News Release

Elder Cook Reminds Youth and YSAs of Their Divine Role

“Every focus should be on serving and loving the Savior. ‘How can I build faith in the Savior?’ is a question you should always be asking,” Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in front of 800 vibrant and eager youth and young single adults (YSA) in Taguig on Saturday evening of 11 January 2020.


Elder Cook and his wife, Sister Mary G. Cook, arrived in the Philippines earlier on that day and ministered to the youth and YSAs from Pasig, Taguig, and Taytay Stakes (Dioceses) in the evening. Elder Taniela B. Wakolo of the Philippines Area Presidency and Sister Anita M. Wakolo accompanied them at the Taguig Stake Center.

Elder Cook began his talk by expressing how much he appreciated and loved the Philippines and how “coming here was a bit like coming home”. He and Sister Cook had lived in the country from 1996-1998, and his family had connections to the country long before then-- his older brother had served as a district president in the early days of the Church in the Philippines.

He then shared a personal experience about when his brother was deciding whether or not to go on a mission. At that crucial time, three very important questions needed to be answered and, as Elder Cook learned, every decision for the rest of his life would be based on those three questions.

“First, is Jesus Christ divine? Did He do everything that the Church teaches? Second, was Joseph Smith Jr. a prophet? Third, Is the Book of Mormon the word of God?” he shared.

He testified of the Book of Mormon and shared how the phrase repeated throughout the book, which was “and it came to pass”, was a point of humor for one person but was a key element for another in learning about the veracity of the book. He also related the way that President Nelson gave the Book of Mormon as gifts to presidents of other nations. He introduced it as a 1000-year history spanning the time before and while Jesus was on the earth and would invite them to read the account starting in 3 Nephi 11 of what the Savior did after He left the cross and the tomb at Jerusalem.

Elder Cook challenged the youth and YSA to participate and be more involved in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by planning and making activities that they could invite their friends to. “Make up your mind to do that. Let them know who you are,” he said. “You will help gather Israel on both sides of the veil.”

Elder Cook concluded his message by sharing his testimony of the Savior. A hush came over the congregation as he bore his witness, “I know the Savior’s voice. I know the Savior’s face. Jesus Christ lives.”

Sister Cook also addressed the young audience. In her remarks, she reminded the youth and young single adults of who they really were and stressed how that knowledge can give them confidence. “We all came to earth with individual worth. You brought it with you. We are all children of Heavenly Father. Be confident in your knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ,” she taught.

The mother-of-three continued her message by saying, “The key to developing faith to go and do is self-confidence. You were chosen to live at this time because the Lord trusts you. You are special. Remember that you are never truly alone. The influence of the Holy Ghost can get you through the lonely periods of life. You have to be patient. You can learn from a negative experience as well as from a positive one.”

She shared the invitation that President Russell M. Nelson extended to the youth in 2018 and expressed how important it was to stand out and be different from the crowd—to look like, dress like, and act like a disciple of the Lord.

Elder and Sister Wakolo also addressed the young audience. Sister Wakolo testified of Jesus Christ as the perfect mentor and invited everyone to ponder how often they reached out to Him. “Do things not in your way but in the Lord’s way,” she said. “It is our opportunity now to learn, relearn, and unlearn.”

Elder Wakolo expressed how he and his wife’s role at the devotional was mainly to prepare the attendees to listen to and heed the words of an apostle of the Lord. He reminded the youth and YSA who they were—beloved daughters and sons of Heavenly Parents. “Once you understand who you are,” he promised, “you will know the right choices to make. Open your heart and you will return home a better son or daughter of God. Stay and keep on the covenant path.”

The Philippines is one of the fastest growing country in the world in terms of Church membership. Elder Cook shared that for almost 60 years, the Church has expanded at a rate not seen anywhere else. One observation he made that contributed to the growth is that almost everyone, whether a member of the Church or not, loves Jesus Christ.

Strengthened Faith

To June Solidarios, a recently returned missionary of the Cainta 2nd Ward (congregation), Taytay Stake, Sister Cook’s words were like a wakeup call to continue to improve. He said it strengthened his testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being taught at Church and gave more courage and conviction to follow President Nelson’s instruction to prepare to share the gospel especially as the bicentennial anniversary of Joseph Smith’s Vision approaches.

One young single adult, Rachel Barasan of Bicutan Ward, Taguig Stake, shared how Elder Cook’s words really inspired her to be worthy and ready to have that kind of spiritual experience too one day. “It feels so real coming from an apostle. You really know that they are not at the head of the Church, Jesus Christ is.”

Of the approximately 800 youth and YSA there that night, Khristin Saldivar, a youth from the Cainta 2nd Ward, Tayatay Stake, spoke for everyone when she said she truly felt the Spirit of the Lord. She and many others left the devotional more committed to make more of an effort to obey God’s commandments.

Elder Quentin L. Cook’s Ministry

Elder and Sister Cook were in country for a ministering visit. During their visit, Elder Cook met with interfaith leaders, made an unannounced visit to the Taal evacuees, and met with Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. During his visit in Malacañan Palace, Elder Cook presented a check to the Department of Social Welfare and Development on behalf of the Church with an addition of in-kind donations to aid evacuees of the Taal calamity.

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