SALT LAKE CITY — Three members of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles targeted young members of the church in their general conference remarks Saturday, issuing challenges and invitations intended to strengthen their faith and testimonies of the gospel.
The messages were delivered during Saturday sessions of the faith's 186th Semiannual General Conference.
In the Saturday morning session, Elder Neil L. Andersen likened the gathering of Israel to an enormous puzzle whose pieces must be put into place before the Lord's Second Coming. To the young people of the church, Elder Andersen gave a special invitation and challenge "to be witnesses of God."
"Those who surround you are open to spiritual inquiry. Remember the puzzle?" Elder Andersen said. "You do not come to the table with empty hands, but with technology and social media at your command. We need you; the Lord needs you to be even more engaged in this great cause."
In the Saturday afternoon session, Elder Gary E. Stevenson related the story of a young girl named Mary Elizabeth Rollins, an early convert of the church who gained a strong witness of the Book of Mormon. He used her story as an example of how the rising generation can "get closer to the Lord and access greater power to resist temptation."
"Each of you can also receive a personal witness of this book!" Elder Stevenson said. "Do you realize that the Book of Mormon was written for you — and for your day?"
Citing research that showed young people spend an average of seven hours a day on a TV, computer or smartphone screen, the apostle asked LDS youths to make a small change.
"In order to help the Book of Mormon become the keystone of your testimony, I offer you a challenge," he said. "Will you replace some of that daily screen time, particularly that devoted to social media, the internet, gaming or television, with reading the Book of Mormon? If the studies I referred to are accurate, you could easily find time for daily study of the Book of Mormon even if for only 10 minutes a day. And you can study in a way that allows you to enjoy it and understand it — either on your device or in book form."
Elder Stevenson encouraged younger children to read with a parent, grandparent or loved one, and if a chapter or verse becomes difficult to understand, move on to the next one, he said.
"I picture you following the example of Mary. I picture you excitedly finding time and a quiet place to read the Book of Mormon. I see you discovering answers, feeling guidance and gaining your own testimony of the Book of Mormon and a testimony of Jesus Christ," Elder Stevenson said. "As you look to the book, you look to the Lord. You will pour through the passages of this precious book and encounter your beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, on nearly every page."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, final speaker of the Saturday afternoon session, spoke on the theme of missionary work and encouraged Latter-day Saint youths to use electronic resources to share the gospel.
"Our young members' fascination and expertise with social media gives them unique opportunities to reach out to interest others in the gospel. Describing the Savior's appearance to the Nephites, Mormon writes 'he did teach and minister unto the children and he did loose their tongues that they could utter" (3 Nephi 26:14),'" Elder Oaks said. "Today I suppose we would say 'loose their (thumbs) that they could utter.' Go to it youth!"
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