We Are the Architects of Our Own Happiness


My dear brothers and sisters, tonight I feel greatly honored and privileged to have the opportunity to address you. I have profound admiration for the young adults of the Church, and I rejoice in being able to spend some time this evening with you.

Several thousand of you are in this beautiful Tabernacle. Even more, whom I can’t see, are assembled in thousands of meetinghouses all around the world. But I know you are attentive and desirous to learn. Despite the distance that may separate us, I know the Holy Ghost can be present wherever we may be. Even more than the satellite broadcast, it is the presence of the Holy Ghost that creates a unique bond between all of us. I pray that He will be with us, that He will teach us and guide us and inspire us this evening.

Life Holds a Lot of Surprises

We are in a magnificent room, a historical monument that gives homage to the faith and industry of the pioneers who founded Salt Lake City. I entered this Tabernacle for the first time when I was 16. It was during my first trip to the United States of America. My father had proposed that I accompany him on one of his business trips to California. As a young man raised in the south of France, I jumped for joy at this invitation. I was finally going to see America! My enthusiasm was even greater because our itinerary included a weekend in Salt Lake City to attend general conference.

I remember our arrival in Utah in our rented Ford Mustang. In the many hours we spent on the road, we passed through gusts of snow, deserts as far as the eye could see, magnificent orange-colored canyons, and majestic mountains. The landscape characterized the American West to me. I kept my eyes wide open in hopes of seeing cowboys or Indians along the highway.

The next day, due to the goodness of a friend, we found ourselves seated in this Tabernacle among the first rows to attend the conference sessions. I was very impressed. Throughout the meetings, I tried to cling to the few English words I was able to understand. I still remember President Ezra Taft Benson’s talk—not really his words, but the deep impression it made on my heart as a young man. I felt I was living in a dream, a wonderful adventure.

At that time, how could I have imagined what would come to pass this evening? Could I have imagined giving a talk in this same Tabernacle before such an assembly? Absolutely never!

Life holds a lot of surprises, doesn’t it? Even five years ago I never could have imagined it. At that time I lived in Paris with my family, and our lives seemed completely mapped out. Our five children were all born in the same clinic near our home. For us, we couldn’t imagine life any differently nor anywhere else than in this peaceful neighborhood in the outskirts of Paris, surrounded by our children and soon-anticipated grandchildren. Then one evening President Monson called our home and our lives were turned upside down.

Since then my family and I have discovered the joys of life in Utah—the Church history sites, hiking in the mountains, barbecues in the backyard as the sun sets, relishing hamburgers of all kinds (the best and the worst!), Cougar football games … or the Utes. And, one never knows, the cowboy that you see tomorrow along the highway just might be me!

The Future Is Uncharted

My assignment as a member of the Presiding Bishopric is exciting and inspiring. However, this experience is very different from what I had planned in my youth. As a child I wanted to be an archaeologist. My grandmother had taken it upon herself to see that I received a good education. She gave me a book on the young pharaoh now known as King Tut, and from that I developed a passion for ancient civilizations. I spent many weekends creating drawings of ancient battles, and the walls of my room were covered with these pictures. I had a dream of one day going to Egypt to participate in the digs of ancient Egyptian temples and the tombs of the pharaohs.

Four decades later I am still not an archaeologist and likely never will be. I have never been to Egypt, and my last job before becoming a General Authority was in food distribution. Not much to do with my plans of childhood!

Youth is, in general, the perfect time to make personal plans. Each of us had our childhood dreams. As a young adult you should still have dreams for your future—each of you! Perhaps it’s the hope of an athletic achievement, the creation of a great work of art, or the acquisition of a diploma or professional position that you seek to acquire through work and perseverance. Perhaps you even have a very precious image in your mind of your future husband or wife, his or her physical appearance, his or her character traits, the color of his or her eyes or hair, and the beautiful children that will bless your family.

How many of your wishes will come true? Life is full of uncertainty. Surprises will pop up all along life’s path. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, where you will be in a few years, and what you will be doing? Life is like a suspense novel whose plot is very difficult to guess.

There will be key moments for you that may change the course of your life in an instant. Such a moment may consist of no more than a look or a conversation, an unplanned event. Valérie and I still remember the exact moment we fell in love with each other. It was during the choir practice of our young adult ward in Paris. This was completely unexpected! We had known each other since childhood, but we had never had romantic feelings for one another. That evening I was at the piano and she was singing in the choir. We caught each other’s eyes and something happened. A second for all eternity!

