By the time you graduate from high school or college, it is taken for granted that you are having some pretty serious thoughts about the world and your place in it. In order to discover what these thoughts are, the New Era polled a cross section of young Latter-day Saint high school and college seniors.
One hundred ninety-one college graduates (106 men and 85 women) and 158 high school graduates (75 men and 83 women) were surveyed. In order to get a true report, an attempt was made to involve both active and inactive Latter-day Saint youth.
For this survey we used a new technique known as Echo. Instead of offering answers to a question for people to check off, Echo poses a broad problem and allows respondents to answer as they wish.
Three areas were probed: (1) What is a good thing to happen to you? (2) What is a good thing you could do to help the Church reach its objectives? and (3) What could the Church do to help you most?
Question 1: What is a good thing to happen to you?
Religious goals are the number one concern, said high school graduates. Next is the desire for close social relationships. College graduates had these two in reverse order. They seem to feel that the gospel really becomes meaningful when its teachings are applied.
Improvement of self is the next major concern for both groups—and the fact that college students place education above improvement of self probably shows their feeling that education is a common road to self-development.
Question 2: What is a good thing you could do to help the Church reach its objectives?
Both groups of graduates agree: Nothing beats living the gospel and being active in the Church. Look at the combined total of the first two groupings—86 percent of high school graduates and about 80 percent of college graduates!
Question 3: What could the Church do to help you the most?
In this day of protest it seemed amazing that most of the graduates are satisfied with the Church. Some feel that the policies and practices could be better implemented, and most seemed happy with the present quality of teaching in the Church.
In doing the survey we learned that most of today’s Latter-day Saint youth not only know what is right, but they want to do what is right, and they are thrilled to be a part of the gospel program.
What is a good thing to happen to you?
Accomplish a Religious Goal
Thoughts were: be a good member of the Church, go on a mission, teach others the gospel, hold a Church position, have or strengthen testimony, serve or help others, live a better life, gain salvation, improve spiritual communication.
Find Close Social Relationships
Thoughts were: find a mate, have family togetherness (family in which reared), have children, be a good parent or spouse, have self or loved one come into or advance in the Church, gain friendship or interpersonal communication.
Improve Self and Personal Conditions
Thoughts were: work/accomplish/overcome obstacles, get self-realization, enjoy life, be helped or thanked, get peace of mind, have health, enjoy pleasurable activities, have freedom.
Thoughts were: continue or complete education, gain knowledge and learning.
Attain Some Material Goal
Thoughts were: have professional or job success, get recognition, get money, get some object.
Don’t know, no answer
What is a good thing you could do to help the Church reach its objectives?
Live the Gospel
Thoughts were: keep the commandments and live the gospel, be an example, be missionary minded, go the extra mile, have Christian virtues, help others.
Participate in the Church
Thoughts were: pay tithing and offerings, teach in Church programs, participate in specific programs, support authority, be active, accept calls and fulfill responsibilities, go on a mission, attend meetings, be loyal to the Church.
Develop the Spirit
Thoughts were: learn the gospel better, strengthen testimony, gain spirituality.
Thoughts were: gain education and develop self.
Have a Good Family
Thoughts were: rear and improve family.
What could the Church do to help you the most?
Continue the Way Things Are
Thoughts were: help us live righteously, things are fine as they are, continue to be progressive, don’t know or no answer.
Reevaluate a Policy or Practice
Thoughts were: change meetings, get better leadership and administration, improve Church members’ qualities, relate better to the “outside,” implicit or explicit criticism of various policies and practices, implicit cry to “help me with a personal problem.”
Find Church Activity
Thoughts were: challenge me with jobs, get me involved in Church programs and activities, find fellowship and association with friends.
Thoughts were: improve teachers, improve curriculum, teaching methods, Church media, and Church schools.
Help Our Family
Graduation will be a good thing indeed!
Be accepted in graduate school.
Be able to make up my mind as to what to do the rest of my life.
Be able to use and apply what I’ve learned.
A thing that has happened has been to keep a Book of Mormon diary—not a summary of what happened in each chapter, but notes about how I could apply the words into my life today. I’ve found a thousand ways to apply the scriptures to my life. I’ve really found myself searching my soul.
Of course, a good thing would be to be married in the temple of the Lord.
To find a young man in the Church whom I would like to marry and to be sealed to him for time and all eternity.
Raise a good family but find the right marriage relationship in order to do it.
Be able to guide my family with the priesthood and to grow mentally and spiritually with a wife, helping and being helped.
In this world of confusion and conflict, a good thing would be to be able to say that I am proud of my children and how they were raised.
Have a good vocation and have the temporal blessings derived from it.
Get a good job and acquire reasonable security.
The most recent good thing that has happened is my return to activity in the Church after two and a half years of drifting and soul-searching. It’s strange, but all the happiness, joy, and truth that I wanted was right here all along.
