News Story

Special Multi-Stake Youth Conference Creates Great Memories

Early January saw 1600 Mormon youth attend a Special Multi-Stake Youth Conference [SMYC] at the University of Queensland St Lucia campus in Brisbane.  Many said the conference, with the theme “Stand Ye in Holy Places and Be Not Moved”, was a week they would not easily forget. 

Held from 6th January to 11th January for youth aged 14-18, the goal of the conference theme was to remind participants that their faith could anchor them no matter what challenges came their way.  

The broader purposes of youth conferences in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are to help youth build faith in Jesus Christ, strengthen their testimonies, develop talents, make new friends, and have fun with youth who share similar beliefs and standards. Youth can also learn leadership skills as they assist in planning youth conferences.

“At SMYC I could feel the Spirit stronger than I have ever felt it before,” said participant, Corrie Pearse, 14, of the Brisbane Ward (parish) in the Brisbane Stake (diocese). “The experiences at the conference really strengthened my testimony and helped me feel my Saviour’s love.” 

On arrival, the youth were divided into groups of up to ten, with each group being led by a counsellor.  These volunteer counsellors were amongst 200 young single adults who spent their time and talents to ensure a memorable experience for the youth.  

For some counsellors, it was an opportunity to give back what they had once received. “I was able to go as a youth two years ago but, this time, I had the privilege to go as a counsellor and serve in that capacity,” said Billy Tafilipepe, 20, of the Brassall Ward in the Ispwich Stake.

“Both experiences were amazing but being a counsellor and striving to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands, strengthening the youth’s testimony of the gospel is most definitely a rewarding and fulfilling experience.  I will never forget it, and will do this again if I have the chance,” said Tafilipepe.

The groups that the youth were in quickly became ‘family for the week’, as friendships were formed and everyone was strengthened.  Each day they would have gospel study in their groups.  Devotionals were sometimes led by the youth themselves.

The week also consisted of two dances, a variety show that showcased impressive talents of the youth, classes which were led by guest teachers on a variety of gospel subjects, Family Home Evening, and a For the Strength of Youth carnival.  

For many youth, the highlight of the week was on day four, when a musical program, fireside and testimony meeting set the tone for a very spiritual evening. 

“I'd never felt more like a true daughter of God until that week,” said Jade Crichton, 14, of the Karawatha ward in the Logan Stake.  “SMYC showed me I'm a daughter of the Almighty and that I'm entitled to inherit all that comes with it. I’m setting a goal to find a returned missionary with whom I will go to the temple to be sealed for all time and eternity. 

“But for now, I have to do everything I can to keep the commandments and live up to the title of being a beloved daughter of our Heavenly Father.”

According to some of the youth, one “incredible outcome of SMYC” was the sense of service that was cultivated amongst the youth.  The young men and young women were on the continuous lookout for ways to help one another. 

“Whether it was picking up each other’s dishes during meal times, picking up rubbish or writing notes of encouragement, the little acts of kindness made me realise that service opportunities don’t always have to be big or planned.  They are all around us.  I just need to act!” said Laura Guy, 14, of the Helensvale Ward in the Coomera Stake.

By the end of the week, the hashtag #smycservice was mentioned more than 350 times on Instagram and Facebook as the youth documented the service they had received.  

As one participant said, “Going to SMYC helped to show my path in the Gospel and the opportunities I have to share my testimony and to serve others,” said Laura Guy, 14, of the Helensvale Ward in the Coomera Stake.

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