Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extended three invitations Sunday evening to the faith’s 2.3 million members between the ages of 18 and 30.

During a special broadcast Sunday, he invited the young adults to first, “Be still and know that God is God.”

Gong told them to let God’s goodness and creations stir their imagination, calm and assure their heart, and testify God waits ready to deepen their personal relationship with him.

The audience was encouraged to make deliberate attempts to slow down and engage in a more reflective kind of faith life.

“This includes an appreciation for the wonders of the heavens, the beauties of the Earth and the inspirations of art, literature and music,” Gong said. “It takes conscious effort to slow down and ‘be still.’ It takes spiritual openness and humility to ‘know that (God is) God (Psalms 46:10)’ ” he said. “Sometimes slowing down in things that matter less helps us find the things that matter most.” Beholding ultimate things fosters an eternal perspective that “can anchor us today,” he added.

Second, Gong asked young adults to “change the future now.” They can do that by developing “multigenerational relationships that will bless you and those around you for years to come.”

“We each look for sociality and opportunities to contribute. We all need a safe place to ask and seek, a safe space to learn and live gospel doctrine and church culture,” Gong said.

The apostle said more love and less judgment of others will turn each congregation into a vulnerable and inviting faith community that radiates compassion and inclusivity.

“In divided societies, disciples of Jesus Christ can share a common divinity and humanity greater than any differences,” Gong said. “In darkening, sometimes claustrophobic times, believers radiate his light and liberating truth. Where there is spiritual famine in the land, we celebrate him as living water and the bread of life. … Today you help me. Tomorrow I help you. We are here for each other. That’s what gospel friends and family do.”

Gong’s final invitation was for young adults to “trust the Lord of the harvest to help you become a better you.”

He referenced a recent church survey that shows the many ways young adult Latter-day Saints are helping to address significant humanitarian needs in their communities around the globe.

For example, Gong said, young adults in the LDS Church and their friends sew masks, support women’s refugee centers, clean up after natural disasters, provide nutrition to children, build local communities and donate to food banks.

Gong also listed many humanitarian projects the church is engaged in from COVID-19 response projects to filling food banks around the world with tons of canned food. It has also provided 30 million meals for school children in nine countries.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, our covenant belonging with God and each other invites us to be good and do good,” Gong said.

“As you know, our church provides humanitarian assistance without regard to race, religious affiliation or nationality. Our humanitarian activities are not used to proselyte our beliefs.”

Continual engagement in such service, in partnership with God, “will give an abundant increase” in life satisfaction, Gong said, because “(God’s) are the blessings of a joy which is full.”

Gong also encouraged young adults to qualify for and hold a current temple recommend, volunteer to serve in their local congregations, and “create a personal environment that nurtures faith and helps you keep God’s commandments. … Do not let the world pretend to offer you things it cannot deliver.”

Sister Susan Gong addressed the topic, “Do Good Now Because Heaven is Not Waiting for the Pandemic to End.”

In her remarks Sunday evening, Sister Gong said that increased time at home during the pandemic (in October 2020 she and Elder Gong both had the novel coronavirus) has allowed her to learn the skill of paper piecing. This is a kind of quilting that turns scraps of fabric into intricate designs.

These projects, she said, are counterintuitive because cloth is sewn together upside down and backward from how the final product will appear.

“It’s hard to see how these bits of color will resolve into a coherent pattern,” she said. “But gradually, as you patiently cut, stitch and press over and over again, a beautiful design emerges.”

This, said Susan Gong, is also true of life — especially during a global pandemic now in its 10th month. Though the plan for one’s life may be obscured by the fog of difficult circumstances, she encouraged young adults to do good now by developing talents and seeking out wise and righteous mentors.

She encouraged young adults around the world to begin each day with a prayer of gratitude and a sincere plea for chances to serve and grow.

“Then look for opportunities to be a truer friend, a kinder sister, a better son, a more generous neighbor, a more inspired minister, a more patient parent,” she said.

“Heaven is not waiting for the pandemic to end, for me to lose 10 pounds or for you to be married to the person of your dreams,” she concluded. “Heaven is not waiting for us to be perfect or for us to arrive in the next world to bless us. If we do ‘the works of righteousness,’ we ‘shall receive (our) reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come’.”

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter


See what people are talking about at The Community Table!