President Uchtdorf Gives Advice to Young Single Adults in California
Contributed By Gerry Avant, Church News editor
- 1. Keep the commandments.
- 2. Trust the Lord.
- 3. Serve God and your fellowman.
“I really believe that when we love God, when we do things because of our love for Him and not because we are afraid of the consequences, then purpose comes into our lives.” —President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has simple, straightforward advice for young single adults: keep the commandments, trust the Lord, and serve God and your fellowman.
That’s what he told some 250 young single adult leaders in Southern California who gathered on April 25 in the Los Angeles California Stake Center. The leaders came from 93 stakes and 55 institutes of religion in a geographic area from San Diego in the south to San Luis Obispo and Bakersfield in the north. Also attending were 50 priesthood leaders and institute directors.
“I have always loved to be with young people. Our young single adults are very precious to me, to the Church, and to the Lord,” President Uchtdorf told the Church News upon his return to Salt Lake City.
“I could feel their wonderful spirit as we met in the historic and beautiful stake center.”
He said he focused on the basics, the plain and simple messages of the gospel that apply to everyone, whether single or married, young or old: keep the commandments and trust the Lord.
“It’s that simple, it’s that plain, it’s that easy—and it’s that hard. Keeping the commandments is really quite a big task,” he said.
“Trusting in the Lord is a source of hope,” he declared. He added that placing emphasis on the plain, pure, and most precious gospel message “helps us really to focus on the two highest commandments God has given to us: to love and serve God and our fellowman.”
“I really believe that when we love God, when we do things because of our love for Him and not because we are afraid of the consequences, then purpose comes into our lives. Then we know the full picture. We love Him because He is our Father in Heaven.
“When I realize He is my Father in Heaven, then follows the second portion of the great commandment: to love my fellowmen. I do it because they are my brothers and sisters. With this in mind, then compassion comes, and caring for each other.”
President Uchtdorf said young single adults, or other Church members, don’t need to wait for callings to follow the example of the Savior, who “went about doing good.”
He spoke of the Atonement and the opportunity it affords for repentance.
Also, he encouraged the young adults to avoid the dangers of the world, such as pornography. He spoke of a natural phenomenon he saw as an airline pilot. (His career included being head of Lufthansa’s pilot school and all cockpit crews and Lufthansa’s senior vice president and chief pilot.)
He described what is known as the intertropical convergence zone, a band of thunderstorms that moves north and south across the equator, filling the horizon with billowing, menacing columns of clouds. He saw these storms as he was captain of 747 nighttime flights from Frankfurt to Johannesburg. “It’s dark, and all of a sudden, you look out of the cockpit in front of you and see the electric discharges. You see the cumulus clouds form and grow. It’s one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen. The closer you get, the more beautiful it looks.
“In those thunderstorms there are vertical currents from the bottom up and then they come down again. It’s a rotation. It picks up the water on the bottom and then it cools off very fast on its way up to the top. Water forms ice, and the ice grows and you have soccer ball-size hail. It can destroy even large aircraft, and the electrical discharge can mess up modern fly-by-wire systems. The thunderstorm throws out hail that can even hit you some distance away.
“What we taught our pilots about these storms was ‘Don’t even get close to them. Avoid, avoid, avoid.’
“It’s like that with pornography or similar things that might look somewhat attractive but are deadly.
“That’s what I say about pornography. ‘Stay clear. Avoid, avoid, avoid.’ Search for better things to do with your time and efforts. Search for spiritually uplifting activities. Stay close to the Lord and serve your fellowmen.”
President Uchtdorf said of the young single adults in the Church, “These are great young people, and the Lord has prepared them to be ready for this time. Sometimes we think it is the hardest time ever, but we also have very tough, intelligent, faithful people. I try to encourage them to enjoy life.”
He held up a copy of the pamphlet entitled For the Strength of Youth and said some young adults might feel they have outgrown it. “When I look at this pamphlet now, as a great-grandfather, I realize these are principles which help me to live happily and to be worthy to have a current temple recommend. These are the principles that will help me live according to God’s plan of happiness in any season of life.”