Joining the Church last summer is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
The best thing that ever happened to me was my mission to the Lamanite people. I know what I was before I left and I know what I’m like now—it represents two different people.
A good thing would be someone’s conversion to the gospel because of me.
The best thing would be to feel that I am doing the right thing at all times.
Gain the celestial kingdom.
Regain and maintain a spiritual attitude that I can pass on to others.
Develop a good relationship with the Lord.
Have the feeling that I am causing things to go well.
Be happy with my self-image.
Be able to express myself freely.
Find a friend; I think that would be the best thing that could happen to me.
I’d like a friend—just one, somewhere.
To know that I am accepted by the Lord—that would be the best thing.
A good thing to happen to me is these past four years—maturing is complicated business.
Be happy—that would be the best thing to happen to me.
A good thing that has happened to me is to have grown to greatly appreciate the good people of this Church—and I haven’t always felt this way.
Meet and get acquainted with one or more persons whom I feel I would be able to relate to and in some way have us strengthen each other in life and the gospel.
Feel genuinely accepted by persons whom I admire and to have a good relationship.
Have my mother come out to church and be baptized.
Have my two friends learn about the Church and grow to feel about it as I do.
The best thing happening to me is going to school. It prepares me and helps develop interests—and let’s face it, school is the place for this.
Sit down and discover the meaning or another nuance of scripture.
Get good grades in school and get the education I need for my career.
The best thing would be to have a boy ask me out.
Find a good man whom I could love.
To think that a girl would want to go with me so that I wouldn’t be afraid to ask someone for a date.
A good thing would be to get engaged to an LDS boy—a boy just like my father.
Have my parents sealed in the temple.
Go on a vacation with my entire family and spend the time together.
A good thing to happen is to know that my parents are proud of me.
The best thing that could happen to me is having love from my parents.
For my mom and dad to become members of the Church.
A good thing would be to have someone you could really trust to tell your problems to.
Be able to tell others that you’re a member of the Mormon Church and have them say, “Wow! That’s neat.”
Be called on a mission—that would be the best thing that could happen to me.
I am now reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. I am trying to gain a testimony of it. That would be a good thing to happen.
To know that I have been able to exert an influence for good on an individual.
Be able to withstand the temptation that are before me.
Be able to go to the celestial kingdom.
Being in tune enough with the Lord to have a spiritual experience.
To kneel down beside my bed and pray and then to receive or understand an answer to that prayer.
To accomplish what Heavenly Father would be most pleased with while I’m on earth.
A good thing would be for me to judge myself or see myself the way I present myself to other people, so that I’d know which childish habits to kick.
Have someone say thank you after I’ve done something for them.
Realize what I’m meant to do in this life.
Be more Christlike in my attitudes and actions toward others. I was reading in Jacob where it says, “Think of your brethren like unto yourself, and be familiar with all, and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.” To me this means sharing not only material things, but sharing myself, my knowledge, my experience, my testimony that others may be rich.
Be able to be more bold in telling my friends and classmates about the gospel.
Go out of my circle to reach inactives.
Become informed about scriptural and doctrinal concepts so that I can explain the gospel in an understandable manner to intelligent people.
Strive more diligently in the position to which I’ve been called; be more creative in my approach; and pray for the Holy Ghost to guide me.
Be more teachable and not bothered by the poor use of leadership skills by some people in leadership positions.
I guess we’re part of a big organization and brotherhood, so I can best help by understanding the natural problems of any organization and not being overly concerned with them; I can center on the purpose of our brotherhood and stress those matters—get excited about our goals and purposes, and if I see weaknesses in things, remember that it’s all here to help people, and just get concerned with people. If you do that, things fall into perspective real fast.
Trust in the words of the Prophet.
To understand that families assigned to me for home teaching are for me to guide and steer toward perfection, and to practice the gospel as I understand it.
Pay tithing and other offerings to help the Church financially.
If my priesthood leaders regard me as totally dependable, I think I will help the Church as well as I can.
The best way to help the Church is to get active, be involved in something, and make your little niche of assignments happy and productive for all concerned.
Go to the Lord about my doubts so I can be a help and not a hindrance to others not well-founded.
Join with other LDS friends and invite some of our nonmember friends to some of our activities so they can see what a Mormon is really like.
Personally prepare myself to be more spiritual—to pray in real dedication and then try to live with that spirit all day.
It’s simple, I know, but I could just follow what the Church teaches.
Take an active part in community affairs in order that others will feel respect for Mormons and their civic commitment.
Reassess what talents I have or could have so that I can improve the quality of my involvement in the Church.
Live the gospel so that I’ll constantly be improving in tenderness, kindness, and concern for others.
Exercise more respect for those holding authority over us.
Not be critical of the programs of the Church but understand some of the motives and desires that brought them about and then try to work within the system to attain those righteous goals.
Just care about people.