Here are my notes taken from the Youth Fireside I was priviledged to attend last night. I was accompanying a young lady on the piano as she sang, so I got to stay for the entire event and feast on the words spoken.
Here’s how it ran:-
Prelude: Nikita ‘Worthy to Stand’
Opening Song: #239 Choose the Right
Hilary Weeks – 5 min chat at the piano and then her song ‘Come Take Your Place
Laurel Christensen: Talk
Brad Wilcox: Talk
Hilary Weeks: Interlude – played and sang her song “I Will”
Brad Wilcox: Talk
Piano Duet: Peter and Madeline (Father and Daughter piano duet) Sisters in Zion/Armies of Helaman
Brad Wilcox: Talk:
Closing: President Rigby (brief testimony)
Closing Song: #256 As Zion’s Youth
So I arrived early, and the place was already packed. They had just started to fill the stage in the basketball court right at the back of the room 1/2 hour before the event even began. There were A LOT of youth there!
Here are my notes taken of the night. My hand is still sore from writing them out, but I’m glad I did. I learned things simply from being there.
“I love to hear you sing. You sing way better than back home. Heavenly Father must love to hear you sing. I wish that there were 12 verses of that song just so I could hear you sing some more”.
She sang ‘Come Take Your Place’. Here are some snippets from that song:-
Can you hear the angels calling you? Do you recognise your name ?
You carry the light of His Son and running through your veins is royal blood.
You hear the call, you feel the flame. You’ve been prepared, come take your place.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FehO6ovKtOU ‘Come Take Your Place’
“I loved hearing you sing too. You’re a whole room full of an army of God”.
Do you guys have yearbooks? Do they even make yearbooks these days? Oh right, it’s called ‘Facebook’.
She asked everyone to close their eyes. Especially those in the 3rd row. How can you be in the 3rd row and not close your eyes? ‘Cause I can see you, you know”.
She asked questions while everyone (but me..I was writing) had their eyes closed:
- Raise your hand if you had breakfast
- Raise your hand if you said your prayers this morning
- Raise your hand if you felt the spirit
- Raise your hand if are a Young Man or Young Woman with a crush on someone in your Stake. Quick YW, open your eyes now!
- Raise your hand if you’re happy in your life
- Raise your hand if you have trials and are not feeling so happy
- Raise your hand if you attend morning seminary
- Raise your hand if you have plans to go on a mission
- Raise your hand if you are planning to marry in the Temple
- Raise your hand if you knew your Father in Heaven had a message for you tonight. Are you ready to hear a mesage?
Our (the speakers) job is to stay out of the way so the spirit can speak to you. Shut out the world and focus. He will talk to you.
She relayed a story she had read in a magazine about a man named ‘Cameron Hughes’. He really wanted to be a basketball player when he was in High School but he didn’t make the team. He decided he was going to go along to every match and cheer them on instead, even if they were losing. After he graduated High School and went to Uni he still cheers for their team. He would do ‘crazy’ cheering – get really worked up and over the top but his enthusiasm was catching. Those around him would start cheering too. To cut a long story short, this guy gets paid $15,000 per night to be a professional cheerer. He turned a negative into a positive.
When Laurel was attending Seminary, she thought it would be a great idea if they had missionary week. Here were the rules:-
- No pop music. They could only listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
- They could only wear missionary attire.
- They had to carry a Book of Mormon with them at all times.
- They couldn’t date (the joke there was that she wasn’t really dating anyway, “Sorry, I can’t date you this week ’cause it’s missionary week”…I’m going to have a week full of dates now…).
She relayed an experience that week with one guy in her Seminary class. His name was Budge Tungate. He had just gotten changed into his sports uniform (to do PE) and he had his Book of Mormon with him. The most popular guy on the football team came up to him and asked him what the book was. Budge answered “It’s the Book of Mormon”. The guy asked “And is it true?” Budge responded “It’s SO true”. Budge was not ashamed to stand up for the Book of Mormon to the ‘cool’ guy at school.
