There will always be voices telling you that you are foolish to believe that you are swans, insisting you are but ugly ducklings and that you can’t expect to become anything else.
But you know better. Because of the revealed word of a merciful God, you have seen your true reflection in the water and you have felt the eternal glory of that divine spirit within you. You are no ordinary beings, my beloved young friends all around the world. You are glorious and eternal.
No matter your circumstances or trials in life, I urge you to remember who you are, where you came from, and where you are going—for the answers to those questions will truly provide confidence and direction for your life.
Your Heavenly Father lives. He knows you. He speaks to you in these latter days through prophets and apostles. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet on earth in our day. This Church is directed by the Savior Jesus Christ. I know this. He is at the head of this Church.
Today I may speak to you with imperfection—and with a German accent—but I promise you that the words you feel in your heart and in your mind and in your soul come to you through the eloquence, purity, and power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost you can know the truth of all things.
Brothers and sisters—my dear friends—I love you. I love you with all my heart. I am grateful for you. I am grateful for your goodness. As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, I bless you individually and collectively that you may learn to know who you really are and what you must do and be to live a happy and fulfilling life.
It is my prayer and blessing that when you look at your reflection, you will be able to see beyond imperfections and self-doubts and recognize who you truly are: glorious sons and daughters of the Almighty God.
I have found that three times in particular provide perfect settings for deep, personal self-evaluation and reflection: during daily, personal scripture study; while partaking of the sacrament each week in sacrament meeting; and when we are in the temple.
True friendship acknowledges imperfections, accepts them as part of our individual makeup, and focuses on our positive aspects instead of expounding upon our faults. Your friends don’t like you to comment upon their failings any more than you like them to criticize you. When your friends are discouraged or disappointed in themselves, a word of encouragement will serve much better than a sermonette. To be the kind of friend you would like to have, be a good listener, offer advice when you are asked for it, and treasure the trust that your friends have placed in you. Praise them for their achievements and sympathize when they fall short, but avoid offering "constructive criticism" or playing devil’s advocate. Most of us expect more from ourselves than anyone else ever would, and we are painfully aware of our shortcomings. We don’t need to be reminded of them by our friends.
What will be the language the Lord will use? Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord counseled Oliver Cowdery, who wondered about an answer to his prayers:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:22–23.)
As magnificent as these miracles are, personal miracles occurring in our own lives are important to us. They teach us to trust in the Lord and have faith in him. These miracles come to us when we recognize and heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He is a revelator, teacher and comforter. He can lift our burdens and give us courage. He can have a calming effect on us. We can be hopeful that the Spirit will “enlighten our minds and fill our souls with joy” (Doctrine and Covenants 11:13).
In fact, the Lord said, “…I will show miracles, signs and wonders unto all those who believe on my name” (Doctrine and Covenants 35:8).
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