LOGAN, Utah — Starting her own business in 2006 was, in hindsight, a “disastrous timing,” single adult Michelle Brignone said. As she fasted and prayed for help to keep her business afloat during the Great Recession in the United States the following year, she acted in faith and spent more time serving in the temple.
“My service in the temple did not save my business, but it did save me,” Brignone told Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham.
In a video segment filmed on the grounds of the Washington D.C. Temple and shown during a Face to Face event on Sunday, June 13, Brignone said she learned that the Savior won’t always remove a mountain or personal challenge; however, “He will absolutely help you scale it or maneuver around it. … He won’t allow the mountain to block your path.”
“If I had more faith, I would be more fearless,” said Brignone, acknowledging that fear sometimes holds her back. “Faith and fear cannot coexist.”
Brignone was one of nine single adults of various ages and backgrounds who shared personal experiences of faith during the Face to Face hosted by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Bingham and her first counselor, Sister Sharon Eubank. The discussion centered on President Nelson’s message “Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains.”
In the first event of its kind for a diverse single adult audience, Elder Andersen testified that the Savior leads those who sincerely seek to increase their faith in Him.
“Whatever your own particular situation, you are a child of God with unique talents and abilities, circumstances and challenges and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. … The words of President Nelson are true … ‘[The Savior] paid the compensatory price and provided the power for you to move every mountain you will ever face. You obtain that power with your trust, faith and willingness to follow Him.’”
Filmed on the grounds of the Logan Utah Temple, the broadcast included segments from Washington, D.C., the Navajo Nation and Utah’s Thanksgiving Point. Between video segments, Elder Andersen, President Bingham and Sister Eubank highlighted principles of faith the single adults exemplified.
Power of everyday service
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Navajo Nation, Natasha Redhair, of Leupp, Arizona, felt she couldn’t do much to help. But she continued to take care of her grandmother and aunt and bring them wood to keep their houses warm.
Sitting next to Redhair on a truck bed full of chopped wood near her home, Sister Eubank asked what role faith plays in her life. “I put a lot of faith in our Heavenly Father and in our Savior and turn to them,” Redhair said. “Because I know that through Them and with Them, I’m able to push through any obstacles that’s put before me.”
Sister Eubank said Redhair’s example of everyday service reminds her of the millions of adult members of the Church who are trying to serve as the Savior did. “That gives me optimism in this modern world. It makes me happy to be part of a community of believers.”
Elder Andersen added: “As we serve Him, serve like He does, we gain more hope in Christ.”
Confidence in waiting upon the Lord
Adding to Brignone and Redhair’s experiences, Elder Andersen individually interviewed seven single adults who have acted on President Nelson’s invitation to “start today to increase your faith.” The conversations were filmed in Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah, in front of bronze sculptures by Angela Johnson depicting scenes from the Savior’s life.
When asked what she has learned as she has been more intentional in following President Nelson’s invitation to increase her faith, Marcela Rojas said, “I have felt more peace, I have felt more love for my Heavenly Father and for my Savior. And also I have felt more confidence to go on and overcome challenges that come my way.”
Referencing Doctrine and Covenants 121:45, Elder Andersen said, “When we are intentional, when we do our very best, and we try to put more faith in the Lord, we feel His approval. And as we feel His approval, that confidence can grow.”
For Mandol Choi, acting on President Nelson’s invitation has helped him become a more engaged learner — asking questions, finding answers in the scriptures and applying them in his life.
Inspired by Joseph Smith’s example of kindness, Choi told Elder Andersen he has strived to be more kind to people at work and at church, and people have been kinder to him in return. “I’ve felt like the Spirit is constantly with me and the Lord is helping me in my personal journey as I climb my Mount Everests in my life,” he said.
As Ayanda Godi has waited in patience for blessings to be fulfilled in her life, “I have been learning that faith is not faith only when it brings to pass my wants or my desires. But faith is faith because it brings to pass the Lord’s will in my life and in His time. …
“He sees not only the current me, but He sees past me, present me and future me,” she said.
Being willing to wait upon the Lord “is a very noble thing,” Elder Andersen said. “We should always embrace those who are willing to wait upon the Lord.”
Finding comfort in the Savior
Robert McArthur said he has felt his faith increase as he has learned to rely on the Savior in moments of loneliness.
“I have great friends around me, but there are those moments when I truly feel alone, 100% alone. And I’ve learned to just get down on my knees and pray to Heavenly Father and ask for [Him to be] nearby me,” he said.
Sister Eubank commented on the leadership she witnessed in McArthur as he gathered the group of single adults participating in the Face to Face and generated a community of friends who could share with each other what they were learning.
“We really do have to find other people of faith, don’t we?” Elder Andersen said. “In this world [in which] we live, [we need] other people of faith, who we can connect with at a very deep level, and talk openly about how our prayers are answered, [and] how we feel the Holy Ghost.”
That support is “one of the beauties of gathering together as Saints in the gospel,” President Bingham said.
As a single mother, Camey Andersen, Elder Andersen’s daughter, has relied on faith to teach her children the gospel amid the challenges of a secular world. While a family’s religious practices may need to be adjusted, the focus can stay on faith in the Savior, she explained. “I have found that with my children, and with me, as we try to increase our faith in the Savior, we’ve been able to move forward in our lives.”
Sister Eubank pointed out that McArthur prayed for comfort in times of loneliness. While going through her divorce, Camey Andersen found comfort in the temple and reading in the scriptures of individuals of faith. The temple and the scriptures are two of many gifts Heavenly Father has given to help His children increase faith, Sister Eubank said.
Choosing to believe
After Juliet Tuineau lost her husband to COVID-19 last year, “my faith has helped me to do the hard things,” she told Elder Andersen. “There have been moments that I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to hide … then I remembered the covenants that I made.”
President Bingham said of Tuineau’s experience, “One of the tender points that she made is that we need to allow the Savior to take our grief and pain. So often, we think we have to be tough, we have to do it ourselves. And we really can’t do it ourselves.”
She also appreciated Tuineau’s encouragement to look for miracles. “We have to be aware, we have to be wanting to see, and then the Lord will show us,” President Bingham said. “If we just keep looking, the Lord will show us His hand in our lives.”
Mpilo Nkambule told Elder Andersen he has gleaned strength from the example of Joseph Smith in persevering when answers don’t come as expected. “Joseph Smith is somebody who knew adversity. But still he never gave up,” Nkambule said. Nkambule also spoke of how the Prophet Joseph helped bring the truths of eternity down to earth so all could understand them.
Elder Andersen emphasized President Nelson’s counsel to “choose to believe.” President Nelson said: “Take your questions to the Lord and to other faithful sources. … Stop increasing your doubts by rehearsing them with other doubters. Allow the Lord to lead you on your journey of spiritual discovery.”
Sister Eubank said: “Even if we [begin by] just [a] desire to believe, that’s enough, that small little mustard seed that President Nelson showed. That’s enough for the Lord [to begin] to work with. And He’ll work with us to find the answers we need. … Jesus Christ is a God of mercy, a God of grace, a God of love. And we access that by faith.”
President Bingham added her testimony to her counselor’s that Heavenly Father is aware of every one of His children, their mountains and their faith. “The Lord knows what we need. The Lord knows what we lack. The Lord knows what we have. And sometimes we don’t even recognize our own strength. Don’t forget that you have strength,” she said.
Elder Andersen concluded the devotional by encouraging single adults to continue to read President Nelson’s message in the months ahead and follow his counsel.
“I promise you that as you thoughtfully pray over these principles, and put them into action with greater obedience, you will receive additional power to move your own mountains. This is the promise of a Prophet of God,” he said.