Steve Young addresses EFY group

[Story and photos by Mike Foley: Originally published in KALEO, January 29, 1998]

Steve YoungPro-Bowl quarterback Steve Young [pictured at right] of the San Francisco 49ers took time out from preparations for the game to travel from Honolulu to Laie on Jan. 31 where he addressed a gathering of Latter-day Saints youth.

The event, “Especially for Youth,” (EFY) was attended by approximately 1,600 young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The youth, ages 12–18, were in Laie from all over the state for the day-long conference, which is held yearly on the BYU-Hawaii Campus and is sponsored by the school’s Division of Continuing Education.

EFY is a program designed to help youth strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ, encourage them to read and study the scriptures, increase self respect and deal with today’s challenges. Attendees were treated to a day of workshops, discussions and inspirational speakers including Young and Laie native and award-winning filmmaker Elizabeth Lindsey. The day’s activities culminated in a concert featuring local performers and a dance.

Young, himself a member of the LDS?Church, delivered the keynote address in the afternoon session. He delighted the audience with stories from his own teen years and his experiences as a representative of the LDS?Church. The young men and women readily identified with Young’s stories of being initiated into the Boy Scouts, attending early-morning seminary classes (an LDS educational program for grades 9–12), and other typical teen challenges.

Young counseled the youth to embrace their religion and accept their trials. Quoting from Deuteronomy, he said the Lord has always wanted his followers to be a “peculiar people,” to be different in a good way. He told his listeners to be accepting of their peculiar differences and to be strong in living them. “Remember that you are covenant keeper,” he said.

He also told the youth that he did not care what they became in life, whether it be a hay farmer, a surfer or anything else, but he did care that they live the gospel of Jesus Christ. “I hope you live a life of morality and I hope you live a life of covenant keeping,” he concluded.

In an interview following his address, Young said he takes very seriously his position as a role model, especially for LDS?youth. “That is one of the reasons I continue to play football,” he said. “I have an absolute responsibility to be an example.”

He said that participating in EFY gives him an opportunity to do something he would have liked to have done in his youth, but never ad the opportunity — to attend a conference with other LDS youth and be inspired by successful people. He said he gets a feeling of spirituality from the conferences and feels he is using his influence in a positive way and being useful to young people.

Lindsey [pictured at right] spoke about following your dreams and never letting others rob you of the chance to realize those dreams. She told the youth that “failure is only absolute when you give up.” She added that for her, coming back to Laie and to BYU?Hawaii is like a big reunion. “This campus was my playground,” she said.

Other speakers at the conference included Scott L. Anderson, the “father” of EFY programs and LDS?Bishop Harry Brown of the Kahuku 2nd Ward who spoke about the blessings of choosing good music.

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