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Found in the Footnotes: President Eyring’s Counsel That Became the Foundation for the New Children and Youth Program

Editor's note: Our bi-weekly Friday column, “Found in the Footnotes,” explores some of the footnotes from remarks given by General Authorities and General Officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Prior to the introduction of the new Children and Youth program, over 500 different requirements were needed in order to receive various recognitions, according to Brother Douglas D. Holmes’s April 2020 conference talk, “Deep in Our Heart.”

“Today, there is essentially one,” he said. “It is an invitation to choose to become more like the Savior.”

In the footnotes of his remarks, Brother Holmes shares an experience from shortly after the Young Men General Presidency was called in 2015.

► You may also like: Here's How to Get Your Own Wide-Margin Journal Edition of the April 2020 General Conference Talks

“President Henry B. Eyring discussed with us the unique challenges and opportunities the youth of the Church face today,” he wrote. “He counseled us to focus on those things that would help get the gospel of Jesus Christ down deep in their hearts. That counsel has been a beacon for us as the Young Men Presidency.”

While the new Children and Youth program emphasizes setting goals and has new emblems of belonging, Brother Holmes cautions that “we must not let those cloud our view of the principles the program is built on and their purpose: to help get the gospel of Jesus Christ deep in the hearts of our children and youth.”

In a recent Church News interview, Elder Quentin L. Cook described an “interlocking pattern of revelation” that sustains the Church during the COVID-19 pandemic. He shared various ways the Church was prepared for the pandemic, including the introduction of the Children and Youth program, which has a significant emphasis on the home.

“Families can help the youth obtain the goals that they have chosen,” Elder Cook told Church News. “Now would be a good time while families and youth are spending more time at home together.”

Brother Holmes’s talk focuses on three principles for church leaders to help youth get the gospel down deep into their hearts: “be with them,” “connect them with heaven,” and “let them lead.” As I explored the footnotes of his address, I was led to landing pages on each of these topics, and though the pages are designed for Aaronic Priesthood leaders, I believe they contain information that can benefit leaders, families, and youth alike. The pages are filled with inspiring tips to apply these principles, questions to ponder, and additional resources like talks, scriptures, and videos. With this upcoming Friday, May 15, being the 191st anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, perhaps learning how to help Aaronic Priesthood holders reach their full potential could be a way to celebrate. 

► You may also like: Q&A with New Young Men General Presidency: Helping Young People Connect the Dots

Additionally, in the footnotes of his talk, Brother Holmes shares inspiring quotes from Church leaders about the capacity of youth, the joy of the latter days, and the importance of letting the youth grow and develop. I hope these quotes can help each of us fuel or reignite our enthusiasm about the new Children and Youth program, especially during a time where many homes double as church and school. 

  • • President Russell M. Nelson: “Just think of the excitement and urgency of it all: every prophet commencing with Adam has seen our day. And every prophet has talked about our day, when Israel would be gathered and the world would be prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior. Think of it! Of all the people who have ever lived on planet earth, we are the ones who get to participate in this final, great gathering event. How exciting is that!” (“Hope of Israel”).

  • • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
  • “What a terrific time to be alive!
  • “The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world. . . . There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future.
  • “Unlike every other era before us, this dispensation will not experience an institutional apostasy; it will not see a loss of priesthood keys; it will not suffer a cessation of revelation from the voice of Almighty God. . . . What a day in which to live!
  • “ . . . If you haven’t noticed, I am bullish about the latter days. . . . Believe. Rise up. Be faithful. And make the most of the remarkable day in which we live!” (Facebook post, see also “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe”).

  • • President Thomas S. Monson: “We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become. I would plead with you to think of them in this way” (“See Others as They May Become”).

  • President Stephen L. Richards: “The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 162; in David A. Bednar, “Quick to Observe”).

  • President Russell M. Nelson: “Our Heavenly Father has reserved many of His most noble spirits—perhaps, I might say, His finest team—for this final phase. Those noble spirits—those finest players, those heroes—are you!” (“Hope of Israel”).

  • • President George Q. Cannon: “God has reserved spirits for this dispensation who have the courage and determination to face the world, and all the powers of the evil one, visible and invisible, to proclaim the gospel and maintain the truth and establish and build up the Zion of our God fearless of all consequences. He has sent these spirits in this generation to lay the foundation of Zion never more to be overthrown, and to raise up a seed that will be righteous, and that will honor God, and honor Him supremely, and be obedient to Him under all circumstances” (“Remarks,” Deseret News, May 31, 1866, 203).

  • • Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “Functionally, how many deacons and teachers quorum presidencies consist of merely calling on someone to offer a prayer or pass the sacrament? Brethren, these really are special spirits, and they can do things of significance if given a chance!” (“Unto the Rising Generation”).

  • • President Russell M. Nelson: “We need to let the young people lead, particularly those who have been called and set apart to serve in class and quorum presidencies. Priesthood authority will have been delegated to them. They will learn how to receive inspiration in leading their class or quorum” (in “Children and Youth Introductory Video Presentation”).

  • • Elder Quentin L. Cook: “Our youth are being asked to take more individual responsibility at younger ages—without parents and leaders taking over what youth can do for themselves” (“Adjustments to Strengthen Youth”).
Lead image: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
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Lindsey Williams

Lindsey Williams joined the LDS Living team with a passion to find the stories that matter most. Previous stops in her career include BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah Valley Magazine. When she's not searching for stories to write, the Colorado Springs native is most likely on a hiking trail. 

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