Tag Archives: ym

Our Youth/Young Single Adults and the sexualized world we live in

Over the last 2 1/2 years I’ve worked with both the Young Single Adults in my stake and the YM in my ward. With my new calling, I have responsibility over Young Single Adults. Over this time, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to ponder on  what can be done to help the 12-30 age groups. On the one hand, that is a huge range, and needs obviously vary depending on the exact age of a person. On the other hand, there is indeed at least one common thing that they all have in common. There is great pressure to accept and experience sexual-related things.

I know that there has been temptation from the beginning. Whenever/wherever there is righteousness, there is going to be opposition. But it seems that one of the great vices of this generation is pornography, and the acceptance of almost any kind of sexual behaviour. I’ve read a couple of articles recently that really made me think. I don’t want to comment too much, but here are the articles along with some selected quotes:

Globe and Mail – Why won’t guys grow up? Sexual economics
Published Saturday, November 10, 2012

In economic terms, our unequal desire for sex means that, in the sexual marketplace, men are the buyers and women are the sellers. Until recently, the price was steep, up to and including a wedding ring and a promise of lifetime commitment. In my parents’ generation, the only way for a 22-year-old guy to have a lot of sex was to get married. Today, plenty of 22-year-olds can get all the sex they want for the cost of a pack of condoms…

The changes in gender politics since the 1960s have been good for both sexes. Women got something they really wanted (access to careers and money) and men got something they really wanted (more sex). But this bargain is having some unexpected consequences. Young men are in no hurry to get married. Why should they be? As my dear old dad used to say when I waltzed out the door in my miniskirt, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” I hated it when he said that. But he’d grasped the central principle of sexual economics…

Dr. Baumeister’s argument is that “men will do whatever is required in order to obtain sex” – and that, historically, society has made them do quite a lot. To qualify as good marriage material, a young man used to have to show he could work hard, compete successfully, commit to family life, be a good provider and gain respect in the community. “The fact that men became useful members of society as a result of their efforts to obtain sex is not trivial,” he says.

But now, young men don’t have to do those things. Sex is readily available. According to Mark Regnerus, another expert on sexual economics, 30 per cent of young men’s sexual relationships today involve no romance at all – no hearts, no flowers, not even “Hey, what’s your name again?”

Toronto Star – Is pornography changing how teens view sex?
Published Monday, Aprril 22, 2013

“You have to ask yourself, what 15-year-old boy thinks there is a girl who wants to have sex with four boys and to what extent he thinks this is expected or normal? And you have to ask, where do they get these ideas from?” said Peter Jaffe, a professor at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at Western University. “It’s not from sex education they are getting in school.”

One hypothesis: exposure to pornography. At no other time has pornography — including violent pornography — been so easily accessible for children of all ages. In one U.S. survey, 70 per cent of 15- to 17-year-olds said they had watched porn, while a Canadian study found boys as young as 10 have experienced pornography. By the time they reached 20, the same study found it was almost impossible to find men who hadn’t viewed X-rated material.

Pornography can’t be solely blamed for what appears to be an increase in rape or sexual violence. However, academics, researchers and scientists say there is little doubt that the use of porn among teenagers is having a profound impact on their notions of normal sexual behaviour, their views on women and their ability to even identify what constitutes sexual violence…

Brain scans have also found the teenage brain is dominated by areas associated with pleasure and reward, and emotional response, perhaps explaining the emotional roller-coaster years associated with puberty.

This volatile situation taking place within the teenage brain may make it more susceptible to the lure and long-term effects of pornography, scientists believe…

As for the other side effects of pornography on society, most experts say we will have to wait and see.
“We are running a massive experiment on an entire generation of people,” Jensen said. “We are exposing them to incredible levels of this hypersexualized media with no idea of the effect. Some of what we are seeing now (with these gang-rape cases) is hinting at this.”

I know there are lots of angles from which  this can be looked at, but it seems to me that we have our impressionable youth and young adults growing up in an “anything goes” society. There is evidence that this is leading to problems, but society isn’t doing anything about it. Also, the move to gender equality (which certainly seems to be a good thing in most situations), is possibly leading to less of a need for marriage and monogamy.

I know this is a simplistic summary, but it is the way I see it. It is indeed a scary world out there! The need for parents and leaders to stay close to their children and young adults is greater than it has ever been. I think about this often and pray daily that my children will be protected from these influences.

