In October of 1997 Elder Neal A. Maxwell visited our campus to speak in a devotional. Sister Bednar and I provided transportation to and from the Idaho Falls airport for Elder and Sister Maxwell, and we hosted them in our home for lunch. The time we spent with this mighty apostle and his lovely wife before and after the devotional was invaluable, and the lessons we learned were priceless. As we talked together about a variety of gospel topics in general and the youth of the Church in particular, Elder Maxwell made a statement that greatly impressed me. He said, “The youth of this generation have a greater capacity for obedience than any previous generation.” He then indicated that his statement was based upon a principle taught by Elder George Q. Cannon in the early days of the Restoration. Please listen carefully to the following statement by Elder Cannon:
God has reserved spirits for this dispensation who have the courage and determination to face the world and all the powers of the evil one, visible and invisible, to proclaim the Gospel and maintain the truth and establish and build up the Zion of our God fearless of all consequences. He has sent these spirits in this generation to lay the foundation of Zion never more to be overthrown and to raise up a seed that will be righteous and that will honor God and honor Him supremely and be obedient to Him under all circumstances (Journal of Discourses, 11:230 [May 6, 1866], emphasis added).
We frequently are reminded by our church leaders that the young men and women of this generation have been reserved for this day and are some of the most valiant of Heavenly Father’s children. But these additional insights by Elders Cannon and Maxwell help us further to understand that today’s young people specifically are to be valiant and “. . . obedient to Him under all circumstances.” Thus, obedience is the principal weapon upon which the young warriors must rely in the latter-day battle between good and evil.