The youth are incredible. Here are some thoughts I had for the young men I served with years ago.
In the academic world, many prestigious universities engage in what they call The Last Lecture. When a professor has taught many years and is set to retire, they allow the professor to put together a final lecture…their last lecture…on any subject they choose. They then present that last lecture at convocation at the university.
I am not dying, and I’m not retiring. But, I’ve taken the liberty to put together My Last Lecture…some thoughts I’d like to share with my readers.
Did I remember to tell you…to pray always? Speak to your Father in Heaven as a friend. Speak to Him often and with meaning. Draw on Him for strength, for guidance, and for peace. He awaits your prayers. He wants to give you answers. Pray always.
Did I remember to tell you…to repent often? Don’t wait when you’ve fallen. Get up, repent, and continue your growth. Don’t let the adversary get hold of you. Cling tight to the iron rod. Keep yourselves unspotted of the things of this world. Take the sacrament weekly with a clear conscience. Be worthy of a temple recommend.
Did I remember to tell you…to go to the temple as often as you can? Make it a goal to attend and keep that goal. The blessings of the temple are incredible. The strength you received there is unmatched. Go to the temple.
Did I remember to tell you…that life is tough? It’s not easy. You will face adversity. Work hard, be strong, and be honest in all you do. Have integrity. Work hard and do your very best in everything you engage in. Even though life is tough, it is so absolutely glorious and wonderful and beautiful. IT IS A GREAT DAY TO BE ALIVE!
Did I remember to tell you…to be kind to others? Love them; care for them; stand up for those that are weak and help them be strong. Speak no evil of your brothers and sisters. Spend your life in the service of others and you will find great happiness.
Did I remember to tell you…to magnify your callings? Accept every calling extended to you. Do your very best to fulfill your callings. It’s through your service that our Heavenly Father will bless His children’s lives. When you serve faithfully in your callings, the person that will be blessed most, is yourself.
Did I remember to tell you…that each of you has been given so very much? You have talents and abilities, skills and aptitude. With those wonderful gifts, much is expected of you. I expect so much of you. Our Heavenly Father expects so much of you. Have your will swallowed up in the will of our Father. By doing so, you’ll will the prize.
Did I remember to tell you…to honor and respect women in everything you do? Protect your sisters, your mother, and most of all your wife—you protect her starting now! Remain worthy of her…now. Without women, we are nothing. Love them. Be gentle and kind. At all times view them as they are…daughters of our Heavenly Father. Remember that the phrase, “I’m sorry” is a powerful, healing term that will bless you and your marriage.
Did I remember to tell you…to stay away from pornography? Abhor it. Shun it. Do anything and everything possible to keep it from you. It is the vilest and most disgusting thing. Treat it as the most hideous disease because that’s what it is. If you’ve viewed it, repent and do it no more.
Did I remember to tell you…that you have a wonderful Bishop who loves you and cares for you? Let him help you. When you struggle, all he’ll do is love you even more.
Did I remember to tell you…that you hold the power and authority of God? You hold the priesthood to bless other people’s lives. Never neglect your priesthood power. Exercise it. Use it. Protect it. Stand for truth and righteousness. The priesthood is one of the most incredible gifts God has given us as men. Always honor your priesthood. Always be worthy to exercise this great authority with power.
Did I remember to tell you…that today is the day you need to start preparing to serve the Lord. You need to set that as a goal and do everything possible to make sure you serve. You need to study now as if you have already received your mission call. Read Preach My Gospel as part of your daily scripture study. If you’re not worthy today, get worthy. If you are worthy today, stay worthy. The work is hastening. You are needed more now than ever before.
Did I remember to tell you…that you need your own personal testimony? Like the best things in life, it takes effort on our part to earn a personal testimony. Do not wait until to gain your own testimony. The adversary is too strong, too cunning, too knowledgeable for us to stand firm while not adequately prepared. Put on the armor of God. Read the Book of Mormon, study its teachings with great sincerity and intent, and then make the prayer of faith to our Heavenly Father and ask for a personal confirmation of the truthfulness of that book of scripture and of the Church. The answer will come.
Did I remember to tell you…that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God? I know this. I have received a witness that Joseph Smith did in fact see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and that they instructed him to organize and restore God’s only true and living gospel back to the earth. I know this is true. I cannot deny it.
Did I remember to tell you…that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God? It was written by prophets of old and was translated by the prophet Joseph Smith. I know it is true. I’ve read it. I’ve prayed about it. I have received confirmation, a confirmation I cannot deny, that it is true scripture. Read the Book of Mormon. Cling to its truths. Study its pages, and your life and your family’s life will be forever blessed.
Did I remember to tell you…the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living Church on the earth today? The Church holds the keys of the priesthood. Within the Church, saving ordinances are performed by God’s authority. It’s true that members of the Church are not perfect, but I testify to you that the Church is perfect. We all make mistakes. But the teachings found in the Church contain the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be active members your entire life. If you stray, come back. Cling to the truths found in the Church’s doctrines and teachings.
Did I remember to tell you…that President Russell M. Nelson is a true and living prophet of God; that he is God’s oracle on earth; that he teaches us the will of our Heavenly Father and provides us saving instruction? I know Russell M. Nelson is a true and living prophet. I have received a personal witness that he is in fact God’s prophet.
Did I remember to tell you…that we all have a loving Father in Heaven? He loves each of us. He knows us. He wants us to be happy and to succeed in everything we do. More than anything, He wants us to live accordingly so we might return to His presence. He is there for us always. He hears every prayer. He knows every thought. He loves us more than we’ll ever comprehend. He lives and has a tangible, perfect body.
Did I remember to tell you…that Jesus is the Christ? He paid the price for our sins. He was born in a stable in the most humble of circumstances. He was mocked. He suffered the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was nailed to a cross. I know His sacrifice has freed us all from sin if we only repent. I know that Christ lives. He was resurrected. He appeared to the boy prophet Joseph Smith in answer to humble, sincere prayer. I know that every pain, every sorrow, every sin, every illness, and every unpleasant thing you will encounter on this earth, He has felt in your behalf. He is our judge. I know that it is only in and through Jesus Christ that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.
Did I remember to tell you…just how very proud I am of each of you? I am so proud of you! It has been such an incredible honor for me to serve beside each of you. I always find each of you doing the right thing, at the right place, at the right time. I’m so proud of the men you’ve become. I’m so proud of the examples you provide me and my family.
Did I remember to tell you…how much I love and care for you? You are my brothers, my sons. You will forever be my sons in my eyes. I love you all.
I testify of these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.