News Release

BYU President emphasizes the importance of education and faith in Christ to young people in Asia North Area 

"This is the point when you should wake up"

President Reese
President Reese
BYU President Reese© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Originating from the Ibaraki, Japan meetinghouse, on the evening on 12 May 2024, Brigham Young University President C. Shane Reese spoke to the youth and young adults of the Asia North Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Speaking of the importance of obtaining an education President Reese said: “Being an educated person can change so much about your present, and perhaps more importantly, your future circumstances.” 

He continued, “Unseen and less tangible benefits to obtaining an education are, deepened moral and spiritual character, ability to build and lift others and increased capacity to serve in the Church.” 

President Reese added, “In a remarkable address to the young adults of the Church President Russell M. Nelson had this to say, ‘In the Church obtaining an education and getting knowledge are a religious responsibility, we educate our minds so that one day we can render service of worth to somebody else.’”  

Becoming impassioned President Reese continued: “This is the point when you should all wake up! The Lord’s mouthpiece, the Prophet of the living God has said that education and seeking knowledge are a religious responsibility!” 

He said that we should “pursue an education with the faith that the Lord will provide us opportunities and use us as instruments in His hands to accomplish his work.” 

“Have faith that God knows your potential. Involve the Lord in your education by adding daily scripture study and daily prayer.” 

President Reese then got specific, stating, “If you are a college student, or a student attending trade school, or a young adult working, involving the Lord in your education might look like regularly attending institute programs of the Church. President Nelson has offered powerful promises for those who choose to attend institute.” 

‘Attending institute will help you live the Gospel, and to feel more joy right now. If you want to know the truth about who you really are, attend institute. If you want to know the purpose of life, attend institute. If you want to stay on the covenant path, attend institute. If you want to learn how to let God prevail in your life, attend institute. If you want to be a peacemaker, attend institute.’” 

President Reese addressed the way belonging within the Church Educational System can help foster belonging and combat loneliness.  He said,” The entire world and particularly the rising generation, is facing one of the most threatening epidemic that we have ever seen. Now you might think that I’m talking about an epidemic caused by a virus that affects your respiratory system. But no, tonight I’m talking to you about a virus that can be much more serious. It is the epidemic of loneliness.”  

“We are finding more and more evidence that loneliness is sharply increasing and that some human habits are reinforcing this epidemic of loneliness. While there are many causes of this epidemic, some obvious contributors are social media which replaces factual truth and blurred and inaccurate claims. Video games that replace things as they really are with alternate realities. Artificial intelligence that attempts to mimic human thinking and feeling. These inventions have made our epidemic of loneliness worse and not better. The recent Covid 19 pandemic also contributed to the epidemic of loneliness but was not the root cause.” 

“We humans need connection with one another, we need a place to belong. We need to feel the peace and joy and safety that comes from the fellowship of saints. One of the sweetest places for that joy to be felt is in congregating with others who can provide you with love and strength and encouragement. And I want you to know that there is such a place for each of you, in the Church, and in the Church education system. 

“We have BYU in Utah . . . and it is remarkable that there is an institution of higher education established for the saints all within the sound of my voice in BYU Hawaii. You have a place of belonging in the Church education system.” 

As a presiding authority, Elder Takashi Wada, President of the Asia North Area spoke to those gathered across the area about how he learned about Jesus Christ and then later about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young man. 

While in his junior high school English class, the teacher handed out Bibles that were Japanese on one page and English on the opposite page and told them to use it to learn English. At the beginning of the book there was a list of questions of the soul, and the one that attracted him was answered with the scripture in Matthew chapter 11 “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give ye rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your soul, for my yoke is easy therefore my burden is light.” 

Elder Wada said “I felt someone speaking to me very kindly and with love. I kept reading and I found the words of Jesus to be so enticing and loving and inspirational.” 

“I learned who I was, I learned I came from a loving Heavenly Father, we are all sons and daughters of God, we are all brothers and sisters. You are my brothers and sisters!” 

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