The Joy and Opportunity of Instilling Faith in the Rising Generation

Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast • August 7, 2012

Dear brothers and sisters, it is an honor and a joy to be here with you today. We share in the mighty task and privilege of instilling the gospel of Jesus Christ into the hearts and minds of the rising generation. The Book of Mormon illustrates clearly the importance of cultivating faith in the youth as each generation comes along. Even with the spiritual outpouring upon the Nephites during the time of King Benjamin, the Book of Mormon informs us that “there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people” (Mosiah 26:1).

Each new generation needs to be taught the word of God and experience the planting of seeds of faith in their hearts. In our dispensation, in the 69th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord instructed the brethren in the newly established Church to preach, expound, write, copy, select, and obtain “all things which shall be for the good of the church, and for the rising generations that shall grow up on the land of Zion” (D&C 69:8). I think that is a fitting job description for what we do in the seminaries and institutes program of the Church. What we do in teaching the youth of Zion is critical to the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ restored in these latter days.

Thirty-nine years ago Randy and I, as newlyweds, began our first year of teaching seminary in Bountiful, Utah. As the years have come and gone and we have had different assignments in Church education, there has not been one moment that I have not been profoundly grateful that we have had the honor of being a small part of this great work. I have thanked Heavenly Father more times than I can count for allowing us this privilege. How many people upon the face of the earth have the opportunity to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ as their profession?

Every time we have gathered together as Church education employees I am uplifted by your goodness and your strength, and I have commented often to Randy that there are not better people anywhere and that the privilege of teaching seminary is the world’s best-kept secret. As a spouse of a seminary and institutes employee, I take comfort in knowing that my husband has the best in daily associations. What may be lacking in worldly acclaim is certainly surpassed by the rewards and the joy of seeing gospel seeds take root in the hearts of the precious youth of the Church. Whenever I am in your company, I feel uplifted and I want to be a better person. I learn from you, and I marvel at your good examples. You have shaped who I am.

I have been particularly strengthened by the faith of our international personnel and their spouses. My brief contacts with these wonderful brothers and sisters have been joyful, and our family has been lifted by the stories that Randy has shared about faithful seminary and institute employees and students all over the world.

I am grateful for the strength and spiritual inoculation against the ills of the world that you have given each of my own children. Each one of them has received essential spiritual nourishment and instruction from his or her seminary and institute teachers.

We live in a time when our children and students can never have too much spiritual reinforcement. In fact, we are all aware of the negative pull the adversary levels at the youth of Zion. We may wonder at times if we really will prevail in the face of all of those derailing influences that can and sometimes do lure our youth away from the gospel of Jesus Christ and His commandments. I bear testimony to you that as we move forward with a perfect brightness of hope in Jesus Christ and continue with all our hearts to exercise faith in Him, to pray for and to love and care for and nurture and teach the youth of Zion, that the seeds we have planted will grow into mighty trees and bear pure and delicious fruit in the kingdom of God.

Randy and I recently returned from a Church history workshop where we visited many sites connected with the Restoration of the gospel in these latter days. I imagine that as those early Saints struggled to establish the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, they had no idea how far-reaching their daily efforts to gather with the Saints, to build temples, and to preach the gospel really would extend. I’m sure they experienced discouragement and wondered if they were making any headway at all. There were times of distraction, times when the adversary was unrelenting. There were times of cloud cover when the big picture was not available and the sun was not shining brightly lighting the way.

As I look back on 39 years of life within our family and within seminaries and institutes, I can say that when we have days and weeks and even, perhaps, months where we are under cloud cover, we can remember and reach for the great and substantive principle of hope—hope in Christ, hope in the plan, hope in the future. We can have faith in knowing that the Lord is ultimately in charge and that He extracts beauty out of ashes and that, as all things denote there is a God, the sunrise of each new day teaches us that life renews, that light comes again.

Remember that what you are doing at home and at work is eternal—that it reaches far beyond this hour and this day—and that what we are now building is really beyond our comprehension. The trials of our own Kirtlands or Nauvoos will give way to the beauties and blessings of being faithful in the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

I bear you my testimony that this work is true. It will prevail. I thank Heavenly Father for the small part He has given you and me in His vineyard. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

© 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. English approval: 5/12. The Joy and Opportunity of Instilling Faith in the Rising Generation. English. PD50043158 000