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.

Elder Russel M. Nelson

– Talked a lot about missionary work (reflecting the theme this morning from President Monson)

– Also included his desire for more worthy missionaries

– Every member a missionary

– 1 Pet 3:15 – be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

– We may be the first ones, be ready to invite them to church.

– He then stressed the new, where you can make a personal profile (“Facebook” style or Social Network style)

My thoughts

– The number of missionaries must be an issue.  I’ve heard rumors bandied about that the number of full time missionaries is decreasing, with various reasoning.  Some blame it on the new stringent rules of the missionary program before they leave, some blame it on apathy, some blame it on the actual number of eligible future missionaries being down, but whatever the case, it appears to be an issue.

– The new website for with profiles, plus the new ad campaign (“I’m a Mormon”) really has me wondering what the “End Game” for this is.  There have been lots of people who have tried to get in on the “social network” craze, and many have failed.  So is thechurch wanting to set up their own social network a la Facebook for it’s members?  Are they wanting to connect members?  Are they wnating people not of our faith to come and see the different types of members and say “Oh, I’m kind of like that,” or “Oh, they’re normal people just like me,” or is the church hoping for us members to look at the vast variety and say “there must be room for all of us.”  I don’t know.

President Henry B. Eyring

– Told a great story about Deacons and their responsibilities

– “Somewhere in the world this week, there will be a deacon asked by his quorum president to invite a member of their quorum whom they have never seen to a meeting. The thirteen-year-old president is not likely to use the words “warn, exhort and teach” to the boy he was sent to invite. But that is what the Lord expects of the deacon assigned to go to the rescue.

To the deacon who receives the call, I will make three promises. First, as you pray for help the Spirit will calm your fears. Second, you will be surprised that you know what to say when you get to his home and during the walk with him to the church. What you say may seem jumbled to you. But you will feel that words were given to you at the moment you needed them. And, third, you will feel the approval of the Lord who called you, through your president, whatever the outcome.”

My thoughts

– From the liveblogger at ByCommonConsent who posted the updates, “[I love this. I think there may be nowhere on earth where 13-year-old boys are valued as partners in work of such significance, where they are seen for the magnificent beings they are (at least when they’ve showered).]”

President Thomas S. Monson

– Made many allusions to the Aaronic Priesthood/youth, but here’s the one thought that was specifically directed at them: “Everything has consequences. Some have little to do with salvation, others have everything to do with it.  If it’s a green or blue shirt? It doesn’t matter.  But pushing a key on your computer, that takes you to pornography, can make all the difference. That’s a step off the path.  Drugs are a detour from which you may not return.  Whether 12 or high priests, we are susceptible.”

My thoughts

I was suprised both at President MOnson’s address as well as the lack of attention on the youth.  There were al ot of good concepts and ideas, ones that can be applied both to youth as well as adults.  But with the ever-changing landscape of the youth culture in the world, especially in America, I think some counsel for youth today, specific counsel would have been welcomed.  It was either last year or 2 years ago President Monson referenced “sexting,” which was becoming a prominent problem among teenagers.  Again, what was said both by President Monson as well as the other leaders wasn’t bad advice.  But I would have liked to have heard some more direct counsel to the young men.

I think that President Eyring’s focus on the Deacon President was very touching, probably because when I was involved with Deacons I had a president like that who was willing to do anything for his fellow Deacons.  It was a touching story about how many of us that work with the youth are just awed by what they do, and what they can become.

Have any of you set up your profiles on the new yet?  And what do you think the overall goal of the site is?  I’d love to get more information and feedback from people on what they’ve seen/heard, and their overall impressions on where the Church is going with this current project.