Elder Holland calls on young adults to be ‘a fortress of strength’ inside the Church and out

WEST JORDAN, Utah — As greater revelation comes and the Lord’s work intensifies in the last days, the adversary’s efforts are increasing proportionately, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles cautioned young adults on Sunday night, Nov. 14.

In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, God said to the early Israelites, “I have set thee for a … fortress among my people” — a phrase Elder Holland used for the title of his remarks at the Jordan Institute of Religion in West Jordan, Utah. 

“The ‘thee’ in this passage means us,” Elder Holland told those gathered in the institute’s chapel and participating via broadcast at nearby meetinghouses. “It means that when hard times come, God has sent us to be firm, to be a fortress of strength and protection in the midst of the people — inside the Church and out.”

To remain strong and fulfill that duty, one must understand there is opposition in all things. “There is a true enemy who seeks our spiritual sorrow and spiritual destruction,” Elder Holland said. 

“My counsel to you tonight is you have to be strong. You have to be a veritable fortress among the people, for your own sake and for theirs. Be watchful and wise. Study the scriptures and let those lessons from the past fortify you for the opposition that will come again. 

“Listen to the voice of our Prophet, one the greatest of God’s gifts in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray always and call down protection on yourself and all of God’s children in every way you can.”

Young adults listen as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a Jordan Institute of Religion devotional in West Jordan, Utah, on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021.
Young adults listen as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a Jordan Institute of Religion devotional in West Jordan, Utah, on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Credit: Jacob Walker

Christ is the victor of the war Satan is waging, but with study, prayer and loyalty to the prophets, each person must decide which side they are on, Elder Holland said. When opposition comes — such as it did for Joseph Smith before his vision in the Sacred Grove and for Moses after he saw God face to face — be strong. 

“When the opposition is great, our faith and determination have to be even greater,” the Apostle taught. Don’t give in to the father of lies who is bent on the destruction of happiness. “Face your doubts. Master your fears. Exert your faith and see the beauty of life unfold before you.”

Elder Holland concluded with his witness that God prevails and left an apostolic blessing on the young adults that they will be protected in the battle of spiritual powers and choose to be faithful.

“I bless you that the significance of the Savior’s Atonement will be ever present in your minds, reassuring you that the victory over evil and death has already been won. … ‘Fear ye not,’ the Master said. When opposition comes, ‘the Lord [thy God] shall fight for you’ (Exodus 14:13-14). And so will His angels,” he testified.

“This is the winning team. Please stay on it despite any opposition that may come.”

Elder Holland’s counsel to “exert your faith” resonated with Sione Tavake, 23, of Draper, Utah. “A lot of people will know the phrase ‘Face your doubts, master your fears’ but there’s an action piece that comes after that, and it’s ‘exert your faith,’” Tavake told the Church News after the devotional. 

“Face your doubts. Master your fears. Exert your faith and see the beauty of life unfold before you.”

Tavake’s friend, 23-year-old Fa Toli, of Salt Lake City, took away a similar message about action. “It was reassuring to me that whatever it is that I’ve got going on, if I’m happy, it’s good for me and I’ve prayed about it and the Spirit has manifested it to me, then keep going,” he said. 

The metaphor of a fortress was meaningful to Lucas Mckamey, 26, originally from Montana. “[Elder Holland] called us to become a fortress for good. And one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is, what do I need to do with my life? Essentially, be a good person and try to be as best you can and spread the gospel in any way you possibly can.”

Alma Mecham, 23, of West Jordan, Utah, was reminded that opposition can happen before and after something good. “It’s a fight, and you have to fight until the bitter end. You’ve got to be just as persistent as Satan is, just as tenacious as he is. You can’t let go. You’ve got to hold on with tooth and nail … and just expect to win, because you’re on the winning side. … It’s beautiful to remember that.”