“When you know your life is being directed by God, regardless of the challenges and disappointments that may come, you will feel joy and peace,” said President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a worldwide devotional for youth. President Nelson was joined by his wife, Wendy, for the historic broadcast that originated at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
“I am inviting every young woman and every young man between the ages of 12 and 18 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to enlist in the youth battalion of the Lord to help gather Israel,” said President Nelson, who challenged Mormon youth to participate in what he called “the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on the earth today.”
Sister Nelson encouraged the youth to stop comparing themselves to others. “It’s time to put away those erroneous views of ourselves and of others. The truth is that other people are not as perfect as they appear; and we are not as hopelessly flawed as we may think.”
She offered some suggestions for the teens while they are finding and fulfilling their “mortal missions,” including choosing to follow and stand up for Jesus Christ, daily repentance and partaking of the sacrament every week.
“We have our agency to choose how we spend our time and energy, our talents and resources,” said Sister Nelson. “In fact, what we choose to do is part of our testing. The choice is yours and mine.”
President Nelson called on the youth to make sacrifices in their lives, including a seven-day social media fast. “Choose seven consecutive days and go for it,” he said.
“I acknowledge that there are positives about social media,” said the Latter-day Saint prophet. “But if you are paying more attention to feeds from social media than you are to the whisperings of the Spirit, then you are putting yourself at spiritual risk — as well as the risk of experiencing intense loneliness and depression.”
“Another downside of social media is that it creates a false reality,” he explained. “Much of what appears in your various social media feeds is distorted, if not fake.”
Be a Light
President Nelson also invited the youth to sacrifice some time every week for the Lord for several weeks in a row, to stay on the “covenant path,” to pray daily “that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel” and to “look like, sound like, act like, and dress like” true disciples of Jesus Christ.
He taught, “With the Holy Ghost as your companion, you can see right through the celebrity culture that has smitten our society. You can be smarter than previous generations have been. And if you are sometimes called ‘weird,’ wear that distinction as a badge of honor and be happy that your light is shining brightly in this ever-darkening world!”
At the end of the devotional, President Nelson invited the young men and young women to study the pamphlet “For the Strength of Youth” and to give a copy to a friend. The Church publication outlines standards for the youth on topics such as dating, dress and appearance, entertainment and media and language.
This is only the second time in Church history that a prophet has participated in a worldwide broadcast devoted specifically to the youth of the Church. President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to youth in a special worldwide fireside in the Conference Center in November 2000.