Young Women Fireside 1981

by Camilla E. Kimball


Saturday March 28, 1981
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7)

[illustrations] Serigraphs by Beverly Glazier

[photos] Photos courtesy of The Church News

[photo] Sister Darger, Sister Cannon, and Sister Smith, General Presidency of the Young Women (Photo by Marsha Fox.)

[photo] Sister Camilla E. Kimball

[photo] President Spencer W. Kimball

[photo] Elaine A. Cannon, Young Women General President (Photo by Eldon Linschoten.)

[photo] (Left to right) Julie Fullmer, Becky Goates, Becky Smith, Kirsten Brady

[photo] Elder Marvin J. Ashton

We Are His Children

I consider it a privilege to bear my testimony to this wonderful group of young women. I’d like to tell you that as I grow older my testimony grows stronger and more appreciative every day of my life.

We had an unusual experience in this recent journey that we have made. We had been visiting many of the less privileged members of the Church in the South Pacific and in the Caribbean area, where we have many new members. One experience that we had filled my heart with gratitude for what the gospel is doing for these dear people. We attended a meeting of the children in the school in the Samoan Islands. They have a Church school for the children there, and the students were gathered together on this particular occasion in the gymnasium, 1,700 little children. They were sitting on the floor just as close as they could get. It was wonderful to look out into the faces of these beautiful children with their black, shining eyes; and then to hear them sing “I Am a Child of God”; and to realize that beginning at the young age of kindergarten children up through the high schools they were being taught this wonderful hymn, that to me is one of the classic hymns of the Church.

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way,
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

(Naomi W. Randall and Mildred T. Pettit, “I Am a Child of God,” Sing with Me, p. B-76)

To me, if we can have that in our hearts and our ambition, we will realize what a wonderful opportunity we have: We know where we came from. We know what the purpose of our life here is, and that is to grow and develop and to be useful and to advance in knowledge and in cultivating our talents, and then that we as women may have the wonderful opportunity and the privilege of being mothers in Israel and having the opportunity to teach little children to love our Heavenly Father and to know that we are his children and that he is so much concerned with us, each of us.

May our Heavenly Father bless each of you that you may walk safely to eternal life, which is the desire of all of us, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

In Love and Power and without Fear

My beloved sisters, I am always thrilled and greatly encouraged when I see and visit with the beautiful and devoted young women of the Church. I feel a special confidence in the future of the Church and its future families as I meet and talk with so many thousands of righteous young Latter-day Saint women all over the world.

I feel that the theme of this meeting is especially appropriate for you lovely daughters of Zion: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). Paul gives a further word of counsel to Timothy which applies to all Latter-day Saints when he added: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:8).

The prophets in this dispensation have taught us that special spirits were reserved to come forth at this tSime in this last dispensation. You are among those very special spirits!

My dear sisters, please stay close to the Lord, to your parents, to your priesthood leaders, and to your leaders in the Young Women program. Because you are so precious, you will understand why we are so anxious to help you in your personal growth and development to become what you have the power to become, living your lives in love and power and without fear.

Prepare yourselves educationally. Be good students in your schools and colleges. Learn to be a good friend and a good neighbor, for this will help you be a better wife and mother. Before you fall in love with a choice young man, fall in love with the scriptures, for they will help you to prepare for the future spiritually. You will be a better friend and neighbor, a better wife and a better mother, if you have developed gospel attributes of love, purity, and meekness and gospel skills such as communicating, listening, and delegating. The Young Women program is part of the Church’s effort to help you develop all of these and become a special woman.

You will not always be young women, but you will always be women. Become special women, for you are so badly needed, and there are not enough like you in the world.

Please know, dear sisters, that the leaders of the Church love you. And even more important, know that the Lord loves you. Our Heavenly Father placed you on earth in this special time for a special purpose. I pray that he will bless you now and always, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

Season of Awakening

As a Young Women presidency we want you to know that we are committed to sustaining President Kimball and the Brethren and to helping the Lord Jesus Christ in his great mission “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). And our special concern is with the young women between the ages of 12 and 18. It is a privilege to be serving this very royal generation of young women.

