President Russell M. Nelson invited youth to join the “Youth Battalion of the Lord” during the worldwide devotional for youth on Sunday night.
“I am inviting every young woman and every young man between the ages of 12 and 18 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to enlist in the youth battalion of the Lord to help gather Israel,” President Nelson said.
The prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to youth ages 12 to 18 at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah as well as to youth around the world through various broadcasting channels.
“Gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today,” President Nelson said.
Sister Wendy Nelson, the prophet’s wife, gave an example of how Israel is already being gathered. While she was in a meeting with about 100 women in Moscow, Russia, she invited the women to stand up according to which Tribe of Israel they were in. In that meeting, 11 of the 12 Tribes of Israel were represented.
“We have opportunities to fulfill our mortal missions, but we don’t have to,” Sister Nelson said. “No one will make us. We have our agency to choose how we spend our time and energy, our talents and resources.”
During his talk, President Nelson challenged the youth with five things that will change them and help the youth change the world.
1. Seven-day social media fast.
President Nelson challenged the youth to fast from social media for seven consecutive days.
“I acknowledge that there are positives about social media,” President Nelson said. “But if you are paying more attention to feeds from social media than you are to the whisperings of the Spirit, then you are putting yourself at spiritual risk — as well as the risk of experiencing intense loneliness and depression.”
He told the youth to choose seven days to disengage and break their reliance on social media, a world, President Nelson said, that doesn’t always represent reality.
“Give yourself a 7-day break from fake,” President Nelson said.
2. Weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord.
Specifically, President Nelson challenged youth to pick something they love to do and, for three weeks in a row, to give up that activity. During that time, he invited them to work to gather Israel and become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
3. Keep on the covenant path.
“Do a thorough life assessment with the Lord,” President Nelson told the youth.
The prophet urged the youth to repent, and if they didn’t know how to repent, talk to their parents or their bishop to learn how.
“Please do not stay off the covenant path one more minute,” President Nelson pleaded. “Please come back through true repentance now. We need you with us in this Youth Battalion of the Lord, it just won’t be the same without you.”
4. Pray daily for all to receive blessings of the gospel.
President Nelson reminded youth of the power of prayer.
“You can be part of the power behind that gathering,” he said when discussing prayer.
5. Stand out. Be different. Be a light.
“My beloved young brothers and sisters, you are among the best the Lord has ever sent to this world,” President Nelson told the youth. “You have the capacity to be smarter and wiser and have more impact on the world than any previous generation!”
President Nelson invited the youth to study the “For the Strength of Youth,” a book of standards. “Prayerfully read it as you never have before. Mark it up, talk about it, discussion these standards with your friends.”
Youth were also invited to take an extra copy of the book following the fireside and gift it to a friend.
“With the Holy Ghost as your companion, you can see right through the celebrity culture that has smitten our society. You can be smarter than previous generations have been. And if you are sometimes called ‘weird,’ wear that distinction as a badge of honor and be happy that your light is shining brightly in this ever-darkening world!”
Watch the full devotional below.