In the first #LDSFace2Face with the Young Single Adults of the Church, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland promised that this gathering was meant to be an expression of love and a gesture of hope for them, and that every promise God has made to them will be fulfilled.
YSA’s from around the world joined online and in congregations to be part of this conversational setting where they could ask even the most difficult questions and receive unscripted answers from Elder Holland; Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency.
YSA’s were encouraged to continue the conversation on social media, long after the evening ended using #ldsface2face
Hope was the recurring theme of the night—that no matter how difficult things are, they are God’s entire investment.
Elder Holland said, “Surely there must be someone in this vast international, global audience who wants to be free from sin. Who wants to be without blemish again. Who wants to be without spot and made holy. That’s what the gospel of Jesus Christ does. That’s what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does as the vehicle for the gospel of Christ.
“It is through the very grace of God—through the Atonement and the shedding of the only innocent person that ever lived on this planet—that we are redeemed and restored and given new life and new love and new hope and new happiness.
Surely there must be someone in this audience that needs to hear that.”
Here’s a sampling of some of the questions and answers from the evening, but whether you are a YSA or not, this is a Spirit-filled event worth watching here.
Questions: A lot of us think it is scary to get married and we have a lot of fear because of what we see. Is it really possible to have a happy marriage?
Elder Holland said, “First let me declare unequivocally, absolutely, adamantly that happy marriages are the rule. They are not the exception.” He said that though it is easy to find difficult marriages, we are surrounded by people with happy marriages.
“Sister Holland and I are living proof and testimonials to you all that you cannot just be happy, you can be ecstatically happy. You can just be movingly happy in all the right ways for all the right reasons.
“I want everybody to dismiss the idea that somehow this is a mountain that can’t be climbed, it’s a river that can’t be crossed, that there are too many difficulties to address marriage in this day or any day. That simply is not true.”
He said, “It’s important to lay a little theological groundwork. There may be wards and stakes in heaven, but I don’t know anything about them. I’ve never heard any reference to any such unit. The only thing that we know for a governing principle and a governance of people in heaven are families. That’s all we’ve been taught and so far as I know it’s all that’s there. That’s why we have temples. We unite people in temples family to family to family and someday, somewhere have this entire family together under the Fatherhood of God, that that will be the ideal celestial life.
“Please don’t be nervous if we seem to talk a lot about families. It is because it has that eternal consequence…We’re supposed to be practicing here what we are going to do there. What we are going to do there is be in families.
“I’m quick to say there are going to be those in this audience…who are not married yet, and some not marry for a long time, and some conceivably may not marry at all in this life, but we do teach that these promises are for everyone, that everyone will have that privilege and so we’re not going to retreat, we’re not going to shy away from talking about the ideal. Our lives will be somewhere short of that ideal as we work at it but we will always fly the flag of gospel principles and gospel truths, and part of that is that the ideal, celestial world is a world of marriage and family.”
He said, “We’ll teach that as an idea,l and then we’ll help each other work toward that ideal together. “
Elder Holland warned the Young Adults, “You don’t have to be hasty and you don’t have to have peptic ulcers over getting married, but you also should not hold back on a good thing. You go for a good thing and don’t wait. For example, don’t wait for money. If we had waited until we had money, we still wouldn’t be married.
“When we got married we had $300 between us…We had each other and faith and prayer and the gospel and we were crazy about each other and on three hundred dollars we went for broke.
“Don’t wait until you are clear through school. Don’t wait until you have a job or a home or a car or two or three. You’ll miss all the things you would have gone through together.”
Elder Holland said that to have a good marriage you have to work at it, “but every good thing I know of in this world you have to work at…Of all the things in this world He will help you with, He will help you with your marriages and your families. Nothing I know of that’s very worthwhile just happens.
Questions: How can we help girls who haven’t gone on missions know that they are not any less than those who did serve? The social rejection is sometimes unbearable.
Elder Holland said he was in the executive council when they wrestled through the issue of changing the mission age and indelibly printed on his soul forever was President Thomas S. Monson, thumping the table and declaring that we were not going to create a second class citizenship in the Church for young women who didn’t choose to go.