There will be new opportunities that will present themselves in your lives, such as the recent declaration from President Monson concerning the age of missionary service. Following this announcement from the prophet, there are probably thousands of young men and young women in the Church at this moment who are in the process of modifying their plans for leaving to serve a mission.1

Sometimes, course changes in our lives come from unexpected challenges or disappointments. I have learned through experience that we only partially control the circumstances of our life.

And yet most people dislike the unknown. The uncertainty of life creates in some a lack of confidence, a fear of the future that manifests itself in different ways. Some hesitate to make commitments out of fear of failure, even when good opportunities present themselves. For example, they may delay marriage, education, starting a family, or getting established in a stable professional activity, preferring to just “hang out” or remain in the cozy comfort of their parents’ home.

Another philosophy that will limit us is illustrated by this maxim: “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (2 Nephi 28:7). This phrase suggests that since we don’t know what will happen tomorrow and we all will eventually die, we should indulge ourselves in the present moment. This philosophy favors indulging in immediate pleasures, regardless of their future consequences.

Follow the Path of Happiness

My dear brothers and sisters, my message for you today is that there is a different path than ones of fear and doubt or self-indulgence—a path that brings peace, confidence, and serenity in life. You can’t control all of the circumstances of your life. Things both good and challenging will happen to you that you never expected. However, I declare that you have control of your own happiness. You are the architects of it.

I can still remember these wise words pronounced by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf during the last general conference:

“The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness.

“… We determine our happiness.”2

No, your happiness is not really the result of the circumstances of your life. It is much more the result of your spiritual vision and the principles upon which you base your life. These principles will bring you happiness regardless of the unexpected challenges and surprises you will inevitably face during your journeys here on earth.

This evening, I propose to review with you some of these essential principles.

1. Recognize Your Personal Worth

The first principle is: Recognize your personal worth.

This summer my family and I spent a few relaxing days in Provence, a magnificent region in southern France. One evening, just after the sun had set and darkness had enveloped the surrounding countryside, I decided to give myself a moment of tranquility by lying down on a lounge chair outside the house. Everything was so dark that I had difficulty distinguishing anything around me. My eyes began to examine the heavens. At first they were an impenetrable black. Suddenly, a light appeared in the sky, like a spark, then two, then three. Progressively, as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I found myself admiring a myriad of stars. What I had thought was a dark sky transformed into the Milky Way.

I thought: “This is a bit like our personal relationship with God. How many people believe that He is far away or nonexistent? Those people find that life is very dark and black. They don’t take the time or make the effort to examine the heavens to see that He is there, so close to us.”

My mind continued to wander. I reflected on the immensity of the universe that presented itself before my eyes and on my own physical insignificance, and I asked myself, “What am I before such grandeur and magnificence?” A scripture came to my mind. It’s a very beautiful scripture, one of the psalms of David, whose poetry has always inspired me.

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:3–4).

Immediately follows this comforting phrase:

“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:5).

This is the paradox and the miracle of the Creation. The universe is immense and infinite, yet, at the same time, each of us has unique worth, glorious and infinite in the eyes of our Creator. My physical presence is infinitesimal, yet my personal worth is of immeasurable importance to my Heavenly Father.

President Uchtdorf declared:

“Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.

“… You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!”3

Knowing that God knows us and loves us personally is like a light that illuminates our life and gives it meaning. I remember a young woman who came to see me after a fireside that I gave in Rome, Italy. Her voice was filled with emotion, and she spoke to me of her sister who was going through times of trouble and anxiety. Then she asked me this question: “How can I help her know that her Heavenly Father loves her?”

Isn’t that the essential question? How can we know that God loves us? Often the feeling we have of our personal worth is based on the love and interest we receive from those around us. Yet this love is sometimes lacking. The love of men is often imperfect, incomplete, or selfish.

However, the love of God is perfect, complete, and selfless. Whoever I am, whether I have friends or not, whether I’m popular or not, and even if I feel rejected or persecuted by others, I have an absolute assurance that my Heavenly Father loves me. He knows my needs; He understands my concerns; He is anxious to bless me. And the greatest expression of His love for me is that He “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). He did not remove the Savior’s bitter cup and surely was in agony Himself as He watched His Son suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. Christ atoned for the sins of all men, and a part of that great Atonement was destined for me and is reserved for me today. This infinite gift, shared by the Father and His Son, confirms in my soul the personal worth I have to Them.

