2022 Devotionals
One Question That Can Change Your Life

One Question That Can Change Your Life

Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults with President Nelson

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Our dear brothers and sisters, how we love you! How we wish we could take each one of you home with us. More importantly, we pray that something the Holy Ghost teaches you tonight will help you better prepare to return Home—Home with a capital H.

Tonight, I would like to talk with you about one question—one question that can change your life! This one question can increase your confidence, decrease your anxiety, motivate you, lift your mood and your sights, increase your productivity, increase your focus and clarity of thinking, help you resist temptation, help you detect deception, increase your gratitude, decrease the stress in your life, increase your capacity to love, and help you make better decisions. This one question can bring you joy, comfort, love, and peace!

How can I be so sure?

Because that is exactly what 30 of your peers taught me. And I believe them!

These young adults taught me that when you ask yourself this specific question, it can help you pursue what is really important in life, help you make changes in your life that you want to make, and can even help you truly repent.

According to your friends, this question can give you eyes to see—like you never have before—the Lord’s hand in your life, the beauty of the earth, and the goodness in others. In short, because this question can put you in touch with the Spirit of the Lord and with the divine DNA in your spirit, this one question can bring you more light and truth!

Your peers also taught me that this question will work no matter how crazy busy or monotonous your life currently is. It also doesn’t matter how you’re feeling: happy, sad, isolated, inundated, depressed, encouraged, anxious, excited, lonely, left out, overwhelmed, overlooked, overjoyed. It doesn’t matter. This one question can work for you.

Would you like to know the question?


A little background first: Jesus Christ, our Savior, our Redeemer, and the head of this, His Church, has made it very clear that He wants you and me to become increasingly holy. He even commands us to do so, saying, “Ye must practice … holiness before me.”1 And He doesn’t just leave it at that! He adds the word continually.

Now, does it seem way too lofty—and simply impossible—to practice holiness continually? I completely understand if you’re thinking, “Sister Nelson, I just don’t have that in me.” Let me assure you why I know that you do.

Prior to our marriage, I was a psychologist, a marriage and family therapist, and a BYU professor. During those 30 years of my professional life, I learned about the power of questions. Some questions can help us think of things in a brand-new way, opening our hearts and minds to all kinds of possibilities that we otherwise would never consider. So, two months ago, as I thought about the power of questions, I invited 30 of our young adult friends—exactly your age, married and single—to experiment with this one question for three days. I asked them to do the following: “In just one situation a day for each of three days, ask yourself, ‘What would a holy young adult do?’”

That’s it. That’s the question: “What would a holy young adult do?”

For example:2

  • How would a holy young adult start his day?

  • What would be on her “to-do” list?

  • How would he talk with a friend? or shop, or play, or pray, or do laundry, or read to a child?

  • What would a holy young adult listen to or say? write or read? watch or wear?

  • If a holy young adult were falsely accused, betrayed, or misunderstood, what would she do?

  • What would he do in a really difficult situation where his values or morals were tested?

  • How would she prepare to partake of the sacrament each Sunday?

  • How would a holy young single adult use his time to prepare rather than wait for marriage?

  • How would holy young adults who are married strengthen their marriage?

And what happened? In several states in the USA and in two cities in Canada, 30 young adults went to work, asking themselves, “What would a holy young adult do?”

A flurry of normal daily activities commenced—each now being done as a holy young adult would do it. After only a few days, reports began to pour in.

Let me tell you what some of your friends did:3

  • Carrots for lunch were crunched with more gratitude.

  • Usual music and podcasts were exchanged for inspiring music, general conference talks, and Come, Follow Me podcasts.

  • Time-consuming social media apps were deleted.

  • Foul language shows were turned off.

  • “Bloated to-do lists” were re-prioritized.

  • Prayers were offered before attempting difficult homework assignments, inviting the Holy Ghost to become the tutor.

  • Scriptures were savored at a variety of times—including right before an exam started, which brought miraculous results.

  • Spiritually strengthening habits that had been lost since returning home from a mission were reinstated.

  • Testimonies were shared with classmates.

  • Jealousy of friends who were dating and marrying was replaced with love and joy for them.

  • Driving time became quiet meditative time.

  • Persistent negative thoughts were replaced by counting small victories and many blessings.

  • Tapping and scrolling were replaced with phone calls and in-person visits.

  • Time in the temple increased—as did housework by husbands!

  • And the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ was experienced in abundance!

What else happened?

One young adult discovered “the power of my agency!” She continued, “As I chose to watch general conference as a holy young adult would, I wasn’t watching to please anyone or to control the way people see me. I was watching because I know this Church is true. The gospel is true. The men and women speaking are inspired and guided by the Lord, and I wanted to learn.”

A “chronic people pleaser” reported that her stress at work decreased. She wrote: “Asking myself that question changed my perspective completely. I had newfound confidence because I was remembering the significance of more important things. I learned that the holier you become, the less you worry about doing what everyone else wants and more about what God wants.”

scaffolding on Salt Lake Temple

Now, my dear brothers and sisters, at the present time, the Salt Lake Temple is still an architectural wonder, but it is not an operating temple of the Lord. As that extraordinary structure undergoes extensive renovations and life-saving stabilizations, the Salt Lake Temple has been decommissioned as a temple. When a temple is decommissioned, that which is sacred—related to ordinances and instruction—is removed. Sadly, the same can happen with people.

