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Elder Neil L. Andersen Offers Six Ways to Strengthen Faith in Jesus

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At the weekly Brigham Young University (BYU) campus devotional on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered students six ways to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ in the decades ahead.

  1. Remember you are a son or daughter of God, and the spiritual feelings that draw you to Him will grow as you respond to them.
  2. Keep the hope of Jesus Christ as the burning, bright, powerful star in your life.
  3. Look for the hand of the Lord in your life.
  4. Embrace the gifts and protections of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  5. Diminish the distractions and magnify the good that focuses your attention on the Savior and His teachings.
  6. Be spiritually prepared for the challenges and tests that will come into your life.

“Your faith in Jesus Christ will bring you assurance in the choices you are making, happiness in good times and in challenges and peace in knowing your eternal destiny,” the leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said. “Remember, there is a power that can cause things to happen that need to happen, and that power comes from your faith in Jesus Christ.”

The Apostle said people everywhere hunger for a deep relationship with the divine. One example he shared comes from the National Football League. During a game two weeks ago, player Damar Hamlin fell lifeless to the ground after a routine tackle. In the moments and days that followed, players and fans prayed for his recovery.

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“In a remarkable expression of faith, an ESPN commentator bowed his head and prayed out loud to God on air,” Elder Andersen said. “While good people do not always speak openly of their faith in God, they very naturally believe in God and in times of crisis, their prayers and hopes ascend to God. We are so very grateful for the miracle of Damar Hamlin’s recovery. Prayer is vital to faith in Jesus Christ. Prayer draws us closer to God. He hears and answers our prayers. If you feel your faith diminishing, pray more sincerely and more frequently.”

Elder Andersen peppered throughout his address previously recorded video comments from 11 BYU students. They spoke of how they see the hand of God in their lives, why they participate in weekly worship, why worship in the temple is important, how they keep faith strong in a noisy, doubt-filled world, and how they overcome trials through faith in Jesus Christ.

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One student, Grettel Garcia, shared her Dad’s counsel on why it matters that we go to church.

“He told me, ‘Sometimes we go for ourselves and sometimes we go for the people that are there,’” Garcia said. “And I really felt it in my life. Even this last Sunday, I was struggling, and I was able to be helped by somebody in the Church, and then during the week one of my friends was struggling and I was able to enlighten her.”

Another student, Micah Johnson, said someone once taught him that each person in the Church is like a coal in a fire. Together they are strong and warm; apart they are isolated and cold.

“When you take a coal out of fire — maybe you don’t go to Church one week or you don’t read your scriptures one day — it’s not going to immediately cause the coal to go dark,” Johnson said. “But you are going to remove yourself from the flame. And over time, one week turns into two, two weeks turn into three, months go by — and suddenly you’re dark and you’re cold inside. And I think that’s a way Satan gets us is by degrees.”

Student Jessie Ebert described how worship in a temple helps her keep first things first.

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“I’ve been thinking a lot about the temple because with all of the distractions, that’s where I’m able to find peace and redirect myself because it’s a sacrifice to go, especially with so many exams and homework. It’s never-ending,” she said. “The temple is something that I have tried to prioritize as my number one because I know that when I do that everything else works out.”

Claire Hadlock, a student and Elder Andersen’s granddaughter, said a key to overcoming doubt is going to the right source for answers to questions.

“We all have questions,” she said. “The key is what sources we go to, and that is the difference between whether or not we keep our faith or whether or not we slip from it.”

Student Benton Worthen said his decision to serve a mission helped him at once to avoid difficulties and strengthen his faith.

“Within this certain period of my life, I felt very strongly that if I didn’t go on a mission soon, that I was going to have some struggles,” Worthen said. “So through prayer, scripture study and the basics that we’re familiar with, my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ pulled me through to where I know I am today, regardless of the decisions of people I love made around me.”

“There is no need to be fearful about the tests of life,” Elder Andersen said. “As your faith in Jesus Christ is firm, the tests of mortality will shape your eternal destiny.”

The Apostle blessed the students that “as you reach out to the Savior, you will feel His hands reaching out to you. I bless you that as you keep Him central in your life, all will be well.”

Watch Elder Andersen’s full talk, “Allowing Your Faith in Jesus Christ to Guide Your Life.”

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