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Elder Neil L. Andersen: 'Tell me the stories of Jesus'

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 6:52 p.m. MDT

Young men, young women and children need to know the stories of Jesus Christ — of His love, His birth, His teachings, His miracles and His resurrection — as they develop faith in the gospel, said Elder Neil L. Andersen, sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles one year ago.

"Each [youth] needs his or her own light, his or her own 'steadfast and immovable' faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, independent of parents, youth leaders and supportive friends," he said during the Sunday afternoon session.

Elder Andersen questioned whether children truly know the stories of Christ.

"Are the life and teachings of Jesus Christ embedded in the minds and souls of our children? ...," he asked. "Do they anticipate His majestic return, when all will be made right, and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ?"

To the rising generation, he said, "Live up to your important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities. Seek to know more about Jesus, open the scriptures."

He advised youth to read the book of John in the New Testament and discuss it with parents, teachers and friends. He counseled parents, grandparents and those who work closely with children and youth to speak more often of Christ. Doing so brings spiritual power. He told mothers that speaking often of the Savior will bring the power of heaven into their homes.

Appealing to fathers, also, Elder Andersen said, "Please be an important part of talking to your children about the Savior. They need the confirming expressions of your faith along with those of their mother."

When it seems that a child is not listening to these teachings, parents should not give up, but should continue doing their best to teach and instill faith. Giving the example of Alma the Younger, who started down the wrong path, but returned, having remembered his father speaking of the atonement of Christ.

"If a child is not listening, don't despair. Time and truth are on your side," he said. "At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself. Your testimony will never leave your children."

Bill and Debbie Forrest, longtime friends of Elder Andersen, were raising seven children when Bill was killed in a car accident. Although they were young when he died, his children know their father had a strong testimony through his actions and his words as they had studied the scriptures before school and listened to him recite scriptures. Their own testimonies are strong because of the example of their father and the strength of their mother.

"As you do your best, the testimony of Jesus will gently distill upon your children's hearts," Elder Andersen said. "They will go to their Heavenly Father in humble prayer and feel His influence through the power of the Holy Ghost. A stronger, personal faith in Jesus Christ will prepare them for the challenges they will most surely face."

To watch this talk on video go to ksl.com.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company