“You should learn while you are young that while the Atonement of Christ applies to humanity in general, the influence of it is individual, very personal, and very useful. Even to you beginners, an understanding of the Atonement is of immediate and very practical value in everyday life. …
“Among you young people are those who are ‘vexed,’ as Peter said, ‘with the filthy conversation of the wicked’ (2 Pet. 2:7). Some of you joke about standards and see no need to change behavior. You tell yourselves it doesn’t matter because ‘everybody’s doing it.’
“But that doesn’t work because you, by nature, are good. How many times have you heard someone say, after doing some generous or heroic deed or simply helping others, how good it made them feel? Like any natural feeling or emotion, that reaction is inborn in you. Surely you have experienced that yourself! Happiness is inseparably connected with decent, clean behavior. …
“Most mistakes you can repair yourself, alone, through prayerful repentance. The more serious ones require help. … The path you need to follow is in the scriptures. …
“You need not know everything before the power of the Atonement will work for you. Have faith in Christ; it begins to work the day you ask!” (Ensign, May 1997, 9–10).
—President Boyd K. Packer
Here are a few things you can do this Easter to remind you of the sacredness of this time of year:
Choose a favorite scripture that quotes the Savior. Make it your “motto” for the month. Try taping a copy of the scripture to your mirror or inside your school locker.
Follow the Savior’s example by being a peacemaker in your home. Instead of arguing, look for ways to help members of your family.
The Savior loved everyone. Show your love by serving someone in need.
Look for those who might be lonely during Sunday meetings. Shake their hands, talk with them, and make them feel welcome.
Write your testimony of the Savior in a Book of Mormon and give it to a friend who might be discouraged.
President George Albert Smith, the eighth president of the Church, was named after his grandfather. Once, when he was very ill, President Smith had a dream in which his deceased grandfather spoke to him. “I would like to know what you have done with my name,” his grandfather said.
President Smith said, at that moment, everything he had ever done in his life up until that time passed before his eyes. He looked at his grandfather, smiled, and replied, “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.”
As the vision closed, President Smith found himself in bed with tears of gratitude soaking his pillow. “I have thought of this many times,” he said, “and I want to tell you that I have been trying, more than ever since that time, to take care of that name. … Honor the names that you bear, because some day you will have the privilege and the obligation of reporting to them (as well as to your Father in Heaven) what you have done with their name.” (See George Albert Smith, Sharing the Gospel with Others, 112.)
Think about your name. Even if you aren’t named after a family member, as a member of the Church you promise to take the name of Jesus Christ upon you when you are baptized, and you renew that promise when you partake of the sacrament. Are you living up to that covenant?
You’ve heard all the sales pitches. This herb will give you more energy. That supplement turns fat into muscle. You may have a friend who takes a supplement and thinks it’s great. Be careful! Some advertisements make claims that cannot be independently proven. And a substance that helps (or at least doesn’t hurt) one person can have bad effects on another. It is dangerous for teens to take supplements with unproven effects, especially those that claim to build muscles or promote growth; these supplements can interfere with the body’s natural growth and development processes, causing long-term harm. Just because a supplement is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Some of the most powerful drugs and medicines come from plants; they are natural but must be used under a doctor’s direction.
The Nemours Foundation, a children’s health organization, says the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a diet based on the Food Guide Pyramid. Healthy eating, combined with exercise, is also the safest way to lose weight and stay physically healthy. The Church Welfare Services agrees: “The best policy is to eat a balanced diet of nutritious foods (milk, meats, fruits, vegetables, breads, and cereals) rather than trying to bolster a poor diet with vitamin and mineral supplements” (Ensign, Jan. 1981, 12).
Amy Reeder, a registered dietician who teaches at the University of Utah, says, “Most often teenagers don’t have the greatest diets and might not be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need.” She suggests taking a multivitamin if your diet isn’t the healthiest. And, especially for girls who don’t drink enough milk, a calcium supplement might be a good idea as well. But she also stresses that the best way to get all the nutrients you need is to eat a balanced diet.
If there are certain food groups you are unable to eat, check with your parents and a doctor or a registered dietician before taking any kind of dietary supplements. Even vitamins and minerals can have harmful side effects if taken in the wrong dosages. And don’t fall for the argument that because something is “natural” it is safe.