Read the scriptures every day. “Be sure you don’t get so busy that you can’t take time to read the word of the Lord.”
- Pray every morning and every night. “It will help you all the days of your life.”
- Attend your meetings, and keep the Sabbath day holy. Pay special attention during “time the sacrament is being blessed and passed.”
- Never, never give up. “Never give up your beliefs or your love for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Stay mentally and spiritually clean.
- Avoid unclean things — especially on your handheld devices. “Be careful what you watch and listen to.”
- Get as much education as you can. “Study. Do the best you know how.”
- Be careful with your time. “Time is important; you can waste a lot of it if you are not careful.”
- Limit time spent on cell phone and your video games.
President Ballard concluded: “I want to testify of God’s love for you, my beloved young people. It is real. You are His sons and daughters. He loves you. He wants to bless you. He will forgive you. He will strengthen you as you strive to keep the commandments of his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s prophet
In her remarks, Sister Nelson likened the youth devotional to Christmas Eve. “This is the evening before the Lord’s first temple in Rome will be dedicated,” she said.
She shared with the youth some of her personal experiences that have helped her know that President Nelson “is the Lord’s prophet and is instructed by Him.”
“It is my testimony that President Russell M. Nelson is foreordained to be the prophet on the earth today, to help gather Israel on both sides of the veil and to prepare the Church and the world for the second coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church, said Sister Nelson. “It is called by His name because it is His Church. The doctrine is His doctrine, the covenants are His, the ordinances are His. Priesthood power is His power. The apostles are His and the prophet is His prophet – chosen and instructed by Him.”
‘The great moment’
After the devotional, President Ballard stood near the Rome Italy Temple and spoke of past and present-day Rome.
"Can you imagine the feelings that all of the Twelve have, all of the Apostles have. We are standing at the base of this beautiful temple. This is the same place where Peter and Paul carried on their ministry. … They have to be smiling down upon this activity in my judgment.”
President Ballard said the future of the Church rests in the hands of the “rising generation in Italy.”
“If they can just continue to see the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and live it and strive to do what Heavenly Father wants them to do, they will carry on the leadership of the Church. They will build the kingdom of God here in the great country of Italy and other parts of Europe.”
President Ballard said he noticed during the youth devotional the countenances of the young people who filled the stake center.
Looking at the Rome temple, he reflected on the years he has spent in general Church leadership. “I think this is one of the most exciting times,” he said. “This is has got to be one of the great moments.”