03345_000_010The following situations and responses from New Era readers are to provide perspective and insight. These suggestions are from youth and should not be considered counsel from the General Authorities or pronouncements from the Church.
As I was driving along the street the other day, I noticed all of the people who were smoking and all of the kids who were hitchhiking along the side of the road; many of them looked very mixed up. The other night at the store, I watched some boys my age come out with several cans of beer in their hands. And you don’t know whether or not to go to a movie these days because you don’t know how bad it will be. I’ve thought many times about what I should do to help the world out of the mess it’s in. I’m 17, a very active member of the Church, and I feel I will be accountable if I don’t say anything or do anything. But what should I do?
“Years ago there was one who walked the earth feeling the same as you do now. His name is Jesus Christ. He thought many times about helping others, too, just as you do. While praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, his thoughts were on the messed-up condition of the world and its future. He knew what was going on and what was going to happen. It’s hard to even imagine the pain it all brought upon Him. He taught a principle that will change the world for those who use it. It is love. He taught us that the greatest thing to do is to love one another and then he lived his life as an example.
“Of course, we are not perfect the way Christ was while on earth, but room for mistakes and growth has been allowed. Love your Heavenly Father, yourself, and your neighbors. If you perform your every task and live every hour with love inside, you will glow and your light will be cast on others. Perhaps you’ll be surprised at the change found in your world.”
Laurie Powell Winchester, Virginia
“Probably the best thing to do is to be a good example and stand up for the things you know are right. It is hard to really help the world yourself except to be an example; then hopefully the others will see your life and happiness and consequently improve their own.”
Bernie Orr Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada
“Look at your own life and make sure that you’ve totally committed yourself to Christ. Then take a close look at the scriptures. Christ said, ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself.’ He didn’t say to condemn or condone them for what they do or to love only those who are living as you feel they should, but simply to love them.
“Be a servant to your fellowman. Be there with a listening ear and an understanding heart; be there with a helping hand—to help in repairing a broken car or a broken life. Be there with a prayer to God, asking him to bless them with the added strength they might need.”
Kathryn Poelman Logan, Utah
“Sometimes when we see these adverse conditions in our environment, we want to help the entire world change immediately. But it doesn’t work that way. The best way to help the whole world is to start with the individual. Find one or two people to start with, and let them know the real way to find happiness—show them how you have fun without participating in ‘worldly’ activities. Invite them to parties or movies or Mutual, where there is fun without drinking, smoking, or immorality.”
Mark Coffey Lexington, Kentucky
“Set a good example around your friends, especially those who don’t share your values. If any of them come to you for help, don’t say you don’t have time but listen and try to understand. Being ready and willing to help and listen when you’re needed helps people in many ways.”
“In my opinion, what you need to do is, first, completely strengthen yourself and seek after that which is ‘lovely, praiseworthy, or of good report.’ After you strengthen yourself, ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.’ (Matt. 5:16.) Be an example; you cannot lift other people if you yourself need to be lifted. Every day you could also pray that you might be an instrument in the Lord’s hands for bettering the world.”
Pamela Pierson Gainesville, Florida
“Be a living example of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be strong in your commitments to the Church. Example is the greatest source of instruction in this world. If you are living the gospel, your classmates will respect you, even though they do not hold the same values as you. But when they see how happy you are, they will seek after the gospel. They have an emptiness, and this void can only be filled with the Holy Spirit. Show them how to find that happiness.
“Don’t try to convert the whole world single-handedly, for that is an impossible quest. One by one, the truth can be spread throughout the world. Reach for the one.”
Kirt Naylor Boise, Idaho
“You could get a group of your friends together and plan a party to which you would invite some nonmember friends. You could show them that it is easy to have fun without smoking or drinking. Be sure and plan lots of games to keep the party going. Your mom and dad could serve as chaperons.”
Leslie Haney Twin Falls, Idaho
“We can be comforted in realizing that the latter days are coming to pass just as God and the Bible and the prophets predicted. I believe the most important thing is to observe and learn from life and others’ mistakes, and then not make the same mistakes ourselves. We must love our neighbors, keep the commandments, and be diligent, and then teach these things to our children. Teaching children correct principles generation after generation could almost make a better world, couldn’t it?”
Loretta Merriman Los Angeles, California