Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mike's notes from YSA Stake Pres. Ferrell's fireside last night


YSA President Robert Ferrell and his beautiful and delightful wife Lori Ann.

Notes from a talk aren't word for word, rather mostly paraphrasing. But we thought this may be helpful for those who want a quick run-down of President Ferrell's talk, or those find the echo makes it hard to hear the talk. I hope you'll still listen to the whole talk, as it's so powerful. You'll find the recording and a few of my own notes here.


President Robert Ferrell started by... 

...sharing a good recounting of the Iwo Jima invasion, then proceeded to discuss his experience as a YSA Bishop and Stake President.  He has sent off over 500 missionaries and interviewed over 6,000 young adults in the last 7 years. He's in the trenches and sees Satan's most powerful weapons causing casualties today. He then quoted Elder Holland, challenging us to "come join the ranks" to fight this battle for The Lord.  

He invited us all to read Elder Holland's talk: The Bitter Cup and Bloody Baptism. He quoted President Packer, saying that we don't walk by the great and spacious building, we are walking through it.  He then tied in the Iwo Jima analogy, by saying that he feels like a medic, running from one wounded YSA to another. He estimates that only about 25% of our YSAs are active in the Church. (Sad!)

What can we do, to use the gospel of Jesus Christ, to overcome the devastation that is coming, and that is already here?  President Packer: Casualness creates casualties!

Do we know who we are fighting against?  Do you know how entrenched they are?  Do you know how to fight them?

1. Training in Technology

The media is incredibly powerful, but not all of it is bad.  But media wastes our time, and prevents us from doing the important things in our lives.  It is also powerful in how it manipulates our emotions.  He played music from Narnia, and made the point of how it brought images to our minds.  Media and technology is powerful.  And the faster it goes, the sicker we get, in our failure to turn to God.  The more we use technology, the less dependent we are on God.  

What are we doing in our homes to train our kids (and ourselves) to properly use technology?  The #1 problem he sees is with young people who have had smart phones for a long time, with no oversight.  They struggle!  92% of LDS high school kids have seen an R rated movie in the last year.  90% of video games reward violence.  The volume of info out there is immense!  2 out of 3 families have the TV on while they are eating dinner. Young people spend more time in a day using technology and media than any other thing like school or sleeping. This shows the problem we have with how we are spending our time in the media!

Pornography: What percentage of church members have a problem of with porn?  100% of us have a problem with it!  It is all around us - on the freeway billboards, grocery store checkout line, previews of good movies, ads during football games.  Thus, we all have a problem with it!  Our first mistake is not knowing we have a problem!  We need to acknowledge there is a problem, and we need to fight the problem!  This is a family battle, and we need to fight it as such! He gave a few specific ways his family fights this: 


  • His family never watches live TV. The little TV they watch is recorded so they avoid inappropriate ads.
  • They avoid movie previews. Their family stands in the hallway and walk in when the previews are over. 
  • Protecting every electronic device in the home with filters, blocks, rules, etc. 
  • And making sure we use the Gospel of Jesus Christ to strengthen our youth


2. Follow Promptings

You either listen to it and obey it, or you rebel against it, and quell the prompting.  You do that by justifying yourself in not following the prompting.  He said it's impossible to ignore a prompting from God -- a person has to kill it with justification. Are we training ourselves and our families how to follow promptings, and how we mess‐up and kill the promptings? He shared the cool story of a YSA who was in Iraq, and followed the prompting of the Holy Ghost, and saved the lives of many innocent children and women.

He shared a story of a young man getting ready for a mission who felt prompted he should break up with his girlfriend. The last four prophets have said no steady girlfriends before missions. A study of American teenagers: how many rules of dating do you have in your family, and then their willingness to break the law of chastity.  They found that the families with no rules, the YM or YW was 75% willing to do so.  The number of rules reduced it, the more rules, the more it dropped. And there are 12 rules in For the Strength of Youth. (This study is found in the book I posted below.)

3.  False Doctrine

Be aware of Satan's weapons, and know how to defend against them. He thinks Satan's greatest weapon is false doctrine.  Satan is doing all he can to change the doctrine and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to understand that, identify the ones we are struggling with, and get the Spirit's clarity with them, so we can fight them!  We need to know the one‐sentence definitions of each true doctrinal principal, like worthiness, faith, hope, with scriptures to support them. He quoted President Packer about 'the study of true doctrine changes behavior better than the study of behavior changes behavior.' Then we need to watch‐out for the false doctrinal concepts we run into!  

