Monday, November 21, 2011


My son, Tommy, who is sixteen years of age, was assigned to give a talk for "Standards Night" for the youth in our church...

My father grew up in McLean, Virginia, not far from Washington D.C. The year he went away to college at BYU was the same year that my Mom’s family moved to McLean. My dad, as he was away at college, got to know Mom’s brother, Jeff, but had not yet met my mom. Then, in November of his freshman year, my Dad decided to come home from BYU for Thanksgiving. On Mutual night, Dad and Mom saw one another in the foyer of the Chapel but didn’t recognize each other. That night my mom’s Laurel Advisor taught a lesson on Temple Marriage. In part of her lesson, she said, “You never know. The person who you are going to marry may be right in this building tonight.” My mom remembered that when she and my Dad got to know each other a year later. Dad went on his mission. They consistently wrote back and forth, and then were married a year after he came home.

The same could be for us. For all we know the person we will marry could be in this room right now. Whether that’s the case for us or not, one thing is certain, for most of us, our future spouses are somewhere in this world today with the same types of trials that we have. Lately I have been thinking a lot about where my future wife may be and what she might be doing. It is my hope more than anything that she is learning the habits of living righteously, just as I hope all young women here are trying to do, so that you may all participate in the spreading of the Lord’s kingdom.

My mother worked in the Young Women’s Program for many years. Two of her young women were sisters that were slowly becoming disconnected from the church. She said that they started to attend church less and less and their clothing became increasingly immodest. My mom has always felt that spirituality is intricately connected with modesty. From years of experience, she knew the signs, knew that these girls were slipping away, so she essentially “went after them.” For months, the leaders and the young women made loving efforts to reach out, include and encourage them in deeply caring ways. Gradually, the girls started to regain the light in their eyes and how they clothed themselves began to change dramatically to reflect the regained spirituality in their lives.

I am sure many of you have heard the saying “modest is hottest”. We use it in kind of a joking way, but it’s true. I have had many conversations with friends about how girls dress and we all are greatly appreciative of the efforts young women make to dress modestly. My mom has always said, “You get what you dress for.” She is essentially saying that those who dress immodestly will attract those who take you for less than who you are. Dressing modestly will attract those worthy of an eternal relationship. I believe that immodest dress can actually be a disservice to young women because it is harder to find the real you with the distractions caused by wearing something revealing. Another thing is certain: anyone who is modest is much less likely to do anything that isn’t morally clean. It is my hope that the young woman I will one day marry is today making modesty a priority in her life as a sign that she is a devoted daughter of God.

Among all the programs in the church; church itself, seminary, Young Mens Young Womens, scout and girls camps, etc., we have been told that none has a more powerful effect on a person’s testimony than personal scripture study. I believe this is because when you are alone with God, as you read, you can hear his voice just for you. The power of that connection is what changes you and directs your life.

One of our family mottos is: “Be There!” It means that it is important to attend “everything” that the Lord has prepared for us. My mother and father were each raised this way and over time, by being immersed in the programs in the church, their testimonies grew and grew. Another thing I also hear around my home, and some of you may have heard my family members say, is– if you don’t go, you must think that you are smarter than God…. And then my mom’s classic saying, “even if the activity at Young Mens is just painting your toe nails purple – you should go– and you will always be blessed for doing so.” I believe that for all young men and young women it is important to attend all church functions that are available for the youth so our testimonies will remain steadfast and immovable.

Technology has made connecting of lives so easy. With the press of a key we can write or talk to people all over the world. There is one thing easier than this, though, and it is prayer. All one has to do is close your eyes and you can connect with God on high. Prayer is still, and has always been, the easiest way of communication. I know, for myself, that there is no life without regularly making that connection with my Heavenly Father. I hope that all young women realize the importance of prayer and how it will, not only help guide you to an eternal companion, but guide him to you as well.

Throughout my life I have realized that the most attractive thing to me about any girl is her confidence, not the kind of temporary confidence that comes from being cute, talented, or even smart. It is the kind of enduring confidence that comes from understanding our relationship with Heavenly Father. I believe that if one has confidence through the Lord, all temptations and worldly desires can be rid from them, and they will find joy in all they do and know how to better serve the Lord. As I have said before, whenever I go to school, a game, a party, or some other function, my father always says, “Remember who you are.” As I think of him saying this I realize how great he thinks I am and how proud he is of me. When he says this I remember that I am a son of god. When I remember this it makes me wants to be clean in my actions, words and thoughts. He has a better perspective and high hopes for the kind of man that I might one day become. He wants me to remember my responsibility as a disciple of Jesus Christ. If my dad or your dads have that kind of perspective, imagine our Heavenly Father, as he sent us off to our earthly experience saying, “Remember who you are.” We are His children. He has high hopes for us and His hopes go far beyond what even our earthly fathers thoroughly comprehend. Above all other things, I hope that my future wife is being taught who she is and will remember it.

All the hopes I have for my future spouse are the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is by “small and simple things” that great things are accomplished.

All of you young women are futures wives and mothers and will participate in the spreading of the Lord’s kingdom. Remember who you are. You are daughters of a Heavenly Father who wants you to have everything that he has—just as your earthly fathers do. This is my prayer for you—and for myself as well, because I know that I have the same responsibility that you do to prepare myself. My prayer for you is that you will love and serve everyone, and that you will be pure—letting virtue garnish your thoughts,

Then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth. And thy kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom and without compulsory means, it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

I bear my testimony that God lives and loves us, and that through Christ’s atonement we can and will create eternal families with confidence through the Lord. And I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Tommy sure has grown up from the crazy little kid I remember :) His future wife will be a very lucky woman.