Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arise and Shine Forth

I've spoken a lot recently of the shifting and changing values of society and also of the Lord's efforts to help us safely navigate this life in the midst and clamor of the world. The Lord has given us families, taught us how happiness can be achieved through family life, and even taught us the roles each of us plays in a family to ensure our success and joy. He has given us the scriptures and the words of the ancient prophets to show us the eternal principles do not change through time so we know how we must live to return to Him. He has given us the Holy Ghost of which Jesus Christ spoke in the Gospel of John chapter 14, that does, "teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:26-27). What a wonderful gift to help guide us in these troubling times! The Lord has also given us modern prophets who help guide us through our specific, modern challenges, remind us of the importance of our families and of keeping the commandments, and help us learn from the scriptures and liken the teachings of the ancient prophets unto ourselves.

The youth today are especially under the attack of the adversary. He knows that young people are more often easily influenced, that peers are a great tool in affecting someone's agency, and if he can tempt someone when they are young and trying to find where they fit in, they could develop habits that will keep them from happiness and the Lord's path for the rest of their lives.

How blessed we are to have modern and living prophets and apostles and leaders called of God and guided by Him to teach us the true and correct path to happiness and eternal life! The weekend previous to the most recent General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the prophet and women called to lead the Young Women organization of the Church gathered and spoke to all the young women worldwide. At this meeting, the Young Women leaders showed the following video:

Just think of how this video and the lifestyles (and clothing and hairstyles) portrayed in this video differ (oftentimes drastically) from how the world tells girls to dress and act:

The Young Women leaders are so inspired and are so very concerned for the well-being of the young people not only in the Church but outside the Church also. At this meeting, each of the women in the Young Women General Presidency spoke about how the young women can arise and shine forth. Sister Ann M. Dibb, counselor in the Young Women General Presidency taught, "Heavenly Father does not want us to look to the world and follow its ever-changing trends. He wants us to look to Him and follow His unchanging guidance. He wants us to live the gospel and lead others to it by setting the standard high." Although they addressed the young women of the Church specifically, I believe most of what they taught is directly applicable to each of us.

Ann M. Dibb
Sister Dibb also taught, "One of the greatest ways we can arise and shine forth is to confidently obey the commandments of God." If we are struggling with keeping the standards and commandments, Sister Dibb taught, "I encourage you to look for support within the gospel. . . . Pray. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father, who loves you. Use the gift of repentance daily. Serve others. And most important, listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost." ("Arise and Shine Forth," Ensign, May 2012, 117.)

Another counselor, Sister Mary N. Cook, taught of the duty the young women have to learn and work and be educated. "[God] has a work for you to do," taught Sister Cook. "To accomplish this work, you have an individual responsibility to seek learning.

Mary N. Cook
"Education . . . will open the doors of opportunity. As you follow the Lord's admonition to seek learning even by study and also by faith, you gain not only knowledge from your study but added light as you learn by faith." Sister Cook quoted a few prophets' counsel in gaining education and learning "marketable skills" and then said, "Young women, follow the advice of these wise and inspired prophets. Be a good student. Arise and shine forth in your schools with hard wotk, honesty, and integrity." Once again, we can all benefit from this counsel.

Sister Cook also taught of the importance and role of young women as future mothers. "We learn in 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World' that 'mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.' Providing an education for your children is part of that nurturing and is your sacred responsibility. Like the stripling warriors, who 'had been taught by their mothers,' (Alma 56:47) you will be the most important teacher your children will ever have, so choose your learning carefully. Bless your children and your future home by learning as much as you can now." ("Seek Learning: You Have A Work to Do," Ensign, May 2012, 120.)

Elaine S. Dalton
The president of the Young Women organization, Sister Elaine S. Dalton, taught that "as daughters of God, you were born to lead." She continued, "There is no more influential group standing for truth and righteousness in all the world that the young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Sister Dalton said the call to arise and shine forth "is a call to each of you to lead the world in a mighty cause--to raise the standard--and lead this generation in virtue, purity, and in temple worthiness. If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world." ("Now is the Time to Arise and Shine!," Ensign, May 2012, 123.)

I also found it interesting that each of the Young Women leaders spoke of the importance of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and His role in helping them achieve their divine potential. The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost is vital for each of us.

How blessed we are to have such great leaders such as these three women and a living prophet and apostles who speak the mind and will of God. They help us know the teachings of Jesus Christ are a beacon in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us and they teach us the true meaning of happiness-a meaning much different than that taught by the world.

May we each learn the importance of obedience and our responsibility in learning and leading.