For more information on this topic read “Counsel to Youth,” by President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov 2011, 16.
Youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality. But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit (President Boyd K. Packer, “Counsel to Youth,”Ensign, Nov. 2011, 16).
“True to the Faith,” Hymns #254.
"O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God" (Alma 37:35).
Before family scripture study, ask the father of your family to be prepared to share his most heartfelt counsel to his children. When ready, invite him to share his counsel. Read Alma 37:35–37 aloud to your family. Ask if there are any similarities between Alma’s counsel to Helaman and your father’s counsel to them. Ask:
- What two gospel principles did Alma specifically admonish Helaman to keep? (Keep the commandments and pray).
- Why do you think Alma encouraged Helaman to keep the commandments?
- What counsel did Alma give concerning prayer?
Prepare the following “prayer checklists” for each family member:
- I do not have personal prayer. I only pray at mealtime.
- I only pray with the family.
- I only pray in the morning. I only pray at bedtime.
- I only pray in time of need.
- I pray out loud.
- I pray silently.
- I read scriptures before praying.
- I ponder before praying.
- I pray during the day.
- I listen for answers.
Ask your family which list best represents the counsel Alma gave his son. Which list would bring you the greatest comfort or direction or help?
Encourage family members to keep the “prayer checklists” as a reminder to improve their prayers
and gain the blessings that come with doing so.
(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 209)
Bernard F. Fisher
Graduating from high school, leaving very special friends and the stabilizing influence of home, to enter the United States Navy was a large step in my life. I am sure that my seminary teacher at Davis High School [in Kaysville, Utah] was well aware of the new environmental and psychological change that would take place. As I stopped by the seminary building to say farewell, Brother Ensign invited me to visit and add his comments to many other well-wishers. He said, “I want to tell you something and subsequently would like to have you promise to write once a month.” Continuing, he suggested that I wouldn’t understand the full significance of his counsel; but if I was diligent and faithful in my correspondence, I would develop a broader understanding of what it meant. His instructions were to start each letter with this statement, “I am in the world but not of the world.”
I think those few comments transcribed from rote memory to paper each month had a great influence during the succeeding days and the personal challenges that were to follow. I, as any young man would do, thought a great deal about home and the very special people I had relied on. I remembered the comments of Brother Ensign and soon developed a limited understanding of what he was trying to convey to me.
As we grow through adolescence to maturity, we form trusts and cherish certain individuals who have a tremendous influence on our lives. If, in our youth, we build a strong cache of strength from which to draw in our later and more vulnerable years, the vices and corrupt influences are lessened. Likewise, if our maturing environment is steeped in violence, immorality, or dishonesty, that is also the cache of ideals from which we will draw.
(Leon R. Hartshorn, Powerful Stories from the Lives of Latter-day Saint Men, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974])
Give each person a paper and pencil. Have them write STRENGTH OF YOUTH vertically down the left side of the paper. Each person needs to think of a word for each letter that would describe a strong and dedicated member of the church. (Example: S-service, T-true, R-reliable, etc.) Share your words with each other.
To access the PDF version of this lesson, click here.