- Don't take spiritual risks
- Prepare daily- Stay close to Him
"If you want to reach your potential in the future, if you want to become the person the Lord wants you to be, you had better work on it today, because it is a true principle that we become what we do," said Elder Richard J. Maynes. "Our futures are truly connected to our past."
In his first conference address since being called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy last April, Elder Maynes directed his remarks Saturday afternoon toward the youth.
He noted that many young people have established, "at least in the back of your minds," lofty goals like missions, education, temple marriage, successful careers and "a safe return to your Heavenly Father's presence in the celestial kingdom."
"One of the great challenges of being a teenager is successfully connecting these celestial goals with your everyday life," he explained. "This is difficult because our lives are jammed so full of worldly stuff. The real trick," he said, "is trying to balance the importance of what is happening next Friday night with what's going to be happening two, five or 10 years from now.
"It is important for you young people to recognize that the foundation of your future success, both temporally and spiritually, is being built while in your teenage years. If those years are fractured with sin and go unrepaired, then the structure of your life will be built upon a weakened foundation. Your future will be less secure and certainly more stressful."
Elder Maynes acknowledged the challenges of growing up in a day that the prophet Isaiah described as "a day turned upside down," and then used an example to illustrate how goals are attained if specific actions are connected to everyday life.
He described two students who wanted to earn an A grade in geometry. One relied on cramming the night before a test to prepare, while the other set time aside each day to calmly study the subject in depth.
One technique was filled with risk, leaving the student with uneasy feelings. The other approach provided a deeper understanding, increased self-confidence and required less reliance on hope.
"If you want to get an A in your celestial goals, the same daily technique needs to be applied. It is very difficult to cram for a mission, and it is equally difficult to cram for a temple marriage. Don't take the risk. Prepare yourselves daily. Study the scriptures. Communicate with your Heavenly Father in prayer. Attend seminary. Keep yourselves clean and prepared. Understand that what happens on Friday night will ultimately impact your celestial future," he said.
"If these seemingly little things seem tiresome, tedious or time consuming, carry on! The little things that confound the wise also confound Satan.
"A concerted daily effort is the only sure way to come out victorious. If you stay close to Him on a daily basis, He will stay close to you, and you will reap untold blessings in every aspect of your life. . . ."