CONFERENCE AIMED AT HELPING YOUTHS SEEK A 'NATURAL HIGH'

GOD IS AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY _ AND HAS POWER TO CONQUER ABUSE TROUBLES, ELDER FEATHERSTONE SAYSSecurity comes in trusting in God, "who is always consistent, merciful and interested in our welfare," participants at a Utah Federation for Drug-Free Youth conference workshop were told Friday.

Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discussed "A Spiritual Commitment is Essential to Overcome Drug and Alcohol Problems."In materials prepared for delivery at the workshop, Elder Featherstone, who is president of the church's Young Men program, said most young people involved in serious drug problems are usually not involved in religion and lack direction and faith in God.

But he said the author of one doctoral dissertation who also has been involved in a volunteer effort to aid substance abusers found that religious teachings are often a deterrent to teenage drinking. The teachings, he said, seemed to have a positive effect on people drinking smaller amounts and less frequently.

He said those who are not religious, who are on drugs or involved in other problems often don't want to change their behavior.

"They don't have the desire or will power. They have lost their ability to repent without some outside help," he said. He said blessings flow to those who seek counseling and other assistance for their problems.

"God, our Heavenly Father, is available 24 hours a day. He is our Father and has a personal interest in us. His interest in us individually is supreme, beyond anyone on or off this planet. He knows where the chinks are in our personal armor. He knows where we are vulnerable and he, of course, has all the right and power to call down blessings upon us. He can rally all the forces on earth or heaven, if necessary," Elder Featherstone said.

There is "not a temptation, a trial, a circumstance, any suffering, any condition, trauma, frustration, anxiety, depression, any expression that he does not comprehend and understand. His empathy is Godlike empathy and his interest is total in us," he said.

The youth and Scouting leader said families can gain strength in holding family home evenings, family prayer, family councils and in going on vacations together.

He quoted Rene de Chardan, a French scientist, who said, "Someday after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love, then for the second time in history of the world, man will have discovered fire." That, he said, shows the power in love.