You Belong
March 2024

“You Belong,” Liahona, Mar. 2024.

Young Adults

You Belong

We can find our sense of belonging as we develop a meaningful relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

God the Father and Jesus Christ stretching their arms out in greeting to people around them

Detail from Glory in Degrees, by Annie Henrie Nader

Each one of us was born with an innate need to belong. We naturally long for that belonging in our associations with our families, friends, coworkers, wards, and other people in our lives. Our hearts seem to have these heavenly longings for a deep and abiding need to belong.

You and I were—and are still—part of an eternal family with our Heavenly Father, long before we came to earth. The scriptures describe us as “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13; Doctrine and Covenants 45:13). In leaving our heavenly home and coming to a world filled with confusion, loneliness, and heartache, we can feel like wanderers, longing for our eternal home and relationships.

If you’ve ever felt a little homesick for heaven, perhaps it’s because our true home and identity are tied to our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. That’s why it’s so important to have a deep connection with Them. When we are connected to Them through our covenant relationship, we will find the true sense of belonging that our spirits yearn for.

Our Covenant Relationship with God

Our actions and our thoughts reflect the relationships we value. The same is true of our covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father and Savior.

When we value our covenant relationship with God, everything changes. Instead of being influenced by the world, we become influenced by Him and become more like Him. Our lives begin to take on more meaning and spiritual stability and power. Suddenly, “belonging” surpasses the mortal realms of what we think “belonging” means.

When that covenant relationship with God comes first, the hollow distractions of the world lose their hold and we find true personal peace and belonging. In a world that doesn’t often give things free of cost, our Heavenly Father lovingly extends His covenant blessings regardless of our status in this world (see 2 Nephi 9:50–51).

President Russell M. Nelson beautifully taught that “once we make a covenant with God, we leave neutral ground forever. God will not abandon His relationship with those who have forged such a bond with Him. In fact, all those who have made a covenant with God have access to a special kind of love and mercy.”1

We determine if we have a close relationship with God—He is always constant to us, but we must choose to be constant to Him. And that divine choice is both empowering and freeing! This choice frees us from false perceptions of who we are and from the limiting chains of worldly expectations.

And when we find that belonging with our Heavenly Father, we can then look outward and see others as He does. When I understand how He feels about me, I understand better how He feels about you, and my ability and desire to reach out and gather others becomes stronger.

Nauvoo Temple at sunset

Illustration of Nauvoo Temple at sunset, by Max D. Weaver

Covenants Unlock Blessings

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ desire us to make covenants with Them so They can bless us in the ways we need and change us in ways that will allow us to return to Their presence.

I would invite you to go as often as you can to the house of the Lord. As I commit to going often and intentionally, I receive relief from the world, and my thoughts and nature are elevated.

Through keeping our covenants, we receive priesthood power that unlocks the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement in our lives. Those blessings include healing, guidance, protection, help, strength, peace, perspective, and joy. Heavenly Father desires to bless us with all these things through our covenant relationship.

If you have not yet received the blessings of the temple, I invite you to study the blessings of the temple, priesthood power, covenants, and what God desires for you. Don’t wait to receive His relief, power, and loving help.

President Nelson has said:

“I would urge you not to wait until marriage to be endowed in the house of the Lord. Begin now to learn and experience what it means to be armed with priesthood power.

“And to each of you who has made temple covenants, I plead with you to seek—prayerfully and consistently—to understand temple covenants and ordinances. Spiritual doors will open. You will learn how to part the veil between heaven and earth, how to ask for God’s angels to attend you, and how better to receive direction from heaven. Your diligent efforts to do so will reinforce and strengthen your spiritual foundation.”2

Belonging through Repentance

Constant repentance is another beautiful and powerful way to stay close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Oftentimes we mistakenly believe that if we are repenting a lot, then we must be far from Them. But the opposite is true!

Repentance doesn’t move you farther from Them—it brings you closer to Them!

You can find greater belonging and a deeper relationship with Them through your efforts to turn to Them for help and to receive forgiveness.

Each of us may feel farther from perfection than we would like, but I don’t think Heavenly Father is as concerned about that as He is about our desire and efforts to try again. He loves us, He knows where we’re headed, and He will lovingly lead us along.

Acknowledging our weaknesses and mistakes requires vulnerability, but by repenting, we invite Heavenly Father to be close to that vulnerable part of us. That proximity allows Him to extend His great love to us and provide the healing, forgiveness, and safety we need. It is in this connection to God that we develop trust and find encouragement and true belonging.

the Creation

The Creation, by Annie Henrie Nader

Seeking a Higher Perspective

Our perspective can contribute to our sense of belonging in the Lord’s Church. We can choose the perspective that our own actions can help our ward, our Relief Society, or our elders quorum become a loving place to belong. Seeking to help others belong actually increases our own sense of belonging.

Because you are a child of God, you belong—regardless of how others perceive you or how you may perceive yourself. The Father’s plan of happiness is meant for you, and you have an important role to play in it. Each of you has the capacity to uniquely contribute and belong to the kingdom of God, no matter your marital status, education, or background.

A thought that has repeatedly come to my mind is that the terms “young single adults,” “young adults,” and “single adults” are not who you really are. These are demographic terms that help describe age and marital status, but they are not adequate descriptors of true eternal identity, purpose, and capacity.

Labels or comparisons can limit how we see ourselves and our value and potential in the kingdom of God. The fact is that you are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You have made covenants with God. You have access to His priesthood power. You are a member of Relief Society or elders quorum. You are, as President Nelson taught, a child of God, a child of the covenant, and a disciple of Jesus Christ. That is who you really are first and foremost, and that is what will “lead you toward eternal life in the celestial kingdom of God.”3

The gospel was restored through a young adult–aged prophet—Joseph Smith. That is a powerful thought to contemplate. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ entrusted the Prophet and his associates at that age to restore the Church. God also trusts you to be a part of this great work in these latter days.

If you want to know who you are and if you’re loved and valued, ask your Father in Heaven. He will always tell you the truth about you. He will help you to see yourself as He sees you—with tremendous capacity and love. He can guide you to great opportunities and growth you can scarcely imagine!

May we all have eyes to see one another and ourselves, not through the lens of age or marital status but through the unifying lenses of covenant keepers, fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, friends, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters of God. And in those eternal roles and relationships, we will find the highest and truest sense of belonging.