Now, in Utah where this program is originating, we are coming into the greening time. It is the season of the awakening. Buds are thickening on the branches. Brave early bloomers are brightening Temple Square. It is spring! While over there in Australia and New Zealand—that part of the world where so many of you are listening right now—the seasons are completely reversed. It is almost the time of the harvest.

So it is with us in this congregation. There are over a quarter of a million young women—girls who are in the spring of their lives. There are also over 35,000 adult presidencies—guardians of the girls who are, some of us, pushing the summer of our lives to the very limit.

Somewhere in between our seasons of spring and harvest time, the nurturing, pruning, and enriching in our lives must happen before the miracle of the harvest can occur. We pray for us all that one day the yield of our lives will be acceptable before God.

For you who are in the season of the awakening, in the spring of your life, that special song that the choir sang to open this meeting was dedicated to you. It was as if each one of you might be saying:

Who am I?
What special purpose is mine?
I follow winged sparrow … and I yearn to soar.
I hear the ocean’s thunder. There is pow’r!
But what am I?
I see lilies blooming where the winter storms have swept the field.
I feel the sun; by its radiance I see all that God created.
I, too, am God’s creation, and he knows me as his own.
Tenderly, I know him in my heart.
Who am I? [What special purpose is mine?]
I am a daughter of God.

(Elaine A. Cannon and Margaret Cornwall Richards, “The Awakening”)

So you are—a daughter of God, a member of his family. Being a member of a family usually means you do what the family does; you keep the family’s standards; you live as the family lives; you speak as the family speaks. You love after the manner of the family. Your kindnesses are done in the name of the family. Now while all of your dreams haven’t come true yet and the growing pains are often grim, I think it really helps to remember that the head of this heavenly family is a Patriarch who, with his great caring, his great quality, his infinite wisdom and superb capacity, loves you—loves you anyway. While you are away from Heavenly Father, wandering here on earth, experiencing and learning, he’s watching. He’s waiting. He wants you to come home again. He wants you to make it.

No doubt you have had some moments when you’ve felt a kind of inner longing, a loneliness even while surrounded by people. You’ve felt a kind of eternal homesickness, as some people have spoken of it. You have a vague remembrance that you do have a special link with Heavenly Father. I think that knowing this ought to make a difference in how you feel about yourself. It ought to make a difference in how you are and in the things you do and the choices you make. We believe that each of you should develop a sweet and saving relationship with the Lord, because when you have that, everything else will begin to fall into place—things like personal purity, temple endowment, honoring your parents, and learning all you can about the plan of life and the principles to live it. See, it really doesn’t matter, really it doesn’t matter, whether you are skinny or wide or tall or small. It’s what you are inside that counts; that’s all. You develop yourself with a new confidence, a new purpose, and you begin to contribute to others of our Heavenly Father’s children.

Remember, He’s standing by to help.

In the Bible we are told, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). Spiritually, then, you are rooted in God. This is the most important knowledge to obtain. The second most important knowledge, perhaps, is the purpose of your physical bodies.

Physically you are descendants of father Abraham and are entitled to all the blessings God promised Abraham’s posterity. I think it is well to remember that you are also indebted to all of your recent ancestors who have gone before you and laid foundations for you to build upon.

The poet, Walt Whitman, says something I’d like you to think about in terms of your own parents, family, and the place you call home. He says:

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child. …
The streets themselves and the facades of houses, and goods in the windows. …
The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud,
These became part of [him].
(Out of sequence)
His own parents, he that had father’d him and she that had conceiv’d him in her womb and birth’d him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that,
They gave him afterward every day, they became part of him. …
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture, the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay’d, the sense of what is real. …
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

(“There Was a Child Went Forth,” in Bruce B. Clark and Robert K. Thomas, Out of the Best Books, Deseret Book Co., 1966, 2:363)

Sisters, with apologies for editing Mr. Whitman somewhat, in the interest of time, let me suggest that what has been written so beautifully in poetry by him is true in life. All that you learn and see and choose to do, all that home and friends and church and school are to you, you are! You are rapidly becoming what you are going to be.

