Since the very first issue of the New Era, Presidents of the Church have used its pages to deliver their prophetic counsel to the Church’s youth. Here are selected messages that appeared in the New Era from each of the Church Presidents over the last 40 years.
President Joseph Fielding Smith (1970–72)
I am making a plea for modesty and chastity and for all the members of the Church, male and female alike, to be chaste, clean in their lives, and obedient to the covenants and commandments the Lord has given us.
“My Dear Young Fellow Workers,” New Era, Jan. 1971, 5.
President Harold B. Lee (1972–73)
To some it may seem old-fashioned to speak of virtue and chastity, honesty, morality, faith, character, but these are the qualities which have built great men and women and point the way by which one may find happiness in the living of today and eternal joy in the world to come.
“Conference Excerpts,” New Era, Jan. 1974, 6.
President Spencer W. Kimball (1973–85)
Immorality does not begin in adultery or perversion. It begins with little indiscretions like sex thoughts, sex discussions, passionate kissing, petting and such, growing with every exercise. …
… Beloved youth, for those of you who have erred, the Lord and his church can forgive. … Since [God] is our Father, he naturally desires to raise us up, not to push us down, to help us live, not to bring about our spiritual death.
“President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality,” New Era, Nov. 1980, 41, 44.
President Ezra Taft Benson (1985–94)
I want to talk to you young people frankly and honestly. … You are not just ordinary young men and women. You are choice spirits. …
… First, I counsel you to live a morally clean life. …
… Second, I counsel you to stay close to your parents. …
“To ‘the Rising Generation’,” New Era, June 1986, 4, 5, 6, 8.
President Howard W. Hunter (1994–95)
We hope that you, as young members of the Church, will go often to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead. When the time comes for you to go on a mission or be married, we pray that you will go to the temple worthily and feel the beautiful spiritual atmosphere that is present in the temple.
“Your Temple Recommend,” New Era, Apr. 1995, 6.
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1995–2008)
I am going to let your teachers give you the A’s that I hope you earn. I want to talk about some B’s.
1. Be grateful.
2. Be smart.
3. Be clean.
4. Be true.
5. Be humble.
6. Be prayerful.
“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” New Era, Jan. 2001, 7.
President Thomas S. Monson (2008–)
As we look heavenward, we inevitably learn of our responsibility to reach outward. To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves. … Ours is the opportunity to build, to lift, to inspire, and indeed to lead.
“The Joy of Service,” New Era, Oct. 2009, 4.
Photograph by Robert Casey