Youth Chosen Topic – Participation in Church

A while back I posted some notes from a discussion we had with the youth about the Word of Wisdom. We had asked them what topics they wanted to discuss, and along with Word of Wisdom, they had general questions about why they need to sing, go to seminary, etc. We combined all of those things into a topic about participation. We were going to be addressing this topic at some point, but weren’t sure when. Since I am no longer the YM President, I won’t have an opportunity to discuss this with the youth, but I figured I’d still share my notes. Remember, these are just notes. I’m sure I wasn’t going to share everything, and I would have allowed the youth to direct the discussion in a certain way if it was going well.

From the youth topic survey, people wanted to discuss:

  • skipping classes
  • getting up for seminary
  • singing in Church
    • See D&C 25:12 – the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me
      For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
    • See Mark 14:26 – Jesus and his disciples sang
      And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
  • false ideology
    • people focus too much on one thing but not another
  • what if you don’t know the church is true
    • not exactly participation, but we figured that we could cover this as part of this topic since participation is a result of and leads to stronger testimonies

What is the purpose of the Church?

  • Mosiah 18: 8-9
    And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
    Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
  • Mosiah 18: 19-21
    And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.
    Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.
    And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.
  • 4 Nephi 1: 12
    And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.
  • Moroni 6: 5-6
    And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.
    And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.
  • D&C 20: 75
    It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus
  • D&C 43: 8
    And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.

3 main purposes of coming to Church

  1. Partake of the Sacrament
  2. Learn the Gospel
  3. Help others

Parking of the Sacrament

  • The bread and water help us to remember Jesus
  • We take upon ourselves His name
  • It helps us to remember Him
  • We commit to follow Him
  • Sacrament prayers are located in D&C 20: 77, 79
    O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
    O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

Learn the Gospel

  • Listen to talks
  • Prepare for lessons
  • Be open to the Spirit
  • Don’t disrupt others
  • Even principles we’ve heard before can be interesting if we have the right attitude
  • Classes are as good as you make them
  • We should be edified together
    • See D&C 50: 17-25
      Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
      And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
      And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
      If it be some other way it is not of God.
      Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
      Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
      And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
      That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
      And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;

Help Others

  • Hymn 270 – I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go
    • Perhaps there are things we need to do and say that will help others
  • What we say/do, how we act, and our body language has a profound impact on others

A report on the boundary changes

As I mentioned last week, there was a special meeting planned for this past Sunday where 4 wards would learn about some boundary changes. Our Stake President had decided that since we had General Conference and Stake Conference in the month, he wanted the Sacrament administered to (or is it for?) the members. We had 19 YM (Priests, Teachers and Deacons and a couple of adults) help do this. They passed the Sacrament to close to 400 people. It worked out well and a lot of people were appreciative that they had that opportunity.

Before getting to the changes, let me share one other thing with you… My father emailed a childhood friend who now lives in Utah (he has for decades). My dad said that they were making some changes, and this friend emailed back to say that in the last 10 years he’s been in 10 different stakes even though he hasn’t moved, and that he is now back in the original ward/stake that he was in before all of this started. The bottom line is this was a big deal for many members around here as it is the first time changes have been made in 20 years, but in some parts of the world this happens almost regularly.

So, the meeting ran like a regular sacrament meeting. The boundary changes were taken care of during the business portion near the beginning of the meeting. A counselor in the Stake Presidency announced the boundaries and then the members of the newly realigned ward were asked to sustain the changes. Opportunity was given to oppose, but no one did.

The changes were less drastic than I thought they might be. Our ward only lost a few members and didn’t gain any from any other wards. We’ll miss the members we lost greatly, but they will be well cared for in the new ward.

There were then a couple of youth speakers and all of the Bishops also had a chance to share their testimony. The Stake President was then the concluding speaker. The whole meeting lasted about  1 1/2 hours.

LDS youth excited, ‘anxiously engaged’ in new church curriculum

come_follow_me_header

First off, let me say that I really don’t mean for this post to be negative. I think the new youth curriculum is a step in the right direction. However, we are still teaching youth, so there are always going to be challenges…

As I’m sure everyone knows by now,  in January of this year the youth (Sunday School classes, Aaronic Priesthood quorum meetings, and YW classes) started using a new curriculum called Come, Follow Me. The old manuals were dated and had stories and analogies that the youth just couldn’t relate to. If you stuck to the material (like some teachers feel you have to do), then the youth weren’t interested. If you chose to go off on your own, that would work, but it was a lot more work. The new material is based on recent talks by General Authorities and a lot of the Mormon Messages for Youth videos. The material is current, and the youth are to be more involved in the lessons.

