By Elder Andrew O’Riordan
I have always had a great love for the Young Single Adults of the Lord’s church. Maybe this stems from the fact that my parents joined the church in the early 1960’s as YSA before meeting each other and later marrying in the New Zealand temple. Or maybe it relates to my own conversion experiences as a YSA that led to missionary service in Japan from 1986-88, which set a foundation for my life. After my mission, still as a YSA I was blessed to meet and marry Helen Gilbert. It was 25 years ago now that Helen took a risk and married me. We have been blessed to have four children whom we adore, two of whom are currently YSA.
I have come to know that the paths that we travel in life are many and varied. Some of these paths lead to dead ends, some are rocky and challenging, others are long winding paths that lead nowhere of consequence. But there is a straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life and a fullness of joy. (D&C 14:7; Mosiah 2:41)
It is the latter path that I would like to focus on with you who are at the stage of life when you must choose on which path you will journey. The straight and narrow path as the scriptures refer to it, is the Gospel path. There is a gate that protects the entrance to this path. The gate represents “baptism by water.” (2 Nephi 31:16-18) So we know that this path commences once you have been baptised into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by one having proper authority, and is the path that the Saviour of the world took. Many of our current YSA in the Pacific Area are converts to the Church, and we love and welcome you.
I would like to offer some suggestions of things that will help you to stay on this straight and narrow path after your baptism, and throughout the remainder of your life here on earth, and hopefully assist you to deepen your conversion unto the Lord.
1. Don’t just hang around the edges of the gospel. A testimony comes at a price, that includes faith, work and prayer. A testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel comes by the power of the Holy Ghost “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things”. (Moroni 10:5)
A testimony is likened to a mighty change of heart that induces a desire to do good continually (Mosiah 5:2), and to continue on the path. However, faith has a shelf life and must be nurtured by righteousness. Fully engaging in the gospel preserves our conversion and invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Personal spiritual encounters with the Holy Ghost leads to a deeper conversion. (Mosiah 27:24-26)
2. Elder L. Tom Perry taught the following: “After conversion comes the desire to share- not so much out of a sense of duty, even though that responsibility falls on the priesthood, but out of sincere love and appreciation for that which has been received. When such a pearl of great price comes into our lives, we cannot be content just to admire it by ourselves. It must be shared! And here is the great joy and happiness of the gift!” (April 1984 General Conference)
YSA who share the gospel are happy! In the Doctrine and Covenants we learn “he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.”(D&C 50:22) It has been my experience that when I share the gospel with others, it causes my own testimony of the restored gospel to swell within me and my desire to walk that straight and narrow path increases.
3. Read the Book of Mormon. The Area Presidency has invited us to immerse ourselves in the Book of Mormon. In the introduction to The Book of Mormon, the prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.” I encourage you to read from the Book of Mormon every day. I know it will lead you along the straight and narrow path as it has me.
4. Seek to receive all the ordinances of the gospel. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:20-22 we learn that “In the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.” This scripture is powerful, and I have truly observed the power of God manifest in the ordinances of the priesthood, including baptism, confirmation, endowment, and sealing. Once this power is manifest in our lives the desire to travel down forbidden paths is quickly lost.
President Monson has encouraged church leaders to create opportunities for the YSA to gather together. I am sure that his wise counsel has relation to the following scriptural teaching: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, behold, there will I be in the midst of them”. (D&C 6:32) I encourage our wonderful YSA to gather together by attending all Sabbath day Church meetings and to take full advantage of Institute, mission preparation class, and YSA conferences.
In the following articles, are some accounts of faithful YSA I have witnessed setting powerful examples of choosing to walk the straight and narrow path. All of the YSA featured in these articles are truly converted to the gospel, have served missions and shared it with others, read the Book of Mormon daily, and seek out priesthood ordinances. They are travelling on the straight and narrow path that leads eternal life, and a fullness of joy.
I pray that in this season of the gospel where the Lord is hastening His work, the YSA of the church will be strengthened to come out of the world and walk the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life and a fullness of joy.