Teaching Youth and Young Adults
Guidance on the Journey

Guidance on the Journey

Evening with a General Authority

Friday, February 7, 2020

We are very grateful to be with you tonight. Jill and I spent four years on assignment with the wonderful people of Europe, and we were very surprised and pleased when President Nelson asked us to return to CES. It feels like coming home to have close contact with you who dedicate so much effort and heart to help young people learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

While observing the twists and turns in our own and others’ journeys through life, I have thought about the journey we are on toward eternal life. For those of us who accept Jesus Christ and His Atonement, the pattern of our lives is similar. We exercise faith in the Savior and follow Him despite challenges. We repent of our sins, receive necessary ordinances, and endure to the end. But the details of each life are very different, and the challenges we face vary from individual to individual.

Think of the journey of Lehi’s family to the promised land. Their unique journey can yield some insights into our own journeys. They knew they were headed to a promised land, but they didn’t know everything about their destination or the exact path that would lead them there. They faced serious challenges along the way. Even Nephi, who didn’t murmur, explained that they “had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that [they could not] write them all.”1

They had guidance along the way. In fact, Lehi was told in the night that “on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness.”2 The next morning he found the Liahona at his tent door, which provided divine direction on their journey. But having the Liahona didn’t change the geography between them and their promised land. It didn’t shrink the Arabian Peninsula or the seas they needed to cross. They still had to move forward in the face of the challenges inherent to their epic journey. But the Liahona did guide them to “the more fertile parts of the wilderness,”3 and if they weren’t slothful, it helped them take a direct course.4

Laman and Lemuel murmured because of the difficulties they faced on the journey. Some of those difficulties were of their own making. Yet, even when they were following direction and traveling properly, they still faced meals of raw meat and days of a blazing desert sun. Similar to Laman and Lemuel’s experience, sometimes people think that they will not face challenges, that if they are doing what is right, everything will be easy. That is just not the case. It does mean that we can be strengthened and guided but not that we won’t face challenges.

Although they moved as a group, they were each also on an individual journey. Despite their journey bringing them to the same physical location, their individual eternal trajectory varied widely and was determined by their personal decisions and actions along the way.

We each have an individual and individualized journey through this life, but we also share parts of that journey with others. For example, we are on a journey together in our efforts in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion and Church education. We have an objective; we know generally where we are headed, but we don’t know all the obstacles or every detail of the route to get there.

Each of us chooses how we will travel with the group. We can murmur. We can rejoice. We can be thankful even in the midst of challenges. For some, changes in Church policy or procedure can be challenging. I am very pleased to see how S&I is responding to the inspired changes emphasizing home-centered and Church-supported gospel learning.

We will, and do, face challenges. By following the Lord’s guidance, we can overcome and learn from these challenges. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required.”5

We receive guidance to help us take the most direct route and travel through the more fertile parts of the wilderness in our journey. We have guidance from prophets. I know we are led by prophets, seers, and revelators. What a blessing! We are directed by the Church Board of Education, and we also have Brother Webb, his team, and other inspired leaders. In addition, each of us is eligible for personal guidance as we face specific issues in our individual assignments.

Both the Church Board of Education and the executive committee of that Board meet monthly. In these meetings we receive direction and counsel. We also have the blessing of a yearly “Evening with a General Authority,” and over the years we have received very helpful and focused guidance to help us on our journey—as an organization and individually.

I pray that we may be open to guidance and direction from the Lord. I know that He lives and will help and guide us.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.