Perspectives

From the Presiding Bishopric and Young Men General Presidency


Overcoming Today’s Challenges

In a fireside address on 12 November 2000, President Gordon B. Hinckley said that the youth of the Church face significant challenges. However, he explained, these challenges are more manageable than those faced by prior generations because today’s challenges largely involve behavioral decisions. Once youth decide to behave appropriately, the challenge is behind them (see “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 4). Wisely using the divine gift of agency to make correct choices will enable youth to successfully meet the challenges of today’s world.

President Hinckley suggested six B’s that can guide youth in overcoming their challenges:

  • Be grateful. Youth should walk with gratitude in their hearts. They should thank their parents, friends, and others for help given them and should express gratitude to God in prayer.

  • Be smart. Whatever their chosen field, youth should make the sacrifices necessary to obtain the best education available.

  • Be clean. Youth are to avoid pornography, taking the name of God in vain, illicit drugs, destructive entertainment, tattoos, body piercing (other than piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings), early dating, and every kind of sexual transgression. Youth should choose friends who will be a positive influence on them.

  • Be true. Youth should be loyal to the Church and true to their convictions.

  • Be humble. Youth who are humble will be guided by the Lord and will receive answers to their prayers.

  • Be prayerful. Youth need help from God. They should live so they can speak to Him in good conscience.

Bishops, Young Men presidencies, and other Aaronic Priesthood leaders are encouraged to review and discuss President Hinckley’s counsel with young men in quorum meetings, Sunday evening discussions, and other similar settings and to exemplify his counsel in their own lives. Help the youth recognize the joy that living these guidelines can bring, and acknowledge their efforts to live in accordance with President Hinckley’s counsel.

[photo] Photo by Jed Clark

Encouraging Parents to Teach Their Children

In his message to fathers at the priesthood session of general conference on 7 October 2000, President Gordon B. Hinckley said that nothing will have so profound an impact on a father’s happiness as the way his children turn out (see “‘Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children,’” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 50). President Hinckley emphasized that youth need the help of their parents in resisting the evil that is all about them and suggested parents teach their children in the ways of the Lord. Indeed, parents are under divine command to bring up their children in light and truth (see D&C 93:40). Quorum and group leaders can assist parents by reviewing in quorum and group meetings the following teachings suggested by President Hinckley and encouraging parents to discuss these topics with their children.

  • Teach them to develop good friendships. Latter-day Saint youth should choose friends who will influence them for good.

  • Teach them the importance of education. Youth will be amply rewarded for their efforts to obtain an education. The Church will also be blessed by their increased capacities and skills.

  • Teach them self-respect. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discourage tattoos and the piercing of the body other than the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings.

  • Teach them to stay away from drugs. Those who use illegal drugs lose self-control and will do anything to feed their habit.

  • Teach them the virtue of honesty. A person who is honest enjoys a clean conscience and an unspotted reputation.

  • Teach them to be virtuous. Sexual urges must be controlled with unbending self-discipline.

  • Teach them to look forward to the time when they may be married in the house of the Lord. Youth should come to the marriage altar free of evil of any kind. Husbands should avoid situations and attitudes that can lead to divorce.

  • Teach them to pray. It is a miracle that we can approach God for individual help and guidance.

[photo] Photo by Steve Bunderson