'She glowed!' Young woman filled with light before baptism
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Recently while on an assignment in Asia, I walked into a Young Women classroom and was greeted by several young women with light in their eyes and magnetic smiles. They radiated the joy and light of living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I was surprised to be told that one of the young women, Huan Wen Qian, would be baptized the next hour. I was surprised because this particular young woman was already filled with light. She glowed! Her entire family attended her baptism.
She was the first in her family to be baptized into the Church. However, her parents were also beaming with joy because they said that they had always encouraged their daughter to seek good things — things that would help her grow and learn and become all that she was meant to become. Her baptism meant that she had become not only the first Latter-day Saint in her family but also the first Christian.
Her friend, the Beehive class president, had introduced her to the gospel and invited her to activities and to Sunday meetings. She and the entire class were beaming with joy.
The schedule of our visit to that ward was such that I was able to attend the baptism of this precious young woman. The entire Beehive class was there along with the Young Women leaders and priesthood leaders in the ward. As the baptismal service began, Huang Wen Qian's mother was invited to introduce her daughter to the members of the ward who were in attendance at her baptism. It was a tender look at how precious this young woman was in her family and to the Lord.
Then she entered the waters of the baptismal font as her mother, father and younger brother watched. As this young woman came out of the water, the words of Elder Robert D. Hales, that he had taught me years ago, came into my mind: "When you are baptized you step out of the world and into the Kingdom."
As I waited for this young woman to be confirmed a member of the Church and to have priesthood power enable her to "receive the Holy Ghost," I could not get Elder Hales' words out of my mind. This is what I hope every young woman understands and knows — you are not of this world. You are not ordinary. You have stepped "out of the world and into the Kingdom."
With those words in each heart, priorities will change. Dress, actions and friendships will change.
What will help this new member of the Church stay on the path back home to her Father in Heaven? What will help every young woman remain pure and clean and unspotted from the world? Baptism is the beginning. It is making and keeping sacred covenants and receiving the ordinances of salvation. It is preparing to receive all that the Father has by remaining worthy to enter holy temples and to receive the ordinances and make the covenants available there.
The standards in the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet will help guide her. They will help her understand the things she must know and do in order to remain worthy of the magnificent gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Obeying and living these standards will enable each young woman to have the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead who is so close He is within whispering distance. In an ever more challenging world, these young women need that companionship and guidance.
President Henry B. Eyring said, "The Lord sets His standards so that He can bless us. Think about those blessings. He promises those who meet the standards the help of the Holy Ghost. He promises personal peace. He promises the chance to receive the holy ordinances in His house. And He promises those who endure in living His standards that they will have eternal life. They will live in families in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son" (World wide leadership training meeting, Jan. 11, 2003, p. 10).
Personal Progress will help this young woman stay in the Kingdom and on the path back into her Heavenly Father's presence as she learns the doctrine contained in the Young Women theme and values. Each value is a Christ-like attribute. As she begins reading the scriptures, writing in her journal, teaching and sharing the things she has learned to her family and serving others, her private religious behavior will strengthen her new-found testimony. Personal Progress will help her become converted.
It will strengthen her faith in the Savior. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said in the General Young Women Meeting in 2010: "Today I want to draw your attention to something very significant, very extraordinary. On the first page of your 'Young Women Personal Progress' book, you will find these words: 'You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose.' Sisters, those words are true! They are not made up in a fairy tale! Isn't it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love?" Activities with other young women and young men will also help her become established in the Church. As she plans and helps carry out many of these activities with her class, she will not only have fun but she will learn to lead others. Her leaders may even be inspired to invite her mother to help with an activity and teach the young women one of the skills she has developed so that they can learn from their mothers and prepare for their future roles in this activity and mutual setting.
Reading the Book of Mormon will help her strengthen her faith and testimony of Jesus Christ. And she will need strong faith to withstand the fiery darts of the adversary. Her faith will give her power to act. As she works on the value of virtue, her faith will grow and her desire to become like the Savior will increase as she reads the Book of Mormon each day. Why? Because this book was written for her and for this day. One young woman remarked, "Working on Personal Progress, especially the value of virtue, has changed me. It has made all the difference."
As a newly baptized young woman in Asia, Huan Wen Qian will be able to hear the words of living prophets, seers and revelators at general conference. I know that she will be riveted on their words. And they will help to guide her in the decisions she will make in the next decade. She will be a strength in her home and family now and in her future home and family because these tools support the home.
In this season of general conference, perhaps it is fitting that each of us takes time to prepare spiritually to sit at the feet of prophets, seers and revelators. To listen, to feel the Savior's love, and to learn. Perhaps each of us can list the questions we have, our concerns and our hopes and dreams, and then listen for answers. Perhaps you have a problem that needs solving. Perhaps you just have a feeling that there must be more in life.
Whatever our need, it is comforting to know that in a very perplexing world, there really are answers. There really is peace. There really is joy. I witnessed that in a small room in Asia last week as a young woman descended into the waters of baptism and "stepped out of the world and into the Kingdom." And that invitation is for all.