Friday, March 22, 2019

Elder Ronald A. Rasband on the challenges of the rising generation

Elder Ronald A. Rasband (born February 6, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 2000.  He was the senior president of the Seventy when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015. This talk was given in a General Priesthood session of conference when he was serving as a Seventy.
"In an early Book of Mormon time, the members of the Church also gathered near a temple to receive instruction from their prophet and leader. Late in his life, King Benjamin called upon fathers to bring their families together, to give them counsel and admonitions....
"As recorded in Mosiah, families received the word of the Lord through their prophet with enthusiasm and commitment. The people were so moved by King Benjamin’s teachings that they entered into a new covenant to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
"However, there is a sad epilogue to this story. We learn later in Mosiah concerning those who were but little children in the tents at the time of King Benjamin’s sermon:
"'Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers' (Mosiah 26:1).
"What happened to that rising generation, brethren? Why didn’t the young children accept the righteous traditions of their fathers? More importantly, here we are centuries later, in a day of many temples and constant prophetic direction, and what of our rising generation? Do we have reason to be concerned? Certainly we do! ...
"Our rising generation is worthy of our best efforts to support and strengthen them in their journey to adulthood."
- Ronald A. Rasband, "Our Rising Generation," General Conference April 2006
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Spiritual manifestations and deep conversions are profound events, and the experience of the people as they were taught by King Benjamin is a wonderful example of the life-changing impact of such an event (see Mosiah 2). However, the rapid loss of the impact of that conversion is a sad sequel. In only a single generation, the "rising generation" who were too young to fully experience the spirit of the event drift away from the teachings of their fathers. Elder Rasband warns us to be vigilant in our care of that next generation:

We must never neglect any opportunity to bless lives or make a difference for each individual.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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