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Lennie Mahler, Deseret News
The congregation listens to speakers during the Young Women General Meeting on Saturday, March 26, 2011.

SALT LAKE CITY — Young women are the "bright hope of the Lord's Church," said President Henry B. Eyring during the General Young Women Meeting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"My purpose tonight is to help you believe that is so," said the first counselor in the First Presidency on Saturday evening. "If that belief can become a deep testimony from God, it will shape your daily and hourly choices. And then from what might appear to you to be small choices, the Lord will lead you to the happiness you want."

Speaking to a capacity congregation in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, President Eyring told more than 20,000 young women, their mothers and leaders that through their choices the Lord will be able to bless countless others.

In addition to President Eyring, Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president, and her counselors, Sister Mary N. Cook and Sister Ann M. Dibb, spoke.

President Thomas S. Monson and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, also attended the meeting, which was translated and broadcast to LDS meetinghouses across the globe.

"All of you have a desire for your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ to be strengthened," said President Eyring.

He said President Brigham Young could see that need with prophetic foresight 142 years ago.

"He could see the influence of the world coming down on his daughters. ... He may not have seen the technological marvels of today where with a device you can hold in your hand you can choose to connect to countless ideas and people across the earth. But he saw the value for His daughters and for you in having their choices being made out of a powerful testimony of a living and loving God and His plan of happiness."

President Eyring said Brigham Young's prophetic and inspired counsel for his daughters is at the heart of his message: "There is a need for the young daughters of Israel to get a living testimony of the truth."

Brigham Young then created the association of young women that has become what the LDS Church now calls "Young Women."

"More than a hundred years later, daughters of Israel across the world have that desire for a living testimony of the truth for themselves."

President Eyring told the congregation that they know from their own experience what a testimony is.

"Testimony will come to you in pieces as parts of the whole truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ are confirmed."

He called prayer and scripture study necessary nutrients of a testimony.

"Each time you choose to try to live more like the Savior you will have your testimony strengthened. You will come in time to know for yourself that He is the light of the world.

"You will come to feel light growing in your life. It will not come without effort. But it will come as your testimony grows and you choose to nurture it."

Sister Dalton spoke of the importance of being a "guardian of virtue."

"Young women, in a world every growing in moral pollution, tolerance of evil, exploitation of women and distortion of roles, you must stand guard of yourself, your family and all those with whom you associate. You must be guardians of virtue."

It is by living righteously that young women are able to become guardians of virtue as they protect and defend moral purity.

"As a guardian of virtue, you will protect, shield and defend moral purity because the power to create mortal life is a sacred and exalted power and must be safe-guarded until you are married," Sister Dalton said. "Virtue is a requirement to have the companionship and guidance of the Holy Ghost. You will need that guidance in order to successfully navigate the world in which you live."

Sister Cook asked the youths to be benevolent.

"Thank you for your benevolent lives: for including those who may be different; for your kindness to peers, the elderly, your family and little children; for being neighbors to those who are lonely and those who have challenges and heartache," she said.

The Savior, she added, taught and lived a benevolent life. "Jesus loved all and He served all. Centering our lives on Jesus Christ, will help us acquire this attribute of benevolence."

Sister Dibb spoke of the importance of two specific principles — being honest and true — that will keep individuals safe and on course.

"When we are honest in all things, big and small, we experience peace of mind and a clear conscience," Sister Dibb said. "Our relationships are enriched, because they are based on trust. And the greatest blessing that comes from being honest is that we are able to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. … Being true to our beliefs, even when doing so isn't popular, easy, or fun, keeps us safely on the path that leads to eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Being true also allows us to have a positive effect on the lives of others."