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Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, speaks April 2 during the General Priesthood Session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jesus Christ is the greatest leader and the greatest follower who ever lived, Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, declared in his general priesthood session talk.

Jesus “sets the perfect example of every imaginable leadership quality,” and “He follows His Father perfectly in all things,” Brother Owen said, explaining that Jesus is the greatest leader because He is the greatest follower.

“The world teaches that leaders must be mighty; the Lord teaches that they must be meek,” he said. “Worldly leaders gain power and influence through their talent, skill and wealth. Christlike leaders gain power and influence ‘by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned’" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41).

He added, “In God’s eyes, the greatest leaders have always been the greatest followers.” Brother Owen shared two experiences from recent interactions with young men of the Church that taught him about leading and following.

In one incident, he was visiting a sacrament meeting away from his home ward where he was asked to help pass the sacrament. A deacon sitting next to him helped him understand and feel comfortable with his assignment. Later, he observed that after a deacon gave a talk in the meeting, the members of his quorum rallied around him to tell him how proud they were of him.

In the other incident, he was in New Zealand visiting the home of a single mother with three teenage children. He encouraged the eldest, 18, to give his mother a priesthood blessing.

The next day, Brother Owen received an email from the young man saying that in the moment of giving the blessing, he forgot himself and his weaknesses and felt spiritual and emotional power.

“Brethren, whether we realize it or not, people are looking up to us – family members, friends, even strangers,” Brother Owen remarked. “As priesthood holders, it is not enough for us just to come unto Christ; our duty now is to invite all to come unto Christ. We cannot be satisfied receiving spiritual blessings for ourselves; we must lead the people we love to those same blessings – and as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must love everyone.”

Brother Owen warned: “There will be times when the path ahead seems dark, but keep following the Savior. He knows the way; in fact, He is the way. The more earnestly you come unto Christ, the more deeply you will desire to help others experience what you have experienced.”

rscott@deseretnews.com

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