Don't squander your lives, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley urged the church's half million young women Saturday night.
Speaking before some 20,000 young women, their mothers and church leaders gathered at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' new Conference Center, as well as via satellite to members around the world, President Hinckley urged that all young women get an education.
He also cautioned them not to give in to impulses. "There must be discipline, strong and unbending," President Hinckley said. "The Lord did not send you here to fail. He did not give you life to waste it."
In other talks during the 90-minute meeting, young women were invited to each bring one more young woman into full activity in the church in the coming year.
"This year there are over one-half million young women in the church," said Sister Margaret D. Nadauld, Young Women general president. "Just think, if each of you will accept this invitation to reach out and bring in just one, next year there will be twice as many active young women."
Sister Nadauld urged the young women to "let the Holy Spirit guide you in your effort." Other speakers also urged the young women to learn to listen to and follow the Holy Ghost.
"Long before e-mail and faxes, cell phones and satellite dishes, computers and the Internet, this communication with your Heavenly Father was in place" said Sister Sharon G. Larsen, Young Women second counselor. "The spirit doesn't always give us warm, fuzzy feelings. Most of the time, the voice of inspiration is a quiet voice, a still, small voice," noted Sister Carol B. Thomas, Young Women first counselor.
The Holy Ghost can guide a young woman to becoming the woman she dreams of becoming, said President Hinckley.
"Do not let your lives drift in a fruitless and worthless manner," he warned. "There can be fun, yes. But there must be recognition of the fact that life is serious, that the risks are great, but that you can overcome them if you will discipline yourselves and seek the unfailing strength of the Lord."
President Hinckley's emphasis on education, and the fact that his talk cited a working mother a nurse he met recently during a brief outpatient hospital stay pleased audience members such as Kris Doty, 40. "He held up a career woman as an example to our girls," beamed Doty, who is completing a degree in social work.
President Hinckley noted that he recently was given a copy of his high school yearbook, class of 1928. Two photos particularly caught his attention, he said. One was of a young woman whose only goal in life was to have fun. She eventually became an alcoholic and died an early death, he said. The other was of a young girl, "not particularly beautiful," who "knew how to have fun, but knew when to stop and put her mind on other things."
Years later he ran into the woman on a flight from the East Coast and discovered that she and her husband had enjoyed a successful life and had made "a tremendous contribution" to society.
Becoming "the woman of whom you dream," he told the young women, begins with cleanliness, "for immorality will blight your life and leave a scar that will never entirely leave you. . . . The best way, the only way for you, is to avoid any entrapment with evil. . . . You have within you instincts, powerful and terribly persuasive, urging you at times to let go and experience a little fling. You must not do it."
"You can be first-class. There is no need for you to be a scrub. Respect yourself. . . . Particularly pay no attention to what some boy might say to demean you," President Hinckley said. "The sky is the limit, my dear young friends."
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