Elder Holland talks about families, marriage and missions at first YSA Face to Face

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Danna Osuma
Elder Holland and Elder Hallstrom talk during the first YSA Face to Face on March 8.

Giving insights on marriage, families and missions, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland addressed young single adults around the world for the first live YSA Face to Face event on Tuesday, March 8. Viewers said they felt love and gained strength to help them in their lives.

Joined by Sister Carol M. Stephens, first counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, and Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy, Elder Holland answered questions from YSAs from all over the world through social media.

Holland’s opening remarks outlined the purpose of the event, which was for the YSAs to feel God's love, take strength from the great support group of YSAs worldwide and to understand their role in the work of the kingdom.

Einar Johnson VI, a freshman psychology major from Utah, said, “Young single adults are going through a really hard time right now. We are going to have to be the future leaders very soon. We need to start preparing to help influence the people younger than us.”

Johnson thought this event was a great way to unite young single adults. “We are all from different parts of the world, but the main goal is the same - to strengthen the army of God and come together as one.”

The first topic discussed was what Holland described as the “elephant in the room:” marriage and the fears of failures in marriage. His advice was to use Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 and substitute marriage for missionary work. He promised, “God will help you with your marriages and families. It matters to him just as much as it does to you.”

Stephens addressed those who had been long-time single adults and encouraged them to look to serve others. “We are not defined by marital status in the church but as children of God,” said Stephens. She shared an example of a friend who is single and is constantly finding ways to improve herself individually. “I really hope that we can think about others and look outside of ourselves. There is so much to be found in living the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Stephens.

Several questions also touched on the subjects of serving missions and the pressure young women might feel to serve since the mission age eligibility was lowered in 2012. Holland said men and women who choose not to serve do not “preclude their loyalty and love to the Lord and future in the church.” Holland emphasized young adults shouldn’t pass judgments since they don’t understand the backstories of individuals.

Rachel Chambers, an undecided major and freshman from Utah, said she was interested in watching because it was the first Face to Face with YSAs. “It is an opportunity for the audience to interact and ask their questions, so general authorities are not just assuming the problems but providing direct answers to problems we are struggling with,” continued Chambers.

Other parts of the Face to Face were more participatory, as young adults were encouraged to think and post answers on social media about how they personally have dealt with trials and struggles. Hallstrom offered his own counsel to those struggling under life’s burdens. “We know who we are and we know the plan of God. That gives us the hope to press forward,” he said.

Holland stressed the importance of scriptures. He shared, “If we want to talk to God, we pray. If he wants to talk to us, we read the scriptures.” Holland said any page in the scriptures could provide strength and hope. “We would be foolish to not use these lessons to help us get past the kind of everyday challenges that we are going to face,” said Holland.

In regards to preparation for marriage, Hallstrom said he hopes YSAs will “stay worthy in a world that is confusing.” Stephens added, “Study the life of the Savior and strive to be more like him, and you will be better prepared to be a spouse.”

Concerning same-gender attraction, Holland said, “The issue is chastity. The issue is not gender.” His counsel to members struggling with same-sex attraction was to be faithful, clean, and chaste. “There are commandments that are not politically popular, but they are commandments,” said Holland.

Marley Wilson, a freshman from Florida double majoring in psychology and English, said Holland’s counsel was insightful because he underlined concerns faced in the world and reaffirmed basic doctrine. “He also added more clarity to doctrines such as gay relationships and missions,” said Wilson. “It was inspiring because it showed that we are all equal and there are no double standards.”

Church leaders concluded the event by bearing their testimonies and offering some final words of counsel. “In a night of questions and answers, whatever the question is, the answer is the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Holland said.

The event can be watched on lds.org.

Uploaded on March 9, 2016