“Young Adults Represent Church to Australian Federal Parliament,” Ensign, August 2009, 74–75
In May 2009 81 Australian young adults responded to the call to “Get Involved!” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 128), representing the Church in a visit to Australia’s Federal Parliament and meeting with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles later the same day.
This was the third such young adult group to visit Australia’s Parliament. The purpose of their visit was three-fold: to thank politicians for their leadership of the country, to learn about the nation’s leaders and how they govern, and to inform politicians of what members of the Church believe.
Local Church leaders nominated young people they felt would gain something from such an experience and whom they thought would be good ambassadors for the Church.
Attending training and the actual event in spite of car troubles, rugby injuries, university exams, and wedding plans, these young adults did all they could to prepare to represent the Church, from learning the appropriate behavior and dress to preparing spiritually.
One young adult from Perth, Australia, gave this explanation for the spiritual preparation: “My reason for attending is to develop friendships with the leading figures of our nation so that as they govern they can better represent our beliefs. They can also feel of our spirit and in some way turn their hearts a little more toward our Heavenly Father.”
On the day of the event the young adults participated in a spirited debate over whether Australia should have a bill of rights. Speaker of the House, Harry Jenkins, chaired the debate and complimented both the caliber of the arguments and the respectful behavior of the debaters.
Small groups visited various politicians and, later, the president of the Parliamentary Press Gallery hosted a question-and-answer session.
Elder Holland, accompanied by Elder David S. Baxter, Pacific Area President, and Elder Terry Vinson, Area Seventy, addressed a private luncheon with politicians and academics in the Federal Parliament.
Elder Baxter commended the young adults for their excellent ambitions and examples. Of the 81 young adults, 71 had completed or were pursuing post-secondary education, 41 had served missions, and 26 spoke a foreign language.
Elder Holland told them that each member of the Church is destined to be a light on the hill. In this dispensation we are engaging in dialogue with the world and having an influence, he said. The day concluded with a testimony meeting at the stake center in Canberra.
Many of the politicians were greatly impressed with the young adults.
David Bradbury, Member of Parliament, said: “As a group, you struck me as being an outstanding cross-section of your generation. You each brought great credit to the Church and our broader community in the way you presented yourself. I was inspired to see such an enthusiastic group of young leaders.”