Young Women Worldwide Counseled to Stand in Holy Places
Contributed by By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
Young women dressed in bright spring colors filled the choir seats of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City as Church leaders addressed a capacity crowd—as well as Church members worldwide via satellite—during the annual General Young Women Meeting March 30.
The entire First Presidency—President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf—attended the event, where President Uchtdorf and the Young Women general presidency spoke.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
During his remarks, President Uchtdorf said that young women will find their way on their journey home and be an inspiration to others as they follow the map given by a loving Heavenly Father.
President Uchtdorf shared a personal story of how his family fled from their home in East Germany to freedom in West Germany. His father, older brothers, and sister each traveled alone while young Dieter, then about 11 years old, and his mother walked together across a mountain range to the West.
“Even though each member of our family had taken very different routes and experienced very different hardships along the way, eventually all of us made it to safety,” he said. “We were finally reunited as a family. What a glorious day that was!”
President Uchtdorf said that journey and many other “journeys” he has experienced in life have become precious memories and learning experiences.
“I can now look back on my life and recognize a number of such ‘journeys’ I have taken over time,” he said. “Not all of them involved crossing mountain ranges or political boundaries; some had more to do with overcoming trials or growing in spirituality. But they were all journeys. I believe that every life is a collection of individual ‘journey stories.’”
President Uchtdorf spoke of the mortal “journey” all people chose in the premortal sphere and how this earth life is a wonderful journey back to their heavenly home.
“Now that you are here on earth, it might be wise to ask yourself how your journey is going,” he said. “Are you on the right course? Are you becoming the person you were designed to be and wanted to become? Are you making choices that will help you to return to your Father in Heaven?
“He didn’t send you on this journey only to wander aimlessly on your own. He wants you to come home to Him. He has given you loving parents and faithful Church leaders, along with a map that describes the terrain and identifies the dangers; the map shows you where peace and happiness can be found and will help you plot your course back home.”
That map is found in the sacred scriptures, in the words of the prophets and apostles, and through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost, he said.
“This map is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news, and the joyful way of a disciple of Christ,” he said. “It is the commandments and example given to us by our Advocate and Mentor, who knows the way because He is the way.”
But simply having a map doesn’t do any good unless it is studied and used to navigate through life, President Uchtdorf taught.
President Uchtdorf shared three specific messages:
- “Do not fear, for I the Lord am with you.”
- “Love one another, as I have loved you.”
- “Be of good cheer.”
President Uchtdorf told the young women: “As you joyfully use the map your loving Father has provided for your journey, you will rise to your supernal potential. You will grow into the daughter of God you hoped you would become.”
He promised them that as they honor and live true to the covenants, the principles, and the values of the gospel of Jesus Christ, “at the end of your journey Heavenly Father will be there. He will embrace you, and you will know once and for all that you have made it home safely.”
Sister Elaine S. Dalton
Drawing from the 2013 Mutual theme found in Doctrine and Covenants 87:8, “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved,” Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president, encouraged young women to “be not moved.”
“I can think of no more important counsel from a loving Heavenly Father than His admonition for each of you to ‘stand ... in holy places and be not moved.’”
Young women today are standing on the edge of many important decisions and making choices daily, some of them difficult, that will shape not only their future but also the destiny of generations, Sister Dalton said. But despite the winds of opposition, adversity, peer pressure, and moral pollution, young women are standing immovable and living the gospel in the face of society’s raging storms.
“In these latter days, there are no small decisions,” she declared. “The choices you are making right now are of critical importance. Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children. It is part of the plan of happiness you and I chose and defended in our premortal existence. Live your lives in such a way that you can listen to and hear the Holy Ghost, and He will help you make correct decisions. He will ‘tell you all things what ye should do.’”
Sister Mary N. Cook
A young women’s virtuous life will bless their ancestors, their families now, and generations yet to come, said Sister Mary N. Cook, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency. Quoting President Gordon B. Hinckley, she stated, “When you save a girl, you save generations.”
Righteous choices will qualify young women to make and keep sacred covenants that will bind their family together eternally, she said.
“Decide now to do all you can to fill your lamps, that your strong testimony and example may be woven into the lives of many generations—past, present, and future. I testify that your virtuous life will not only save generations, but it will save your eternal life, for it is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father and find true joy now and throughout eternity.”
Sister Ann M. Dibb
Sister Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, told young women that they can create and stand in “holy places” even in the hardest times.
She said that while a holy place can be a physical environment or a geographical location—like a temple, a Church building, or a home—but it can also be “a distinct condition, position, or state of mind.”
“This means holy places can also include moments in time,” said Sister Dibb, “moments when the Holy Ghost testifies to us, moments when we feel Heavenly Father’s love, or moments when we receive an answer to our prayers. Even more, I believe any time you have the courage to stand for what is right … you are creating a holy place.”
It is through finding, creating, and visiting those “holy places” that young women are able to experience an incredible strengthening power.
“These places are providing you with protection, strength, and peace in unsettling times. Your testimonies are becoming stronger because you are standing for truth and righteousness in glorious ways.”