Snow fell as Dominic Still walked down a dark road on a cold winter night. Earlier that night, he decided he wanted to end his life.
An hour and a half into his walk, a truck passed, slammed on the brakes and reversed.
“Hey, are you doing OK?” the driver asked. “Do you need a ride anywhere? Because there’s nothing going that way. Everything is back that way.”
Still turned around and walked home.
Narrating this experience in a video shown during a Face to Face event on Sunday, Sept. 13, Still said the driver’s inspired words helped him realize his path was heading toward darkness. Over the next few days and weeks, he disconnected from technology, spent time studying the scriptures, prayed to know the truth of the gospel and felt the peace he had been desperately searching for.
Following the video, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, invited Still — who was present in the audience with his wife — to answer a question from a young adult named Harry who wanted to leave the Church and asked for a reason to stay.
“I remember being in a spot where I had nothing,” Still said. “I have everything now. I have joy.” He encouraged Harry to study James 1:5 and told him God would give him the reasons and answers he needs. “He has already given you one of the biggest reasons to stay — and that’s Christ, His Son.”
Echoing the words of his fellow Apostle Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Rasband added, “Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will need to put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time. …
“In due time, Heavenly Father and the promptings of the Holy Ghost will give you answers to your questions, along with your loving friends, family members and leaders.”
Helping young adults strengthen faith in the Savior and understand that all questions can be answered through Him were the primary objectives of the Face to Face event, Elder Rasband said in an interview after the broadcast. “Studying the Restoration lifts and builds their faith in Jesus Christ.”
Elder and Sister Rasband answered questions and shared insights focused on the Restoration of the gospel and the bicentennial proclamation read by President Russell M. Nelson during the April 2020 general conference. The event was broadcast in more than 10 languages.
Originally planned to originate from the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, the event changed venues due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and was broadcast from Goshen, Utah, on a film-production set replicating ancient Jerusalem. A nearby wildfire and resulting power outage delayed the start of the event, which was then broadcast using a generator.
In a social media post in June, Elder Rasband invited young adults worldwide to submit questions and ponder this question: “How does the restored gospel of Jesus Christ help me overcome the challenges of today’s world?” Thousands of questions were submitted on social media and the Church’s website.
The heavens are open
The concluding paragraph of the bicentennial proclamation states, “We as His Apostles invite all to know — as we do — that the heavens are open.” One young adult wondered, “What does this invitation mean to you?” and another asked, “If God wishes to speak with us, why is it so hard to hear Him?”
Sister Rasband recounted an experience from her youth when she was crossing a road during a snowstorm to catch the school bus. She heard a voice tell her to turn around, but she ignored it. The voice came again. The third time she realized it was a prompting from the Holy Ghost, but it was too late, and she was hit by a car.
Referencing the Nephites’ experience in 3 Nephi 11:5 when they “opened their ears” to understand the Lord’s voice the third time it came, Sister Rasband said, “I invite each one of you to look steadfastly always toward heaven with a willing heart and ears open to hear Him.”
Elder Rasband told the audience he hears the Lord’s voice when studying the scriptures. The Spirit communicates in various ways, he said. “Heavenly Father knows you. He loves you. You are His children. He will respond to you in ways that are familiar and correct to you.”
While a musical number was performed, he invited the young adults to reflect on what they have learned by following President Nelson’s invitation to hear the voice of the Lord and share a brief thought on social media using #HearHim. He and Sister Rasband read aloud some of their responses at the end of the broadcast.
“I hear Him by putting down my phone and blocking distractions,” one young adult posted. Another wrote, “I hear Him through others’ testimonies and kind words.”
‘We need you’
Among other topics addressed during the Face to Face event were temple marriage and eternal families; the Restoration of the priesthood being relevant to women; how young Joseph Smith set an example for receiving answers from God; and having faith amid the struggles and hardship of 2020.
“Through Book of Mormon times and other times, the people of God have always seemed to face trials,” Elder Rasband said. “We know these are difficult times. We know there are those of you who are mourning, perhaps the loss of loved ones. We know fires are burning. We know hurricanes are occurring. We know winds are coming.
“And yet we can take comfort and confidence that the Lord Jesus Christ loves this Church and loves this people. As He has said numerous times, if you stand on holy ground, you need not be troubled.”
Sister Rasband added, “God the Father and the Son know each and every one of us. They love us. And if we listen to the Son, we will learn new ways and be taught how to obtain eternal life.”
On behalf of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Rasband said in closing, “We want all of you to know tonight, wherever you are in the world, we love you. We thank you. And we need you.
“We need you, every one, as we go forward into what the world is going to offer to us in the future. We need you to be involved in the gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil. We need you to be involved in getting yourself and your friends on the covenant path.”
Aaron Kahng, 27, a co-host for the Face to Face event, said his biggest takeaway is how he felt being with Elder and Sister Rasband and the young adults. “I will never forget the incredible Spirit that I feel right now.”
He came to the event thinking about a close friend who recently left the Church. This friend felt like he wasn’t receiving answers to prayers. “Hearing Elder Rasband and Sister Rasband speak and bear testimony, giving that comfort and assurance that there’s always a way to connect with Heavenly Father — that’s a great answer to this,” Kahng said.