This is a rebroadcast. The episode originally ran in June 2019. Dr. Robert Ferrell has served as an elders quorum president, high councilor, YSA bishop, and YSA stake president, and has presented at firesides and conferences—including BYU Education Week—about connecting with young single adults. He grew up in the Bay Area of California but lives in Mountain Green, Utah, and worked as a periodontist in the Ogden area prior to leaving to serve as a mission president in the Peru Lima Central Mission. He has a bachelor’s degree in family sciences and a doctoral degree in dental surgery, and he and his wife Lori are the parents of eight children.


7:30 His call as a YSA stake president came while serving as a bishop, forming a new YSA stake 11:00 He saw a need for a greater understanding of young adults today, and decided to present at BYU Education Week as an advocate for young adults 13:10 Stigmas of the Millennial generation in and outside of the Church 14:20 The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not lose people; the culture, tradition, false doctrine, and application loses people 15:20 Creating a young adult program needs to start with a strong organizational structure 16:00 Most wards are not aware of the problem with the activity rate among YSAs 17:10 Priesthood keys and leadership have to be behind the leaders in a YSA program 21:10 It can be easy to lose track of YSAs, and family wards need to work with YSA programs to focus on rescuing—most effective when the stake presidents work together with YSA leaders 25:00 Worked with his area seventy and coordinating councils and were able to see great success with the program

  • Multiple ward mission leaders were assigned to the stakes that funneled YSAs to their YSA ward, and senior adult couples assigned to be the bridge between the YSA ward and the home stake
  • Returned missionaries are prepared to help rescue other YSAs

27:25 Wanted as many of the less-active records as they could, so they could organize and reach out to rescue them

  • Focused on organizational structure with leaders working together
  • Ministering happened among the active members, YSA ward mission leaders handled the rest

31:10 The organizational process has to be there to help young adults come unto Christ 31:50 #1 cultural concept that must change: YSA wards are not about marriage, they don’t need to be reminded, and that message turns them away 34:00 The purpose of the young single adult program is helping them connect with Jesus Christ 36:40 YSA programs are not glorified YMYW programs, and activities need to be planned by the YSAs and be focused on things that help connect them to Christ 40:15 Leadership by collaboration instead of control: turn it over to them

  • The Lord used young adults to restore the Church; they can be trusted with the YSA program

45:10 Example of giving autonomy: Stake YSA Relief Society presidency recognized a pornography problem with the sisters and taught about it at ward conferences 47:10 Encouraged the sisters to turn to their Relief Society president when they have a problem, and take it to the bishop when they are ready to repent 49:30 Counsel given to him as the stake president was that you cannot rescue YSAs and then throw the book at them

  • Is that approach too soft? Story of missionary who returned after less than a week in the MTC, due to sexual transgression

1:00:30 The sins are a symptom of a more serious doctrinal problem and the purpose of discipline is to save the soul of the transgressor, not to punish 1:04:00 Bishops and counselors need to be working on the same level so they can develop relationships with the YSA ward members 1:05:00 Behavior vs. doctrine: sin is the consequence of Satan’s real purpose 1:08:00 Leaders need to help them resolve contention in their lives 1:10:45 Not knowing the meaning of worthiness is the greatest cause of contention 1:16:00 Example of young woman who asked, “Where do I find joy?” 1:18:35 Doctrine & Covenants 10: contention, worthiness, and false doctrine 1:20:30 Doctrine is not black and white but progressive in nature: begin repentance by coming unto Christ and feeling His love 1:26:15 These young adults are hungry to find Jesus Christ and their examples have brought him closer to the Lord


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