But you have a remarkable advantage over other people in the world—you can have a patriarchal blessing. Only a fraction of the earth’s population is so privileged. A member in good standing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is entitled to have hands placed upon her head by an ordained patriarch and through the power of the priesthood of God receive a very personal blessing from her Heavenly Father. This is one way to learn more about yourself and what you might do with your life. I think it is God’s special gift to us.

Studying your patriarchal blessing frequently, especially in times of decision or trial or depression, will quickly remind you and give you the vision of who you really are and what your relationship with God is, and especially what his will for you is. It can comfort you when you feel unloved and unworthy and inadequate or forgotten. It can point you toward your own special purpose in life.

I am going to be personal for a moment and tell you that when I was about the age of many of you young women, I had my patriarchal blessing. It was late spring. The season was at its best, and I wanted to be, too; so I had prepared myself to receive what Heavenly Father would have to say to me personally. There had been some repenting, some fasting and praying, and deep discussions about the meaning of it all with my parents and a very special boyfriend. I remember well the night before my appointment with Patriarch Jones, up there on Capitol Hill behind the Tabernacle. I felt a strong need to gather myself together with Heavenly Father, and I went outside through the screen door and stood there for a time listening to the years of my childhood sift by on the night song of the crickets. I felt very grown-up that moment. Then suddenly I felt once again the pull of the stars. Kind of self-consciously at first, I stretched down on my back on prickly grass, as I had done so often as a child. (You know what I mean.) Then once again I took a deep breath and turned my face skyward. I studied the heavens; I found the familiar constellations and got placement with the North Star. And then there came to me the mind-stretching, soul-searing experience of feeling lifted up into the universe—almost into the presence of God, it seemed to me. It set my heart pounding. I knew my prayers had reached home in heaven. The witness of the Spirit to me that God lives and was mindful of little me warmed me to tears. The next day when I went for my blessing, I knew that the blessings and instructions that were given to me by that wonderful patriarch were personal.

That was a green spring for me. It was the season of awakening for me as I tried thereafter to make decisions according to God’s will for me and to commit myself to a way of life that would ensure fulfillment of all his sacred promises.

Now, in the time of the harvest in my life, I can say it is so. God lives. He loves us.

Most of you are in the green springtime of your life—the time of awakening—and you have so much going for you. You can do anything you want to with your one chance at life, if you want to badly enough.

We have talked about your spiritual endowment—your spiritual roots—heredity, environment—they all have their important places in you. Your patriarchal blessing is a unique and sacred and strengthening gift to you. But there is yet another factor. It is that particular quality or essence that has always and forever been you, and it determines how you’ll respond to the challenges of life.

When I was visiting in Russia, I bought a hand-carved and hand-painted peasant doll. Actually it is many dolls of graduating sizes that nest one inside the other. You’d never suspect what is inside that big doll by looking at the outside of it. I love that doll. It stands as a reminder to me that there is more to a person than meets the eye. I think we need to think about this in terms of ourselves. And it would be well if we remembered it about others as well.

You have a lot to you, too, girls, more than meets the eye. Beautiful as you are, there is more to you than meets the eye. Now, what are you going to do about it?

One of the basic teachings of the gospel is that everyone is responsible for his or her own salvation. That is the prime purpose of life on earth. You can be taught; you can be prayed over; you can be preached to; you can be endowed; but you cannot be forced into the presence of your Heavenly Father. You earn that privilege by learning and by doing with the givens of your life.

Heavenly Father loves you, but true love doesn’t force. He will not force you to do his will. He will not force you even to accept his blessings. He will not deny you your choice. Since you are personally accountable for your own actions and choices, how soon will you start shouldering the powerful and precious responsibility for yourself? When, little sister, you who are a daughter of God? When?