We are more often going to be along than not. It gets hard when you are the only one who lives up to your standards. It doesn’t get easier. You will still have to walk out of movies when you’re with friends at the age of 30!
You are what you think – you get up, you get on your knees and you ask Heavenly Father to use you that day.
If we picked five of you and asked you the things you seek after, that will tell me everything I need to know about you. You are believing right now the things you seek after.
Who do you really believe you are? Are you afraid to stand up for that? Heavenly Father has a plan and he wants to use you. Pray even if you’re tired and ask “Heavenly Father, will you use me today? I am totally ready”. I dare you to ask Heavenly Father that you want Him to use you. But don’t ask if you’re not ready, ’cause he will. He needs an army!
He needs Young Men who will go on missions. He needs Young Women who will put their hands up and say “I’m going to the Temple”.
Be willing to be who you are. Try being a little bit more of who you need to be.
Then Laurel asked us to read Doctrine and Covenants Section 58 verse 3:
Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
Your life will never be the same.
Hilary sang ‘I Will’. Some of the words I loved were “I will stand, I will not fall in a world that’s weak. I will be strong. I will be true, I will choose His way and I know what’s right and I will not change. In a world where so many will not, I will”.
Brad Wilcox was hilarious. Every time he addressed us, he called us “Young people”. or “You young people”
“You are in the right place. By choosing to be active and strong in the church”.
He shared this story with us:-
He went to New Zealand with his son. His son realised that there was a place he could do bungee jumping nearby. Their conversation went something like this:-
DAAAAAAAAAD Bungee jumping was invented here!
Uh, that’s great son.
But DAAAAAAAAAAAD, you don’t understand. Bungee jumping was invented here.
Okay son, that’s great. I get it. Bungee jumping was invented here.
DAAAAAAAAAAD! Bungee jumping was invented here. I HAVE to do it. I can’t go back home and tell my friends I didn’t do bungee jumping! It was INVENTED here!!
I know where the electric chair was invented too, son, but that doesn’t mean you have to mess with it!
His son books in to do bungee jumping. With bungee jumping there are no air matresses or soft places to fall. There are rocks and rivers and cliffs and graveyards. I can’t believe my son wants to do that!
The instructor gets Brad’s son all ready in the harness. The son squeaks out “Dad, I can’t breeeeeeathe. It’s too tiiiiiiight!”
NO! It’s not too tight!!
“Daaaaaaaaad I need to be free. It is really too tight”.
I wanted him to live. How stupid is the person who says “I want to be free”. For how long will you be free before you go splat? Free, not in spite of the harness, but because of the harness.
The son was free to bungee jump again, and again, and again, and purchase the video of him jumping, and watch it again, and watch it back home with his friends, and is still watching it this day.
Young people, we have rules in this church. We have rules for your ears, for your eyes, for your nose, for your mouth, for your feet, for your hands. We have rules for your tops and for your bottoms. We have rules! We have rule books, and books written about the books that have rules. I know, because I write them!
Do you have friends who know your rules? Where does that knowledge get them? What they don’t see are the reasons for the rules. THAT is what sets us apart.
The Gospel was not a restoration of rules. God didn’t say to Joseph Smith “Aha Joseph. You thought there were only TEN commandments. Well *evil voice here* there are many more! Mwahahahaha”.
He made the youth memorise the reference Alma 12:32
Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not o evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.
Take your eyes off the rules and put them on the plan of redemption. They are not binding you down, they are freeing you.
And on that note, he introduced a Father/Daughter piano duet: Peter and Madeline performed a Sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman
And continued right where he left off.
“Young people. We are in the middle of the ocean, in a life boat, and all the teenagers want to go back to the Titanic. It’s sinking. “Yeah, but they’re playing music”. Uh yeah…they’re playing ‘Nearer my God to Thee’. Young people, why would you want to leave the lifeboat?
But, I’d like…love to run over to the Titanic for just one day. Just one. Then just run back again. Yeah…cause you can run across the ocean and all that water…you’re in a lifeboard peoples.