My brothers and sisters, imagine what it would mean to you if you could see yourself as God sees you. What if you looked at yourself with the same benevolence, love, and confidence that God does? Imagine the impact it would have on your life to understand your eternal potential as God understands it. If you could view yourself through His eyes, what influence would that have on your life?

I testify He is there. Seek Him! Search and study. Pray and ask. I promise you that God will send you tangible signs of His existence and His love for you. It might be through an answer to a prayer; it might be the soft influence of the Holy Ghost consoling or comforting you; it might be a sudden inspiration or a new strength that you know didn’t come from you; it might be a family member, friend, or priesthood leader who happens to be in the right place at the right time to bless your life. In one way or another, as you reach out to Him, He will let you know He is there.

2. Become Who You Are

Now, a second principle of happiness: Become who you are.

This phrase “become who you are” is attributed to Pindar, one of the most celebrated Greek poets.4 It sounds like a paradox. How can I become who I already am?

Allow me to illustrate this principle through a story. I recently saw a film called Age of Reason. This film tells the story of Marguerite, a prosperous banker who leads a hectic life filled with travels and conferences in the four corners of the earth. Even though she is married, she says she doesn’t have time to have a child.

The day she turns 40, she receives a mysterious letter which says: “Dear me, today I am seven years old and I am writing you this letter to help you remember the promises that I made at the age of reason, and also so that you remember who I want to become.” Marguerite suddenly understands that the author of the letter is none other than herself when she was seven years old. What follows are several pages on which the little girl describes in detail her life’s goals.

Marguerite realizes that the person she has become is nothing like what she wanted to be when she was a young girl. As she decides to reclaim the person that she envisioned as a child, her neatly planned and organized life is turned completely upside down. She reconciles with her family and determines to consecrate the rest of her life to serving people in need.5

My dear friends, if you were to now receive a letter from your past, what would it say? What would be contained in a letter you might have written to yourself on the day of your baptism when you were eight years old? I’ll even go back further. If it were possible for you to receive a letter from your pre-earth life, what would it say? What impact would such a letter from a forgotten but very real world have on you if you were to receive it today?

This letter might say something like: “Dear me, I am writing to you so you will remember who I want to become. I shouted for joy at the chance to go to earth. I know that life on earth is an essential passage to enable me to grow to my full potential and live forever with my Heavenly Father. I hope that you will remember that my greatest desire is to be a disciple of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I support His plan, and when I am on earth I want to help Him in His work of salvation. Please also remember that I want to be part of a family that will be together for all eternity.”

This last thought reminds me of a very beautiful song that is found in the Church’s French hymnbook—one that doesn’t exist in the hymnals of any other country. It is titled “Souviens-toi,” which means “Remember,” and is set to music from the New World Symphony by Antonín Dvořák. It is the song of a parent addressing a newborn child.

Allow me to read the third verse to you:

Remember, my child: At the dawn of time,

We were friends playing in the wind.

Then one day, in joy, we chose

To accept the great plan of life from the Lord.

That evening, my child, we promised,

Through love, through faith, to be reunited.6

“Remember, my child.” One of the great adventures of life is that of finding out who we really are, where we came from, and then living consistently in harmony with our identity and the purpose of our existence.

Brigham Young said: “The greatest lesson you can learn is to know yourselves. … You have to come here to learn this. … No being can thoroughly know himself, without understanding more or less of the things of God; neither can any being learn and understand the things of God without knowing himself: he must know himself, or he never can know God.”7

Recently, my daughters pointed out to me that an excellent allegory of this principle is found in the film The Lion King. Your generation grew up to the sounds and images of this movie. You probably remember the scene where Simba receives a visit from his father, Mufasa, the deceased king. After his father died, Simba fled far from the kingdom because he felt guilty about his father’s death. He wanted to escape his responsibility as heir to the throne.

His father appears to him and warns him: “You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life.” Then this invitation is repeated several times: “Remember who you are. … Remember who you are.”

Simba, completely shaken by this experience, decides to accept his destiny. He confides in his friend, the shaman monkey, that it “looks like the winds are changing.”

The monkey replies, “Change is good.”

