Elder Rasband, Youth Leaders Speak “Face to Face” with Youth Worldwide
Contributed By Carolyn Call, ChurchofJesusChrist.org Church News staff writer; and Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
Elder Ronald A. Rasband testified to youth around the world that a loving Heavenly Father will help them maintain balance in their lives as they learn to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
“As you go through the daily battles of life, remember you have the gift of the Holy Ghost and the sacrament promises to always have the Holy Spirit with you,” the Apostle said during the live Face to Face event on January 20, 2016.
The Church’s fifth Face to Face event was held at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah, and broadcast throughout the world. Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was joined by Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, and Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, in encouraging youth to “press forward,” referring often to 2 Nephi 31:20, which is the Mutual theme for 2016.
For the past several weeks, youth have been encouraged to submit questions they had for the leaders, who took turns responding at the live event. Following the event, which was broadcast on ChurchofJesusChrist.org in 11 languages, the leaders took some time to read answer other questions youth had posed on Church social media accounts.
Elder Rasband called the hundreds of youth who submitted questions “courageous” and “bold” as they covered a variety of topics and focused primarily on challenges facing youth today.
Noting there wasn't enough time to answer all the questions, Elder Rasband issued a challenge for youth to turn to a trusted friend or leader who can help them find the answers they need, reminding them that “Jesus Christ is at the heart of the answer to every one of your questions.”
Elder Rasband was asked about his feelings at the time of his call to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Youth asked him how they can accept callings, especially when they are experiencing fear.
Elder Rasband shared his own experience, reminding youth that callings come from the Lord, Jesus Christ, and although an assignment may seem terrifying in the beginning, it is through looking to the Mutual theme and “pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ” that individuals will be able to fulfill the things asked of them.
One girl said that at Church she feels uplifted, inspired, and full of confidence, but during the week it is hard to keep those feelings.
Elder Rasband reminded listeners that at baptism they are given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and as they partake of the sacrament they are “given a promise that we will always have His spirit to be with us.”
Although trials and challenges will come, it is through being worthy of and relying on the Spirit that individuals will be able to get through the hard times.
“How do you nourish your spirits?” the Apostle asked. “Take time to read your scriptures—doesn’t have to be a lot, but it has to be done.”
He also encouraged the youth to go to their Heavenly Father in prayer. “Scripture study and prayer give you a tremendous defense,” he said.
When faced with fear, Elder Rasband told listeners to rely on the holy places “we can count on”—their home, wards, and stakes (and branches), and the house of the Lord.
Many youth asked about how they can stay strong among friends with different standards.
“I remember going through this,” Brother Owen said. “When I was 14 years old my friends started drinking and smoking.”
His friends began to make fun of him for not joining in those activities and left him alone when he decided to stand for the right. But through the help of a new friend with similar values, he stayed true to his beliefs, which positively influenced the course of the rest of his life.
Young women attend the Face to Face event January 20 at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.
When asked about standing up for what is right without offending non-LDS friends, Sister Oscarson shared her experience as a teen.
“I was the only LDS girl in my high school and I think what helped me answer questions and be different, was just to own it—to be joyful in my beliefs and be proud of what I was,” she said. “That goes a long way to having other people to accept it. If you own who you are and stand up to that cheerfully, people tend to accept that and respect that.”
A young woman from Wisconsin said she suffers from low self-esteem and often feels out of place. She wonders how she can see herself as God sees her. Sister Oscarson encouraged her to turn to the “real source” to “find our real value,” rather than turning to social media sites for validation.
“We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us,” she said. “The greatest evidence of Heavenly Father’s love was sending His Son to earth to suffer and die for us. … We’re of infinite value to Him.”
It is important to really understand one's individual worth and to “remember who we are and to think about the fact that we are cherished and He has a plan for us. He didn’t send us here to fail.”
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, poses with young women following the Face to Face event January 20 at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.
When asked how to prepare for a mission, Brother Owen shared a few tips.
“Become a missionary before you go on a mission,” he said. “Prepare and become a missionary now, in your youth.”
In addition to sharing the gospel, Brother Owen said it is important to learn how to talk to people, as well as listen to what they have to say.
Young men attend the Face to Face event January 20 at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Get rid of the cell phones every once in a while,” Brother Owen said. He encouraged the young people to get a job and to learn how to work for someone other than a family member. “You might get fired,” he warned, but it is through work that they can learn responsibility and how to work through difficulties.
Elder Rasband added that it is important to “learn to love the Savior before you go on your mission. Then you will desire in your heart to serve Him with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength.”
When asked about how to help family members have a desire to come to Church, Sister Oscarson reminded the youth that “people have their agency,” and although people can’t force others to do something, they can set a good example, serve others, be patient, and love as Christ would love.
“We can’t change how others act, but we can be peaceable followers of Christ,” Sister Oscarson said.
“Never give up and love them,” Brother Owen added. “I think it is so important that we have an eternal family. Gives us a long view.”
Youth attend the Face to Face event January 20 at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sister Oscarson told listeners that when they are faced with personal challenges, “realize life is going to have ups and downs, and it is going to be difficult. Stay steadfast and hold to the values and beliefs. It takes faith to keep walking. … Things are going to be hard sometimes and things are going to be great sometimes, so we press forward in faith.”
When asked about maintaining balance between church, school, and other activities, Elder Rasband encouraged listeners to start their day by asking Heavenly Father to help them balance their different demands.
Recognize it is a lifelong pursuit, Elder Rasband said. “You will be amazed how Heavenly Father will help you through the Holy Ghost.“
Brother Owen added that Christ has to be the foundation of everything. That when someone is spiritually out of tune everything else gets out of balance.
“I want you to know that President Monson, his counselors, the Twelve Apostles, and the leaders of this Church love you immensely,” said Elder Rasband. “I can only imagine the love that Heavenly Father and our Savior have for you is so great, and so complete.”
Youth groups from New Zealand and Argentina participated in the broadcast via live remote feeds.
Youth groups from New Zealand and Argentina participated in the Face to Face broadcast January 20 via live remote feeds.
The song “Press Forward” was performed by Kylee Shaffer, who helped write the song. Elder Rasband asked Sister Shaffer to explain that each song on the 2016 Mutual theme album was written by youth for youth. The album is available on youth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on various music streaming platforms (such as Spotify and Apple Music), she said.
Kylee Shaffer and other youth musicians perform the song “Press Forward,” which Sister Shaffer helped write.
Face to Face online events are a chance for youth throughout the world to submit their questions to LDS guest speakers who answer them in real time. Past Face to Face events have featured guests such as Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan, and LDS musicians and performers the Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling, and David Archuleta. An archive of these events is at face2face.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, greets a young woman who attended the Face to Face event January 20 at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets a young woman following the Face to Face event January 20.
Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, reads and answers questions youth submitted online following the Face to Face event January 20.
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, reads and answers questions youth submitted online following the Face to Face event January 20 at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband reads and answers questions submitted by youth following a Face to Face live event January 20. His wife, Melanie, stands behind him.