In the April 2014 general conference, Church leaders answered many questions relevant to youth.
Why aren’t women ordained to the priesthood?
“The divine nature of the limitations put upon the exercise of priesthood keys explains an essential contrast between decisions on matters of Church administration and decisions affecting the priesthood. The First Presidency and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the Church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting Church policies and procedures—matters such as the location of Church buildings and the ages for missionary service. But even though these presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood. …
“The Lord has directed that only men will be ordained to offices in the priesthood. But, as various Church leaders have emphasized, men are not ‘the priesthood.’ Men hold the priesthood, with a sacred duty to use it for the blessing of all of the children of God.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 50, 51.
Why keep trying when I can’t change certain things because it’s just the way I am?
“Once any of us conclude … ‘That’s just the way I am,’ we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender—any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe us, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, ‘That’s just the way I am.’
“… Who we are is not who we can become. … [Christ’s] Atonement gives every one of us—no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions—the ability to change. We meet with the hope that our future, no matter our history, can be better.
“When we participate in this meeting with the ‘real intent’ to change (Moroni 10:4), the Spirit has full access to our hearts and minds.”
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy, “What Manner of Men?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 53–54.
Why do Church leaders keep talking about supporting traditional marriage?
“While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not. In the very beginning, God initiated marriage between a man and a woman—Adam and Eve. He designated the purposes of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults to, more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured. Families are the treasure of heaven.
“Why do we continue to talk about this? As Paul said, ‘We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen’ [2 Corinthians 4:18]. As Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility to teach our Creator’s plan for His children and to warn of the consequences of disregarding His commandments.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Spiritual Whirlwinds,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 19.
How can I avoid pornography?
“Filters are useful tools, but the greatest filter in the world, the only one that will ultimately work, is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father’s love and our Savior’s atoning sacrifice for each one of us.”
Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 16.
How can we know the truth?
“First, we can know the truth by observing its fruits. …
“Second, we can find truth by experimenting on the word ourselves. …
“… There is yet a third way to know the truth, and that is by personal revelation.”
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis of the Seventy, “If Ye Lack Wisdom,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 108–9.
How can I get really good at sharing the gospel?
“How can each of us become such a significant influence? We must be sure to sincerely love those we want to help in righteousness so they can begin to develop confidence in God’s love. For so many in the world, the first challenge in accepting the gospel is to develop faith in a Father in Heaven, who loves them perfectly. It is easier to develop that faith when they have friends or family members who love them in a similar way.
“Giving them confidence in your love can help them develop faith in God’s love. Then through your loving, thoughtful communication, their lives will be blessed by your sharing lessons you have learned, experiences you have had, and principles you have followed to find solutions to your own struggles. Show your sincere interest in their well-being; then share your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “I Have Given You an Example,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 33.
Why are feelings of attraction so strong?
“One reason we are here on earth is to learn to manage the passions and feelings of our mortal bodies. These God-given feelings help us want to marry and have children. The intimate marriage relationship between a man and a woman that brings children into mortality is also meant to be a beautiful, loving experience that binds together two devoted hearts, unites both spirit and body, and brings a fulness of joy and happiness as we learn to put each other first.”
Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, “Protection from Pornography—a Christ-Focused Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 15.
What does it mean to be perfect?
“The word perfect in this account was translated from a Greek word that means ‘complete.’ As we try our best to move forward along the covenant path, we become more complete and perfect in this life.”
Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, “Wanted: Hands and Hearts to Hasten the Work,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 122.
Nobody knows what I’m going through. How can I find help?
“There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, ‘No one knows what it is like. No one understands.’ But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 90.
If loving others is the great commandment, then why can’t we just let people live their lives?
“At the zenith of His mortal ministry, Jesus said, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’ [John 15:12]. To make certain they understood exactly what kind of love that was, He said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments’ [John 14:15] and ‘whosoever … shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be … the least in the kingdom of heaven’ [Matthew 5:19; emphasis added]. Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 8.
How can I overcome an addiction?
“Please know, first of all, that there is hope. Seek help from loved ones, Church leaders, and trained counselors. The Church provides addiction recovery help through local Church leaders, the Internet [see, for example, “Addiction”], and in some areas, LDS Family Services.
“Always remember, with the Savior’s help, you can break free from addiction. It may be a long, difficult path, but the Lord will not give up on you. He loves you. Jesus Christ suffered the Atonement to help you change, to free you from the captivity of sin.
“The most important thing is to keep trying—sometimes it takes several attempts before people find success. So don’t give up. Don’t lose faith. Keep your heart close to the Lord, and He will give you the power of deliverance. He will make you free.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 60–61.
This article originally appeared in the May 2014 New Era.