I had a teenager say to me “I wish I wasn’t a Mormon for just one day”. What? So I asked him “Well what would you do?” “Oh, I would smoke, and drink and have sex”. *Say with mocking mopey accent* What a bad church for keeping you from smoking and drinking and being immoral.
You are not being kept from freedom. It is being given to you on a silver platter.
Turn it around. Do not think “I wish I could do that”. Those smoking are the ones on the sinking ship. You are the ones better off not in spite of your standards, but because of them.
I have to tell you, those that are smoking are smoking to try and make themselves feel good. They smoke so they can feel like you. All you have to do to be happy is to have a memory. Perhaps it’s at a dance…where they actually danced. Or a Fireside…and you think of refreshments. Or a fireside…where you closed your eyes… (references to Laurel talking about “if you like someone from your Stake, put your hand up…YW open your eyes now”).
Those who drink have no memory of being happy. Those who drink are never talking about the last party. They are always talking about the next one.
(Okay, at this point I can see Brad take out two shot glasses from his bag, and he fills both up halfway with water, but because I was so busy writing down what he was saying, I didn’t get to see what he actually did with those two glasses, if anyone can fill me in…that would be great. I think he was drinking from one?)
Holds up the two glasses. Here is you, and here is your friend.
Your friend says “Don’t look at porn. Why are they always talking about that? It’s only freedom of the Press. It’s just like looking at an art museum”.
You say “I can’t, ’cause I’m a Mor-mon” (you have to say the Mormon bit in a depressed sing-song voice).
Your friend says “You’re not going to leave that on, are you? (referencing to a top you may have on). Just wear the leggings. Cause leggings, they cover…some of…you, don’t they? Don’t dress modestly, ’cause that would look wierd.
You say “I can’t, ’cause I’m a Mor-mon”.
Your friend says “Masterbation is okay. You shouldn’t be made to feel bad. It’s in the health books so it must be healthy right?
You say “I can’t, ’cause I’m a Mor-mon”.
Someone else says “Call this girl. She will do anything. I mean…anything”. Your friend asks “What’s her number?”
You say “I can’t, ’cause I’m a Mor-mon”.
So the two of you get to your wedding day. You are both dressed in tuxedos. You both look kind of the same on the outside… very nice, all dressed up. You might look the same as your friend on the outside, but your friend has nothing left to give. All he can do is take. He has taught his mind to be selfish. He has a “Get” and “Take” mentality.
That marriage will not last. He will find himself maybe getting married a second time, and then a third and then he’ll be middle-aged and cannot have sex unless he pays for it.
Because you live the standards or if you mess up, you can go to your Bishop and repent, you show up to your marriage with something to give. On that foundation the more you give, the more your receive. You will be caught in a healthy cycle in your marriage.
If that friend is so happy with what he gets, why are they always looking? Why isn’t he satisfied? You look at any happy married couple in the church. They are not searching.
Don’ be convinced that the world knows a secret that you don’t because you’re living in a Mormon bubble. You go to the store, and there’s a magazine that has on the cover “Top 10 tips for great sex”. Yeah, ’cause you’re thinking “I know 9 of them, but what’s number 10?” I am going to write an article and have it published in one of those magazines. And all it’s going to say is “The Law of Chastity”.
Heavenly Father is not keeping you from anything. He is giving it to you.
Don’t leave the lifeboat to go back to a sinking ship.
The church is giving you what the world is missing. It is hard being on a sinking ship.
We then all recited the Thirteenth Article of Faith.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure al things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
…and we get them. And everyone else (in the world) misses it.
Stay put. Stay strong. Be proud of who you are. Don’t be afraid to stand up to a sinking ship and stay in the lifeboat.
President Rigby gave a brief summary and bore his testimony.
We all sang #256 As Zion’s Youth with great enthusiasm.
Now, Hilary Weeks ended up sitting in the corner stage right – squished right up in that corner. Next to her husband. When this Fireside finished, half an hour I looked over in her direction and she had only managed to move about three steps. Poor Hilary!