Deep in your heart, as I talk to you now, I’m certain you sense all of this. You know you are His. You know Heavenly Father loves you. Those deep feelings that you are having right this minute are from him. Like the song says, “Tenderly [you] know him in [your] heart,” and “he knows [you] as his own.”

Then turn to him. Want him in your life. Love him enough to keep his commandments, and all will be well with you.

I hope you’ll write about your feelings in your journal. I hope you’ll record what you are learning through this meeting.

And now a final scripture to consider:

“Blessed is the [one] that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

“For [she] shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jer. 17:7–8).

My sisters, whether we are in Utah or Australia or somewhere in between, whether we are in the season of youth and spring or the time of the harvest in our lives, if we put our trust in the Lord and our roots in his gospel, all will be well with us. When the heat of temptation or pressure comes into our life, we will not wilt, neither shall we become unproductive.

As the Young Women presidency, we love you. And we love the Lord. We love the opportunity President Kimball and the Brethren have given us to serve you. We pray for you on our knees. We leave these thoughts and our love with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Fear

Being a young woman today is exciting but also disturbing. It seems that so many of the things we see in the world today—its newspapers, magazines, movies, advertisements, fashions, and even many of the people we see in the world—are not helpful to a girl growing up. We have decisions to make that will affect the rest of our lives. We are building new relationships, not only at work and school, out also with our family members who are finally realizing that we are growing up. We have challenges and even temptations to deal with, too. We want to do what is right, but sometimes it’s hard to have the courage to speak and act as we should among strangers and peers.

You probably remember, as I do, the first talk you ever gave in church. It was frightening, wasn’t it? It’s always been a hard thing for me to speak in front of a large group of people. But the Church gives us so many Opportunities to learn. I can remember when our Primary class was giving a special presentation in sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day. Mom had to hold my hand while I stepped up on the platform. I said the first two words. Then, to her surprise, I jumped into her arms and cried, “You say it.” Everyone else laughed, but I didn’t.

But now that we’re in harder situations than just giving a talk in church, our mothers won’t always be there to say it for us or to give us the confidence we need to be what we ought to be when we ought to be it. So we need to find the courage and confidence ourselves.

I remember hearing the story of Elmina Taylor when she was being called to be the very first president over all the Young Women of the Church in 1880. She was frightened of the responsibility and said, “I will not, I cannot serve.” But she was persuaded that with the help of the Lord, she could serve, and for the next 24 years she served the Young Women of the Church very well.

I guess all of us have a fear of life at times, especially now that we are old enough to be aware of the temptations, influences, and pressures of a growing-up world.

Power

I know what you’re saying, Julie. I have certainly felt that way. But there is something else that concerns me, too. Maybe we don’t fully understand the power that can be ours—especially as Young Women of the Church—if we will put our hand in the Lord’s, put our trust in him, and then recognize our own abilities. The scriptures say that with God nothing is impossible and that we can do all things through Christ.

Recently, during a hospital visit to a dear friend, she asked me to read the scriptures to her. You see, she was full of fear. Well, I planned to spend the evening in final review of materials for a test the next day at school. However, I knew that my friend had not been very close to the Lord lately; so I decided to stay and read to her.

I left the hospital much later than I had planned, and I was worried about my test. Still, I felt I had made the right decision in staying and helping my friend become closer to the Lord by reading the scriptures to her. That night I prayed that the Holy Ghost would bring back into my mind those things which I had previously read in my textbook and studied in class, for now there was no time for further study. A warm and comforting spirit came over me. I had no fear during the examination the next day, and I was blessed with the ability to remember information that otherwise might not have come back into my mind. I believe that if we truly seek God and try to live worthily, we will be blessed with the ability to accomplish all our goals and we will have the power to be what we should.

