This Q&A can be found in the January 1971 New Era, found here.

Part one of my commentary can be found here.

Like last time, the questions plus my experiences and opinions plus witty social commentary means this is part 2 of the Q&A! Not as much youth-oriented issues, but plenty of snarkiness to go around!

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This is going to be a new portion of the website, where I look at some of the questions that have been submitted to the New Era since 1971, and either post witty social commentary, post my opinions on the question/answer, or offer insight into the mind of the 2010 teenager. The plan is to go through each month of the New Era, from 1971 to present, and once or twice-a-week offer my thoughts and experiences. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s (12 issues per year x 39 yrs), and if I’m doing it once a week, we’ll be at 468 weeks (or a year and 3 and a half months).

January 1971’s questions can be found here.

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This priesthood session of Conference was quite unexpected.  Usually, there are at least 2 talks geared directly towards the young men, and there are usually a few topics within those talks that have direct correlation with something youth might be experiencing today.  Here are the speakers from this year’s Priesthood Session, and their counsel to the youth.  I hope my notes are up to par, if not, I’ll be editing this when the church releases the text of the talks.

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Because of this weekend’s General Conference, the posting schedule will be updated. My goal is to spend the weekend getting caught up on the lessons for Manual 2 so that I can be somewhat caught up. By my count, we should be at or around Lesson 39 (Moral Courage), giving us 11-12 lessons before the end of the year.

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Out here in the Midwest our New Duty to God program has officially started.  We had the meeting last week for all the youth and their parents, and the feedback seemed to be generally positive.  Many people liked the new emphasis on personal development in the program, many liked how it simplified a lot , and most importantly, the boys didn’t look at Duty to God as something impossible to be attained.  If you have had the new Duty to God presentation in your ward or stake, let me know in the comments how it was received, and the general feedback of all that’s going on, as well as your additional thoughts and opinions on the new program and what it means long-term for your boys!

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Now that school is in full swing and seminary and stake dances have started gearing up, it has caused me to reflect on the summer, and many of the activities that youth participate in.  One of those is EFY, Especially for Youth, a weeklong excursion at a local university where the youth stay in separate gendered dorms and experience many of the same things at a youth conference (classes, firesides, dances, games) but on a much grander scale.  CES has been in charge of EFY since the 1980’s, and though I was a 3-year participant and at one time contemplated spending an entire summer being an EFY counselor around the entire Midwest area, I’ve developed a very passionate love/hate relationship with EFY.

However, it wasn’t always like this.

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This lesson can be found here

In sacrament meeting last week, there were a few testimonies that talked about our youth. I’ve found that when people outside of the youth program talk about the youth, they focus on 2 things:

  1. How the youth are great, strong, special, etc (which I would agree within reason)
  2. How the world is so “wicked” and how “worse off” the world is than before (kinda…I guess).

While I could make a compelling argument both for and against #2, the main focus of the testimony/message to the youth emphasizes how important it is to have the Holy Ghost with them and to learn to use that gift to discern between “good” and “bad” situations. I would focus the lesson less on the sensational stories that are passed around, and more on real-world circumstances.

I remember hearing these lessons when I was a youth, and hearing the dramatic and sensational stories of the Spirit speaking to someone, and thinking “OK, so that’s how it is.” However, even while I was on my mission it was a constant learning process. Even now, I’m still piecing together what it is, and what it isn’t, and what it feels/sounds like, and what it doesn’t.

I’m glad the lesson starts out with a hypothetical example of the “gift” of the Holy Ghost and not using it. Sensational stories don’t help, because they make the extreme look like the norm.

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FYI

This blog is still active. I’ve got about 15 drafts that I’ve got waiting in my queue to upload, but within the last month and a half I’ve been bombarded with a new calling, a new job, plus licensing and certification exams that have been occupying much of my time. My big examination is on Monday the 28th of August, and so on September 1st there will be no shortage of posts.
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This was given to a group of four 11-year olds at the Priesthood Preview held a couple of weeks ago.  I was asked to speak for 5 minutes on the Purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood and the Duties of a Deacon.  I am posting it here for anyone who might be able to take some insight from it in their own lessons.

The Purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood and the Duties of a Deacon

First, let me just say how proud I am of all you young men.  You have made a very good decision to live worthily to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, and I know your Heavenly Father is pleased with you.

When you become a Deacon, and when you are in our Deacon’s quorum, we will use the scriptures a lot.  I’m sure you’ve probably seen the Deacons eating donuts.  If you bring your scriptures 4 weeks in a row, I buy donuts.  But if you don’t, we start the 4 weeks over again.

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This lesson can be found here.

There’s a few different ways you can approach this lesson, depending on who you teach it to.  If it’s to the Deacons, this would be a good way to introduce them to not only the additional responsibilities they will have in the Aaronic Priesthood, but a good time to emphasize that you don’t regress in your responsibilities.  From what I’ve heard, when the Quorum of the 12 meet on Thursdays in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple with some of the other General Authorities, they pass the sacrament to each other (about halfway through the talk).

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2010 Mutual Theme – Joshua 1:9

Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

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