“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
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Can the influence of one righteous young man or young woman make a difference in the world? The answer is yes!
The Savior Jesus Christ trusts you with His name, which you received at baptism. He trusts you to represent the Church and your family by gratefully living a good life. He asks you to be “an example of the believers,” someone who will draw others to Him, work miracles, and help Him build the kingdom of God on earth.
The 2009 Mutual theme is found in 1 Timothy 4:12, where the Apostle Paul gives advice to his young friend Timothy. What Paul taught Timothy also applies to you today because you, like Timothy, are a believer! “You are choice spirits who have come forth in this day” when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. You are part of a generation of destiny with “responsibilities of building the kingdom of God.” 1 You can influence the entire world through the power of your faith and your righteous example. Paul knew that of Timothy, and we know that of you!
President Thomas S. Monson gave excellent counsel on how we can be an “example of the believers.” He said: “Make every decision you contemplate pass this test: What does it do to me? What does it do for me? And let your code of conduct emphasize not, ‘What will others think?’ but rather, ‘What will I think of myself?’ Be influenced by that still, small voice. Remember that one with authority placed his hands on your head at the time of your confirmation and said, ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’ Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that special voice which testifies of truth.” 2
Believers have a growing personal testimony of Jesus Christ, they recognize the great blessing of personal testimony, and they desire to share their knowledge with others.You can share your testimony by your words and your example.
President Monson also taught: “When firmly planted, your testimony … will influence all that you do throughout your life. It will help to determine how you spend your time and with whom you choose to associate. It will affect the way you treat your family, how you interact with others. It will bring love, peace, and joy into your life.” 3
You live in a world that is competing for your time and attention. You face many pressures and are bombarded with many voices. Sometimes you can become confused about what to do and what is right. Each week you have the opportunity to partake of the sacrament and renew your covenant to “always remember [the Savior] and keep his commandments” (D&C 20:77). When you do this, you show Heavenly Father your willingness to take upon yourself His Son’s holy name. Your words and actions show others that you really are keeping your covenants. As you renew and keep your covenants, the Holy Ghost will guide you and “tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
The standards in For the Strength of Youth will also strengthen you and help you stand firm as an example. As you live these standards, you will have the guidance and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Your thoughts and actions will be different from the world’s, and your example will influence others. “You will feel good about yourself and will be a positive influence in the lives of others.” 4 You will be happy, and your friends and family will be drawn to you by the light and happiness you radiate.
So we ask you, “Can one young man or young woman striving to live the gospel and be a worthy example of the believers make a difference in the world?” We know with all our hearts that the answer is a resounding yes! We believe that as you are pure in your thoughts, conversation, and actions, you will make a difference. We believe in you!
An Invitation to Young Women
Being an “example of the believers” is not easy. It takes daily effort to remember who we are and what believers do. We would like to invite you to do three things every day that can give you strength and help you be an example to your family and friends. As a presidency, we are doing these things—100 percent of the time. Would you be willing to join with us?
First, pray every day.
Second, read the Book of Mormon every day for at least five minutes.
Third, smile every day.
We invite you to smile because you are on the earth at this incredible time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. You have been taught by a prophet of God that the good people of the world will be drawn to you to the degree that you “are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways.” 1
Think what would happen if thousands of young women like yourself did these three things daily!
Many of life’s lasting successes are built on a foundation of doing small things consistently over a long period of time. These three things are small and simple, but remember, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). We know you will discover the blessings of doing these three things daily. And if you forget one day, you can start again the next day.
We testify that if you will pray, read the Book of Mormon, and smile daily, you will be blessed for your efforts and you will be an example of the believers—a young woman who can make a difference in the world.
Spencer W. Kimball, “The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 104.
To Young Men of the Aaronic Priesthood
Paul reminded Timothy of something very important—important to Timothy and to each bearer of the Aaronic Priesthood: “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands” (1 Timothy 4:14). Paul was speaking of the importance of the priesthood.
What does it mean to “neglect not” our priesthood? First, it means to live worthy of the blessings that flow through the priesthood. We ensure that our thoughts, words, and actions are pure. We live so as to be “an example of the believers” in all that we do: praying and reading the scriptures daily, attending seminary, paying tithing, and, where possible, attending the temple to perform baptisms for the dead.
Second, it means to magnify the priesthood—to use the priesthood to serve and bless the lives of others. We can do this by fulfilling priesthood assignments; providing personal and quorum service; or reaching out to someone at home, school, or work who needs a kind word, a smile, or a pat on the back.
Third, it means learning about the priesthood and its duties. Read and ponder the scriptures about the priesthood, specifically Alma 13 and Doctrine and Covenants sections 13, 20, 84, 107, and 121. Read the talks given in the priesthood session at the most recent general conference, and then ask yourself, “How can I apply what I learned to help me magnify the priesthood?”
We love you. We have confidence in you. As you strive to magnify your priesthood, you will be better prepared to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary, and as Paul promised Timothy, your service and your example will bless your life and those around you. May God bless you in your efforts.
Photo illustrations by Craig Dimond, John Luke, and Christina Smith