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Over 50 Native American youth and young adults from New Mexico gathered on Temple Square March 30, 2017, to hear from Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk of the Quorum of the Seventy.
The Latter-day Saint teens were enjoying listening to Elder Echo Hawk when Elder Andersen made an unscheduled appearance, much to the surprise and excitement of the young members. The apostle encouraged them to write down their thoughts from the upcoming general conference talks by Church leaders.
“We hope that you have a renewed sense that the kingdom of God has been restored and that there is something special about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said. As he left, Elder Andersen expressed his love by shaking everyone’s hand.
Elder Echo Hawk spoke about the proper balance between Native American culture and Mormon culture. “I have great reverence and respect for my native traditions,” he said, “but of overriding importance is my knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is paramount.”
Elder Echo Hawk’s desire for this devotional was to help this group create its own story of religious conversion. To start their journey, he provided tickets to the Saturday sessions of general conference. He told the youth that Christ “knows you by name and He loves you and He wants you to become a faithful son [or] daughter of our Heavenly Father. He wants you to have joy and happiness.”