Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reflections on Conference: Mary N Cook, General YW Meeting

Sister Cook is the First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. The full text of her talk, entitled "Never, Never, Never Give Up!" can be found here.

What does the Lord want you to do? He wants you to be a valiant and virtuous daughter of God, dedicated to living each day so that you can be worthy to receive the blessings of the temple and return to Him. In today’s world that will take courage. You have the plan of salvation, which makes it possible to do this. Moral agency, the ability to choose, is an essential part of this plan. You’ve already made some good choices. Before you were born, you made the choice to come to earth to receive a body and to prove yourself. You’ve made the choice to be baptized, which is the first ordinance required on the path to eternal life. You are now experiencing mortal life, where you continue to make choices, to learn, and to grow. Making sacred covenants and receiving the ordinances of the temple is another important step in the plan.

As you are growing older, young women, the path is becoming steeper, and you may want to give up. Life is more challenging, filled with decisions and temptations at every turn. Satan will blow winds of confusion that may cause you to question if this is the path you want to take. You may be tempted to try another route, even when signs of danger are posted. You may doubt your abilities, and you may wonder as one young woman did, “Is it really possible to remain virtuous in today’s world?” The answer, my young friends, is “Yes!” And my counsel to you is similar to that given by Winston Churchill during World War II: never, never, never give up! (see “Never Give In” [speech, Harrow School, London, England, Oct. 29, 1941]).

Let me share with you the experience of Julie, a young woman who was able to face a challenge by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. She was studying the Old Testament one day, and the thought came to her mind, “Read Matthew 5. Read Matthew 5.” She thought, “Why would the thought come to me to read the New Testament?” She acted on that prompting and read in Matthew, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

The next day she had some difficulties with her friends who were unkind and betrayed her. At first she was very upset, and then she thought, “I’ve been prepared for this. The Spirit prompted me to read Matthew, and I must love and pray for my friends.” The small step of reading the scriptures prepared her to respond in a Christlike way. From that experience, she was assured that the Lord knew her, and through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, she knew what she was to do.

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