Youth: 'Be not moved'
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The 2013 mutual theme will give courage and direction to youth living in a challenging world, say the Church's youth leaders.
The theme — "Stand ye in holy places and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord" (Doctrine and Covenants 87:8) — comes from revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith 1832.
"I would hope that the youth would understand that these words are for them. These words are the Lord's words to His covenant people," said Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president. "Standing in holy places is about being where the Holy Ghost can be. It is about living the standards in For the Strength of Youth. It is about being worthy to enter the Lord's temples."
Sister Dalton's counterpart, Brother David L. Beck, Young Men general president, said this 2013 mutual theme extends a sacred challenge to Aaronic Priesthood holders. "Our call to every young man is to rise up — stand, and then help others stand," he said.
Sister Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said each year the scriptural theme is considered and eventually selected through "much mindfulness, prayer and counsel."
"The theme is approved by priesthood authority by the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency. Leaders of the Church visit your wards and stakes and converse with you. They are mindful of your challenges, strengths and hopes for the future."
The theme is important because choosing to be in holy places will help Latter-day youth to be worthy of the Holy Ghost and give them the ability to resist temptation, explained Sister Mary N. Cook, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency.
Brother Larry M. Gibson, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, said it is essential that young men and young women "have the Spirit around them" to ensure they are standing "in holy places."
"This theme is important in this dispensation because the Lord is hastening His work," said Sister Dalton. "We have the great privilege and opportunity to assist in preparing the earth for the Savior's second coming. These are amazing times when the opposition as well as the opportunities are the greatest."
It's important for youth to understand what is meant by "holy places," explained Sister Cook. "Clearly the temple is considered the most holy place on earth. We are so pleased with the response of our youth to seek the temple."
"We can find holy places when we are active in the Church," added Brother Adrian Ochoa, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency. "We can find holy places at Church, in our quorum meetings and in the temple."
Sister Dibb agreed. "I believe the theme reaffirms that each of us must make a stand and remain firm in our determination to live the commandments and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," she said. "The world's viewpoints and standards are continually changing; however, we can choose to remain firm, sure and loyal in our convictions and actions."
Brother Beck said young people can stand sturdy and strong when they choose to avoid dangerous places before temptation is ever presented. "Make choices early and decide what situations should be avoided."
To "stand in holy places and be not moved" is possible, and now more than ever before the youth are prepared to do just that, said Sister Dalton. Parents, leaders and others can help.
"We can help our youth rise above the day-to-day challenges and constant bombardment they face, by being happy, optimistic, and focused on the Savior and His gospel," she said. "As we do this, we will be in the temple more regularly, we will attend our sacrament meetings with a spirit and desire to be better, and we will make our homes places where the spirit dwells. ... We can be holy men and women who stand in holy places."
Sister Cook said youth tell Church leaders that peer pressure is an overarching challenge that requires them to take firm stands and "be not moved."
"We are seeing youth supporting each other in living all of the standards and choosing friends who help them to do this, whether they are members or not," she said.
Brother Ochoa said the world needs young people who are willing to make a stand and be proactive in the ongoing battle for good.
"It's better to be on the offensive than on the defensive," he said.
One way to stand in holy places is to act upon the promptings of the Holy Ghost, said Sister Dibb.
"As we strive to live worthily, the promptings of the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, will help us to make correct decisions and be able to stand in holy places," she said. "If we ever find ourselves in an unholy place, He will prompt us to "run" just as He warned Joseph of Egypt to run when facing moral danger."
Sister Cook called the youth of the Church "noble and bright."
"They are taking measures to seek that which is holy," she said. "We know they have the ability in the many circumstances they find themselves to live in such a way that the spirit may be present and they will know they are standing in holy places."
The Church's worldwide Mutual — the young men and young women of the Church — can form a special alliance as they support one another in remaining grounded and unmoved in the gospel, said Brother Gibson. "There may be situations where a young man needs to stand up and defend a young woman who is trying to stand in holy places."
Sister Dibb said it is a great blessing to know that as the youth of the Church live worthily, their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, will ever be mindful of them and bless them. "We never outgrow our need to remember the questions found in the Primary song, 'If the Savior stood beside me,' " she said. "They are true. We can personally ask ourselves, 'If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do or say the things I say?' We can, also, expand the lyrics and questions to more of our daily situations, 'If the Savior stood beside me, would I wear the things I wear? Would I text the things I text? Would I pray the way I pray?' As we mindfully strive to follow the Savior's perfect example, we will be protected. We will grow in confidence and feel of his boundless love. There can be no greater blessing."
Brother Beck said it's vital that the youth never stand alone. "It's important for the youth to help others stand in holy places," he said. "They have a responsibility to help others come unto Christ."
Sister Dalton said the youth of the Church "are constantly bombarded by a vast number of messages, sights and sounds that they don't want or need. ... It is our testimony that this theme for this Mutual year is an inspired theme that has been chosen by prophets, seers and revelators who are familiar with the youth and with the challenges of the world in which they live. This Mutual theme will be a blessing to the young women, to the young men and to families as our noble youth continue to 'stand in holy places and be not moved.' "