Weeks of anticipation and preparation were realized on Sunday, August 31 when Brad Wilcox visited the youth and young single adults of 13 wards in the Calgary Alberta North Stake.
Brother Wilcox, a BYU Teacher Education professor and well-known speaker to Church young people, spoke about the trials some of them may face while growing up, including the struggles associated with a world that is rapidly departing from traditional Church values.
In his address first to the youth, he spoke especially about the freeing attributes of the commandments and standards of the Church. “Take your eyes off the rules and look at the reason…,” said Brother Wilcox as he implored them to consider the blessings available when one changes perspective on Church standards and commandments from one of restriction to one of liberty.
Throughout the entire address, Wilcox had the youth in laughter, all the while encouraging provoking thoughts on growing up and keeping standards alive.
One of the more serious turns he took during his address was on the law of chastity and its sacred role in marriage, one of the many standards that separates Latter-day Saint youth from their peers of other associations, faiths and circles. Touching mostly on the divinity and sanctity of marriage, his testimony of marriage was testified when he spoke of his wife and his relationship with her. “The law of chastity allows another level of love. It’s something to give and something to receive. The law of chastity is selfless.”
He then spoke about the opportunity for individual change through Repentance and The Atonement of Jesus Christ, leaving this quote in his final statement “Change doesn’t come from will power, it comes from His power.”
He said to never be afraid of talking to a bishop. “When you feel like things haven’t gone perfectly, turn to your bishop.”
The message was clear that the opportunity to change is always there. Christ can make all things better, but it takes courage to defend standards and access the power of the Atonement. “God can change water to wine and he can change weakness into strength.”
Brother Wilcox spent some time as well speaking with the young single adults. Again he met the crowd with laughter and friendliness. His address began with gratitude for the welcoming manner of the Church as a whole. He then continued on the subject of the Atonement and bearing testimony of the truth of its power to make us happier and changed individuals. “The miracle of the Atonement is that we can be changed. We can be transformed.”
Professor Brad Wilcox is also the author of the book entitled “The Continuous Atonement” and the BYU devotional “His Grace is Sufficient” [July 12, 2011] (Ensign, September 2013). He grew up in Provo, Utah and Ethiopia, Africa and served a mission for the Church in Chile. Later he returned with his wife to preside over the Chile Santiago East Mission from 2003 to 2006.