General Young Women Meeting: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - ‘Your wonderful journey home’
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Young women will find their way on their journey home and be an inspiration to others as they follow the map given by a loving Heavenly Father, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said during the General Young Women Meeting held in the Conference Center on March 30. Young women and their leaders throughout the world listened via satellite broadcast and on the Internet.
The entire First Presidency — President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf — attended the event and President Uchtdorf and the Young Women general presidency spoke.
President Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, shared a personal story of how his family fled from their home in East Germany for freedom in West Germany. His father, older brothers and sister each traveled alone while young Dieter, then about 11 years old, and his mother — aided by a map — walked together across a mountain range to the West.
"Even though each member of our family had taken very different routes and experienced very different hardships along the way, eventually all of us made it to safety," he said. "We were finally reunited as a family. What a glorious day that was!"
President Uchtdorf said that journey and many other "journeys" he has experienced in life have become precious memories and learning experiences.
"I can now look back on my life and recognize a number of such 'journeys' I have taken over time," he said. "Not all of them involved crossing mountain ranges or political boundaries; some had more to do with overcoming trials or growing in spirituality. But they were all journeys. I believe that every life is a collection of individual 'journey stories.' "
President Uchtdorf spoke of the mortal "journey" all people chose in the premortal sphere and how this earth life is a wonderful journey back to their heavenly home to live with their Heavenly Father.
"He didn't send you on this journey only to wander aimlessly on your own. He wants you to come home to Him," he said. "He has given you loving parents and faithful Church leaders, along with a map that describes the terrain and identifies the dangers; the map shows you where peace and happiness can be found and will help you plot your course back home."
That map is found in the sacred scriptures, the words of the prophets and apostles and through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost, he said.
"This map is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news, and the joyful way of a disciple of Christ," he said. "It is the commandments and example given to us by our Advocate and Mentor, who knows the way because He is the way."
President Uchtdorf shared three messages that will help young women have a successful journey home.
"Do not fear, for I the Lord am with you."
"You are not alone on this journey," President Uchtdorf declared. "Your Heavenly Father knows you. Even when no one else hears you, He hears you. When you rejoice in righteousness, He rejoices with you. When you are beset with trial, He grieves with you. Heavenly Father's interest in you does not depend on how rich or beautiful or healthy or smart you are. He sees you not as the world sees you; He sees who you really are. He looks on your heart. And He loves you because you are His child. ... Seek Him earnestly, and you will find Him. I promise you, you are not alone."
He reminded the young women that every person they see — no matter the race, religion, political beliefs, body type or appearance — is family.
"However, she might feel alone, just as you sometimes do. She may even occasionally forget the purpose of her journey. Please remind her through your words and your actions that she is not alone. We are here to help each other. ... Be a friend to all, but never compromise your standards."
"Love one another, as I have loved you"
During the premortal life individuals learned firsthand, from their Heavenly Father, a universal language that has the power to overcome emotional, physical and spiritual barriers, he taught.
"That language is the pure love of Jesus Christ. It is the most powerful language in the world."
It is that love — not the pretend love found in greeting cards and praised in popular music and movies — that brings about a real change of character. That love can penetrate hatred, dissolve envy, heal resentment and quench the fire of bitterness, he said. "It can work miracles."
While here on earth, individuals are given opportunities to practice and become fluent in the language of love, and can know if they are learning by evaluating what motivates their thoughts and actions.
"When your primary thoughts and behaviors are focused on serving God and others — when you truly desire to bless and lift up those around you — then the power of the pure love of Christ can work in your heart and life."
"Be of good cheer"
"There will always be things to complain about — things that don't seem to go quite right," he said. "You can spend your days feeling sad, alone, misunderstood or unwanted. But that isn't the journey you had hoped for, and it's not the journey Heavenly Father sent you to take. "
President Uchtdorf invited all to walk confidently and joyfully, knowing that there are bumps in the road, detours and even hazards that all will experience.
"But don't focus on them," he said. "Look for the happiness your Father in Heaven has prepared for you in every step of your journey. Happiness is the destination, but it's also the path. 'Peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come' is what He promises. That is why He commands us to 'be of good cheer.' "
President Uchtdorf told the young women that as they joyfully use the map provided by their Heavenly Father, it will lead them to holy places and they will rise to their supernal potential. He promised them that as they honor and live true to the covenants, principles and values of the gospel of Jesus Christ, "at the end of your journey Heavenly Father will be there. He will embrace you, and you will know once and for all that you have made it home safely."