Recently KSL TV in Salt Lake City had an article and video about how youth are excited about the new curriculum. As I watched the video, I thought to myself, “Yeah, right!” (said with a sarcastic tone). The experience we’ve had around here is not quite like the video is describing. Don’t get me wrong. I love the YM that I work with and my wife loves the YW she works with (she is the YW President), but the youth are far from excited about much Church-related things these days. That to me is the big challenge. Our youth have at most 10 members attending their high school of 1,000 people. They are surrounded by people who swear, look at pornography, drink, are sexually active, and more, and it is hard. I think they ultimately want to do what is right, but they sometimes seem beaten down by the realities of life.

This isn’t to say that I’m giving up. Far from it. But I just wanted to post something in case there are other leaders out there frustrated. Sometimes we hear these glowing stories about how a new program is working miracles, but when we look at our own experiences we haven’t seen the success. I’m confident that as I continue to prepare lessons, treat the YM with respect, and love them, that they will be able to feel the love of God through me. That can only be a good thing!

“Positive Messages in Movies” Youth Fireside

20130217 Youth FiresideSo, now that I am the YM President, that means I have to come up with interesting/entertaining ways to teach the youth. As you can imagine, this is not always an easy task!

I did a fireside with the youth back when I was bishop and it has been long enough that I figured none of the youth were in the youth program at that time, so I went ahead and did the same sort of thing again. For the fireside I showed clips from some movies and asked the youth to think about a gospel principle or scripture that would relate to the movie. It seemed like a good way to talk about a few different gospel themes, and to have fun. I think it went well.

Here are my notes from the fireside. If you wanted to do something like this, you can find lots of movie clips on YouTube.


Introduction

Have a youth read pg 11 “Entertainment and Media” from For the Strength of Youth.

Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.

How can you decide what movies are appropriate?

Read Moroni 7: 12

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

The thought is expanded in Moroni 7: 13

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Why does it lead to do goo? Because of the Holy Spirit that accompanies it. Read D&C 11: 12

And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

So, the media we watch/listen to needs to motivate us to do good, to be better.

I’m not saying that these movies are the best and are of God. I’m just highlighting a small clip. Only you and your family can decide what is appropriate.

The Movies

  1. Star Wars Episode 1 (YouTube clip) – 8 s
    Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering

    1. 2 Nephi 2: 25 –  25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
    2.  1 John 4: 8 – He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
    3.  2 Timothy 1: 7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  2. The Lion King (1:03:34-1:05:10) – 1 m 35 s
    He lives in you;  remember who you are

    1. Genesis 1: 27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    2. 1 John 3: 2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
  3. Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix (YouTube clip) – 21 s
    Sirius says to Harry “we’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

    1. Mosiah 3: 19 – For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
    2. 2 Nephi 2: 11 – For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
    3. 2 Nephi 2: 27 – Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
  4. Kung-Fu Panda (0:30:36-0:31:12) – 36 s
    Master Oogway  says today is a gift that it is why it’s called the present

    1. Mark 1: 15 – And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
    2. Alma 34:32 – For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
    3. Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
  5. Spider-Man (YouTube clip, 01:00-1:33) – 33 s
    with great power comes great responsibility

    1. Luke 12: 48 – But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
    2. D&C 82: 3 – For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.
  6. Aladdin (YouTube clip) – 1 m 14 s
    just bee yourself

    1. John 8: 32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
    2. 1 Samuel 16: 7 – But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
  7. Batman Forever (0:19:25-0:19:39) – 14 s
    Caffeine’ll kill ya

    1. D&C 89: 9 – And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
  8. Finding Nemo (0:13:15-0:16:08) – 2 m 53 s
    Nemo hates father, touches boat (butt), gets captured. Marlin will do anything to save him
    NOTE: The YM thought the “butt” part was relevant (don’t touch the butt) 🙂

    1. D&C 18: 10 – Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
    2. Exodus 20: 12 – Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
    3. Luke 15: 4 – What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
    4. Luke 15: 32 – It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
  9. Harry Potter: The Half-Blood Prince (0:30:51-0:31:55) – 1 m 2 s
    The dark sides greatest weapon is you

    1. Joshua 24: 15 – And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
    2. Matthew 6: 24 – No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
    3. Luke 22: 31 – And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat
  10. Finding Nemo (0:32:00-0:32:39) – 39 s
    Just keep swimming (persevere, endure)

    1. Matthew 24: 13 – But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
    2. 2 Nephi 31: 20 – Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
  11. Wreck-It Ralph (1:31:00-1:33:03) – 2 m 3 s
    be happy/thankful with who you are as there are benefits you might not expect

    1. 2 Nephi 32: 5 – For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
    2. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice evermore.
      Pray without ceasing.
      In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
    3. D&C 78: 19 – And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.
  12. The Dark Knight Rises (2:29:08-2:29:44) – 36 s
    Just before Batman takes the nuclear bomb away, he tells Commissioner Gordon that a hero can be anyone, including people who do simple things

