This year is the time for youth to live standards with exactness
It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.
To begin the new year, a new edition of "For the Strength of Youth" has been launched. It is now available on the Internet (standards.lds.org) and booklets are being translated and printed in the coming weeks. The revision of this resource for youth, parents and leaders does not mean that the standards of worthiness and conduct for Latter-day Saints have changed; however, the world in which our young women navigate has changed dramatically. The Lord's standards will always remain the same and, as President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve has taught in a general conference address, "We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them. … However out of step we may seem, however much the standards are belittled, however much others yield, we will not yield, we cannot yield" (Boyd K. Packer, "The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected," Ensign, November 2003).
We are living in an ever changing and challenging world and the Lord's standards are under attack. Again, President Packer described what is happening vividly when he said, "With all that is going on in the world, with the lowering of the moral standards, …young people are being raised in enemy territory" (Boyd K. Packer, "Counsel to Youth," Ensign, November 2011).
The standards in "For the Strength of Youth" have been strengthened and clarified in an effort to assist the youth in their desire to live as the Lord would have them live and to maintain their personal worthiness. The cover of the new booklet again shows the image of the temple, the symbol for the youth of the Church. This is a reminder that everything we do in the Young Women program is a preparation for the temple.
What does this mean? It means that this year is the time for the young women and youth of the Church to live the standards with exactness. It is a call to leadership. It is time to "awake, and arise from the dust" as Moroni exhorts in his famous last words (Moroni 10:31). It is time for the youth of the Church to lead the world in living and sharing the standards, which will strengthen families and, in turn, strengthen society.
As the Young Women general president, I urge every parent, leader, grandparent, young adult, missionary and, indeed, every one of us to become familiar with the standards contained online at youth.lds.org. Please come to know the accompanying prophetic words and visual media to support living these standards. Parents and leaders of youth can help best as they study these standards and personally live them. As you do so, you will come to understand the "why" of each standard. Answering the question of "why" teaches the foundational doctrine underlying each standard. As you read, ask yourself questions. What is a standard? Why be modest? Why is wholesome media so important? Why choose good friends? Why date? Why is "self-reliance" a standard?
Often, as parents and leaders, we tend to focus on the rules. We can be much more effective if we will focus on the doctrine that answers the question of "why?" When a young woman understands the "why" and the accompanying blessings that come with living the standards, it changes not only her attitude, but her behavior (see Boyd K. Packer, "Counsel to Youth," Ensign, November 2011).
I also suggest that as leaders and parents read through this booklet and make note of how many times the Holy Ghost is mentioned. Standards are guidelines that help all of us qualify for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. When you receive your hard copy of these standards, you might want to circle every time the Holy Ghost is mentioned and have your young women do the same. Also, make note of the promised blessings associated with living these standards and help each young woman desire to receive them.
One young woman remarked, "I would think everyone would want to live these standards just to receive the blessings. It is all I ever wanted!" Another commented, "I would think everyone would live these standards so that they can qualify for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We are making so many critical decisions that will affect our future right now that the guidance of the Holy Ghost is not optional!" President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, has taught, "Your happiest moments, and mine, have been when someone we loved and served rose up to live the Lord's standards of worthiness and reaped blessings from it. And the saddest moment will have been when someone reaped misery from failing to rise to those standards" (Henry B. Eyring, "Standards of Worthiness," First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, January 2003, p. 10).
Use these standards to bless the lives of the young women you are responsible to lead and guide. We hope that they will become an important part of what is taught in Sunday lessons, family home evening, Mutual lessons, and sacrament meetings. We also hope they will assist priesthood leaders as they regularly have priesthood interviews with the young women.
At the end of each standard is a question. This question can be used by a parent, leader or youth to open a discussion about the standard and promote learning. These questions can also be used in interview settings.
I believe that the standards will become a beacon for the nations in the coming days. I believe that it will be true that the nations of the earth will look to us for help and guidance.
On a visit to Cambodia several years ago, one of the government officials with whom I was meeting was very impressed with the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet. When we were about to leave the office she asked, "Where can I get more of these pamphlets translated into our language?" I answered that I happened to have four more and would be happy to give them to her. She shook her head and said, "No, no, you don't understand. I need boxes and boxes for my people."
This is a book that by its very title would be assumed that it is for the youth — and it is! But, I often want to call it "For the Strength of YOU!" It is for me, it is for you, it is for young adults, missionaries and every person who desires to live a happy and productive life — a life that leads to developing the character of Christ and qualifies us to return to His presence.
As a presidency, we are so grateful for prophets, seers and revelators who light the way. We are grateful for these two new resources to assist parents and young women in living a happy and productive life. We are grateful to the Savior, for His light and for His life. We share our witness that He will be our light as we emulate Him. And so, in the year of 2012, we will "arise and shine forth, that [our] light may be a standard for the nations" as the scripture states and that our standards may be a light to the nations! (Doctrine and Covenants 115:5). Now is the time for our valiant youth to "Arise and shine forth!"