Towards the end of 2020, for a series of four podcasts called ‘Real Questions', LDS Living invited youth to send in questions relating to their concerns around important issues.
Scarlett Smith, a young woman from the Harrogate Ward in the York Stake, was fortunate to be able to take part in one of the four discussions. It was led by co-creator David Butler, who welcomed two surprise guests, Sister Bonnie H Cordon, the Young Women’s General President and the Young Men’s General President, Elder Steven J Lund.
Scarlett’s question was, “I live part-time with my dad and part-time with my mum, and they have different beliefs. What are some of the things we can do to stay focused on the gospel when we have different viewpoints in our family?’ Scarlett said, “I wasn’t sure what I could do to stay focused on the gospel when I have different viewpoints in my own family”. Realising other young people may have the same problem prompted her to submit her question.
Sister Cordon thanked Scarlett for asking her question and highlighted that there are so many other young people in the same situation. She asked what Scarlett found the easiest about this situation, and she responded that it helped her to relate to other friends in similar situations and enables them to help each other. Sister Cordon’s second question was, “What advice would you give to someone in your position?” Scarlett replied, “I would tell them to follow prompts that they get and to keep praying. Don’t distance yourself from the gospel.” Sister Cordon’s response was, “That’s a fabulous response, l love that – don’t distance yourself.”
Sister Cordon counselled Scarlett to, 'Pray for your mum and dad that you will be able to share with them what is in your heart, the things that are very important to you. Seek to share good things with your family… Do it wherever you are. If you are at mum’s house, you do it at mum’s house, if you are at Dad’s house, you do it at Dad’s house … it will be a lifeline for you.'
Elder Lund highlighted that all of us are surrounded by people we care about that don’t believe the same things as we do; it can be especially difficult when it's someone we are really close to and whom we love. Elder Lund asked, “Who is in your life that is on your side. Are there people around you who are supportive of your values?' Scarlett feels blessed that she has friends that are supportive even though they may not share her beliefs.
Elder Lund remarked, “Sometimes always doing the right thing against a head wind requires courage.'
'When talking with the General leaders of the Church, I was very excited at first because I didn’t know that they were going to be there. … I felt the Spirit strongly, as I knew the words that they spoke were true and that asking this question would not only help me but many others in the same position', Scarlett said.
Meeting-host David Butler said, 'Life is always going to change, but there are some things that can always remain constant. No matter what life looks like, you can stay connected to God, and stay connected to the gospel.'
It was a wonderful experience for Scarlett to have been able to take part and receiving direct counsel from Church leaders who made a significant impression on her. She said, “I started straightaway to establish and act on the words and things that had been said, as I knew they were true, and I knew it would help me build my faith. I felt full, and at peace, as I knew what I had to do and knew it was right.'
You can watch the interview with Scarlett at: