Around 70 Latter-day Saint youth and leaders in Missouri talked about God and leadership while visiting their state’s governor, first lady and other officials on April 18.
The group toured the Missouri Governor’s Mansion, the state Supreme Court and the state legislature, ChurchofJesusChrist.org reported.
Gov. Mike Parson told the youth that they are future leaders. He challenged them to rise above the divisiveness of modern politics and take an active role in solving problems in their communities. The “baton of leadership,” he said, will soon be passed to them.
Parson participated in the unwrapping of the first Light the World Giving Machines in Kansas City in 2021. He was later impressed during a tour of the bishops’ storehouse in Kansas City.
During the youth’s state Supreme Court tour, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Wilson said this was the largest tour group he had ever addressed. He taught them how the Missouri court system works and said the purpose of the Supreme Court is to settle disputes equitably.
The youth also met Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who said real joy comes through Christ.
He told them that “a life well-lived is one that is consequential in the lives of others.”
Missouri Sen. Jill Carter, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told the youth to follow divine guidance in their personal leadership. And Missouri Rep. Dale Wright, also a Latter-day Saint, spoke to them of the importance of being peacemakers.
The youth also heard from Sen. Caleb Rowden about the need to be involved in the political process, especially where religious freedom is concerned.
“As one who believes in God, I know it’s important to stand for righteousness and be a witness for truth and good works,” he said. “So be the good we need in the community.”
Sen. Curtis Trent praised the youth for the good they do as members of the Church, saying it’s an “honor” to work with them.
Elder Rodney Ames, an Area Seventy, encouraged the youth to “be prepared to share what they learned and felt when they got home and to be a light to their family and friends.”
Several youth shared how they were inspired during the tours and speeches. Eighteen-year-old Madisen Goldhardt from the Springfield Missouri Stake said the biggest thing she learned was that living her standards not only helps her feel good about herself, “but it also helps others understand a little bit of our faith and what we believe in.”
Caleb Jones of the Liberty Missouri Stake said it was inspiring to hear state lawmakers open their session with prayer and speak of God throughout the day.
“Secretary Ashcroft was a testament of this when he said that the only way to real joy in life is through Christ. I am so glad that I got to attend today,” he said.
Elara Brown from the West Plains Missouri Stake said she was struck by the legislators’ faith and perseverance.
“I felt like they genuinely wanted us to be ready to take up the baton and keep pushing forward,” she said, adding “I felt the Spirit today and I know our government leaders did too. It is a day I will always remember.”