And Simba says: “But it’s not easy. I know what I have to do. But going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.”

“Where are you going?” the monkey asks him.

“I’m going back!” cries Simba.8

We can all take—or take back—our place in the circle of life. Become who you really are. Your happiness and ability to find balance in your life will occur as you find, recognize, and accept your true identity as a child of our Heavenly Father and then live in accordance with this knowledge.

3. Trust in God’s Promises

I now share with you a third principle of happiness: Trust in God’s promises.

I love these motivating words of President Thomas S. Monson: “The future is as bright as your faith.”9 Our success and happiness in life depend in great part on the faith and trust we have that the Lord will lead and guide us to fulfill our destiny.

I have noticed that the men and women who accomplish remarkable feats in life often have great confidence in their future from the earliest years of their youth. An example of such is Winston Churchill, the celebrated British statesman. As a young man he had an unshakable confidence in his future. While he served in a cavalry regiment in India at the age of 23, he wrote to his mother, “I have faith in my star—that I am intended to do something in the world.”10 What a prophetic thought! He, in effect, envisioned that he was going to become a key person in the history of his country, and he became the man who led Great Britain to victory during World War II.

I believe that each one of you young members of the Church of Jesus Christ has far more than a star in the sky to guide you. God is watching over you and has made promises to you.

A scripture from the book of Malachi is at the heart of the Restoration of the gospel, and it was cited by the angel Moroni at each of his visits to the young Joseph Smith. The angel said, quoting from Elijah the prophet: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers” (Joseph Smith—History 1:39).

My young brothers and sisters, thanks to the Restoration, you are the children of the promise. You will receive as an inheritance the promises made to your fathers. These promises from the Lord make you part of a royal generation.

Many of you to whom I am speaking count noble pioneers among your ancestors, great souls who helped establish the restored Church through their courage and sacrifice. Generations of valiant Saints have preceded you. Others listening to me today are the pioneers of their own families and in their own lands. You are the first link in what will become an eternal chain. Whatever your story or your heritage, as members of the Church you are linked to a spiritual family. Your spiritual genealogy makes each of you a descendant of the fathers, as foretold by the prophets, and heirs to God’s promises to them.

Reread your patriarchal blessing. In this blessing the Lord confirms that you are tied to one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and because of this, through your faithfulness, you become an heir to the immense blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God promised Abraham that “for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after [his] name, and shall be accounted [his] seed, and shall rise up and bless [him], as their father” (Abraham 2:10). In reading your patriarchal blessing, pay particular attention to the promises the Lord has made to you personally. Reflect on each one of them. What do they mean to you?

These promises are tangible, and if we do our part, God will do His. I really like these words pronounced by Alma on the day he delivered the sacred records to his son Helaman:

“Remember, remember, my son Helaman. …

“… If ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you, … behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words.

“For he will fulfill all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers” (Alma 37:13, 16–17).

The fulfillment of God’s promises is always tied to obedience to the laws attached to them. The Lord said, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10).

On the other hand, these promises do not ensure that everything that happens in our lives will be in accordance with our expectations and desires. Rather, God’s promises guarantee that what happens to us will be in accordance with His will. Sometimes unexpected trials will present themselves that we must overcome; sometimes promised blessings will be long delayed. But the time will come when we will know that these trials and these delays were for our good and our eternal progression. What more can we ask?

The greatest thing we can desire in life is to align our will to the will of the Lord—to accept His agenda for our lives. He knows everything from the beginning, has a perspective that we don’t have, and loves us with an infinite love.

Allow me to illustrate this principle through a personal experience. When I was young I decided to prepare for the entrance exam to the best business schools in France. This preparation, which lasted a year, was very challenging and required personal work every day. At the beginning of the year, I decided that whatever the heaviness of the task, I would never let my studies prevent me from attending my Sunday meetings or from participating in an institute class once a week. I even agreed to serve as the clerk for my young adult ward, which represented several hours of work every week. I was confident that the Lord would recognize my faithfulness and would help me accomplish my objectives.

At the end of the year, when exams approached, I felt like I had done my best. I became even more fervent in my prayers and my fasts. When I arrived at the examination of the most reputable school, I had full confidence that the Lord would answer my desires. Unfortunately, the events unfolded in a manner very different than what I had hoped. The oral exam in my strongest subject was an unexpected disaster—I received a grade that prevented me from getting into this highly coveted school. I was totally distraught. How could the Lord have abandoned me when I had persevered in my faithfulness?

