Sister Carol F. McConkie speaks at quad-stake youth conference

By Hannah Benson Rodriguez

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, June 27 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks to more than 400 youth from two states at a quad-stake youth conference held on the campus of Southern Virginia University.

Stephen Taylor, Southern Virginia University

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Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to more than 400 youths from two states at a quad-stake youth conference held on the campus of Southern Virginia University last week.

“It was amazing (to see Sister McConkie speak) because she is like a superstar in the church,” said Sierra Armstrong, a youth conference participant from the Roanoke Virginia Stake. “It was so exciting to meet her. I liked everything about (her speech) because she explained things easily.”

In her address to youths from three stakes in Virginia — Buena Vista, Roanoke and Pembroke — as well as the Fayetteville North Carolina West Stake, Sister McConkie focused on teaching about “the covenant path.”

“Heavenly Father has put in place this wonderful plan — his plan of salvation for each of us,” said Sister McConkie. “His plan is that if we do what he wants us to do, he will prepare a way for us to … obtain all of the glorious blessings that we cannot now comprehend. … We will receive a fullness of his joy if we stay on the path back to his presence.”

As she began her remarks, Sister McConkie asked the youths in attendance to stand if they had received a mission call. Three young men stood up, one of whom, Erik Jones — a member of the Buena Vista Virginia Stake — said that he had been called to the California San Jose Mission, where Sister McConkie previously served for three years with her husband, who presided over the mission. She congratulated the youths for their willingness to serve and then explained that missionary work is part of the “covenant path.”

“We all make covenants to perform in the work of salvation, to participate in this great work,” said Sister McConkie. “Many of you will serve missions … you make a difference and your service is hugely valuable to the work of the Lord.”

After asking the youths to recite the fourth Article of Faith together, Sister McConkie focused her remarks on the first principles and ordinances of the gospel: faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

She emphasized participating in the Personal Progress and Duty to God programs as a way for young women and young men to develop faith. While discussing faith, she said that though there “may be times when you have doubts or questions … Elder Holland has taught us to be true to the faith that we already have.”

“If you’re following a trail and you think it’s the right trail, if you have a doubt or question or concern, you don’t want to turn around and go back to the start or leave the path altogether,” Sister McConkie said. “But you do want to exercise faith and be true to the faith that you do have and follow the Savior.”

She discussed the mistakes we make on our path and the necessity of repentance; the “magnificent” covenant of baptism, which changes us as we “take upon us his name”; and the Holy Ghost, which sanctifies, testifies, comforts, guides and protects us.

To conclude her remarks, Sister McConkie challenged each of the youths to do five things to help them stay on the correct path. She asked them to commit to pray every day, read their scriptures every day, attend church and partake of the sacrament every week, serve others and always be worthy of a temple recommend.

“Make a commitment to do these five things … for the rest of your life,” she said. “[These are] five things that if you will do, you will continue on this covenant path that will continue up until you are prepared to enter the presence of God.”

Hannah Benson Rodriguez is a communications and marketing assistant at Southern Virginia University. She received a bachelor's degree from Southern Virginia and currently resides in Buena Vista, Va.

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