News Release

Hamilton, New Zealand Youth Ask Questions of an Apostle, Other Church Leaders

Teenagers from Hamilton, New Zealand had the opportunity on Thursday evening, 23 February to ask Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints questions that were on their minds.


Elder Renlund was accompanied at the youth devotional by his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, and Elder Craig A. Cardon of the Pacific Area Presidency, and his wife, Sister Deborah Cardon. The meeting was conducted by Elder David J. Thomson of the Seventy.


Before the meeting, youth were invited to submit questions for the Church leaders. The result was a list of 129 unique questions received from the youth.


During the course of the meeting, which switched from leader to leader first reading and then answering submitted questions, the Church leaders offered insight and counsel to the gathered youth on a range of topics from how to respond to a call from the Lord, to how sin affects spirituality.

In response to a question asking if one should still pray even when they don’t feel worthy, Elder Renlund told the youth that “Jesus Christ loves us and invites us to change. We don’t earn forgiveness; we qualify for it.” 

Quoting Nelson Mandela, he said, “A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.”


Responding to the question, “How do I find the desire to turn away from sin?” Elder Renlund counselled that we can’t turn away from sin by thinking about sin. We need to think about the Saviour to turn away from sin. He also suggested that if you don’t know the Saviour well enough you won’t have a desire to turn away from sin.

Elder Renlund told the youth, “God does not care who you were; He cares who you are and who you are becoming.”

In answer to a question asking how to comfortably share the Gospel with others, Sister Renlund advised the youth that when they are asked what they did last weekend, they should “accurately report (their) activities.”

When asked what they did over the weekend, instead of responding, “Oh, nothing,” they might say, “I went to Church and had a wonderful experience.”

She also encouraged the youth not to compare themselves to others because that will lead to feelings of inadequacy. “Focus on your strengths. Look inside, not in the mirror, for feelings of self-worth,” Sister Renlund said.

Responding to a question about overcoming trials, Elder Cardon told the youth, “You can overcome challenges by talking to your parents and other trusted adults, but most importantly by talking to God. There are no spiritual shortcuts or secrets. You need to seek answers through prayer. You can trust the voice of the Spirit of the Lord.”


Elder Cardon also told the congregation that God loves each one of us and wants us to be happy. “If you stay close to your Heavenly Father, He will not abandon you.”

Responding to the question, “How can families be reunited if they don’t get along?” Sister Cardon reminded everyone that families are part of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan of happiness and that contention is not of the Lord.

She quoted a popular Latter-day Saint hymn, “Home can be a heaven on Earth when we are filled with love.” She encouraged all to be peacemakers in their homes, saying that just one person being a peacemaker can make a big difference in a family.

Sister Cardon also encouraged the youth to let their Heavenly Father know how they are feeling and what they need, and then she promised that “He will help you.”

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