When I presented myself at the oral exam for the second school on my list, I was filled with doubt and uncertainty. In this school the exam that was weighted the heaviest was a 45-minute interview with a jury presided over by the director of the school. The beginning of the interview was normal—until I was asked a seemingly insignificant question: “We know that you studied a lot to prepare for this exam. But we would be interested to know what your activities are outside of your studies.” My heart skipped a beat! For one year I had only done two things: study and go to church! So, I knew that it was a moment of truth. I feared, though, that the jury would negatively interpret my membership in the Church. But, in one second, I made the decision to remain faithful to my principles.

I said, “I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Then, for 15 minutes or so, I described my activities within the Church: the Sabbath meetings, institute classes, my responsibilities as the ward clerk.

When I finished, the director of the school spoke: “You know, I am happy you said that. When I was young, I studied in the United States. One of my best friends was a Mormon. He was a remarkable young man, someone who had great human qualities. I consider Mormons to be very good people.”

What a relief! That day I received one of the best grades possible, which allowed me to get into this school with a place of honor.

I thanked the Lord for His goodness. However, at that time I couldn’t bring myself to accept my failure at the most reputable school. For a long time I kept inside me a feeling of failure and even injustice. It took me several years to understand the miraculous blessing that my failure to get into the school of my dreams had been. In the second school I met key people. The benefits of my association with them became evident throughout the entire length of my career and still today are important in my life and the lives of my family. I now know that even when I was young the Lord was guiding my steps with the foreknowledge of the mission He would ask me to accomplish later in my life.

My brothers and sisters, after you have done all in your power, if things don’t turn out the way you hoped or expected, be ready to accept the will of your Heavenly Father. We know that He will not inflict upon us anything that is not ultimately for our good. Listen for that calming voice that murmurs in our ears, “All flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God” (D&C 101:16).

I recently saw a deeply moving film that traced the history of the Willie and Martin handcart companies. In May 1856, two successive groups comprised of more than a thousand Saints left England to immigrate to Utah. When they arrived six months later in the Salt Lake Valley at the end of their perilous journey, more than 200 of them were missing. Most had died of sickness, hunger, or exhaustion along the path leading to the place they called “Zion.”

One of the pioneers featured in the film deeply impressed me. He flooded the company with his good humor and enthusiasm. He was, however, not very typical of most pioneers. A small man and severely handicapped, he was a miracle in himself! I learned this valiant pioneer was Robert Pierce of Cheltenham, England.

One of his traveling companions described him as “one of the worst cripples I ever saw to be a traveler. His lower limbs were paralyzed and his body badly deformed but he was strong in the faith. He was able to propel himself with surprising speed with the use of crutches.”11

One day Robert Pierce took the wrong path and lost sight of the company. Several men set out to find him and finally found him in a very uncomfortable situation. I cite their words:

“To our horror we saw around an old tree two large gray wolves prowling around, and half a dozen eagles hovering over the tree waiting for him to quit his screams and gesticulations with his crutches so they would pounce upon him and devour him in his cramped position under the roots of the tree. …

“We arrived in time to save him from his pending fate, took him out and placed him on the cart we had brought, placed him in position to ride back to camp.”

And now, an insight into the well-tempered character of Robert: “How the poor fellow begged us to let him walk as he said he had promised … when we started on our trip that he would walk every foot of the way to Salt Lake City.”

Then, the sad part of this story: “However, we only saved him to travel a few days longer, when at the close of the sixth days march his trouble in this world came to an end and he was buried on the banks of the Elkhorn River.”12

Sister Jolene Allphin, who compiled the story of Robert Pierce, said of him: “It is truly remarkable that Robert Pierce had already traveled 600 miles on his crutches before he succumbed to the hardships of the trail. His heart’s desire had been to gather with the Saints in Zion and not be a burden to any of his fellow travelers. … Robert did not want any handouts or special treatment.”13

Brothers and sisters, I asked myself the following question: Why would God, who had miraculously saved this man of great faith from the wolves and the eagles, allow him to die on the side of the road only a few days later?

His passing is one of great serenity. In the film, he says, shortly before the end:

“The missionaries taught me that I am important and that someday I will be superb! …

“I always wanted a strong body. Now, I am going to get it. When you get to Zion, think of me.”14

With respect to Robert Pierce, I think of words from the epistle of Paul to the Hebrews:

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

“… They that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. …

“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly” (Hebrews 11:13–14, 16).

