Heavenly Father knew young adults today would have the capacity to “succeed in a difficult world and bring others to Christ,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in a devotional on Sunday, Jan. 9.
Fear happens, he said. But it doesn’t need to.
“We need not fear because we have a Redeemer,” he said. “If we build upon His rock, nothing can permanently harm us or take away our ultimate happiness.”
Addressing Portuguese-speaking young adults in Portuguese, Elder Christofferson shared what can be learned from the Lord’s repeated admonition to “fear not.”
Elder Christofferson was one of six members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who spoke in devotionals to young adults around the world on Sunday. He was joined by Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Presidency of the Seventy who also spoke briefly prior to Elder Christofferson.
The incorrect use of agency can bring pain and heartache. Misfortune can also come naturally during mortality, Elder Christofferson said. But judging what others are going through is not always a good idea.
“You may look around you and see individuals that appear to have a life free of pain and distress,” he said. “But if you knew all the details of their life, you would discover that they, too, know what it means to experience sorrow and challenge.”
Elder Godoy counseled young adults to remember that Heavenly Father has a plan for all His children.
“The Lord has a mission for us in this life,” he said. “He has a plan for us. He has expectations and hopes for our personal progression.”
Effort and results
Elder Christofferson used the Savior’s teaching about the wise and foolish men who both built houses but in different locations.
Both put in effort to build their homes. That effort alone would not save those homes when the storms of life came.
“The rains and floods and winds – the trials of life – came to both,” he said. But the difference between the two “was whether or not he was built upon the rock of Christ.”
Doing that means following the commandments, learning the teachings, and using the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Elder Christofferson said.
“Let’s not focus on our troubles and become discouraged, anxious, or fearful,” he said. “Let’s focus on Jesus Christ and His grace to find comfort and courage.”
Elder Godoy also counseled that young adults not compare what they are doing to what others around them are doing.
“We should evaluate ourselves against our own goals and action plans,” he said. “But for this to happen, we must have personal goals and plans for our life. If we don’t have them, it becomes easier to fall into the trap of using others’ goals.”
Book of Mormon example
The Book of Mormon prophet Mormon lived in one of the most challenging times imaginable. But he is a good example of how to look at life regardless of its circumstances, Elder Christofferson taught.
Quoting Mormon’s feelings from 3 Nephi 5:20, he read, “I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, … that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls.”
Later, Mormon would also show his ability to find peace by looking forward to a time when other promises would be fulfilled.
Elder Christofferson read Mormon’s words to his son Moroni found in Moroni 9:6, “For we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.”
Knowing that evil would be overcome and that rest in the Lord would come, alleviated Mormon’s fears.
Loyalty or abandonment
Referring to Abraham 3:25, Elder Christofferson said one question is central to mortality.
“In the end, all the tests and challenges we face pose one essential question: Will we turn to God and remain loyal to Him, or will we turn away and abandon Him?”
Loyalty requires enduring to the end and avoiding a hardened heart from the trials of life, Elder Christofferson taught.
“If any of you listening to me now have left the covenant path or turned away from God in your heart, come back quickly before your heart becomes hardened,” he said. “Instead, be humble; let your heart be softened by your afflictions; let God prevail in your life; let Him help you.”
Contributing to society
Near the conclusion of his remarks, Elder Christofferson spoke of the importance of continuing education throughout life.
Quoting President Russell M. Nelson, he said, “Gain all the education you can. With us as Latter-day Saints, education is a religious responsibility.”
Elder Christofferson didn’t limit that education to a typical college degree, either.
“We need education in the arts and sciences and humanities,” he said. “But we also need men and women who can build the buildings and furnish them, who can lay the roads and fix the cars and trucks, who can build the computers, cables and fiberoptics, who can make and repair the stoves and refrigerators, grow the food, and catch the fish, who can make our electrical systems and the plumbing work.”
Those individuals who have pursued this type of learning received a special commendation from Elder Christofferson.
“I salute the tradesmen and tradeswomen who excel in the crafts and make essential contributions to the success of our societies,” he said.