    1. Alma 37: 6 – Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
    2. 1 Timothy 1: 4 – Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
      (BD says “The reference is probably to exaggerated stories of the heroes and patriarchs of early Hebrew history”)
  13. Tarzan (1:17:00-1:17:50) – 50 s
    Kerchak is about to die. He apologizes to Tarzan

    1. D&C 64: 10 – I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
    2. Alma 4: 19 – And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.
    3. D&C 54: 2 – Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, my servant Newel Knight, you shall stand fast in the office whereunto I have appointed you.
  14. Batman Begins (YouTube clip, 0:00-2:31) – 2 m 31 s
    always mind your surroundings; sacrificed sure footing for a killing stroke

    1. 1 Samuel 15: 22 – And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
    2. D&C 87: 8 – Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

I saved this one for the end, not because it is the best one, but because it kind of is related to this year’s theme. We had a mutual activity where we talked about what it meant to be on firm ground, how to stand properly, and the importance of good footing. We need to make sure that we are not sacrificing our sure footing for something that will put us in danger.

180th Semiannual General Conference – Priesthood Session

As indicated in the write-up for the Saturday afternoon session, I watched that one at home. I had to be at the Church by 6:15 pm (Eastern time), so I left about halfway through Elder Scott’s address and picked up my father. We both had to be at the YM sub-sational which started at 7:00 PM (I had a meeting before then).

The sub-sational was great, with around 15 YM attending with their fathers. Include the YM leaders, the missionaries and the bishopric, and we probably had 30 people there. Good times for sure!

My father has always taken me out after the Priesthood Session of conference, and that tradition continues. Even after eating a couple of subs, we went out afterward to Boston Pizza and had some chicken wings and cactus cut potatoes. As to me as I dropped him off at home, “Good conversation, good company.” Thanks Dad!


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Priesthood Choir sang Hark, All Ye Nations!

Elder Marcos A Aidukaitis offered the invocation

The choir sang Go, Ye Messengers of Heaven

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • we need to remember why we have missionaries
  • “go ye into all the world”
  • 52,000 missionaries in 340 missions
  • missionaries serve to make life better for all of God’s children

Elder Patrick Kearon

  • he told a story about growing up on the “Arabian peninsula” and got stung by a scorpion
  • he knew he was supposed to wear shoes, but didn’t
  • disregarding what we know to be right brings

Elder Juan A Uceda

  • story of a man and his daughter, the man yelled at his daughter because she didn’t want to read the scriptures with his family
  • after a short time both the daughter and father said they were sorry
  • our home has to be a place where the Spirit can dwell
  • the home is next to the temple in sacredness

The choir and congregation sang High on the Mountain Top

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • remembers President Ezra Taft Benson’s talk on Pride from 1989
  • there is a difference between being proud of something and being prideful
  • pride is self-elevation
  • pride is a gateway sin
  • there is a lot of pride in sports
  • in life, we all wear the same jersey
  • we are to encourage all people
  • we can be grateful, but when we obsess or focus on those things, that is when the trouble begins
  • pride is a switch that turns off priesthood power
  • humility is a switch that turns on priesthood power
  • there are so many people in need we could be thinking about other than ourselves

President Henry B Eyring

  • the power of a holder of the priesthood is magnified by the Holy Ghost
  • we should pray for the Holy Ghost in our service
  • pondering is the thinking and praying after reading and studying

President Thomas S Monson

  • the 3 R’s of choice
    • right of choice
    • responsibility of choice
    • results of choice
  • we cannot be neutral, there is no middle ground
  • we are bombarded by the messages of the adversary
  • the lies are endless
  • we cannot afford the luxury of a detour from which we may never return
  • it’s easier to keep the commandments 100% of the time than 98% of the time

The choir sang Called to Serve

Elder James J Hamula offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 180th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Meeting with Brother Adrian Ochoa

In April, the YM General Presidency was changed. Brother David L. Beck was called as the general president of the Young Men, with Brother Larry M. Gibson as first counselor and Brother Adrian Ochoa as second counselor. I had the opportunity to attend a training meeting with Brother Ochoa a few weeks ago. For the last several years there has been a Regional Youth Conference here in Southern Ontario, and Brother Ochoa came up to speak at the conference. On the first night, he held a training meeting for all those who work with young men.

The following are my notes from the meeting. These are NOT direct quotes from Brother Ochoa. The notes consist of the general sense of what he was saying, the input from others, as well as my own thoughts/interpretations. I did get the sense that the Brethren are aware of how important it is for our youth to be “connected”, and especially to be connected to each other. This applies to youth around the world, not just in North America.


