“These are your days,” Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women General President, told students Tuesday in the Marriott Center, “‘days never to be forgotten,’” she said, quoting Oliver Cowdery.
She delivered an empowering message at the beginning of a new year, telling the students “we have before us a new opportunity to rally the best within us,” and now is “the opportunity of a lifetime to become a force for good in the world.”
More now than ever, the Lord is prompting us to act. “The Lord is calling to each of us to become dedicated disciples,” said Sister Dalton. She reinforced this idea by relaying the story of Eric Liddell, made famous by the movie Chariots of Fire, who sacrificed his chance to run in the 100-meter race in the 1924 Olympic Games because the qualifying heats were held on Sunday. Although untrained in the other distances, he summoned his faith to compete in the 200- and 400-meter races, winning a gold medal and breaking a world record.
The power to move forward is obtained as we have faith and become disciples of Christ, which means following the teachings and examples of Jesus and the prophets, she said. “As dedicated disciples, we must act, and make prophetic priorities our priorities.” These include missionary work, teaching and learning for youth, and temple and family history work.
As recent announcements, programs and emphases in these areas have unfolded, Sister Dalton said it is clear “that the Lord is indeed hastening His work.”
She expressed the trust that the Lord has placed in the youth. “You are not ordinary and these are not ordinary times in which we live. You have been reserved and prepared to be on the earth at this time, and though the circumstances in which we live present many challenges, you can do it!”
She counseled students, as they participate in prophetic priorities, to reject the worldly philosophy that they are too young, saying, “You have come here to go forward with faith and with the power of your youth and unique perspective.” Paul told Timothy “Let no man despise thy youth.”
She referred to 14-year-old Joseph Smith, 10-year-old Mormon, the young Joseph and Mary, and others who were entrusted with important missions at tender ages.
Testifying of the importance of living worthy to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost and recognizing personal revelation, Sister Dalton spoke of her own experience of relying on the Spirit to make the decision to get married, and the subsequent blessings of that decision.
She further encouraged students to “be more fit for the kingdom” through establishing righteous habits and setting “little, attainable goals,” and to exercise faith and maintain virtue.
Sister Dalton declared that as we strive to follow prophetic priorities and become disciples of Jesus Christ, “the very purity and virtue of your lives will attract the gaze of all the world in these latter days.”
Sister Dalton closed by reaffirming her invitation to take part in the events of these times: “Make prophetic priorities your priorities. Dedicate yourself to discipleship. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too young. Seek the Holy Ghost. Become more fit for the kingdom, and have confidence.”
Writer: Stephanie Bahr