This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In struggling with the demands of faith, today's Mormon youths have something in common with their faith's founder, Joseph Smith, an LDS Church leader spoken about in a global broadcast this weekend.
Speaking on Sunday from Salt Lake City's Tabernacle on Temple Square, Kim B. Clark, a member of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, urged his listeners to reflect on Smith's own search for truth as a teenager.
"I want to go back to those days because those days were for Joseph like your days are now for you," said Clark, the commissioner of the Church Educational System. "Though he struggled in his young adult years, he trusted in the Lord, and the Lord blessed him to become the great prophet of the restoration."
Mormons believe that, at age 21, Smith, led by the angel Moroni, translated golden plates into what became the faith's signature scripture, the Book of Mormon.
The manuscript was only partially finished when a friend, Martin Harris, persuaded Smith to let him take it to show his own family. Subsequently, the incomplete document was lost. Joseph's wife, Emma Smith, who had been a scribe for her husband and was pregnant during the initial translation work, ended up losing the child.
"On one hand, Joseph had faith in Jesus Christ and was blessed with many remarkable spiritual experiences," Clark told the livestreamed Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults. "On the other hand, Joseph Smith was [then] 22 years old and worried."
Clark explained that the uneducated Smith found himself penniless, unable to provide for his family, with few friends and many skeptics and foes.
"In many ways, your situation is like Joseph's," he added. "You are a young adult with worries and uncertainties about marriage and family, education and work, and about finding your place in the world and in the Lord's kingdom. There may be other challenges and problems in your life."
Clark said comfort and guidance could be found in meditating on Smith's response to his challenges: faith, repentance and commitment to seeing the Book of Mormon published.
Reading those revealed scriptures, he advised LDS young people, will bring "peace to your soul, lift you and strengthen you and draw you closer and closer to [God]."
"The Lord worked in Joseph's life, and he works in your life, too," Clark said. "He is out in front of you, working to open doors, prepare other people to help you and open the way before you."