Young adults worldwide gathered to hear the words of Elder Russell M. Nelson at a CES Devotional broadcast from BYU-Hawaii Sunday night.
Nelson spoke of the wide range of choices Latter-day Saint youth face today, such as education, making priorities and choosing good over evil.
Nelson first explained the noble birthright and foreordination of youth today.
“You, as youth of the noble birthright, are literally sons and daughters of God,” Nelson said, “born at this particular time in the world’s history for a most sacred purpose.”
He then explained the unique differences between men and women.
“You brethren were foreordained in a premortal realm to bear the priesthood,” he said. “And you dear sisters, you were chosen before the foundation of the world to bear and care for God’s children; and in doing so, you glorify God.”
Despite being foreordained and having a noble birthright, youth today must remember that the choice of eternal life is in their hands, Nelson said. He emphasized the importance of education and occupations.
“For us as Latter-day Saints, gaining an education is not just a privilege, it is a religious responsibility,” he said. “The glory of God is intelligence. Indeed our education is for the eternities.”
Nelson explained that having an eternal perspective about education can help us make good choices about learning.
“Don’t be afraid to pursue your goals. Even your dreams,” Nelson said. “There is no shortcut to excellence and competence. Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help them.”
Nelson explained that youth today need to understand they are living in the midst of a real conflict between God and Satan and should make choices for their lives accordingly. He explained that making priorities in our lives will help us make good decisions. Knowing God, knowing Jesus Christ, building up the kingdom of God and establishing righteousness should be the first priorities of Latter-day Saints, Nelson said.
“Above everything else you are seeking to learn, seek to know God the Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ,” he said. “Come to know them and love them, as I do.”
Nelson also taught of the importance of associating with other people who believe in God and of “coming to the rescue” of those who don’t. He warned of the snare of sins such as stealing, cheating and pornography.
“If you, brothers and sisters, are viewing pornography, stop it. Stop it now. Stop it absolutely. It is as destructive as leprosy, as addictive as meth and as corrosive as lye,” Nelson said.
He concluded his remarks by discussing the importance of strong families and of the temple and by invoking a blessing upon the youth of the Church.
“Yes, you truly are youth of the noble birthright, created in God’s image,” Nelson said. “You are the lawful heirs to be tried and tested. You may choose to be a light to the world, to help save God’s children, to have joy and ultimately earn the blessing of eternal life.”