He said that even though we encourage young men in every way to serve missions, if a young man doesn’t go that does not preclude him from our association and admiration and priesthood service and his loyalty and love of the Lord and the Church.
“We do not want anyone to feel inadequate or left out or undignified or tarnished because she did not serve to a mission. We are a little irritated with young men who say, well I’m not going to date you because you didn’t serve a mission…What we’re dealing with here is the worth and wonder and beauty of human beings and choices being made and agency that exists…We do not want that kind of climate over dating or marriages or who is really faithful in the Church and who isn’t.”
Question: How can we regain the faith and hope of the gospel when we are confronted with the suffering and cynicism of the world?
Elder Hallstrom said in this world of complexities and sadness, how can we have hope? “We start with what our absolute core is and then we work from there. It is a natural thing in this world to have disappointments. This is a world that has much joy and much disappointment. It is part of why we are here on the earth..to have opposition and difficulties, but how we face them is how we’re refined so that we can gain the greatest of all the gifts of God, eternal life.
“Our effort is to work through those disappointments but do it with a sense of hope that’s founded on the Savior Jesus Christ. One of the fruits of the atonement is hope that whatever our circumstances might be, whatever our challenge is that it’s not the end, that there is a temporary nature to it.”
He said we have to continue to move out and not give up and not back off because we know who we are and we know the plan. “We seek not to have disappointments turn into discouragements…
“The hope for the future is more glorious than whatever we envisioned our live to be.”
Question: What are the most important things that YSAs need to do to prepare for marriage?
Elder Hallstrom said, “Stay worthy. We live in a world that is confusing because the societal norms have changed significantly…Stay with the apostles and you’ll be on safe ground.”
To answer that question she pondered about Alma’s counsel to his son Corianton who had committed sexual sin. She thought about how Alma taught him and wondered, “Would you give up on Corianton? What’s in the heart? Are you dating someone who has a good heart? Who’s honest about it, who is willing to work with you, who is willing to take the 12-step course and to really study the scriptures?…Can you work through this together?
“The condition of his heart, I think that’s where this decision will come.” When you study Alma 48, you learn something about Corianton. She said, “I think he got it. I think he figured out.”
She then quoted Alma 48:17,18 that reads: “If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.
“Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, yea, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea, and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God.”
She said that we should notice that the scripture doesn’t say “Alma and his sons except for Corianton.”
Question: How can we decipher the difference between our own thoughts and feelings and the promptings of the Holy Ghost?
Sister Stephens said that anything that’s good comes from the Spirit. “If you are struggling with something and you are trying to receive an answer, you’re going to be receiving all kinds of little thoughts and whenever I am working on something and I receive a little thought I always say, ‘thank you, thank you.’ I’m going to give credit to the Spirit for that. I’m not going to give credit to myself for those little thoughts that come into my mind.”
Elder Holland said, “I think sometimes we can get almost immobilized over that question. Is it me or is it the Spirit? I think sometimes that’s almost a non-issue. God can speak to your heart, in your intelligence, in your mind, in your experience. You can be like Enos you can hear a voice in your head, in your ear. You can have a full vision. There are all these different ways that God can communicate. It’s counterproductive to worry about where that’s coming from.”
He said you have a backdrop to measure your truths by. “You have the teachings of the gospel, you have the scriptures, you have the words of the Brethren.”
Question: Those who experience same-gender attraction feel alone in the Church. If you could meet with them face to face, how would you respond to them?
Elder Holland said, “We have talked altogether too much about gender and altogether too little about chastity. The issue is about chastity and not about gender.”
He said that the Church doesn’t make a judgment about same-sex attraction, nor does it make a judgment about the causes of that attraction. “What we say is that we teach chastity for heterosexuals and for those with homosexual tendencies. We just go with what the Lord has said about chastity.”
He said that what we say to those with same-sex attraction is the same thing that we say to those with heterosexual attraction. ‘Be faithful. Be true.’
“We issue all of our love and all of our help and anything we can do to help people meet that standard.”