People who do wrong often want others to join them because they feel more comfortable knowing that others are doing wrong too. Those who are striving to live a righteous life may receive pressure from such individuals. This pressure is often strongest during childhood and teenage years, when there is a powerful need to be accepted by one's peers. The Lord will strengthen those who strive to maintain high standards regardless of what others may do or say.
While it is natural to want to be accepted by peers, gaining that acceptance by compromising one's standards leads to a loss of freedom. This loss of freedom can begin with seemingly small acts of disobedience for the sake of fitting in. In more extreme situations, those who join gangs for acceptance not only lose their freedom but may also lose their lives.
Those who stand firm for righteous principles are stronger than they may realize, are often respected by others, and may influence others for good. Elder Richard G. Scott taught the following concerning peer pressure:
“The more obedient you are, the more you stand for true principles, the more the Lord can help you overcome temptation. You can also help others because they will feel your strength. Let them know about your standards by consistently living them. Answer questions about your principles when you are asked, but avoid being preachy. I know from personal experience that works.
”No one intends to make serious mistakes. They come when you compromise your standards to be more accepted by others. You be the strong one. You be the leader. Choose good friends and resist peer pressure together“ (”Making the Right Choices,“ General Conference, October 1994).
Research shows that living gospel principles helps youth resist worldly temptations.
From an address given in April 1993 general conference. I’ve had my share of failures and difficulties. But on balance, life has been very good. The root of it all was planted in my childhood, where I learned simple but important lessons about life.