At the end, Robert Pierce realized that his ultimate destination was the kingdom of heaven, not the Salt Lake Valley.

Thus it is the same for all of us. The promises of the Lord assure us of our final destination. The itinerary for each of us will vary according to the foreknowledge of God. Our circumstances may change, unexpected events may occur, challenges may arise, but the promises of God to us are assured through our faithfulness.

Sister Anne C. Pingree wonderfully outlined what it means to have faith in the Lord’s promises. She began by quoting Elder Bruce R. McConkie as follows:

“‘Faith in its full and pure form requires an unshakable assurance and … absolute confidence that [God] will hear our pleas and grant our petitions’ in His own due time. Believing that, we too can ‘stand fast in the faith’ today and tomorrow.”

Then she continued:

“It matters not where we live or what our individual circumstances may be. Each day our righteous living can demonstrate a faith in Jesus Christ that sees beyond mortal heartaches, disappointments, and unfulfilled promises. It is a glorious thing to possess a faith that enables us to look forward to that day ‘when all that was promised the Saints will be given.’”15

My brothers and sisters, the circumstances of my life today are, obviously, very different from what I had planned when I was your age. However, I don’t believe I’ve ever been so happy. If one had given me, when I was 20 years old, the account of my life up to the present, I think I would have signed without any hesitation on the dotted line!

Your Future Is as Bright as Your Faith

I want to speak on behalf of Valérie and me. The more I contemplate the course of our lives, the more I believe that what has made the difference is that in our youth we shared a common vision of eternal life. We wanted to start an eternal family. We knew why we were on earth and what our eternal objectives were. We knew that God loved us and that we had great worth in His eyes. We had every confidence that He would answer our prayers in His way and at the time He deemed good. I don’t know if we were ready to accept His will in all things, because that was something we had to learn—and that we continue to learn. But we wanted to do our best to follow Him and consecrate ourselves to Him.

I testify, with President Monson, that your “future is as bright as your faith.” Your happiness depends a lot more on the principles that you choose to follow than the external circumstances of your life. Be faithful to these principles. God knows you and loves you. If you live in harmony with His eternal plan and if you have faith in His promises, then your future will shine!

You have dreams and goals? That’s good! Work with all your heart to accomplish them. Then let the Lord do the rest. He will lead you where you cannot lead yourself; He will make you into what you cannot make of yourself.

At all times, accept His will. Be ready to go where He asks you to go and to do what He asks you to do. Become the men and women He is nurturing you to become.

I pray that you will feel the love of our Heavenly Father in your life, that you will know how to trust yourself as He trusts you. I pray that you will always be faithful, at all times and in all places. I express my love for you and my admiration and my deep respect for the example and strength you are for the entire world.

I testify that this life is a wonderful moment of eternity. We are here with a glorious goal, that of preparing to meet God. His Son, Jesus Christ, lives, and His Atonement is an infinite gift of love that opens the door to an eternal happiness. The Church of Jesus Christ exists again on the earth in a perfect form, with a prophet of God at its head. It is an immense joy and privilege to belong to this Church. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


  1. See Thomas S. Monson, “Welcome to Conference,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 4–5.

  2. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 23.

  3. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Forget Me Not,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 122–23.

  4. See Pindar (ca. 522–443 B.C.), Pyth. 2.72.

  5. L‘âge de raison or With Love … from the Age of Reason, directed by Yann Samuell (France, 2010; USA, 2011), motion picture.

  6. “Souviens-toi,” Cantiques (1993), no. 179.

  7. Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (1954), 269.

  8. The Lion King, directed by Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers (1994; Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, 2011), DVD.

  9. Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 92.

  10. Winston Churchill, quoted in John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory, A Political Biography (1993), 20.

  11. John William Southwell, quoted in Jolene S. Allphin, Tell My Story, Too, 8th ed. (2012), 287.

  12. Southwell, in Tell My Story, Too, 287.

  13. Allphin, Tell My Story, Too, 288.

  14. 17 Miracles, directed by T. C. Christensen (2011; EXCEL Entertainment and Remember Films, 2011), DVD.

  15. Anne C. Pingree, “Seeing the Promises Afar Off,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 14–15.