Love

You know, Julie and Becky, sometimes we are not able to use the gift of the Holy Ghost because our hearts aren’t filled with love for our Heavenly Father or for our family and friends. There is a scripture telling us that we should gain control of our emotions—like anger, grief, jealousy, and fear—so that we can be filled with love.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’ve had a bad day at school, or my friends want me to do something that I know isn’t right, or sometimes when it just seems as if the whole world is against me, I don’t feel loved at all. Life is terrible! Where can we go at those times to find the kind of love that lifts up our hearts? Our families are a good place to start. Almost always our families can come to our rescue and reassure us with their love. But sometimes even my family doesn’t understand exactly how I feel.

There is one person, though, who will never fail us if we’ll just open the door. He is our Heavenly Father, our best friend. When I reach out to him in prayer, I soon feel close to him and know that he understands what I’m going through. I couldn’t make it through all the pressures and opposition surrounding us if I didn’t know that I could depend on my Heavenly Father’s love.

I like the story about Mary Ann Freeze, a stake leader of Young Women many years ago. Her health was always very poor, and so one day all the members of her board and all the young women of the stake fasted and prayed for her. She felt the strength of their love and prayers. That night she wrote in her journal: “I told them that I always knew I was beloved of them, but never to what an extent before. We all felt that that experience had created a more powerful bond of love between us.”

It is wonderful to feel the love of our family and friends. And if we will turn to our Heavenly Father and show him our love, then we’ll feel his love for us. And with his love, we can do anything.

Sound Mind

We young women are all about the same, I guess. I’ve been afraid in challenging situations, too. And I’ve yearned for the gifts of the Holy Ghost and wondered if anybody loved me. But there are answers to these questions and comfort to all of us who are so blessed to be young women in this Church today.

In the book of 2 Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7 [2 Tim. 1:7], are these words: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This scripture is our new theme in Young Women this year. It is beautiful and just what we need to help us when we are frightened or feel helpless, unloved, or confused.

Listen, I’ll say it another way. Listen …

(Presentation of the song “What God Hath Given.” See page 18.)

Yellow Ribbons and Charted Courses

What an honor and pleasure it is for me to be with you, your counselors, your general board members, these wonderful chorus members, this special panel, and all of the girls and their leaders assembled in the Tabernacle and in other locations throughout the world and the Church. I have enjoyed very much all that has taken place and sincerely congratulate all those in attendance. This is indeed a moving setting and situation.

Some years ago an interesting account appeared in a New Zealand newspaper about a family—a man, woman, and their two young children—and their ocean voyage.

In a well-stocked 35-foot sloop they departed on an extended trip. After a few days out, their boat struck a reef off New Caledonia. The four occupants managed to get into a life raft with some water, food, and a radio before the yacht was lost. After some anxious hours, their radio distress signal was picked up in New Caledonia, and before long, they were reached by an air/sea rescue helicopter.

When the four family members were safely ashore and being interviewed by reporters, the woman kept repeating, “We’ve lost everything! We’ve lost everything! Everything we had was in that sailboat. All of our money, our clothes, and our possessions are gone. And the yacht was not insured. We’ve lost everything!”

As Earl Nightingale, a well-known philosopher, reported this story, he went on to comment on the lack of proper preparation of which this family was guilty. Reefs in the South Pacific are well charted. Insurance is always available and learning skills of sailing should be part of training processes before venturing out into open seas.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to move forward without the spirit of fear. However, please take special notice with me of the rest of that scripture which is the theme of our meeting today: “but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

When I think of a sound mind, it means to me using our ability to think, to plan, to work, and to chart our course as we sail through the seas of life. If we are smart, we will prepare well either for the smooth sailing or the hidden reefs and the troubled waters.

Let me tell you about a young lady who charted her course ahead of time. A recently called member of a bishopric with his lovely wife at his side thankfully related this situation. He said, “She deserves much of the credit for my present course in life. When we were dating years ago, I took her for a ride in my car to a secluded area. We parked. As I started to make some intimate advances she felt were improper, she said, ‘All of my life I have planned on being married in the temple. Don’t you disqualify me!’” She had charted her course before she got into troubled waters.

