SALT LAKE CITY — Elder Walter F. González and his wife, Zulma, shared free pearls with hundreds of Hispanic young single adults on Sunday evening.
Not jewelry, but gospel principles of hope and happiness to use in a complicated world.
Speaking to about 300 Spanish youths in a theater at Temple Square's North Visitors' Center, the couple from Uruguay shared several pearls of gospel wisdom: Live a life of faith and hope; today is a beautiful day; remember who you are and where you come from; don't spend your life trying to get things, spend life trying to become what Heavenly Father wants you to be; and use your unique talents and abilities, your armor, to defeat the Goliaths of life.
Elder González, currently a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, also encouraged the young adults to follow the prophet, marry in the temple and get a good education. He specifically told them to learn how to speak English elegantly.
"The language of the Restoration is English," Elder González said. "There are more Spanish-speaking converts joining the church each month. To keep up with the growth of the church, and we need more leaders and families that are bilingual. The Lord will open doors of opportunity."
In a world where young people are worried about getting a good education, marrying the right person, preparing for the future, and serving the church, how do you do it all?
"Have hope in your soul," Elder González said. "Having the right priorities is a pearl."
He illustrated this principle by sharing a parable he learned from President Boyd K. Packer about the pearl and the box. A merchant finds a perfect pearl and asks the finest craftsman to carve a beautiful box and line it with velvet. When the merchant displayed the pearl in the box, he was disappointed to find the people admired the box more than the pearl.
Elder González said pearls represent the doctrines and principles of the gospel, and the boxes are the programs, methods or form of doing something to share the pearl. Sometimes we miss the pearl because we are too busy with the box, the general authority said.
"Ask yourselves, what am I focusing on in my life — pearls or boxes?" Elder González said. "Too many times we think of the list of things we need to do and we check it off when we are done. But is this a pearl or a box? When priorities are not in order, we lose power."
The last 30 minutes of Elder González's remarks were reserved for answering questions. Marriage was a hot topic.
"When we were preparing to be married, I wanted my wife to think I was Superman. But after we got married, she found out I was Clark Kent," Elder González said. "We are not perfect. Don't look for the negative things, look for the positive things and build them up."
Elder González also instructed the audience to increase hope by filling their minds with uplifting thoughts.
Sister González talked about one rule at their home — to smile and be happy.
"If you don't smile at our house, you have to clean the floor," she said with a smile. "You are young, you have the gospel, each one of you is special. Smile and be happy — or you will have to clean my floor."
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Spanish versions online
To read this story and coverage of the conference's talent show in Spanish, go to MormonTimes.com.