Through the buffetings of Satan, poor choices, and eternal-life–threatening brushes with those in the great and spacious building, tragically, many young adults have had the sacred removed from their lives. These young adults have been—so to speak—decommissioned as “temple[s] of God.”4

Now, whether this has happened to you or not, I invite you to reclaim—or to increase—the sacred in your life by doing exactly what the Lord has commanded, which is to “practice … holiness … continually.” You may want to begin this process by doing what your peers did: ask yourself—in just one situation for each of three days—“What would a holy young adult do?” And then follow through with the answer.

As you live your life in crescendo,5 trying to be just a little more holy day by day and quickly repenting when you mess up, you will find joy in this life and eternal life in the world to come. And you will begin to experience, in a most profound and unforgettable way, exactly what our Savior Jesus Christ promised when He said, “I am able to make you holy.”6

My dear brothers and sisters, President Nelson will speak to you now. I testify to you—and I could testify in any court in any nation on earth—that President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s prophet on the earth today, chosen and instructed by Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


  1. Doctrine and Covenants 46:33.

  2. Other questions to consider: How would a holy young adult approach a difficult assignment? How would a holy young adult use her time and energy and money?

  3. What other young adults reported:

    Hearts were intentionally softened and opened to receive instruction from the Lord.

    Prayers were offered out loud, with more sincerity and less distraction.

    Prayers were offered just before attempting daunting assignments like analyzing a Swedish poem and also before commencing Soil Science homework.

    Note-taking at general conference increased, as did journal writing.

    Thinking of the needs of others, including those of siblings, and then reaching out to them increased.

    “Bit by bit, I incorporated more spiritually lifting activities or thoughts into my day.”

    New connections between ideas were made.

    Procrastination decreased, like putting off registering for university in the fall.

    Children were listened to more attentively.

    Ancestors became more real.

    Scriptures came alive and brought other truths to life: “I read Alma 11 in the dead quiet of the school library. Verse 44 reminded me how much my Heavenly Father and Savior love me and how much They do for me. Recently endowed, I thought about the plan of salvation and the Judgment Day in a new way.”

    As one man “focused on being faithful to [his] covenants and increasing [his] ability to hear the voice of the Lord,” previous jealousy of friends who were dating and marrying was replaced with love and joy for them.

    Another said, “To assess my standing with the Lord,” driving time became quiet meditative time.

    “It’s so cool that the choices you make can determine how your day goes. I know that I can choose to be more holy and that I will be happier because the Spirit will be with me.”

    Another learned the connection between holiness and sacrifice. He wrote, “It’s no coincidence that ‘in ancient days, sacrifice meant to make something or someone holy’ (Guide to the Scriptures, “Sacrifice,” scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).” He concluded that he wants to always “keep the idea of being holy in my mind and to find even small ways every day to sacrifice more to the Lord to make myself more holy.”

    “I picked a scripture to keep in mind throughout the day.”

    “I picked a Christlike attribute that I’ve been wanting to develop and tried to focus on developing that quality through the day.”

    “I cut out social media completely for the week leading up to general conference to quiet my life and focus on positive, uplifting influences in my life—instead of the influencers that are all over the internet.”

    “The Spirit brought to my attention a bad habit I need to correct.”

    Answers were found in the scriptures.

    When music was changed up “for better music, I noticed myself being more productive, more positive, and more in tune with the Spirit. My mood changed, and my interactions with others were more refreshing and full of love.”

    “Every time I chose to prioritize spiritual moments, everything else in my day fell into place.”

    “My time multiplied when I read my scriptures before doing my homework.”

    “By trying to make a smoothie as a holy young woman would, I was more prepared to respond to the needs of someone I love.”

    “Instead of listening to music as I walked to class, I talked with another young adult when we were waiting at the crosswalk. I made a new friend as I listened to how stressed he was feeling and as I testified to him that the Lord had a plan for him and that things would work out.”

    “When I drove my car as a holy young adult would, I immediately felt less anxious and more patient.”

    “For three days, I changed my habit of checking my phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night to checking in with my scriptures. My experience was pretty cool every time. I prayed for missionary experiences, looked for someone to whom I could bring kindness (like Christ would do).” The outcome? “I met new people who are also busy students. We had cool conversations about God and religion, and they are now wanting to meet with the missionaries.”

    “I faced something that scares me that I probably would have been less eager to do if I hadn’t been actively trying to be more holy. In the end, facing the fear helped me feel more confident in that particular area—which is something I had been praying for recently.”

    “I tried to be more holy as I took care of my two younger cousins. All evening I tried to be more Christlike—say what He would say and act as He would act. I’ve never had a more wonderful time with them. I thought more about them and less about myself.”

  4. See 1 Corinthians 3:16–17.

  5. For B. H. Roberts’s comment about how Joseph Smith lived his life, see B. H. Roberts, introduction to History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. (1980), 6:xlii.

  6. Doctrine and Covenants 60:7.