Certainly preparation precedes power, and if we can prepare ourselves, we have no need to fear. The present and the future belong to those who have the power that comes through preparation.

Recall with me if you will the power of Queen Esther of Old Testament days, which power she used to save her people.

There was a king who reigned from India even unto Ethiopia. When he made a feast unto all his princes and all his servants, he wanted his wife, Vashti, the queen, to come before his guests for she was fair to look upon, but the queen refused. The king was wroth and his anger burned in him. He put this queen away and called for all the fair virgins of his kingdom to be brought before him. Esther, a Jewish girl, was brought before the king and found favor with him. The Bible says, “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight … so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen” (Esth. 2:17).

In the royal court a certain man had convinced the king to give him authority to destroy all the Jews throughout the whole kingdom.

Esther’s uncle, who had raised her, got word to the queen about an order to exterminate all her people. The uncle asked her to go in unto the king to make supplication unto him for the Jews. The king as yet did not know that she was a Jewess.

Esther was frightened! The penalty for going into the king without an invitation was death, unless the king held out his golden sceptre. However, her uncle said, “And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth. 4:14).

To help her prepare for this task, Esther asked all the Jews and all her handmaidens to fast with her for three days, and then she said, “And so I will go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish” (Esth. 4:16).

On the third day Esther put on her royal apparel and stood before the king. He held out his golden sceptre and asked, “What wilt thou, queen Esther?” (Esth. 5:3). Esther then told the king of the evil plans to destroy her people. The orders were rescinded, and the “Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour” (Esth. 8:16) in her kingdom.

Queen Esther knew deep fear at that time in her life, yet she was able to achieve her goal. She used her power to save her people. She turned to God for help. She asked her people to use their faith and power in her behalf, and by so doing, she found the strength to move forward without fear and to use her power righteously. Our Heavenly Father has given that same power to all of you girls in the Church. You have the capacity to influence those around you for good or for evil.

Today there is a sister of yours in Australia. Her name is not Esther, but she, too, influenced a man to become great. This couple is doing much good in Australia. After an extended courtship, the fellow thought the time was right to propose marriage. In response to his proposal, his girl friend said, “If you marry me, it will have to be in the temple.” He, a nonmember, said, “What is a temple?” He found out, and months later they were married in the temple. Today this woman of influence stands at his side as the wife of one of our very successful stake presidents.

Her actions, like Esther’s, are helping many Latter-day Saints in the “land down under” to be saved and find their way back to their Father in Heaven because she, too, courageously used her power as a woman to influence for good.

Yellow ribbons recently waved over much of the United States to welcome home with love the 52 former hostages. Jimmy Lopez, one of the hostages, said as he arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, “I just can’t believe this! This is what it is all about. When it gets right down to it, we stick together,” he said.

All the hostages seemed to be buoyed up by the spirit of love that our Father in Heaven has given to all of us to share. To grow, this spirit must be used—not just for 444 days to 52 Americans in Iran—but day by day and hour by hour toward ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. We need to constantly remember; it is harder when we don’t have spectacular news stories as a constant reminder.

The woman whose boat was lost mourned that she had nothing left, even though her husband and children were safe and standing at her side. Do you think her sense of values and spirit of love were misplaced?

President Tanner, in his conference talk in April 1967, said, “As we look back over our life, whether it be short or long, we realize that the thing that gave the greatest joy was doing something for someone else because we loved him” (Improvement Era, June 1967, p. 29).

Making yourself better day by day exhibits the spirit of love for a daughter of God. Appreciating that no one is just like you, and that no one is any more important, no one is any more needed or valuable than you are, is magnifying that spirit.

Mistakes are made. When mistakes are corrected, we grow through the process. The true spirit of love won’t let us diminish our love of self as we change and improve. Love of others can often result in helping them choose the right and gain needed self-respect.

