Sarah Jane Weaver
TEMPE, Ariz. — Speakers told more than 3,500 young single adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered in Tempe, Ariz., on Jan. 10 that they must have faith, seek knowledge and claim the blessings of their covenants.
The event kicked off a three-day YSA conference — held in the Grady Gammage Auditorium on the Arizona State University campus and attended by single church members from five stakes in the area.
Elder David E. LeSueur, an Area Seventy who has been called to serve as president of the Gilbert Arizona Temple, presided at the event and spoke.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, were expected to attend the conference and offer remarks. Organizers said Elder Holland was called away by church leaders on an “emergency assignment.”
Elder LeSueur; his wife, Sister Nancy R. LeSueur; and Sister Sheri Dew, former counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke in place of the Hollands.
Each addressed the conference theme, "No Obstacle Too Great."
The theme is taken from a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley: “There is no obstacle too great, no challenge too difficult, that we cannot meet with faith.”
Elder LeSueur focused his remarks on faith, quoting Elder Holland’s April 2013 general conference address, “Lord, I believe.”
“When we speak of faith, brothers and sisters, it is in its most simplistic form”
Faith, he said, is found in the middle of gullibility and cynicism.
Gullibility is where someone is so naive, so foolish, that they believe everything. “Gullibility is not faith.”
At the other end of the spectrum is cynicism, he said. “That prevents us from believing anything.”
Faith, he explained, “operates in between those two poles.”
Faith can originate with something as simple as hope. “It can also come from a wellspring of spiritual evidence — thought, prayer, study, pondering and experience.”
Faith is re-enforced by spiritual experience and can be confirmed by the Holy Ghost, he explained. He said that his faith has significantly been strengthened by obedience.
ELder LeSueur quoted a story from Elder Holland's talk about a 14-year-old boy who said, “Brother Holland, I can’t say yet that I know the church is true, but I believe it is.”
Closing, Elder LESueur told the young single adults: “It is my hope that there isn’t (a person) listening today who wouldn’t feel absolutely comfortable standing in a sacrament meeting and saying ‘I believe. I have faith.’ ”
Sister LeSueur, who will serve as the matron of the Gilbert Arizona Temple, spoke to the young adults about “claiming the blessings of our covenants.”
“I have been reading about and giving a lot of thought to the importance of the temple,” she said.
The temple, she explained, is a pattern for Latter-day Saint homes. “I want my home to feel the way the temple feels. The temple is beautiful, well-built, orderly, clean, peaceful. It is a place of service. These are all things we would all love to have our homes also emulate.”
Sister LeSueur said many blessings are promised in the temple. “They are there for us to claim,” she said.
Sister Dew spoke about how easy it is to “have influence” and “be influenced.”
She asked the congregation where they look for guidance. “Is it to the world or is it to prophets, seers and revelators?”
Sister Dew spoke of traveling to Africa without asking proper questions about what to expect. “It pays to learn everything we can learn. It is a mistake not to learn everything we can learn.”
She also recalled having an access card that would open many doors at church headquarters but not understanding the access that card could give her. “I was oblivious to what was available to me.”
She asked the young single adults if they were walking about and not utilyzing things the Lord has already given them.
She said there are certain things that are absolutely true. “We must learn as much as we can about what is absolutely true so we are not deceived,” she said.
Sister Dew told the young adults that “the greatest foundation any of us can seek after is knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That knowledge requires “immersion in his gospel.”
“It is absolutely true there is power in the Lord Jesus Christ to help us deal with anything in our lives.”
Young single adults in Arizona have been waiting months for the conference. ASU sophomore Dustin Tenney signed up for the conference on the first day it was available.
So did Bekki Hood, an ASU senior. She didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be with other young single adults. The conference “is the time that we really test our testimonies and see where we are on our spiritual progression,” she said.
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