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How to Enlist (and Stay Enlisted) in the Youth Battalion

David Dickson Church Magazines

So you want to sign up to join the greatest cause on earth. Here’s how!

The prophet of God called for an army, and you stepped forward to join the ranks. But what felt different in the days and weeks that followed?

There’s at least a chance this change felt subtler than you were expecting.

By way of contrast, when you enlist in military service, or as a full-time missionary, your life is drastically different on day one than it was from the day before. There are new clothes to wear, new rules to follow, an entirely different schedule, a new place to live, and in most cases, you’re no longer around anybody you know.

That’s a massive overhaul! Your entire world alters overnight.

But joining the youth battalion? You still sleep in your same bed. You eat the same food and keep pretty much the same schedule (with minor exceptions). Is it really such a big deal to join up? Absolutely! You need to watch and see how it unfolds.

How to Enlist

In the Worldwide Youth Devotional held on June 3, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson extended the following invitation: “I am inviting every young woman and every young man between the ages of 12 and 18 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to enlist in the youth battalion of the Lord to help gather Israel.”

Pretty clear, right? That’s every youth in the Church. He also gave the following five steps for how to enlist. No forms, no paperwork, no official interviews necessary.

  1. Hold a seven-day fast from social media.
  2. Make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord for three weeks.
  3. Keep on the covenant path. If you are off, repent and get back on the path.
  4. Pray daily that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  5. Stand out. Be different. Be a light. Give to a friend one copy of the booklet For the Strength of Youth.

That’s also pretty clear. A quick glance over the five steps and it’d be easy to think you were more or less done after three short weeks. Seven-day media fast? “Nailed it!” Three weeks in the temple baptistry? “Done!” For the Strength of Youth booklet handed out, and daily prayers updated regarding missionary work? “Yes, indeedy! And I’m already walking daily down the covenant path!”

Here’s the funny thing about “enlisting,” though. It’s a beginning. Never an ending. For example, remember that social media fast. Did you catch the part where President Nelson asked you to watch closely for anything that needed to change afterward? “After seven days, notice if there are some things you want to stop doing and some things you now want to start doing.”

The seven days were only a beginning. A reset, if you will. The greatest impact for your life will not be that lone week without social media. No, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what happens if you apply the lessons you learned to the rest of your life!

It’s the same way with the rest of the enlistment items.

After You’ve Enlisted

This youth battalion is for the long haul—well past your youth. President Nelson asked you to pray daily that the gospel will be brought to all of God’s children. Can you imagine the impact that might bring if you keep this goal for the next 60 years or more?

Never doubt this truth from scripture: “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). The small things add up, especially over time.

So, while there may not be an official first-day ceremony after you’ve enlisted, nor a wildly different schedule to keep, make no mistake. This is a big deal. You’ve made a commitment to help in the greatest cause on earth.

And the world will be better off from here on out because you did.

Share Your Experience

How have you changed your life since President Nelson invited you to enlist in the Lord’s youth battalion? Share your experience below.

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