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Elder Holland tells youth in Washington this is their ‘decade of decision’

Youth can set a trajectory for the rest of their lives by keeping covenants during the ages of 12-22, taught Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Holland tells youth in Washington this is their ‘decade of decision’

Youth can set a trajectory for the rest of their lives by keeping covenants during the ages of 12-22, taught Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

The decade between age 12 and 22 is a “decade of decision” for Latter-day Saint youth, said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

Speaking Saturday, Aug. 27, in Washington state, Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asked the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to use their teen and young adult years to set a trajectory for their lives — fulfilling a greater purpose of serving the Lord with all of their hearts. 

“I felt the need for us to meet with both the youth of the Tacoma region and the full-time missionaries of the Washington Seattle Mission,” Elder Holland said.

“We didn’t have time to meet them separately, so we combined them into one audience. The youth were seated down through the center of the building and the missionaries encircled them on both sides and in the back,” he said. “That made a wonderful visual image, full of meaning for me. I am sure I left the meeting more inspired than these youth and young adults were.”

John Chamberlain, 15, from the Cedar River Ward in the Maple Valley Washington Stake, was inspired by the meeting.

“Elder Holland emphasized that this is our ‘decade of decision,’” John said. “We need to determine where we stand, as we cannot follow two masters. Although our trajectory may change based on our decisions in life, it is necessary to keep it pointing upwards.”

John said Elder Holland told them Heavenly Father loves the youth. They can change their trajectories, but rather than go through the pain and sorrow of sin, they can decide now to always serve the Lord. 

“That same day, I made the decision to call my stake patriarch and schedule an appointment to receive my patriarchal blessing,” John said. “This fireside gave me the motivation to step through with it. I will make sure my trajectory remains constant, and I will not deny the gifts that are open for me to receive. This really is my decade of decision.”


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks in Kent, Washington, on Aug. 27, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Holland was joined by Elder Gary B. Sabin, General Authority Seventy, and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé during the meeting for youth and missionaries in Kent, Washington.

“Elder Sabin and Bishop Caussé were marvelous teaching companions,” Elder Holland said.

John sat with his brother Samuel Chamberlain, 13, on the front row. They got to the meetinghouse two and a half hours early. Samuel said the most powerful and memorable moments for him were when Elder Holland looked him in the eyes during his talk.

“He said that he was speaking for himself, my parents, my bishops, and all leaders in the Church including Jesus Christ Himself in saying that ‘everything I do, I do for you,’” Samuel said. “It made me really feel like he was talking to me personally.”

After a group of missionaries performed a musical number, Bishop Caussé spoke. Samuel said Bishop Caussé told the congregation he felt a powerful spiritual feeling during the musical number as he watched current missionaries and future missionaries look at one another.

“The young men that he was talking about as the missionaries of the future were me and my friends on the first row,” Samuel said.

Valuable missionary efforts

Like Samuel, many missionaries in the Washington Seattle Mission who were at the meeting also felt like Elder Holland was speaking directly to them. 

Sister Melanie Peacock, from Moroni, Utah, said it was like Elder Holland knew exactly what she needed to hear: “I felt better about my efforts as a missionary and was more motivated to serve.”

Sister Isabelle McCune, from Highland, Utah, and Elder Tyler Horton from Pleasant View, Utah, said they recognized that their everyday missionary efforts are enough — that even when they feel inadequate, their service is valuable. They left the meeting feeling loved and cared for and recommitted to missionary service.

So did Elder Pearce Morris from Hurricane, Utah. 

“After that meeting I felt extremely committed to my service to the Lord,” Elder Morris said. “The Lord knows that this world will only change by the service of devoted loving missionaries.”  

Added Sister Jasmine Sisneros, from Tracy, California: “At the foot of an Apostle I learned through the Spirit that we have power to change the world.” 


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stands by Mayor Victoria Woodards, with Elder Gary B. Sabin, General Authority Seventy, in Tacoma, Washington, Aug. 26, 2022. With them are city manager Elizabeth Pauli on the left, and Linda Bird and Mary Lu Dickinson on the right, Tacoma communication directors for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

City of Tacoma

While in Washington, Elder Holland and Elder Sabin were able to meet with Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. On Friday, Aug. 26, they joined Tacoma-area communications directors for the Church at the Tacoma city offices.

“It was such an honor to host Elder Holland and Elder Sabin in Tacoma,” said Mayor Woodards. “I was impressed by the free JustServe app, which connects volunteers with opportunities to serve, and the need it could fill in Tacoma, and am looking forward to future opportunities to partner with the Church to best serve our community.”

Mayor Woodards is the First Vice President of the National League of Cities, an organization of the leaders of more than 2,000 cities, towns and villages across the United States.

Mary Lu Dickinson, who serves as communication director for the Church’s Tacoma Coordinating Council, was in the meeting.

“I was thrilled to be able to share JustServe with our Mayor in Tacoma, to give her access to use this invaluable resource and to be able to share it with others,” Dickinson said.

Building faith in Jesus Christ

Earlier in the day, Elder Holland, Elder Sabin and Bishop Caussé met with ward and stake leaders from six stakes in the area south of Seattle.

Enumclaw Washington Stake President Lyle B. Brownell said he felt a new desire to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ and not just an administrator. He said he will focus more on making sure meetings build faith in the Savior.

He recounted how Elder Holland told a story about a man building an extravagant box to hold a jewel he had acquired. The box was built with the finest wood, it had solid gold hinges and screws, with exquisite silk to hold the jewel.

When he showed his friends the jewel, all they could talk about was the box the jewel was in and not the priceless jewel, said President Brownell.

 “The purpose of the story is to make sure we focus on the Jewel — our Savior Jesus Christ — and not the box,” he said.

Federal Way Washington Stake President Todd G. Keeney said he was lifted by the instruction and inspiring messages from Elder Holland, Elder Sabin and Bishop Causse.  

“Their visit was inspiring, instructional and purifying. Many came with questions and a focus upon the perceived challenges of our day, and yet left with enlightened minds, hope and optimism as to what lies ahead,” President Keeney said. “We left the conference feeling stronger and more capable of serving, loving and leading out for good.”

President Keeney said Elder Holland bore powerful testimony to help the ward and stake leaders remember why they do all that they do, “and that is because this is the true and living Church of the true and living God,” he said.

“With love, he invited us to improve our meetings and our ministering efforts — to ensure each and every effort is focused upon building faith in our Savior.”  


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland greets youth in Kent, Washington, on Aug. 27, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Covenant-keeping youth

The local leaders saw how much the devotional affected the youth in their congregations. 

President Brownell said Elder Holland said if the youth would make and keep their covenants, they could change the world.

“He was very direct and to the point. The youth definitely heard his message. That’s all they were talking about the following day at church,” President Brownell said.

President Keeney said Elder Holland, with energy and love, pleaded with the youth to stay firm and avoid turning from the truth they have already received.

John felt reassured by the message. 

“Everything the Church does, they do it for the youth and members of the Church. For us. This gospel is a gift that is available to anyone who receives it. Jesus Christ, our Savior, has saved us for this day so that we can take part in this gift,” John said. “Once again, this is the decade of decision, and it is time for us to decide.”

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