Elder Jeffrey R. Holland addressed young single adults around the world during the church’s sixth Face to Face event.
The member of the Quorum of the Twelve was joined by Sister Carol M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, and Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy.
The event was broadcast live through the church’s website and social media. Young Mormons submitted questions by using the hashtag #LDSface2face.
This was the first Face to Face event specifically directed to the young adults of the church.
Many questions from the audience focused on marriage and how to have a successful, happy relationship.
Elder Holland acknowledged that at a gathering of young single adults, the subject of marriage was the “elephant in the room” and responded by unapologetically addressing doctrine.
“We’re not going to retreat, we’re not going to shy away from that idea,” Elder Holland said. “Part of that is that the ideal celestial world is the idea of marriage and family. Families are central to the divine purpose and destiny of God’s children.”
He encouraged young adults to stop waiting too long to marry.
“You don’t have to be hasty and you don’t have to get peptic ulcers about marriage,” Elder Holland continued. But young adults shouldn’t wait too long for a good thing. “If you wait, you miss all the things you would have gone through together. You miss that part of love.”
Sister Stephens addressed those who had been single for a long time and encouraged them to serve others. “We focus on improving ourselves. We’re continuing along the path, progressing along the path, and I really hope that we can think about others and look outside of ourselves,” Sister Stephens said. “Marriage is important and essential, and it may not happen here. But it will happen eventually.”
Several questions also touched on the subject of serving missions, and especially the pressure young women might feel to serve since mission age eligibility was lowered in 2012.
Elder Holland emphatically stated that the purpose of the change in missionary age was never intended to make young women who choose not to serve feel like “second-class citizens.”
Sister Stephens reiterated Elder Holland’s comments. saying, “I hope no one will feel less because they didn’t put on the badge to serve full-time. President Monson has told us ‘Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together.’ We are all called to serve.”
Other parts of the Face to Face were more participatory, as young adults were encouraged to think and post the answers to how they personally dealt with trials and struggles.
Elder Hallstrom offered his own counsel to those struggling under life’s burdens. “We know who we are and we know the plan of God. That gives us the hope to press forward,” he said. “With the hope that’s borne of the Atonement of the Savior, we can continue to march forward.”
Recognizing the Spirit was a major theme throughout the event. “If it’s a negative thought, if you’re unsettled, if you don’t have peace about it, then it isn’t of God,” Sister Stephens said. “It’s an important thing for you to discover how the Spirit speaks to you.”
Elder Holland reminded the youth that the Spirit can speak to both the heart and the mind.
“God can speak to your mind, to your heart, to your intelligence,” Elder Holland said. “I’ve seen a lot of young people unable to function because they’re not sure if it’s from themselves or if it’s from Him. If it’s good, then it is from God.”
The final question addressed same-gender attraction among church members.
Elder Holland placed the issue in a gospel context. “The issue is chastity; the issue is not gender,” Holland said. He counseled all members regardless of sexual attraction to abide by the standards of the gospel and live chaste lives. “We are not passing judgment on someone for their feelings or their attractions. We are not making them second-class citizens any more than the sisters who don’t go on missions.”
Elder Hallstrom urged those with doubts to reinforce their focus on the gospel and the study of the Book of Mormon. “We don’t have all the answers. We need faith in the Father and in the Son,” he said.
The event concluded with the LDS Church leaders bearing their testimonies and offering some final words of counsel. Elder Holland directed the audience to draw strength from the Atonement of the Savior.
“In a night of questions and answers, whatever the question is, the answer is the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder Holland concluded. “If you can walk away with that one truth, this evening will have been a success.”
A video of the event can be seen on lds.org.