Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Elder David A. Bednar on growth and preparation of young men

Elder David A. Bednar (born June 15, 1952) was serving as the president of BYU–Idaho when he was called and sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2004.
"Three interrelated words define a pattern of preparation and progression for sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. Sometimes as parents, friends, and Church members, we focus so extensively upon missionary preparation for young men that we may neglect to a degree the other vital steps along the covenant pathway that must be fulfilled before beginning full-time missionary service. Working as a missionary certainly is one but not the only important building block in the process of creating a strong foundation for a lifetime of spiritual growth and service. Priesthood and temple blessings, both of which precede arriving in an assigned field of labor, also are necessary to fortify and strengthen us spiritually throughout our entire lives....
"As priesthood, temple, and mission blessings are gathered 'together in one... in Christ' (Ephesians 1:10) and synergistically interact in the heart, mind, and soul of a young missionary, he can qualify for the work (see D&C 4:5). His capacity is increased to fulfill the responsibility to represent authoritatively the Lord Jesus Christ. The spiritually potent combination of honoring priesthood and temple covenants, receiving 'the power of godliness' (D&C 84:20) through priesthood ordinances (D&C 84:19–21), serving selflessly, and proclaiming the everlasting gospel to God’s children enables a young man to become 'firm and steadfast in the faith' (Helaman 15:8) and 'rooted and built up in [Christ]' (Colossians 2:7).
"In our homes and at church, we should give balanced emphasis to all three elements of the Lord’s pattern of preparation and progression for faithful sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. All three require us to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy."
- David A. Bednar, "Called to the Work," General Conference, April 2017
Click here to watch or read the full talk

Elder Bednar spoke during the Priesthood Session of the recent general conference. He was primarily addressing the young men in issues relating to their preparation for future service and growth; but many of the principles apply to young women as well. Elder Bednar discussed the efforts we make to help youth prepare, which are often focused on mission preparation; but he encouraged additional focus on the other important aspects of the young man's development:  priesthood, temple, mission.

When all three of those areas receive attention in a young man's preparation, or in an adult life, then it becomes a "spiritually potent combination" of growth and development.

Elder Bednar also had a subtheme, repeated three times in the talk: "Please learn to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy." How critical that is for our happiness in life!

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