Spiritual Messages and Teachings for LDS Youth and Youth Leaders

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Descriptions of Joseph Smith, the Prophet

President Joseph Smith was in person tall and well built, strong and active; of a light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, very little beard, and of an expression peculiar to himself, on which the eye naturally rested with interest, and was never weary of beholding. His countenance was ever mild, affable, beaming with intelligence and benevolence; mingled with a look of interest and an unconscious smile or cheerfulness, and entirely free from all restraint or affectation of gravity; and there was something connected with the serene and steady penetrating glance of his eye, as if he would penetrate the deepest abyss of the human heart, gaze into eternity, penetrate the heavens, and comprehend all worlds.

The Power of Example

Elder Hadley shook my hand eagerly and then reached for my suitcase. "Here, let me help you with that." I smiled gratefully as I buttoned up my coat against the cold Japanese air. "Thanks. I feel like I've been packing it for hours." "I know," Elder Hadley said. "I had to take three different trains when I transferred here. I didn't think I was ever going to make it." My new companion led me out of the train station and strapped my suitcase to the back of his own bicycle. "Have you ever been to Kyoto before?"

Prepare With Honor: Studying the Scriptures

It is always a marvel to listen to recently returned missionaries give their homecoming talks. It may be hard for you to see yourself doing that in just a few short years. Returned missionaries seem so experienced and professional in matching various scriptures to specific doctrines and personal testimony. But how did they get that way? If you put off learning how to study the scriptures until you are on your mission, you are sentencing yourself to some embarrassing times and some long nights. I speak from firsthand experience. On the very day our group landed in Samoa (where I served my first mission), the district leader took me to visit a minister of another religion. After some pleasant introductory remarks, he started attacking my beliefs, using my own scriptures. He knew far more about the doctrine of our church than I did. I remembered reading a scripture I might have used to answer his questions, but I had no idea where to find it. By the end of his verbal thrashing, I was totally humiliated. I sure wished I had paid more attention in Sunday School and priesthood meeting. I also wished I had listened better during seminary and youth firesides. But now it was too late. It was probably a good thing there wasn't a plane heading back to the United States or I might have been tempted to get on it. I decided then that I would never let such a thing happen to me again. In the next three weeks, studying day and night, I completely read the Standard Works. I must admit I probably slept through part of the Old Testament. The New Testament was more familiar (except for some of Paul's writings), while the Book of Mormon was very familiar (except for the Isaiah part of 2 Nephi!). But both the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price were totally new to me. What had I read during my youth? If only I had studied those books before starting on my mission!

Seriousness of Sexual Sin

Chastity is of great value. Chastity and virtue are "most dear and precious above all things" (Moroni 9:9), more valuable than rubies or diamonds, than herds and flocks, than gold and silver, or than automobiles and land. But, sadly, in many cases they are on sale at the cheapest shops and at the cheapest prices.

Why Are There So Many Churches?

Originally, there was the church of Jesus Christ. But, as prophesied, the church was taken from the earth.

Effects of College Education on the Religious Involvement of Latter-day Saints

Mormonism fosters education. LDS theology views life essentially as an educational process. Mortality is seen as a probationary state, a period of learning and testing. Knowledge and mastery of both self and environment through obedience to divine law is the basis of eternal progression. Thus in Mormon dogma education not only helps man in this life, it also assists him in his quest to achieve perfection and become godlike in the next. This theological emphasis is manifest in many latter-day scriptures: The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. (D&C 93:36)

Effective Communicating

It was third down and inches. Ahead by a touchdown, Hillcrest had the ball on Myton's forty-eight-yard line. A first down now could give them the field position they needed for a final drive at the goal line and a chance to frost the win. Quarterback Chris Ellertson crouched in the huddle and carefully repeated the play the high school coach had given him. "Split left, twenty-three dive, two quick out on three. Ready? Break!" The team clapped hands and jogged back to the line of scrimmage. Crouching behind center, Chris looked left, then right as Myton linebackers suddenly charged the line. They were going to blitz!

A Scripture That Will Motivate You To Action

"Awake, and arise from the dust" (Moroni 10:31) Moroni's last words in the Book of Mormon are a wake-up call to "all the ends of the earth" (Moroni 10:24). His message is direct, clear, and unapologetic: Awake, come unto Christ, deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and I'll see you at the judgment bar (Moroni 10:31–34).

A True Friend

Do you remember back when you were in the fourth grade? If you had been in my class right after lunch, we would have had a fifteen-minute story time, unless the story was so exciting that you pleaded to go on just a little further. Then it might have lasted twenty minutes, and on Friday afternoon, if it had been a good week, maybe even half an hour or so. One of my favorite books to share with my students was Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. If you have read that book, you will remember that Charlotte is the spider and Wilbur is the pig. Poor Wilbur has some very hard times and often feels alone and discouraged. On one dreary rainy day, we read, he felt so "friendless, dejected, and hungry, he threw himself down in the manure and sobbed."

Thirty Days, That’s All We Ask

What are you doing? Reading a book? How boring! Aren't you supposed to be hanging out at the mall, or something? Isn't there a television set or a Nintendo game nearby? Isn't that what an average teenager would be doing right now? Well, maybe an average teenager, but you, my friend, are not an average teenager. You are every bit as wonderful as you've been told you are. So, congratulations for going against the grain and reading a book, but I have to warn you about something: this is a chapter with a challenge; and you are such a remarkable teenager that you will probably accept the challenge and finish it to the end. I gave this challenge once to a gathering of LDS youth at a stake meeting in Alberta, Canada and was overwhelmed to see about six hundred teenagers rise to their feet, signaling their willingness to accept. I still haven't finished reading their letters. I've given this challenge many times in the form of a talk, but never in a book. I don't know if it will work in a book. I guess we'll find out.