'Trust the living prophets' — Listen, learn and apply teachings
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It is a great blessing to live at a time when we have a prophet upon the earth to lead us and testify of truth. "Prophets today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel. They make known God's will and true character. They speak boldly and clearly, denouncing sin and warning of its consequences. ... You can always trust the living prophets. Their teachings reflect the will of the Lord" (True to the Faith, p. 129).
As parents and Young Women leaders, we teach our youth the doctrine in relation to prophets, but we must also teach and exemplify the importance of following the prophet. As a general presidency we have been counseled to keep the youth of the Church riveted on the prophet and those we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. When we do so, and continually apply their messages of truth in our lives, we will be blessed and protected.
Listen to the prophets
Be familiar with the words of the prophets. Take their words personally in relation to your calling and your life. As Young Women leaders we have heard our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, express his great love for the youth of the Church. He has spoken often of youth activities, large dance and music festivals, and cultural events saying, "I am an advocate for these things" ("Welcome to Conference," President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008). What does this mean for us in our callings and our opportunities to gather youth and provide such experiences? When he speaks of the importance of temples, how can we help youth gain a testimony of the importance of temples and remaining worthy to enter the temple? When President Monson speaks of the importance of missionary work and missionaries, what are we doing to teach the youth to personally commit to and prepare themselves to qualify for and serve a mission?
Our scriptures and the latest general conference issue of the Ensign are a constant reference in our Young Women service. As presidencies and leaders, prepare for conference by prayerfully considering the individual needs of each young woman: her testimony, her relationships with family and friends, and her gospel questions. Listen to general conference with these young women in mind. Take notes and record the feelings you have while listening. Afterwards, study your notes and counsel with your presidencies about what you heard and felt and possible ways to act.
Read and review the words of the prophet and the General Authorities. Consider how you could use what is taught in general conference in Young Women settings. You will continue to receive personal revelation in relation to your calling as you do this. Testify to the young women about what you learn as you listen to the prophets and encourage and guide young women to prepare and listen to conference in a similar manner — with their needs and questions in mind. Invite class presidencies to do the same in relation to their callings.
Learn from the prophets
My testimony of the prophet and other leaders, as well as my ability to feel the spirit of their messages, has increased as I have come to know more about their lives and ministry. Prophets and apostles were prepared for their callings through a lifetime of dedicated service. Learn about them by reading the Church News, Ensign, New Era, Friend, and "Prophets and Apostles Speak Today" found on lds.org.
In Young Women, encourage learning about the prophets as a part of Personal Progress, Sunday lessons and activities. Recently, I heard a member of a stake presidency share a defining moment in his life because of a Mutual activity and learning the words of a prophet. His ward was performing a play based on the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He had been given the role of Joseph. He was about 17 or 18 years old at the time. He recalled the many harried play practices and then the night of the performance seemed like a miracle. He stood on stage and began to recite the Prophet Joseph Smith's inspired words, "I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true. … For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it and I could not deny it" (Joseph Smith History 1:25). He had read and heard Joseph's testimony numerous times. But when he delivered those lines, he felt the Spirit come in such a powerful and confirming manner. He knew the Church was true. He knew he wanted to serve a mission. Being in that play strengthened his testimony. His youth leaders, years ago, provided an activity which President Monson has taught us builds faith and testimony in youth. We can do the same.
Live and apply their prophetic teachings in our daily life
When you listen to or read a prophetic message and you momentarily think to yourself, "That would be a good idea," you are being prompted by the Holy Ghost to live by or apply a prophetic teaching in your life. I saw this applied in a Young Women in Excellence program. A heavily underlined, paperback copy of the Book of Mormon was displayed with Natalie's name by the book. When it was Natalie's turn to talk about her experience, she related how she had read about Elder Quentin L. Cook's experience as a missionary in England. His mission president asked him to get a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon and a red pencil and underline all of the references to the Savior, His mission, and teachings as he read. Elder Cook shared how important this experience was in strengthening his testimony. Natalie said, "I heard him share this story and I thought to myself, 'I could do that.' I got a copy of the Book of Mormon, a red marking pencil and I started reading." She said it took her a while to get the hang of it, but pretty soon it was as though every line was jumping out at her. "My book has red underlinings everywhere. I can't express how important this experience has been in strengthening my testimony of the Savior." Natalie chose to act upon the teachings of a prophet to fulfill her Personal Progress project. "I have learned that when I listen to an apostle speak and apply what they teach in my life, I'm blessed." As leaders, we can teach and help all young women to do the same.
It is my testimony that we are blessed to be guided by a prophet of God and others who have been called as prophets, seers and revelators. As we learn to LISTEN, LEARN and LIVE prophetic messages, we are blessed. As parents and leaders, may we continually strengthen our testimony of our Savior and help young women to do the same as they "Listen to a prophet's voice, and hear the word of God" (Hymns, #21).