News Release from Mormon Newsroom.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fielded questions from Mormon youth in a live Face to Face broadcast in upstate New York, Saturday, March 4, 2017.
The location is significant to Latter-day Saints who believe the Prophet Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, near his Palmyra farm home nearly two centuries ago.
Watch the entire broadcast below.
“The Smith Farm is a really special place because it’s where Joseph Smith was when he received the First Vision,” said Natashia Neckles, a high school student in Rochester, New York. “[This area is] really special because it humanizes him for me because we see this home, and how humble it is, and how he had really humble beginnings, and it just makes it more real.”
The event was streamed live to a global audience in 12 languages and originated from the Joseph Smith Farm Welcome Center, where the apostles were joined by two youth moderators and about 60 Mormon teens from the area.
Questions and Answers
Latter-day Saint youth were encouraged to submit questions online or through social media to the apostles for the event. Teens in England and South Africa also participated in the live broadcast. In return, President Eyring and Elder Holland answered their questions — live.
A teen from Plymouth, England asked a question about what the term in Bible verse, James 1:5 “nothing wavering” means. President Eyring said, “I think what it means has to do with not whether or not you are certain, but whether or not your faith in Jesus Christ is strong. Let me ask in faith nothing wavering, I don’t mean that you have to always know that you’re going to get exactly what you ask for. But you have to believe that Jesus is the Christ and never waver in that.”
Elder Holland fielded a question regarding listening to the Holy Ghost in a world full of distractions.
“I think so often we make prayer a kind of a laundry list of requests,” he said. “It’s sort of like we want to go to the store and get this and this and this and I need it right now and I want it in the bag and I’m on my way. And we fail to remember that He’s supposed to speak back to us. We need his voice we’ve got to provide an environment for him to speak to us and that means stay on your knees. Stay quiet stay in the private setting let it happen. We often deny Him the chance to reply.”
President Eyring closed the broadcast with a challenge to the youth to “come to know for yourself that these things are true. You can do this by following Joseph Smith’s example. Study the scriptures. Let the words sink deep into your heart. Reflect on them again and again. Then ask of God with a willingness to accept his guidance truly his will be done. … I cannot promise that your answers will come in a day or in a week but I can promise that God will speak to you in his own way and in his own time.”
The two apostles spoke about the unique experience of meeting youth face to face in such a setting as the historic Smith farm.
“It was one of the most wonderful experiences [to be] face to face with young people, and then hearing the questions that came from them, and feeling their hearts and their faith,” said President Eyring. “It was extremely reassuring [in] two ways. One is to know that I’m where Heavenly Father and the Savior appeared, and where the work began here in the last days, but also when I see the wonderful faith of the young people.”
President Eyring said he was strengthened to have the opportunity to talk about prayer with the youth.
“Prayer, just as it was for Joseph Smith, was the pivotal experience you see that allowed him to be what he could become,” President Eyring said. “That’s also true for everybody.”
“To hear these two little moderators and these young people seated here, and knowing by extension there were thousands out around the world, hundreds of thousands, it really was a very gratifying experience,” said Elder Holland. “I was moved by it. It was tender. I kind of fought back the tears a time or two, not for any particular moment, just looking at them and thinking of how good they are, and how much they’re trying to be what they ought to be. I was very proud of them.”
Elder Holland remembered the role models he had as a teenager, including some Church leaders. “We all need people to lean on. And particularly young people,” he said. “We need heroes and heroines. We need good examples. We wanted to have them leave here believing that they could count on us.”
Local Youth Speak to the Value of Faith in Everyday Life
Youth who participated in the live event shared their thoughts on their relationship with God and being Mormon.
Matthew Paez is one of only three Mormons at his large high school. “I see so many kids that have no purpose in life, have no understanding of life,” he said. “And they think that they’re living life to the fullest and experiencing the world. But deep down they’re miserable. Having religion gives you peace, gives you comfort.”
Another teenager, Emmanuel Kombi, spoke of the importance of prayer (which is the Church’s 2017 youth theme).
“I think it’s important to pray because it’s important to talk to our Father, and He knows us,” he said. “And He will always talk to us. Heavenly Father wants the best for His children, and He will provide.”
Emily Sine said prayer is important because it provides clarity in a world of many choices.
“I think it’s important to ask God for direction in your life because there’s so many confusing paths right now,” she said. “Especially with all the media and such. I believe that there’s a plan for each of us, that God knows what’s best. And how can we know that? It’s such a big world. And it’s so important that we get revelation from the person who knows us best.”
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.