“Come to know for yourself that these things are true.”
That was the challenge given Saturday to the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, during a special “Face to Face” broadcast originating from Palmyra, New York.
“As you accept and act upon this invitation, you will find that not only will answers come, but you will also establish a pattern of acquiring spiritual knowledge that will bless you for the rest of your life,” the LDS leader taught.
Held on a Saturday afternoon — in order to allow as many youth as possible in different areas of the world to join in — just yards away from important historic sites for members of the LDS Church, President Eyring, along with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spent an hour and a half sharing insight and answering questions submitted by LDS youth around the globe.
“We are here out of love for you and love for the Lord and to declare that this is the truth,” Elder Holland said.
Thousands of youth around the world tuned in to the broadcast originating inside the visitors’ center on the Church-owned property where two youth, Kombi and Natasha, led a live discussion with the two leaders. A small group of youth from the Palmyra area filled the visitors' center while a youth group from Plymouth, England, and another group from Johannesburg, South Africa, participated virtually.
“Most of you will never visit Palmyra, New York, in person, but that has never been a requirement for faith and testimony and for finding answers to spiritual questions,” President Eyring said. “The requirements are much more simple — they are found in the theme of this event.”
The theme of the event was based off of this year’s youth Mutual theme found in James 1:5-6 in the New Testament, where it reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
Those verses — read by LDS Church founder Joseph Smith at his home in Palmyra, New York — led him to ask God for himself the question weighing upon his mind. That prayer, in turn, led to the First Vision and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
With views of a replica of Joseph Smith's family farm and the Sacred Grove as a backdrop, President Eyring and Elder Holland spoke candidly about experiences in their own lives and shared different things that have helped them as they have faced similar questions or situations.
Tackling topics facing youth today, the two leaders addressed questions on topics such as prayer, strengthening one’s personal faith, revelation, scripture study and recognizing the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
When asked about listening to the “still, small voice of the spirit” in a loud world, both President Eyring and Elder Holland encouraged youth to be “quiet inside,” or in a place where the spirit can speak to them.
“Those key words — still and small,” Elder Holland said. “He is not willing to compete and he is not willing to battle with the world.”
Warning youth to not make prayer a “laundry list of requests,” Elder Holland encouraged listeners to be in a place where they can receive answers to their prayers.
“Be modest in your expectations,” President Eyring said. He encouraged listeners to not get casual in their interactions with God and to prepare carefully to speak with Heavenly Father.
When asked about interacting with loved ones who are not choosing to follow the standards and commandments of the church, President Eyring and Elder Holland spoke of love.
“Keep loving them,” President Eyring said. “They probably won't respond to anything quite the way they respond to love. Our loving them is the best thing we can do.”
The leaders spoke of Joseph Smith's example of asking in faith and then having the courage to act on whatever answer he received.
President Eyring said, “In the log home behind me there is a replica of the fireplace in the Smith family home. From this fireplace they received light and warmth. It was leaning upon the mantle where Joseph, having just returned from the Sacred Grove, said to his mother, ‘I have learned for myself.’
“Our dear young friends, that is our desire for each of you. That you may know for yourself, independent of anyone else, that the God of Heaven is real and he knows you, and that his son has atoned for the sins of the world. Our hope is that you will gain for yourself an unshakable testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Prior to the live-streamed event was the premiere of “Ask of God,” a new video portraying the experience of Joseph Smith’s first vision. To view the broadcast — and past Face to Face events — visit the LDS Youth YouTube channel, LDS Facebook page or the website, face2face.lds.org.