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Sister Ann M. Dibb: ‘Arise and Shine Forth’

By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor

One of the greatest ways the youth of the Church can arise and shine forth is to confidently obey the commandments of God, said Sister Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency.

"We learn of these commandments in the scriptures, from modern-day prophets, and within the pages of the booklet, For the Strength of Youth," she said.

Speaking during the General Young Women Meeting on March 24, Sister Dibb focused on the 2012 Mutual theme—“Arise and shine forth”—found in the Doctrine and Covenants.

"The heading for Section 115 explains: The year was 1838, and the setting was Far West, Missouri. Joseph Smith was 'making known the will of God concerning the building up of that place and of the Lord’s house,'" she explained. "The prophet was optimistic and encouraged. In verse 5, where we find this year’s theme, the Lord tells him, 'Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.'”

Sister Dibb asked the congregation what they think of when they hear the word arise. "Personally, I think of you—the noble youth of the Church," she said. "I picture you diligently arising from your beds each morning for early morning seminary. I see you faithfully arising from your knees after finishing your daily prayers. I think of you courageously arising to share your testimony and defend your standards. I am inspired by your commitment to the gospel and your good examples. Many of you have already accepted this invitation to arise and shine forth, and your light encourages others to do the same."

Sister Dibb said, on her copy of For the Strength of Youth, she has circled the words for and you.

"This simple act reminds me that these standards are not just general guidelines—they are specifically for me," she explained. "I hope you will take the time to circle those words on your own booklet, read it cover to cover, and feel the Spirit testify that they are for you as well."

Sister Dibb said there may be young women who are tempted to disregard or dismiss the standards in For the Strength of Youth.

"If you are struggling with keeping these standards and commandments, I encourage you to look for support within the gospel. Read your scriptures. Spend time on the Church’s official website, LDS.org, to find answers to your questions. Talk to your parents, your Church leaders, and those who shine brightly as they live the gospel. Pray. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father who loves you. Use the gift of repentance daily. Serve others. And most important, listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost."

Sister Dibb told the young women that Heavenly Father does not want them to look to the world and follow its ever-changing trends. "He wants us to look to Him and follow His unchanging guidance," she said. "He wants us to live the gospel and lead others to it by setting the standard high."

The scriptures provide many great examples to illustrate this idea, she said. Samson, for example, was overcome by the world, lost his God-given power, and died a tragic, early death.

On the other hand, the scriptures provide the example of Daniel, she said. "When worldly challenges came to Daniel, he didn’t look down at the world—he arose and looked to heaven. ... Although he spent an uncomfortable night in the lion’s den for standing for what was right, he was protected and blessed for his obedience."

Sister Dibb shared an example of a modern-day young woman who was not afraid to arise and shine forth.

"Joanna was one of only three members of the Church in her high school, and the only young woman in her ward. She committed to herself and the Lord that she would never use bad language. When she was paired with a young man for a school project, who had not made the same commitment, she did not lower her standards. She asked him to respect and honor her values. Over time, with many gentle, and some not-so-gentle reminders, her friend formed new habits and used cleaner language. Many people noticed the difference, including his father, who thanked Joanna for being a good influence in her son’s life."

Sister Dibb told the young women that they were born with great potential. "You are beloved daughters of Heavenly Father. He knows you and He loves you. He invites you to arise, and shine forth, and He promises that as you do, He will sustain and bless you."