Great Expectations for Youth of Church


Today’s teenagers are terrific, according to prophets and apostles who regularly provide encouragement and support to the youth of the Church. That is the message in this video, which begins and ends with President Thomas S. Monson telling young men and young women that they should have “great expectations” for themselves.

The video contains a collection of comments from various Church leaders who say today’s youth are part of a noble generation, equal to and able to overcome the challenges of the world.

Similar messages and quotes in support of the youth will be found in the New Era magazine beginning in April 2011, and are also regularly posted on youth.lds.org, the official Church web site for youth.


Prophets and Apostles Minister to Youth

Prophets and apostles regularly provide messages of encouragement and support to youth of the Church, their parents, and their leaders. Here are three additional examples:

  1. 1. President Thomas S. Monson leads the way by teaching principles that will strengthen youth as they face challenges prevalent in today’s society.
  2. 2. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says he believes youth “can meet the world on its own terms and conquer it.” 
  3. 3. In a combined interview, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, say if leaders remind youth of their capabilities, they will live up to what they are asked to do.

President Monson: Show moral courage

President Monson, speaking at a priesthood session of general conference, told young men of the Church to remain true to their principles. “If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, you be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow. (“Examples of Righteousness,” April 2008 general conference).

He sounded a similar call to young women. “As I contemplate all that you face in the world today,” he said, “One word comes to my mind. It describes an attribute needed by all of us but one which you—at this time of your life and in this world—will need particularly. That attribute is courage . . . courage to refrain from judging others . . . courage to be chaste and virtuous; and . . . courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness” (“May You Have Courage,” April 2009 general conference). 

Throughout his ministry, President Monson has said that although the problems of today’s youth are decried in the media, “Such examples blur our vision and fault our thinking. Soon assumptions become generally accepted opinions, and all youth everywhere are categorized as ‘not so good as yesteryear,’ or ‘the worst generation yet.’ How wrong are such opinions! How incorrect are such statements!

“True, today is a new day with new trials, new troubles, and new temptations, but hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saint youth strive constantly and serve diligently, true to the faith. . . “ (“Profiles of Faith,” October 1978 general conference).

President Packer: You Can Conquer

President Boyd K. Packer of  the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has also been an advocate for youth, as exhibited during his work with seminaries and institutes in the Church Educational System before his calling as a General Authority, and throughout his ministry as an Apostle.  In a general conference message, then Elder Packer told young men and young women that although they face challenges more daunting than those of previous generations, they are equal to those challenges.

“I wish we could promise you that the world will be safer and easier for you than for us,” he said, “But we cannot make that promise, for just the opposite is true . . . Your challenge is much greater than was ours. Few of us would trade places with you . . . 

But, oh, what a wonderful time to be young! You have knowledge of many more things than we needed to have. It is my conviction that your generation is better and stronger than was ours—better in many ways! I have faith that you young men and young women can meet the world on its own terms and conquer it!”

He reminded the youth of the Church of their divine attributes. “You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!” (“To Young Women and Men,” April 1989 general conference).

President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard: Let Them Learn

In an interview published in the June 2008 Liahona and Ensign magazines, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, offered counsel about teaching youth.

“Often our young people are the only members at their schools, so they need to learn that they are truly valuable and that they know their religion,” President Uchtdorf said. “They need to understand that whatever they’re doing, they’re always teaching. If we provide our young people with teaching opportunities, encouraging them not to be ashamed of the gospel, we will help them greatly.”

Any new assignment can cause concern, Elder Ballard adds, especially for young people. “A 12-year-old who is made the deacons quorum president will have some apprehension. He might wonder, ‘How do I conduct a meeting?’ Well, he’s shown how to do it. He may stumble, and it may be difficult. But after a few times, he knows that he can do it. He has taken a giant step forward. Once you know how to do something, all of a sudden you can lead without fear.”

Leaders may be inclined to conduct, provide the music, or pray at a youth fireside or other meeting, but they should be “shadow leaders,” overseeing the youth who perform these functions, President Uchtdorf said.

“You set the example and let them learn. Consider the Savior. He lets us do His work here in our different callings. He is patient with us. That is what we need to do with our young people.”


Prophets and Apostles Minister to Youth

Prophets and Apostles have been guides to youth since Biblical times. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

Similarly, modern-day prophets and apostles regularly speak to the youth of the Church. This occurs during priesthood sessions of general conference, annual meetings for the Young Women organization, other broadcasts, and in recorded media distributed to local Church units at the beginning of each year. Some Apostles meet with teens during stake conferences, responding to questions and asking youth to share their testimonies. 

In leadership training sessions, members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles often talk about the challenges facing—as well as the great promise of—the rising generation. They often pray for the welfare of the youth of the Church, and they train leaders who work with youth, strengthening them in their callings.