Tag Archives: yw

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.

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

Church sub-domains update

I had a few drafts and was going to post about these separately, but I’ve collected enough that I’ll just do one update. Here are a few more sub-domains that the Church has that all conveniently redirect you to the appropriate section of the main LDS.org site.

  • http://podcasts.lds.org/ or http://rss.lds.org/ – redirects to a page where you can find all of the podcasts and rss feeds (both sub-domains take you to the same place)
  • http://yw.lds.org/ or http://youngwomen.lds.org/ – redirects to Young Women area of the Serving in the Church section (both sub-domains take you to the same place)
  • http://reliefsociety.lds.org/ – redirects to the Relief Society area of the Serving in the Church section (note that unlike the additional abbreviated sub-domain for YM, there is no rs.lds.org sub-domain that works as of right now)
  • http://clerk.lds.org/ – redirects to the Clerk and Technology Support area of the Serving in the Church section

I’ve added these to the Official web sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints page and also reorganized that page a bit.

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.