Importance of the Young Men Program

Part of a talk given Feb 2018

Finally, I was asked to speak a bit about the importance of the Young Men’s program.

As Second Counselor in the Young Men Presidency, I am in the classroom with the Deacons Quorum each week. It is a lot of fun to be able to teach those boys. I do enjoy it. They have taught me a lot.

President Ezra Taft Benson said that “the record of the Nephite history in 3rd Nephi just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming.” Only those with firm testimonies and full conversions were able to remain steadfast prior to the Savior’s appearance in America. The same is true in our day. Only those with firm testimonies and full conversions will be able to remain steadfast prior to the Lord’s Second Coming.

I mentioned the importance and effect of bringing just one soul to Christ. In Verse 29 of 3 Nephi 1 we see that it only takes one generation for apostasy to occur. We read the sad tale of the children of faithful parents who were led away by “lyings and … flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers.” President Eyring taught: “The young people of the Church … hold the future in their hands. The Church has always been one generation away from extinction. If a whole generation were lost, which will not happen, we would lose the Church. But even a single individual lost to the gospel of Jesus Christ closes doors for generations of descendants, unless the Lord reaches out to bring some of them back.”

Of course you, we all, teach these kids, and they do know. But they are attacked from all sides every day.

3 Nephi 1:29 reads, And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites; for behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers.

I shared the following with some of the boys yesterday at our scout outing, but it bears repeating. We Must Protect Ourselves and The Youth from Being Led Astray. President Hinckley counseled the youth of our day on how to avoid being led away from the truth:

To our young people, the glorious youth of this generation, I say, be true. Hold to the faith. Stand firmly for what you know to be right. You face tremendous temptation. It comes at you in the halls of popular entertainment, on the Internet, in the movies, on television, in cheap literature, and in other ways–subtle, titillating, and difficult to resist. Peer pressure may be almost overpowering. But, my dear young friends, you must not give in. You must be strong. You must take the long look ahead rather than succumbing to the present seductive temptation. … You are the best generation we have ever had. You know the gospel better. You are more faithful in your duties. You are stronger to face the temptations which come your way. Live by your standards. Pray for the guidance and protection of the Lord. He will never leave you alone. He will comfort you. He will sustain you. He will bless and magnify you and make your reward sweet and beautiful. And you will discover that your example will attract others who will take courage from your strength.

As my wife and sons were examples to me, so are we for these boys. And in their good actions so they are too for those who know them, including us. I am grateful for their example.
Heavenly Father is preparing young men to be husbands and fathers and to serve missions like those who brought my family to the gospel. Like those who brought most if not all of our families to the gospel at some point in the past. We have a sacred duty to help them, to teach them and to nurture their love for our savior and his gospel.

I have been blessed to serve the youth previously led by Bro Davis, and for me most directly in the deacons quorum and Scouts alongside Bishop Palmer. I have learned a lot. I love these deacons and all the youth of this ward. They are good kids. They are a pleasure to teach and just to be around. They are fun and funny and so smart. They are also strong in the gospel. They know what it means to be aaronic priesthood holders. They are aware of their duties in that priesthood. They know what it means to serve including their families, one another, and
their ward. They know our Savior and our Heavenly Father. And they are His children. I am grateful to be able to serve in this program of the Church. Please continue to help them, encourage them, be with them and show them.

I have a testimony. I have a testimony that I have a testimony, which is no small feat. Well, it is for God, I reckon. I know that God lives. Christ is his son. This is His church. I am so grateful to my wife and kids who encouraged me and had so much patience for me. I am thankful for the many people in our birth ward who showed us love and kindness, the true love of Christ. I am thankful to all the wards I have been in. I am very thankful to be in this ward and for the many great people I get to see every week. So many of you inspire me in so many ways. I am mostly thankful to Heavenly Father for his patience with me. He never gave up on me. He loves me and he loves every single one of us. We are his children, how could it be otherwise? In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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