Another present-day member of a stake presidency said to me, “My wife had much to do with this call which has now come to us. When we were dating, I was inactive in the Church. I gained the courage one night to ask her if she would marry me. To this proposal she didn’t say yes and she didn’t say no. She said, ‘Where?’ I spent the next number of months squaring myself around so I could take her to the temple. She had made her plans, and I loved her enough to rechart my course to coincide with hers. I knew what I had to do and where I had to go if I wanted to travel at her side.”

Constantly we are told to love our neighbors. We could take many hours listing ways to show love—a compliment, a kind word, a loaf of bread, a visit, a listening ear, and on and on.

But we can’t choose or chart your course. This is your responsibility and your opportunity. I might suggest that as you feel that spirit of love God has given to us, examine your resources and make reachable goals. Take a pencil and paper at the beginning of each week and actually list realistic ways you can and will express your love to yourself and to others in your life. Love is such a vague word. To reap the benefits of loving, specific action must be taken. The hungry man must not be pitied; he must be fed. The lonesome girl needs not just a quick smile; she needs someone to walk with arm in arm. A tired mother needs more than a valentine saying, “I love you”; she needs to be given help with daily tasks.

We suggest you plan carefully ways to show your love—not how I would do it, not how President Kimball would do it, not how President Marion G. Romney would do it, not how President Ezra Taft Benson would do it—these men who are here with us in this meeting—but how each of you can and will do it. Then the spirit of love will be a gift from God that will be magnified and fill your soul with the greatest of joys of which President Tanner spoke. Jesus said it this way: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).

In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 38, verse 15 [D&C 38:15], we read, “Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours.” Young women, this is a great promise.

Fear is a stifling feeling, a roadblock. It comes not from God. Through power from God that is ours for the asking, we can overcome fear and have the courage to move forward. However, with our sound minds our journey through life must be charted. We must know where we’re going.

I’m reminded of a man in New York who jumped into a taxicab and said, “Hurry, hurry, I’m late!” The cab driver took off with a lurch and wove rapidly through traffic.

Suddenly his passenger said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you where to go.”

“I know,” said the cabbie, “but we are surely making good time.” Knowing what goals you want to reach and charting the course to attain them is using a sound mind.

The spirit of love, the yellow ribbons, hugs, smiles, kindnesses, service, knowing that people are more important than possessions add flowers, sunshine, and joy as we travel along the road to our inheritance in the kingdom of God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the chart to study as you make your own plans. From it can come your compass and your maps. Just as the charts were there for the family from New Zealand to study, but which they chose to ignore, so may you use the gospel of Jesus Christ to chart your life’s course or ignore it, as Sister Cannon so effectively emphasized earlier in her inspirational remarks. Our Father in Heaven offers it but won’t force it on us.

I want you young ladies of the Church worldwide to know that I am optimistic about you and your future. Believe me when I tell you it is a great time to be alive. Face the future without fear. God lives. He loves you, and he wants you to be happy. Chart your course. Some of us will need to rechart our courses beginning today. Make changes and commitments as necessary and desirable without fear or hesitation. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

I look forward to tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year with enthusiasm. Join me in facing all of our tomorrows with excitement and anticipation. God has not only reserved you, a special generation, to be upon the earth at this time, but many of his greatest wonders are yet to be performed. You can be and are entitled to be part of that action with him.

Love your parents. Love your leaders. Love your associates. I promise you this will bring you happiness. You may feel on occasion that some do not merit your love, but your and my lot is not to judge them, but to love them. As we so do, our love for ourselves and others will become significant and comforting.

I bear you my witness that God lives and wants us to move forward from where we are today without fear, in power, love, and in intelligence. To these truths I leave my testimony. I extend my love and blessings, along with all of the other General Authorities who are assembled here and in other locations throughout the world tonight, and join with the Young Women leaders worldwide in this testimony and this greeting, and I do it humbly and in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.