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LDS Church leaders encourage young women to listen to Holy Spirit

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Young women who have faith in God, who listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit in making daily choices and who witness of gospel truth will find ultimate happiness as they become examples of goodness to those within their sphere of influence.

That according to leaders of Young Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who addressed a worldwide audience of teenage girls Saturday night at the Conference Center in a live broadcast via satellite.

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in church's First Presidency, said those the audience were among God's brave and faithful children in the pre-mortal world who accepted Jesus Christ's gospel are are now faithful in following its precepts. Satan is aware of each who is striving to live righteously.

"He wants you never to find your way home again," preventing the influence young women may have for good on others including "thousands over the generations that will follow your path. If he can get you to wander on your journey away from the light, he can do harm

and bring misery to may."

Each choice young women make "keeps you walking in the light or moving away toward darkness. Some of the most important choices are about what you set your heart upon," including the approval of others, the need for friends and evidence of self-worth.

Choices made according to the spirit of Christ "inviteth to do good...wherefore, ye may know with a perfect knowledge that it is of God," and things that persuade to do evil and "believe not in Christ....ye may know with a perfect knowledge is of the devil...for he persuadeth no man to do good."

By faith, young women "can lay hold upon every good thing. I pray with all my heart that your faith will be increased that you are a daughter of a loving God. I testify to you that you have been one of the valiant ones to reach the point where you are now in this journey

of life. Just as you are marked as a target by the enemy of righteousness, you have been protected and watched over by your Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Young women must pray, ponder the word of God and know that though their trials may be severe, "you need never be discouraged or afraid. The way through difficulties has always been prepared for you and you will find it if you exercise faith.

"This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. There is a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. And there are both true servants and angels to help you along the lighted path," Sister Susan W. Tanner, general president of the Young Women, said as girls "stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ," through making difficult but correct choices in the face of peer pressure, "the Holy Ghost will confirm that testimony."

Those who have been baptized have made a covenant to obey God's commandments, she said, and "as you keep that covenant you will stand as a witness among your peers."

During a recent discussion, Sister Tanner's adult children remembered times when they made such choices, including refusing to participate in athletic competition or to work for an employer on Sunday; to see pornographic movies or magazines; to succumb to vulgar language at work or to drink alcohol.

One remembered fielding questions about the Book of Mormon during a presentation in her English class.

"In these moments, they could have felt along, but as they stood as witnesses, they felt the companionship and sustaining presence of the Holy Ghost. They also were armed with blessings that come from obedience to God's commandments."

Young women who vow each week to "strengthen home and family" should realize their responsibility to do so not only lies in the future, but "in their homes here and now" as well.

Sister Elaine S. Dalton, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said young women "must be steadfast and immovable in all times and in all things and in all places," because "as you are faithful and righteous, others will look to you for support and strength."

With a foundation of faith centered in Christ, Latter-day Saints will often stand alone in a crowd among peers, but they can gain confidence "as you pray daily, search for answers in your scriptures and obey the commandments."

When she ran in the Boston Marathon several years ago, Sister Dalton said she realized she had forgotten to make arrangements to locate her husband when she finished the race. As she became worried and discouraged running up Heartbreak Hill, she began to cry.

"I began to pray right there on that marathon route," asking for help and the strength to finish the race. The words of a hymn came into her mind, encouraging her to cross the finish line where she found her husband. "I testify that as you stand as a witness, obey the commandments and press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, you will never be alone."

Second counselor, Sister Mary N. Cook, said a personal testimony of gospel truth will be an anchor for Young Women who face a "challenging world polluted with temptations and trials," allowing them to "rise above the evils of the world and maintain your position

of righteousness."

Referring to a video presentation with Young Women speaking about choosing to dress modestly despite temptations to do otherwise, she said the power to make correct choices comes by following a pattern: "praying to Heavenly Father, studying the scriptures and the words of our latter-day prophets and (being) obedient in the living the standard of modesty."

One of the young women in the video realized some of her clothes weren't completely modest. Through prayer and scripture study, she was reminded that she was a disciple of Christ and therefore needed to make some changes.

"She went through her closet and drawers and got rid of anything that wasn't modest," and vowed not to even try on clothing that she knew she shouldn't wear. "That firm resolve showed the Lord that she respected her body, and she drove down a deep stake on modesty."

Other anchors of faith come as girls refuse to watch, listen to or read degrading entertainment, to keep the Sabbath day holy and to "express your faith through action — by the way you live....Strengthen your faith by following this pattern of prayer, study and obedience to the commandments. Drive down stakes by deciding now what you will and will not do and then act on your plan."

E-mail: carrie@desnews.com