Good morning, my name is Kai Orgill for those of you who don't know me and today I was asked to speak about last week's youth conference and any spiritual ideas I've studied over the last few weeks. We left for the Colorado River last friday after school, drove for 5 hours, arrived around 7 and quickly unpacked. Luke and Evan had never been to the Hoke's river house , so we toured the property with them and played games until late.
We woke up to the Greens' cooking breakfast, and they did an amazing job with preparing and cooking all of the trip's meals. In the morning, we trimmed the property's bushes and trees as our service project. For the rest of the day, we hung out at the river, used the slip-n-slide, and wrestled each other on the beach. Bishop took us on jeep rides through the dunes a few times and we went exploring at night looking for scorpions. It was cool to turn our lights off and stand in complete darkness in the middle of the desert, and we were able to point out some constellations and navigate using the stars.
The ward we were supposed to visit had stake conference that week, so we held our own sacrament meeting in their building. It was a really cool and spiritual experience to have a testimony meeting with only your friends, siblings and youth leaders there. Most of us spoke, and although they were mostly short testimonies and thoughts about the trip, I felt the Holy Ghost very strongly and was moved by what was said. Sister Van Borerum gave the youth lesson afterwards, teaching about how we should frame ourselves when teaching about the gospel and how to better serve as righteous examples.
I've always had amazing role models in my life, but its only been more recently that I've had to genuinely study and question my faith in preparation for my mission. Ive always had a testimony of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ, and I've always been able to clearly see how much of a positive impact the church has on the lives of its members and of its active investigators.
However, during these past few weeks, I've coincidentally had multiple friends come up to me at school or work with questions and quips against our religion or maybe just out of genuine curiosity. I was humbled when I realized I wasn't able to scripturally defend myself and I had to start actually working on my Gospel education more in depth. I read a missionary prep book before early morning seminary, and I've mostly been on time to seminary class since then. I've researched several Gospel topics I needed more clarity on and think about certain topics and doctrine throughout the day and observe how they impact the lives of those who follow them.
I've finally come to the realization that life is going to be an endless spiritual learning experience in which we are all on our own paths of Gospel knowledge and wisdom. I've learned that experience is the only way to truly understand most topics, and as Master Oogway said, "With great knowledge comes great power, and with power comes great responsibility."
Jacob 1:19 states, "And we did magnify our offie unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; and we would not be found spotless at the last day."
As with Lehi's dream, I've come to the realization that, while you are always able to return from the darkness of worldly sins, taking a few steps back or remaining idle on the iron rod is no different than letting go and allowing the darkness and confusion take control of your life and perspectives. The Old Testament repeatedly brings up the parental duty of teaching children the ways of the Lord, but it is also our Gospel duty to bring our family, friends and enemies back to Christ.
Isaiah 54:13 states, "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." It's much less intimidating to speak about the Gospel to people I know when I put into perspective that we're all eternal beings created by God and that we all fought on the same spiritual side in the War in Heaven. How much effort we put in to improve ourselves spiritually and teach others about the Gospel will determine how well we understand the teachings of Christ and how able we are to fully live as he would.
I would like to bear my testimony that I know this church is true, that Russel M. Nelson is a true prophet, and that we should all strive to take daily steps to continually improve our Gospel Knowledge. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.