  • “they” sent him here
  • There is a lot at stake
  • There is a formidable enemy. Many laugh and say he is not real
  • His #1 charge is to stop the work of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
  • There are some difficult questions
  • Read from the CHI about the Aaronic Priesthood. It should be our #1 training tool. We should be familiar with it. It is a tremendous teaching tool, and is like scripture (came through revelation)
  • We have the best leader, Jesus Christ
  • What can I do to not only prevent YM from falling away, but to bring them back
  • What are we going to do to save our youth?
  • As leaders, we might need to “parent” them a bit
  • Get the quorums involved
  • We need to be effective teachers
  • Main agents for change
    • Love them with a Christ like understanding
    • Teach parents and leaders
    • Take responsibility
  • How much are we condescending? (talking to them at their level)
  • What are the main challenges facing our youth?
    • LDS youth feel isolated
      • Only member in school
      • Attend mutual and other activities in small group
      • Aren’t are of LDS youth around the world who share the same experience
    • LDS youth feel pressure
      • Confusion about moral choices
      • Drink, view pornography, violate law of chastity
      • Common for people my age to
        • Use illegal drugs – 50%
        • Be sexually active – 50%
        • View pornography – 50%
        • Drink alcohol – 60%
      • Pressure increases with age
        • 12-13 – 39%
        • 14-16 – 45%
        • 17-18 – 50%
  • Isolation + pressure = risk
  • Reducing the risk
    • Youth feel less pressure to sin if parents:
      • Know their friends and know what they are doing
      • Set/reinforce high moral expectations
      • Are both active
      • Hold regular family prayer and scripture study
    • 3/4 of parents expect youth to choose friends with good moral standards
    • 1/2 encourage their youth to always listen to music with clean lyrics
    • 1/3 have regular family scripture study and prayer
  • Brother Ochoa didn’t bring answers. Our own mantle will bring us the answers
  • A great leader is able to focus on the things that make a difference
  • Active youth feel less pressure to sin when they feel connected
    • To their covenants through spiritual experiences (Scouts is here to stay)
    • To one another through formal/informal experiences with each other and leaders
  • In what kind of world do today’s LDS youth live?
    • A connected world
    • Technology (iPhone, Blackberry, etc)
    • YouTube
    • Texting (texting is not dating)
    • Virtual reality
  • From interviews with LDS youth we know they want opportunities to:
    • Make new friends with LDS youth
    • Feel part of a “Zion” community (share experiences)
    • Have a safe place to meet and interact
    • Feel connect to Church leaders
  • What helps? Events
  • What youth need:
  1. Sufficient companionship time with parents and family members
  2. examples of and opportunities to feel positive emotions
  3. sense of accountability
  4. clear distinction between good and evil
  5. accurate and realistic view of themselves and of the world
  6. have adult mentors
  7. hope for the future (Moroni 7:41)
  • Make a plan of 5 things you are going to do

Baptisms for the Dead

I know there has been some discussion on various Mormon blogs recently about baptisms for the dead, and how other church’s perceive the practice. I’m not interested in debating that right now, but I figured I’d just share a little about our most recent trip.

My ward is about 120km away from the Toronto Ontario Temple. We try to take the youth there 4 times a year. Last Thursday night was our first trip of 2009. Overall we had 43 people from the ward there that night (I think we had at least two other people there earlier in the day).

  • 16 youth (12 YM, 4 YW)
  • 1 YSA
  • 8 men on “team” (2 bishopric, 2 YM leaders, 1 EQ presidency, 1 ward clerk, 1 WML, 1 seminary teacher)
  • 3 YW leaders
  • 5 members of the ward serving/working
  • 10 other ward members doing some form of temple work

All of the baptisms that were done were family file. The couple “running” the baptistry that night said it was the first time during their time of service (I’m not sure how long that has been) that every baptism was family file. Apparently there were over 250 baptisms and confirmations done.

After going to the temple, the tradition used to be that we’d all end up going to some fast food joint (usually McDonald’s) and get something to eat. A couple of years ago one of my counselors suggested that we use the cafeteria at the temple and bring our own “treats”, so that we can stay together and still feel the spirit of the temple. It has worked out great. It obviously is less expensive than having 20 extra value meals purchased by the members. The ward foots the bill for the food now which is always less than $50 for all of us. The treats are healthier. We usually get away earlier than we would if we had to pack up, drive to a restaurant, and pack up and leave again. But like I said, the best part is we are still in the temple.

The youth love going to the temple. It’s great to see. Hopefully we keep having positive experiences with them so they are strengthened, and have that desire to return often.