What does it mean to be worthy?  D&C 10:63 ‐ The Lord reveals Satan's purpose and goal. Satan stirs up the hearts of the people to contention upon the points of Christ's doctrine. And contention separates us from the love of God.  And when we go there, we open ourselves to Satan's temptations to sin, depression, discouragement, etc.  So focus on the false doctrines in our lives, and quell them with true doctrines!  D&C 10:67 ‐ Definition of what it means to be worthy.  If we repent and come to Jesus, we are His!  Anyone who teaches more or less than this is against the Savior (v. 68).  

When a person believes false doctrine that he is no good and unworthy, this separates him from the love of God, and it's easy for Satan to lead him to sin. When a person sins, Satan tempts him to focus on his sin. Instead the person should focus on discovering and abolishing the false doctrine that made the person vulnerable to sin. This is his experience with helping young adults overcome pornography addiction. 


4. Find four people to help carry you to Christ

Here is the pattern he often uses to help young adults recognize and rid themselves of false doctrine. He invites the young person to go home and read one particular miracle of Jesus Christ, and answer three questions:  

1. How would you feel if Jesus put His hands on your head, and healed you?  
2. Tell  the rest of the story, after the miracle‐how would your life change, if you had that experience?  
3. What is the personal application of the miracle.

He shared the example of a Gothic young woman who read the story of the man carried the palsied man to Jesus.  The story and those questions changed her.  None of us can do it alone, we need four people to help us make it to Christ. We have to be listen to their advice.  


5. Divine help

D&C 84:88 ‐ Angels are with you, if engaged in missionary work.  D&C 109 ‐ Angels when you are engaged if you do Temple work.  This is what it means to hasten the work!  When a baptism for the dead is done, that spirit has the gate unlocked from Spirit Prison into Paradise!  Don't you think they would minister to you, for doing that for them?

What remains to be seen is how tall we will stand on the side we have chosen‐the Lord's side!  The Lord's power will save us from Satan's onslaught, if we empower ourselves with it!  

He shared the story of Peter walking on the water.  Jesus taught the people on the day he got the news of John the Baptist's beheading. Teaching seems to bring clarity and perspective. He then sends his disciples off on the boat, and went to the mountain (often symbolic of the Temple).  He could see the disciples were out in the sea, struggling.  He waited until the 4th Watch, which is between 3 am and 6 am.  Jesus will come into our lives when we need it the most.  And it won't necessarily be when we think we need it.  Peter was doing it, but he panicked, and started to sink.  He cried out for Jesus Christ, and He saved Peter immediately.  

He believes Jesus' remark to Peter, "Oh ye of little faith" means we need to have faith in ourselves in doing the hard things the Savior has asked us to do.  If we do, miracles will occur!  The world is crying out for heroes‐hence the movies about superheroes!  Our youth need to rise up and be the heroes of our day, as they've been prepared to be since the councils in heaven!  He bore a powerful testimony of the restoration, and of Jesus Christ.



Our Stake President Dale Cook's Closing Remarks

He feels that we need to address prevention as individuals and families, rather than on focusing on fixing problems after they happen.  He challenged all of us to go home and have a family meeting to discuss and create a plan of action for our family. 

King Benjamin taught that we need to receive the Atoning blood of Jesus Christ, repent, come unto Christ, and receive His power in our lives!  We need to focus ourselves on that each and every day.  

Two powerful effects of the Atonement: 
1. it helps us overcome sins; and 
2. it strengthens us, and gives us the power to do what we need to do!

He bore testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  He challenged us to focus our efforts on preventing problems, using the teachings we received  tonight, and the power of Christ's Atonement.  He told us he sees the Atonement work every day.  When we go to the temple, we are endowed with power from on High!  Let us find ourselves there!


Want more? Randal Wright is a speaker and author who teaches many of these points. 


To the Parents of Teenagers: Avoiding Five Oft-made Mistakes
(BYU Education Week, 2006)


 Power Parenting in the LDS Home: Avoid the 25 Most Common MistakesMy favorite parenting book ever. This makes a great addition to family scripture study or family home evening. We let the kids take turns choosing which topic to read and discuss. Randal Wright keeps it entertaining with funny stories. 

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