Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited students to embrace the “soul-ennobling challenge” of learning to walk with the Lord in his devotional address on Dec. 6.
Elder Soares said his college experience was very different than that of BYU students, as he was one of the only active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at his school.
“My spiritual pauses during the week were confined to sitting in my own car to study and ponder the scriptures between class or during meals,” he said.
A local church of another faith also left their building open during the day and welcomed visitors, where Elder Soares said he took advantage of their friendly invitation and spent time preparing for institute.
Elder Soares encouraged students to take advantage of such opportunities to pause and renew their discipleship.
“The time I made for the Lord connected me to heaven, put my studies in perspective and reenergized my soul,” Elder Soares said.
Elder Soares also reflected on “Come, Follow Me” and its focus on the Old Testament this year. He said as Enoch grew in faith and understanding, he was taught in all the ways of God.
“As we ponder more profoundly the lives of those people, we find that they sought to fill their souls with light and truth despite the wicked environment some of them endured,” he said.
Elder Soares then talked the power of truth and how it enables individuals to see clearly and to discern and avoid deception. One should always be searching for truth in their life, he said.
“Truth relates to light, knowledge and revelations from heaven, and is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God,” he said.
Elder Soares said the world is full of differing views, loud and divisive opinions and self-declared experts and influencers who assert their own versions of truth. However, he said, just because someone says something is truth does not mean it is.
“Arbitrarily changing definitions won’t change reality or what is actually true,” he said.
Elder Soares said the quest of life is to seek for light and truth and to walk with the Savior, despite the darkness that exists in the world today. He also encouraged students to heed the words of President Russell M. Nelson and nurture their testimonies.
Elder Soares then offered three strategies for learning to walk with the Savior: to ask God for inspiration and balance, to spend more time with the Lord in the temple and to follow the words of living prophets.
Elder Soares encouraged everyone to find inspiration and balance in the Book of Mormon and said the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ are taught most clearly and powerfully in the Book of Mormon.
“The Book of Mormon contains the answers to life’s most compelling questions and it teaches the doctrine of Christ,” he said.
He also said temples are “literally houses of the Lord,” and worshipping the Lord in the temple allows individuals to feel immune to any evil influence from the world.
“Temples are places of revelation, instruction and refuge from the spiritual storms we face in our day,” he said.
Elder Soares then encouraged students to heed the words of living prophets and said prophets are called to make known God’s will and true character.
Having living prophets in this day is a sign of God’s love for His children, he said. He said after he was first called to become an Apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland from the Quorum of the Twelve called him. “I immediately recognized his distinct, powerful voice on the other end of the line and felt of his and God’s love for me,” he said.
Elder Soares promised that as one chooses to walk with and listen to prophets and apostles, they will find themselves walking more with Jesus.
“As we embrace the light and truth of the Savior, we will be able to follow His footsteps and listen for the sound of His sandaled feet and learn how to walk with Him,” he said.