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Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks April 2 during the Saturday morning session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles began his Saturday morning conference address by sharing an uncomfortable moment at the conclusion of a day of family fun on the ski slopes.

The Stevensons were walking back to their family car just as the sun was falling behind the ski hill. It was cold and everyone looked forward to escaping the chill inside their warm vehicle. Elder Stevenson reached inside his pockets but could not find his car keys.

“The battery was charged and all systems—including the heater—were ready to go, but without the keys, locked doors would deny entrance; without the keys the engine would not provide power to the vehicle.”

Elder Stevenson said at the moment he was reminded of the power of keys — particularly the essential keys of eternity.

“My heart is filled with overwhelming gratitude for the restoration of priesthood authority and priesthood keys,” he said. “Without this restoration, we would be locked out from the vehicle necessary to transport us on our journey home to loving Heavenly Parents. The performance of every ordinance of salvation comprising our covenant pathway back to the presence of our Father in Heaven requires appropriate governance through priesthood keys.”

The apostle directed his counsel to the young men and young women of the Church and spoke of how priesthood authority and restored keys can bless their lives. Priesthood keys, he explained, are the authority God has given to priesthood leaders to direct, control and govern the use of His priesthood on earth. The gospel's saving ordinances require keys and cannot be done without authorization.

Elder Stevenson identified three ways youth can find and utilize priesthood keys in their lives.

First, prepare for missionary service

The keys of the gathering of Israel enable missionary work in this dispensation. A force of tens of thousands of full-time missionaries are laboring the field.

“With this in mind, remember it is never too early for you to prepare for missionary service.”

Young men and young women will accrue lifelong benefits from such preparation, whether they serve a full-time mission or not.

Second, “Find the keys” to attend the temple

“Sealing keys restored by the Old Testament prophet Elijah enable ordinances to take place in holy temples. Ordinances performed in these temples enable individuals and families to return to the presence of our Heavenly Parents. We encourage you young men and young women to research and find the names of your ancestors and perform proxy baptisms for them in the temple.”

Third, go forward with faith

The First Presidency, he said, have promised young people that they will have the support of and guidance of the Lord if they exercise faith, remember to pray, study the scriptures daily, strive to be obedient, follow the teachings of the prophets and be humble and willing to listen to the Holy Ghost.

“The Lord has shown us that He will not leave us standing in the bitter cold, without keys or authority to lead us safely home to Him.”

jswensen@deseretnews.com

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