You Are Leaders

An Evening with Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults • January 14, 2018 • Conference Center


My dear brothers and sisters, my dear young friends!

You look wonderful. You are beautiful. You are amazing. Wow! I wish I could give each of you a big hug.

This last week was a time of sorrow and gratitude. I love President Monson. I will miss him. But I am sure he is happy to be again with Frances, his eternal companion.

It is so good to be with you today. I also like to be with my favorite Apostle. I know, we shouldn’t have favorites. But in my case, it seems OK because I am married to him.

We just celebrated our 55th anniversary, and we are still in love!

Talk about the fruits of the gospel! When we receive messages of love and congratulations on such occasions from our grand- and great-grandchildren, we know how precious the blessings of Church membership and the gospel are.

Those of you who are single, divorced, or live in challenging family circumstances, please know that God knows and loves you, and when you stay true to your covenants, the joy of family life will not be shortened or kept from you. I do not know exactly how this will be, but I do know that the Lord’s grace, mercy, and love is sufficient for all of us. He will make it happen according to His way and His time.

Dieter and I grew up in the same branch in Frankfurt, Germany. I knew he had a crush on me, but I was not really interested. He was nice, and we were friends. We learned to dance together at our Church activities. That was the time of the foxtrot, boogie-woogie, and rock and roll.

After he joined the Air Force to become a fighter pilot, I didn’t see him for almost two years. To be honest, when he returned to Frankfurt, my first impression was not too favorable. He looked a little bit like the guys in the movie Top Gun.

But when he spoke with me, I was mildly impressed; obviously he had matured over those two years. He knew what he wanted to do with his life, and he was strong in the gospel.

He was quite determined and creative in his courting efforts, and a few months later we married and my name changed from Reich to Uchtdorf. I have never regretted that I took a good look at him, even after an uncertain first impression.

Dieter is the love of my life and the proud father and grandfather of our children and children’s children.

And you must know, we still love to dance together—even to this very day.

Let me take you back to the time when I was 12 years old. It was a sad time in my young life. My father had passed away from cancer a few months earlier. He was a great father, a loving husband, and a very good man. He was very well educated, spoke five languages, played different musical instruments professionally in a symphony orchestra, and came from a prominent musician’s family in Frankfurt.

My parents had great plans for us. The future looked bright and promising, even after the destructive years of World War II. But the years of my father’s illness turned our home into a place of suffering, sadness, and hopelessness.

After my father’s death, my mother was extremely depressed. On Sundays, we went to our protestant church service, but we could not find the balm of Gilead. It appeared as though there was nothing or no one who could bring comfort to my mother.

Well, not quite! Our Heavenly Father, in His great love, had not forgotten us.

It was eight months after the passing of my father when two American missionaries knocked on our door in Frankfurt. Those two missionaries, guided by the Spirit and well prepared, knew exactly what our little family needed. They left the precious Book of Mormon with my mother.

My mother loved to read. And she loved the Bible. She was immediately captivated by this new book of scripture. When she started to read the Book of Mormon, she could not stop until she had read it cover to cover. My mother was so excited about the content and the message of the Book of Mormon that she often had my sister and me sit down and listen as she read verses that seemed to be written just for us.

During the last weeks of my father’s life, I had often stood at the window of our apartment earnestly praying to God for relief from our pain.

And the answer came. It came through the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. How I love the Book of Mormon. How I love its message of the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness. What a beautiful and powerful message of hope and light given to us by Heavenly Father. As we embraced the Book of Mormon, it calmed our heartache and healed our despair and sadness caused by the death of my father.

With the Book of Mormon entering our home there was no more darkness in our family, since both light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time. We felt the Spirit so strongly, and we knew with all our heart and mind that the message these missionaries brought was true.

Peace came back to our home. The gospel message and the membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought a true miracle to our family. It was as if angels had been sent to us.

The two missionaries who came to our home were about your age. They had no impressive history of their own. But they were like two angels of glory sent to us by God. They brought us the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

My dear young friends, you are made of the same divine material. Some of you are married, some are single, but all of you are living among the people of this world. You are the chosen ones of our days, who by word and deed teach and live the gospel message among your people. For this purpose, you are placed in your village or city, your school or workplace, your nation, your family. Don’t forget, you have the potential to be angels of glory to those right next to you.

You are representing the Church of Jesus Christ, and you are powerful leaders in proclaiming the gospel message by your good life and courageous testimony.

A leader is one who helps others to see, feel, and find the right way. Please help each other to stay deeply grounded in the Church and in the gospel. God has put you in a place where you have many opportunities to be tools in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. He relies on you, He knows you, He trusts you, and He will empower you. He lives. He is real!

Every simple and plain word or deed of goodness, integrity, charity, kindness, service, love, and compassion can become your act of leadership in the kingdom of God. Don’t underestimate your influence and power for good. These two young missionaries your age helped me to see the path that leads to our Savior and back to Heavenly Father.

Of course, I had to go this path by myself, overcome challenges, find answers to questions, face serious choices, and make decisions. And so will you! The Church and the Lord offer you powerful resources to accomplish your purpose in life. The Book of Mormon is one of them, and it is placed right in front of you. Reach out and embrace it and its teachings. Reach out to Heavenly Father and He will guide you. Trust the Lord!

My dear young friends, please know of my love and gratitude for each and every one of you. My prayers and blessings are with you. You are a significant part of this wonderful and sacred work of our Redeemer. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

© 2018 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. English approval: 9/17. Translation approval: 9/17. Translation of “You Are Leaders.” English. PD60005038 000