Youth urged to 'stay strong'
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LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president, came to Los Angeles literally running to start a conference for young women on Feb 4-5.
Sister Dalton led more than 120 young women on a three-mile run around the historic Rose Bowl football stadium. The young women were inspired by her thematic message, which was emblazoned on all their T-shirts: "Run for Virtue."
The much anticipated two-day conference, sponsored by La Crescenta California Stake, was spearheaded by Stake Young Women President Carol Bush and her presidency and was presided over by Elder Nelson D. Cordova, an Area Seventy. After the symbolic run for virtue, the program continued Friday night in Glendale with Sister Dalton addressing some 300 priesthood and youth leaders in a leadership training session.
More than 1,000 young women from 14 Los Angeles area stakes gathered the next morning in Glendale for the general session of the conference. A choir, made up of 60 young women from the La Crescenta California Stake, was led by Jessica Sheen.
Diana Hoelscher, a returned missionary and mother of four from San Antonio, Texas, was first to address the gathering. Soon, a surprise visitor — former American Idol finalist and popular LDS singer, David Archuleta — was introduced as a guest speaker and singer.
He sang two arranged Primary songs: "I am Child of God" and "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus." In between songs he shared personal stories and bore strong testimony of his belief in the restored Church. He spoke about the value of his temple recommend and how he makes a commitment to attend the temple every week no matter where he is.
In order to endure the tremendous pressure of the entertainment industry, he explained how the power of prayer has helped him to not just endure, but to excel when he needed to.
In keeping with the conference theme of virtue, he also talked about his respect for young women who dress modestly.
A self-admitted shy speaker, it was clear that Brother Archuleta was more comfortable letting music bear witness of his belief in Jesus Christ when he closed his remarks by singing, "Be Still My Soul."
The conference carried an extraordinary spirit and one which Sister Dalton recognized as she offered the closing remarks. She shared the sacredness of when she received her patriarchal blessing at age 14. She remembered that within her blessing, it stated she would travel the earth to bear testimony of the gospel.
Sister Dalton was extremely humbled, aware that she is living that prophecy. She testified that if the Lord knew her then — as a shy 14-year-old-girl — then surely, He would know every young woman at that conference as well.
Sister Dalton finished her remarks by counseling the young women to stay strong by doing four things: 1. Pray morning and night. 2. Read each day from the Book of Mormon. 3. Obey the standards in the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet. 4. Smile every day.
Sister Dalton also spoke at a regional young single adult fireside that evening in Glendale, Calif.