Each disciple of the Savior Jesus Christ has a personal responsibility to learn and live the truths He taught, said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“We should not expect the Church as an organization to teach or tell us all the things we need to do to become devoted disciples and to endure valiantly to the end,” he told young adults worldwide during a Face to Face event on Sunday, Sept. 12.
When 14-year-old Joseph Smith returned home from the Sacred Grove after the appearance of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, his mother inquired what the matter was. Joseph replied: “Never mind, all is well. … I have learned for myself …” (Joseph Smith—History 1:20).
“Joseph’s experience in the Sacred Grove demonstrates for all of us the importance of spiritually asking, seeking and knocking as we strive to learn for ourselves and find answers to our own questions and concerns,” Elder Bednar said.
During the prerecorded event broadcast from the Conference Center Theater on Temple Square, Elder Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, emphasized the pattern “ask, seek, knock” as young adults around the world shared personal experiences of finding answers to questions through the Holy Ghost.
Lessons from previous Face to Face events
Elder and Sister Bednar began the broadcast by introducing three young adults who were impacted in meaningful ways by gospel principles taught during prior Face to Face events.
Thricia, a young adult in the Philippines, explained that she struggled to stay engaged in her gospel study while going through some personal challenges. She began watching several Church events, including the June Face to Face with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
In that broadcast, Elder Andersen asked a single adult named Marcela what it means to be intentional in her faith. Marcela’s response inspired Thricia to keep doing the small and simple things that bring her closer to the Savior.
“I decided to go back to scripture study, to intentionally studying the scriptures,” Thricia said. “I gained strength day by day. I gained more power to overcome my weaknesses.”
Elder Austin Green, a missionary currently serving in Africa, struggled at age 17 to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He talked with his bishop, Brent Bailey, who felt inspired to share a clip from a March 2017 Face to Face event with President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In the clip, President Eyring described how the Atonement is an extension of the Savior; it was something He did.
“It was exactly what I needed,” Elder Green said.
Read more about the history of Face to Face events: Topics, audiences, locations and international reach
When Elder Bednar asked Elder Green, who joined via videoconference, what he learned as he interacted with his bishop, Elder Green said, “I learned to trust that other people could help me find answers to my questions, that God can speak through other people too.”
Elder Bednar emphasized: “Notice that [the bishop] didn’t give you the answer; he couldn’t give you the answer. But he helped you go to a resource. It was the right thing at the right time so the Holy Ghost could help you learn for yourself.”
A young adult named Emily felt she needed to have a perfect testimony about everything in the gospel. In a video interview with Sister Bednar, she said she found comfort in a September 2020 Face to Face event with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as he taught that it is a gift to believe on the testimonies of others (Doctrine and Covenants 46:14).
“As I listened to him speak and thought more about it,” Emily said, “the Spirit just whispered to me that I have the space and the time and the room to grow in my faith. And that a testimony isn’t a finished product or a checkmark, but something that can be in progress, and that’s OK.”
‘What did you hear?’
Elder and Sister Bednar invited the audience — those in the small studio audience and those participating from Brazil, Peru, Japan, the United Kingdom and other locations around the world — to practice asking, seeking and knocking by posing questions, either in person or in their hearts and minds.
“Susan and I can’t possibly provide what you need in the answers that we give,” Elder Bednar cautioned. “But as we do our best to respond to the questions that you will ask, the Holy Ghost will be the teacher.”
A young adult in the audience who recently lost his wife to cancer wondered how he could understand God’s will for him. Elder Bednar explained that as long as he is pressing forward on the covenant path — learning about, striving to understand, worthily receiving, living, remembering and honoring the covenants and associated ordinances — he is doing God’s will.
“As we were talking,” the young man told Elder Bednar, “the Spirit just told me that everything that’s unfair in this world will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” This phrase the young adult had heard before had now taken on new meaning.
Other young adults asked questions about navigating gray areas, helping young children learn the gospel, discerning spiritual confirmations, preparing to receive revelation and living the doctrine of Christ.
After the discussion, Elder Bednar asked, “What did you hear?”
“The Spirit spoke to me today,” said a young woman in the audience. “I was able to feel that Jesus Christ loves me, personally, so much. … And as we’re an example to other people, we can lift them up, just the same way that we feel. But we need to know it for ourselves first.”
One young man said he came to the event anticipating the opportunity to ask questions. He didn’t ask any of them, but he received answers.
“As I thought to ask a question, the answers suddenly came in the response or a thought as I listened to the responses from you guys as well as the people here with us,” he told Elder and Sister Bednar.
In her closing remarks, Sister Bednar testified of the power and gift of the Holy Ghost and of the Lord’s love for young adults. “I know that our Savior is our Redeemer, that He died for each one of us, that this is a one-by-one experience for each of us as we come to Him and allow His atoning sacrifice to be a part of our lives.”
Elder Bednar also testified of the Savior and His Atonement, expressed love for young adults and commended their faith in Him. “The yearning of my heart is that [you] … will be better prepared to press forward in an increasingly confusing world, knowing that as you honor your covenants, you cannot go amiss. You will be guided, directed, protected — I know that is true.”
He promised young adults that as they ask, seek and knock with sincerity and consistency, they will be able to find answers to their questions and concerns, according to the Lord’s will and timing.