Understanding Heavenly Father’s plan will answer many questions young single adults have about life, the gospel, and particularly marriage, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in a historic telecast that included 29 countries throughout the Caribbean area. The telecast originated from the Dominican Republic but included about 1,360 young single adults living throughout the Caribbean area.
During the telecast, young single adults had the unique opportunity to pose questions in person or by telephone and to receive answers from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife (Elder and Sister Bednar), a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife (Elder and Sister Walter F. González), and a member of the Area Presidency and his wife (Elder and Sister J. Devn Cornish).
Heavenly Father’s Plan
“Have you ever wondered why marriage is so important and why the family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan?” Elder Bednar asked. “A man and a woman are designed and intended to work together to progress eternally. That is part of the plan.”
With that focus, Elder Bednar invited the young single adults to study and come to understand the role of a man and a woman in God’s plan of happiness. “As you understand the doctrine of the plan, then marriage at the right time and in the right place becomes one of the next steps in your progress.”
“Don’t let the world cause you to needlessly delay marriage,” Elder Bednar counseled. “Don’t be foolish or premature either, because the decision to marry may be the most important decision you will make in your life. Do not be afraid; remember faith casts out fear and recognize that, in this world, faith will be required as you take this significant step. As you honor your covenants and appropriately seek for an eternal companion, you can receive guidance and direction and continue your progress.”
Elder Bednar emphasized that “we are sons and daughters of God. The divinely designed nature and spirit of a female and the divinely designed nature and spirit of a male sealed together in the house of the Lord by the power of the priesthood, create a whole, a totality that you will never have any other way.”
The Right One
Elder Bednar continued, “Many young people want to find the right one: ‘I am looking for the one that guarantees our marriage will be happy.’ I would teach you just one principle. A happy, lasting marriage is not something you find. A happy, lasting marriage is something you create.”
“Some young people seem to have a shopping list of characteristics they want in a companion and measure their potential: ‘Do you have all the things that I require?’ If you hope to have an eternal companion who has certain spiritual qualities, then you must strive to develop those spiritual qualities in yourself. Then someone who has those qualities will be attracted to you.
Marry in the Temple
Elder Bednar also counseled, “There is only one place you should be married—in the house of the Lord. … You marry the people you date. Do not risk making a mistake on the most important decision you will ever make.”
Gift of Faith
Elder Bednar answered questions about a number of other subjects including developing faith. He taught, “Faith is a spiritual gift. We receive spiritual gifts in order to bless other people. If our desire is to receive a gift because we want it, we probably will not receive it. As we seek to serve others in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we are blessed with spiritual gifts and increased capacity that make service possible.”
“We may believe, but belief is passive. Faith always leads to action. First we must act in accordance with truth, then we are blessed to receive power. For example, missionaries are taught from the scriptures to open their mouth— act— and it will be filled. That sequence is critical. Many of us pray for the power so we can open our mouth. That doesn’t work too well.
Honor Your Covenants
Elder Bednar stressed that accepting covenants includes being responsible for our actions. “When you make covenants, in effect you exercise your agency to accept the conditions of that covenant. In pledging that you will keep the commandments, the only option you have is to be faithful, to ‘choose the right.’ We cannot take His name upon us or always remember Him if we are not keeping the commandments.”
“Many of you have received temple blessings and entered into sacred covenants with God. Most of the men that can hear my voice tonight,” Elder Bednar related, “have accepted the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood. The priesthood is inherently active and is to be used in blessing other people. Brethren, once you have accepted that covenant, you do not have the option to say, ‘I am tired; I don't want to do my home teaching.’”
“Now you may think, ‘I have my agency. I can choose not to do those things,’” he continued. “But having accepted covenants, we have the responsibility to represent Him, not just do what we want. Each time we use our agency to enter into and accept a covenant, we increasingly demonstrate, ‘Not my will, but Thy will be done.’”
Blessings from Tithing
Elder Bednar also responded to a question about tithing. “Pay your tithes and offerings. Pay your tithing without expecting to get something back. We think, ‘Well, I have worked hard; I have earned what I have.’ But where did you get the capacity to work, the strength to work? Everything we have is from Him. In any land in the world, the Lord's law of prosperity is the law of tithing.
In response to another question, Elder Bednar stressed that those who remain faithful will be blessed with spiritual prosperity. “The greatest danger in the world today is not being poor temporally. It is darkness in a world that grows increasingly wicked. As we are obedient, we are blessed with bright light to see in the darkness and to not be afraid.”