The great prophet Abraham lived in a time of awful wickedness. It was a period of worshiping false gods and offering human sacrifice. For example, we are told of three young women who were killed upon an altar because they would not bow down and worship gods of wood and stone (see Abr. 1:11). But Abraham desired righteousness and the blessings of the priesthood because he found they brought him “greater happiness and peace” (Abr. 1:2). Because he resisted the evil around him, Abraham was also placed upon the altar as a sacrifice to a false god. But God heard the prayer of His faithful prophet, loosed his bands, and smote the wicked priest of Elkenah.
Because of Abraham’s great faithfulness, he was promised that he would take the name of God, would have His priesthood, and that his descendants would “bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations” (Abr. 2:9). Furthermore, through Abraham’s seed or posterity “shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of … salvation, even of life eternal” (Abr. 2:11).
It is significant that every person who is born into the Church and everyone who receives the gospel by conversion becomes the literal seed of Abraham. All who are baptized are born again into the family of Christ and accept the covenant established through Father Abraham. We are a part of this family. The believing blood flows through our veins. The covenant of priesthood and duty to God is a part of our heritage.
Every young man who receives the Aaronic Priesthood and goes on to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood also becomes a son of Moses and of Aaron (see D&C 84:34). To be the son of someone implies that you will follow his righteous example—that you carry his name with proper dignity and respect. It also means that the blessings he receives from Heavenly Father may become yours as well. The greatest promise is that the priesthood entitles us to receive the Father and the Son into our lives. Therefore, “all that my Father hath,” said the Savior, “shall be given unto him” (D&C 84:38).
All of this means that you have a family duty to perform. Your life is committed to keeping the commandments of God, preparing yourself to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, receiving an endowment of power in the sacred temple, serving a full-time mission, and passing these blessings on to your posterity by being sealed in the temple to a worthy companion. Abraham’s covenant with God is also your covenant with God. You could do nothing worse than to break that commitment.
If there has ever been a time when our youth needed to carry forward the ministry of Abraham, it is now. If your leaders speak strongly to you, it is because we share the feelings of the prophet Alma, who said, “And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received” (Alma 7:22; emphasis added).
In the great family of Christ, there should never be any empty chairs. Doubts should never linger in our minds. The knowledge that we have of Jesus Christ should carry on through generations yet to come. And so, onward, young men of the covenant! How can we fail if we stand together—one family, united in our resolve to be worthy sons of God?
I bear you my testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ, that we are members of His divine Church, and that there is a living prophet on earth today.
The Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God program has been prepared to strengthen your sense of duty and to help you progress in every way as one of God’s covenant sons. As a deacon, teacher, and priest, you will be able to establish goals, meet the requirements God has given young men, and become more like the Savior. As you complete your desired objectives, you will receive certificates of achievement, culminating with your receiving the much-desired Duty to God Award. You will work hard to earn it, but it will be worth the effort. This is an award you will treasure all your life as a reminder of your duty to God.
The Scouting program will also strengthen you. As you advance until you achieve the highest rank, you will grow in stature and in spirit. You will learn skills that will develop your body, your character, and your intellect. Every boy, whether he enjoys athletics or literature, can find a welcome niche in Scouting.
—Elder F. Melvin Hammond