“My purpose today is to offer my certain witness that your Father in Heaven knows you, He hears you, and He will never abandon you,” said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a worldwide devotional for young adults on Sunday, January 14, 2018.
The Mormon apostle and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, spoke on the adventure of mortality in a live broadcast originating from the Conference Center to a capacity crowd in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“I bring you the love and blessings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” said Elder Uchtdorf, who served in the First Presidency as second counselor to President Thomas S. Monson. The Church president died on January 2.
“I can assure you, the Lord Himself is at the head of His Church,” he said.
Elder Uchtdorf told the young adults that they are continually in their thoughts and prayers. “We love and admire you.”
The Uchtdorfs shared their life experiences with young adults, single and married, who range in age from 18 to 30.
“Older generations have much more in common with yours than you might suppose,” explained Elder Uchtdorf. “For instance, many of you have questions about God and about yourself — deep, fundamental questions that are similar to those asked by people much older than you.”
He added, “Despite my current age, I still feel young inside. In fact, most of us older people consider ourselves to be young people who have just been living a very long time.”
Elder Uchtdorf said his parents struggled to provide for his family when he was young as they were forced to twice flee from their home. He further explained that the stress of the relocations also caused him to fall behind in school. But he affirmed that he knew his family loved him, his teachers in school and at church encouraged him to set high goals and he trusted God.
Elder Uchtdorf said, “In this age of instant answers — where seemingly absolute and unassailable knowledge is merely a Google search away — we sometimes get frustrated when answers to our most personal, important, and urgent questions are delayed.”
He urged the young adults to be more patient when it comes to “eternal questions” and “matters of the soul.”
“Perhaps it’s disappointing to hear that God won’t necessarily give you a detailed itinerary for your life’s journey. … Do you really want someone giving you the cheat codes to life before you have a chance to figure things out for yourself?” asked Elder Uchtdorf.
The Uchtdorfs, who recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary, shared stories of growing up together in Frankfurt, Germany, where they attended the same Church branch.
“During my teenage years, I had a crush on a most amazing girl with beautiful, large brown eyes,” shared Elder Uchtdorf. “Unfortunately, Harriet didn’t seem the slightest bit interested in me.”
Sister Uchtdorf said she didn’t see him for a couple of years after he joined the Air Force to become a fighter pilot. “To be honest, when he returned to Frankfurt, my first impression was not too favorable. He looked a little like the guys in the movie Top Gun.”
But she was “mildly impressed” with him when he spoke to her. “He knew what he wanted to do with his life, and he was strong in the gospel.” They were married a few months later.
“I have never regretted that I took a good look at him, even after an uncertain first impression,” added Sister Uchtdorf.
“When we look at our two children and their spouses, our six grandchildren with their families, and our three great-grandchildren, we are amazed at the great adventure our life has been,” expressed Elder Uchtdorf.
“Those of you who are single, divorced, or live in challenging family circumstances, please know that God knows and loves you, and when you stay true to your covenants, the joy of family life will not be shortened or kept from you,” said Sister Uchtdorf. “I do not know exactly how this will be, but I do know that the Lord’s grace, mercy, and love is sufficient for all of us. He will make it happen according to His way and His time.”
Sister Uchtdorf recalled a hard time in her life when she lost her father to cancer when she was 12 years old. After his death, two American missionaries knocked on her door and left a copy of the Book of Mormon with her mother to read.
“As we embraced the Book of Mormon, it calmed our heartache and healed our despair and sadness caused by the death of my father,” she said.
Sister Uchtdorf encouraged the young adults to “help each other stay deeply grounded in the Church and in the gospel” and embrace the teachings of the Book of Mormon. “The Church and the Lord offer you powerful resources to accomplish your purpose in life.”
Elder Uchtdorf urged the young adults not to get overwhelmed by the “many large, difficult tasks of life,” but to focus on the small things instead. “Some of these ‘small and easy’ things you could do perfectly are daily prayer, studying the scriptures, living the Word of Wisdom, attending church, praying with real intent, and paying your tithes and offerings.”
The Mormon apostle said, “Your ‘small and simple’ sacrifices are the dots of daily living that make up the masterpiece painting of your life.”
Gathering and Sharing
Following the devotional, the Uchtdorfs mingled with the crowd and invited the young adults to enjoy the activities on Temple Square, which included refreshments and discussion tables in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The Christmas lights, normally turned off on January 2, were turned back on for the special event. An estimated 28,000 people attended the devotional at the Conference Center and overflow facilities and activities on Temple Square.
Did you miss the devotional? Watch the entire broadcast below.
Latter-day Saint young adults and friends are encouraged to engage in the online conversation and share positive messages on their favorite social media with the hashtags #ShareGoodness and #LDSdevo.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.