Helping Young Men Learn to Serve Meaningfully 

News Release

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stated that men “have an essential role to play in society, at home, and in the Church.” Philip Zimbardo, a Stanford University professor who writes for Psychology Today, says we want young men “to be upstanding, proactive citizens who take responsibility for themselves, who work with others to improve their communities and nation as a whole.” But, he says, “the irony is that society is not giving the support, means or places for these young men to even be motivated or interested in aspiring to these things. In fact, society — from politics, to the media, to the classroom, to our very own families — is a major contributor to this demise because they are inhibiting guys’ intellectual, creative and social abilities right from the start.”

If that statement contains an element of truth, what can parents, teachers and leaders of young men do?

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an answer. All worthy young men 12 to 18 years of age, may be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood, a preparatory priesthood.

Presiding Bishop Gerald Causse’ remembers his training in the Aaronic Priesthood in his youth. “On Sundays I officiated at the sacrament table, served in my priesthood quorum, and functioned in various other callings. During the week I often accompanied my father and other adult priesthood holders as we home taught members, comforted the sick and afflicted, and helped those in need. No one seemed to think I was too young to serve or even to lead. For me, it all seemed normal and natural.”

He continued, “The service I rendered during those teenage years helped me build my testimony and anchor my life in the gospel. I was surrounded by good and compassionate men who were committed to using their priesthood to bless the lives of others.”

Young men holding the Aaronic Priesthood in the Kuala Lumpur District described their experiences exercising the Priesthood:

Christian Bangerter, age 15, said, “Our ward was administering the sacrament and one of the priesthood leaders noticed a sister in our ward was absent. He contacted her and discovered she was ill. I accompanied an adult priesthood leader to her home. After caring for her immediate needs, we knelt down in prayer to bless the sacrament. I believe the Holy Ghost prompted me with the thought, 'This is priesthood power in action.' And I knew it was a power I wanted in my life.”

Brendan Boyd, aged 17, added, “My family recently visited the temple. As a newly ordained priest, I was given the opportunity to baptize my brother acting as proxy for another. As I pronounced the baptismal prayer, I had a feeling of peace and felt the Spirit. Later, after having changed my clothing, one of the temple workers who had overseen the baptisms congratulated me on my performance of the ordinance. This was my first time I had exercised the priesthood to perform a baptism.”

Both of these young men were touched as they performed an ordinance in behalf of another. They felt the power for good in those experiences and those memories motivate them to remain worthy to bless the lives of others.

     

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