Brother Beck Urges Youth to Rise above Mediocrity

  By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer

  • 24 September 2013

“I would like to encourage each of you to be very comfortable being a disciple of Christ,” Brother David L. Beck, Young Men general president, told seminary students in Utah at a devotional marking the start of the school year.

Article Highlights

  • Brother Beck admonished the youth not to coast but to set high goals.
  • Christ is the perfect example of one who always did His best, he said.
  • Youth can be faithful disciples of Christ and influences for good by living the standards in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.

“I implore each of you, don’t settle for mediocrity. Shoot for the stars and do hard things. … Stretch yourself, and don’t allow yourself to be less than what God would have you be.” —David L. Beck, Young Men general president

“Don’t settle for mediocrity,” Brother David L. Beck, Young Men general president, told youth in the Davis County, Utah, area on September 15 in a devotional held in the Bountiful Regional Center.

“This is an exciting time—the start of a new school year. … We all seem to go through tough days, tough moments, and sometimes it is really hard to get going and be excited to go to school,” he said.
With the beginning of a school year comes adjustment—adjustment to classes, teachers, homework, and the change of pace that comes with being in school, he said.

“Some of you may be thinking, ‘How can I slide through this year?’ ” Brother Beck said.

“Don’t allow yourself to just coast. To those who much is given, much is required, and the Lord has blessed you so much,” he said.

Drawing from the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, Brother Beck emphasized the standard of worthiness the Lord has set and the importance of setting goals.

“We are taught that we should set high goals. I encourage each of you, don’t set low goals. Don’t allow yourselves to skate this year. Work hard, take those hard classes, and do your best.”

Sharing an experience he had as a student in junior high, Brother Beck told of when he came home from school and reported to his mother how he did on a quiz.

“I told her I didn’t do very well, and she sat me down and said, ‘David, you can do a lot better than that. When you are mediocre you are the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Don’t you be mediocre.’

“I didn’t forget that. She challenged me to rise above mediocrity and to do my best. And tonight, as you start out this new adventure of a school year, I implore each of you, don’t settle for mediocrity. Shoot for the stars and do hard things. Take that chance that you might not otherwise have achieved or normally would not have. Stretch yourself, and don’t allow yourself to be less than what God would have you be.”

There is one person who did His best throughout His life, and that is the Savior, he taught.

“Jesus was never mediocre in His life. He always did the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. He became the Light and Life of the world, and today each of us in our sacrament meetings has the privilege of taking the sacrament. We have the opportunity to renew that special covenant of discipleship that we take upon us the name of Christ. We acknowledge and keep His commandments.”


At times the fear of what others may think chips away at confidence in the faith. “I would like to encourage each of you to be very comfortable being a disciple of Christ—to feel good about it, to not be ashamed, to not apologize for your beliefs and to truly keep that [baptismal] covenant to take upon yourselves His name and be known as a follower of Christ,” he said.


Being a disciple of Christ means following His standards found in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Brother Beck encouraged students to beware of technology and to use it for good. He also encouraged youth to remain sexually pure by standing firm in a world that teaches otherwise. He encouraged listeners to be modest in dress and appearance and in all aspects of life. “We have to rise above ourselves and be a standard to the nations,” he said.

Brother Beck asked the crowd to think of someone they know who is an influence for good at school, and he allowed some to come to the pulpit to share their stories. As they told stories of their friends and peers, Brother Beck emphasized that those students were kind to others and happy. He shared a story of a young woman who was being bullied at school and the difference one young man made in being kind to her. It is also through being kind that the youth of the Church can help others come closer to Christ.

“I invite you this year to arise and shine forth,” said Brother Beck. “I promise you will be happier.”