I am so grateful for the youth of the Church. There is so much of evil everywhere. Temptation, with all its titillating influences, is about us everywhere. We lose some to these destructive forces, unfortunately. We sorrow over every one that is lost. We reach out to help them, to save them, but in too many cases our entreaties are spurned. Tragic is the course they are following. It is the way which leads down to destruction.
But there are so many, many hundreds of thousands of our young people who are faithful and true, who are straight as an arrow and as strong as a great wave of the sea in following the course they have mapped out for themselves. It is a course of righteousness and goodness, a course of accomplishment and achievement. They are making something of their lives, and the world will be so much the better for them. (President Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
I don’t say it often enough, but I too am so proud of our Mormon youth. They are such wonderful young people. Their many examples of faith are truly awesome to behold, and the world is indeed so much better for them. They aren’t perfect, of course, but then who is? They are typical teenagers in many ways, yet, also quite atypical. I mean where else can you find teenagers who get up at 5:30 every weekday morning so they can attend Seminary to study the life and teachings of Jesus Christ?
If you’d like to learn more about the Seminary program of the Church, please read Laurie Walker’s post on “Mormon Seminary is For Youth.” The fact that Mormon youth attend seminary early in the morning before heading to school has received a lot of press. Katie Parker wrote about one of these stories in her post titled, “Michigan Mormon Teens Start Day with Seminary.”
This past week with the passing of President Hinckley, Mormon youth took it upon themselves to spread the word and organize their own tribute. In fact, we learned about President Hinckley’s passing through the “teen express.” A friend of our teenage son who lives in Utah (we live in Pennsylvania) sent a text message to our son within seconds of hearing the news about President Hinckley.
During the memorial services for President Hinckley this past Saturday, Bishop H. David Burton (Presiding Bishop of the Church) paid a special tribute to the youth of the Church. He pointed out that news of President Hinckley’s passing spread rapidly throughout the world because the youth took it upon themselves to spread the word through text messages. He also thanked them for honoring President Hinckley through their examples.
You see the youth of the Church didn’t stop at just sending text messages with the news of President Hinckley’s death. Using text messages for the most part, they went on to organize a tribute for their beloved prophet. The following Monday morning the youth of the Church turned up in school all over the country dressed in Sunday best.
Other Mormon youths found other ways to pay tribute to President Hinckely. Some shared their testimonies in Church, with school mates, and on YouTube. Here is a video of Mormon teens paying tribute to President Hinckley.
These past several days, I saw again the tremendous faith and courage of our youth. They are a powerful force for good, taking a stand for good and sharing their testimonies with the world. A familiar hymn that we sing in Church speaks about the faith of these remarkable Mormon youth:
Shall the youth of Zion falter, In defending truth and right?
While the enemy assaileth, Shall we shrink or shun the fight?
No! True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the faith for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command, soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.