Importance of Teaching the Youth
It is difficult for many churches to attract teenagers and young adults to services and activities.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) faces the same challenges. It has developed programs to work on this problem and to approach the youth.
Recently, an influential non-LDS writer commented, “Mormons . . . tend to hold on to their kids,” (David French, Patheos. He noted, among other things, that the LDS emphasise family life and the vital importance of strengthening the relationship between parents and children.
The writer adds that one outcome of this priority on the family is a lower divorce rate.
If husbands and wives stay together, it deeply affects their children and their religious beliefs.
The LDS provide a comprehensive program for youth through its Young Men and Young Women organisations. Youth ages 12 through 17 meet in classes on Sundays for religious instruction and several times during the month for social activities including service projects, sport, camping and parties.
Young people are also given leadership positions to learn leadership skills such as setting goals, planning activities and solving problems.
In addition to Sunday meetings, the LDS Church offers Seminary, a daily religion class for high school students that often takes place early in the morning before school; others are held in the afternoon after school.
They study the scriptures and participate in lively discussions. By the time students graduate from Seminary, they will have become well acquainted with God’s word; this deepens their conviction at an age when they might be distracted by the temptations of the world.
Recently, during a visit to an early morning Seminary class near Mufakose 2 High School in suburban Harare, a 15-year old boy said, “It’s hard to wake up so early, especially when it’s cold, but I don’t like to miss.”
A classmate added, “Seminary comforts me throughout the day. I feel it is the Holy Ghost that stays with me.” Perhaps the power of these early morning classes lies in the element of sacrifice as well as personal spiritual impressions the youngsters experience.
It is true—the LDS Church asks a lot of its members. Sacrifice strengthens faith. The same writer quoted above wrote: “I’m always amazed at the level of church involvement of [the LDS].” From giving, to service, to teaching . . . Mormons are simply doing more. To some . . . critics, you’d think they’d lose members because they’re so demanding. [But the opposite is true.]”
The writer, Mr. David French, then issues this call to action: “Instead of asking less of our families and youth, let’s ask more by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit. Instead of giving less, let’s give more.” The LDS agree!
◆ For more information, kindly call, text, or send a call back to +263 772125326. Send emails to: paZimbabwe@ldschurch.org