Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve gave the youth of the church three ways in which they can use the keys and authority of the priesthood to bless both their lives and the lives of others.
During the Saturday morning session of the 186th Annual General Conference, Elder Stevenson encouraged the youth to prepare for missions, attend the temple, and go forward with faith.
He talked about losing his car keys on a harsh winter day and drew a connection between being locked out of a car without keys and living in a world without the priesthood keys.
“My heart is filled with overwhelming gratitude for the restoration of priesthood authority and priesthood keys,” Elder Stevenson said. “Without this restoration we would be locked out from the vehicle necessary to transport us on our journey to loving heavenly parents.”
Elder Stevenson explained that the priesthood has been defined as “the power and authority of God.” He also explained that priesthood keys are “the authority God has given to priesthood leaders to direct, control, and govern the use of his priesthood on earth.”
He then explained how the youth can use the keys and authority of the priesthood to bless their own lives.
First he encouraged young men and young women to prepare for missionary service. He quoted the First Presidency and its council to the youth about preparing for missions.
“Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, … work diligently to prepare yourself to represent the Lord as a missionary.”
Elder Stevenson explained that young women should prepare to serve missions as well, even though they are not under the same mandate to serve as the young men.
“All of your preparation, however, whether you serve as a full-time missionary or not, will accrue lifelong benefits to you as a member missionary,” he said.
Second, Elder Stevenson admonished the youth to attend the temple. He encouraged the youth to research and find the names of their ancestors in order to perform proxy baptisms for them.
Third, he encouraged young men and women to go forward with faith. He asked them to remain worthy and to observe the counsel given to them in the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet.
“Through this journey, each of you has access to the great blessings promised to Abraham. These blessings can be yours, if you remain faithful and live worthily,” he said.
Elder Stevenson taught that the Lord has not left his children without the keys needed in order to be led home safely.
“Yes, the keys are safely in the possession of his prophets, seers and revelators. They are conferred, delegated, and assigned to others, in accordance with the Lord’s will, under the direction of the president of the church,” Elder Stevenson said.