This is a multi-part series on my predictions for what we will see in the new LDS Duty to God handbook and program. This is a further examination of Prediction 1. Additional information about this series can be found here , in the introduction.

The New Duty to God program will be patterned similarly to the Personal Progress award for Young Women. I think we’re going to see similar “values” for the young men (or “principles,” as President Beck put it). They’re going to Learn, Make Plans, and Share. The “Sharing” part sounds like a project of some sort, and the “Making Plans” sounds like something a leader could work with the youth on (like a Personal Progress Leader/Adviser in Young Women’s).

I think this would be a FANTASTIC implementation. In my mind, the Duty to God award previously was a bit too complex and a bit too broad. It seemed as though there wasn’t any real focus. Take a look at one of the sections of the old Duty to God compared to one of the Personal Progress sections.

DUTY TO GOD (Deacons)
Citizen and Social Development (do 8 of the following)

  1. Explain to a parent or leader how to be a friend; maintain friendship; resolve conflicts between friends.
  2. Be a friend to someone who may feel left out, and invite him to a quorum or Mutual activity.
  3. Show a parent or leader how to use proper manners while eating, greeting, and introducing a speaker.

And so on and so forth.  There are 10 total activities, the young men choose 8 to complete.

Those are all good “things.” However, they are activities. And there are 12 different activities, with the boys choosing 8. In total, out of 4 sections (and 8 activities per section), the boys have 32 activities to pass off PLUS 7 family activities PLUS 7 quorum activities PLUS a service project. And that’s just for Deacons. This pattern continues every year for Teachers and Priests, plus the emphasis on the scouting program and Eagle project, PLUS whatever social lives the boys have.

I’m not saying the boys can’t do it. But it seems like they’re just crossing “things” off a list, instead of seeing the vision that President Beck points out in “…a boy transforming into a faithful priesthood man.”

Now compare the old Duty to God program against the Personal Progress program. While they do have activities, they are all centralized around a “virtue,” or principle, instead of a broad subject like Educational, Personal, and Career Development. Yes, there are activities, but again, it’s more about the individual personal progress of the young woman rather than marking activities off of a list.

First, the young women have someone called to be a personal progress adviser. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem for the young men to do this, but it’s been my experience that the young women tend to be a bit more organized. Be prepared to see a Duty to God adviser for the Young Men’s organization to keep the focus. I’m hoping it becomes a calling separate from the the quorum adviser and Scoutmaster. It needs to be separate to keep the focus, as well as to coordinate with the Young Men’s presidency and Scoutmaster to have unity in the program.

Second, I like how the Personal Progress program is set up. You have some personal things, such as reading certain scriptures, recording certain feelings and experiences in your journal, and family activities. Next, you have an option of additional value activities. These seems to be more “public” things, such as teaching lessons or organizing activities. Finally, there is a project at the end, which should be the culmination of your experience with said “value.”

From my conversations and research, I think this is how the Young Men’s program is going to be. Less focus is going to be put on “teaching your family how to play a new game or sport,” and rather on “Make your home life better” (by showing your love through your actions).

This also follows a pattern of Church learning, namely, being shown the material, learning the why in the material, and performing the material.

I’m still waiting on some sources to give any insights into the new program. Everyone I’ve talked to seems pretty hush hush on the subject, so as for now, these are my speculations.