Quotes on Youth
May I suggest that this Church is not idly named. We are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These are the latter days; this is the final dispensation of time, and the programs of the Church are all moving toward a sort of finalization or culmination. There is an urgency as never before about what needs to be done; and be sure of this, what needs to be done will be done on schedule, we hope by those initially foreordained to the task. But just as surely as night follows the day, if we choose not to accept our station, or if we grow weary along the way, placing less important things first, there will be substitutes raised to take our place, that the Lord’s time-plan and ultimate purposes will not be thwarted.
Youth of Zion, stand up and be counted, have the courage of your convictions, and whatever you do, don’t allow someone else to be a substitute for you in the kingdom of your Heavenly Father. — Elder Robert L. Simpson, “Youth of Zion, Stand Up and Be Counted!” Improvement Era, December 1963, p. 1101
And I would just like to leave a word of counsel to the young women of the Church, that a lot of young men in this Church have done very good things with their lives because young women in this Church wanted them to. — Elder Jeffrey Holland, Church News, July 9, 1994
In a time of departure from safe moorings, may youth of the noble birthright carry on in the traditions of their parents and grandparents. They are subjected to the sophistries of Satan. Help such youth to stand firm for truth. Open wide to their view the gates of learning, of understanding, of service in thy kingdom. Bless them with a lengthened view of their eternal possibilities. — President Howard W. Hunter, Dedicatory Prayer of the Bountiful Utah Temple, January 8, 1995
For nearly 6,000 years God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. While our day will be comparable to the days of Noah when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. God has saved for the final inning some of the strongest children who will bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that’s where you come in. For you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. All through the ages the prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes upon us. Make no mistake about it, you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time as of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized. Now is the great day of the devil’s power with the greatest mass murderers of all time living among us. But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power with the greatest number ever of priesthood holders on the earth, and the showdown is fast approaching. — President Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Address, 1979
We are particularly proud of our youth. I think we have never had a stronger generation of young men and women than we have today. For the most part they are true to the faith of their forebears. Surrounded by forces that would pull them down and tremendous pressures to pull them away from time-tested virtues, they are going forward with constructive lives, nurturing themselves both intellectually and spiritually. We have no fears or doubts concerning the future of this work. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Statement to the news media on March 13, 1995, when he became the new President of the Church, Church News, March 18, 1995
You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others.
I do not suppose that any of us here this day will be remembered a thousand years from now. I do not suppose that we will be remembered a century from now.
But in this world so filled with problems, so constantly threatened by dark and evil challenges, you can and must rise above mediocrity, above indifference. You can become involved and speak with a strong voice for that which is right.
You cannot simply sit in your laboratory or your library and let the world drift along in its aimless way. It needs your strength, your courage, your voice in speaking up for those values which can save it. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Devotional, Sept 17, 1996
I firmly believe that the finest young people that have ever lived in the history of the entire Church are with us today. The great majority are pioneers on the move in righteousness and truth. Most of our youth are true to the faith despite conditions of the day and are avoiding the temptations and subtleties of misconduct that tempt them on every hand. (See D&C 138:55-56.) — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, General Conference, October 1989
I would like to formulate . . . a series of challenges to youth:
1. That you prepare for usefulness.
2. That you serve with faith.
3. That you walk in virtue.
4. That you marry for eternity.
— President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Challenge from Vietnam,” Improvement Era, June 1967, p. 53
In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it – you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized. Now is the great day of the devil’s power. But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number ever of priesthood holders on the earth. . . .
For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. Some individuals will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head – even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. That is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “In His Steps,” Church Educational System Devotional, Anaheim, California, 8 February 1987; see Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 104-105; see also Ensign, April 1987, p. 73
Look to the Lord and not to the world for your ideas and ideals about men and women. For, my young friends, you are the mothers, fathers, and leaders who were reserved for this unprecedented time because our Father knows you, and He knows you have what it takes to face the world and to be fearless in building the kingdom. Do it together, for it is not good for man or woman to be alone. Lift each other, and together you will be able to lift the beautiful burdens of mortality and have glory added upon your heads forever (see Abr. 3:26). The Lord must have righteous men and righteous women to build His kingdom. I know that this is so. — Sheri Dew, “It Is Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 14
This is the season when so many of our youth show such remarkable strength and capacity and resolve to do the right thing. How marvelous is the generation with which you deal. We have never had a generation its equal in all of the history of the Church. They are better education. They are more familiar with the scriptures. I believe they pray with a greater measure of faith, have a greater desire to do the will of the Lord, are more active in the Church, go into the world as better prepared missionaries, and live to become better parents. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Challenging Time – A Wonderful Time,” Satellite Broadcast to CES instructors, February 7, 2003; Ensign, August 2004, p. 23
I remember Elder Maxwell making a statement that greatly impressed me. He said, “The youth of this generation have a greater capacity for obedience than any previous generation.”
He then indicated that his statement was based upon a truth taught by 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.” (Journal of Discourses, 11:230) — Elder David A. Bednar, “Things as They Really Are,” CES Fireside, BYU-Idaho, May 3, 2009
Reserved by the Lord for this time, [the rising generation] must now be preserved . . . and prepared for their special moment in human history! They have been held back to come forth at this time, but now they need to be pushed forward to meet their rendezvous. . . .
Youth are not unlike prospective converts. There are those critical moments when their souls begin to tilt – toward the Lord or away from Him. These moments of decision cannot always be created, but when they occur, they must not be wasted. More often than not, these moments will occur in quiet and reverent conversation with parents, grandparents, a bishop, an adult leader, or a righteous peer. (Neal A. Maxwell, “Unto the Rising Generation,” Ensign, Apr. 1985, 8, 10.) — Visiting Teaching Message, Ensign, October 2009, p. 69
. . . I remember Elder Maxwell making a statement that greatly impressed me. He said, “The youth of this generation have a greater capacity for obedience than any previous generation.”
He then indicated that his statement was based upon a truth taught by President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901), First Counselor in the First Presidency: “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.” — Elder David A. Bednar, “Things as They Really Are,” Ensign, June 2010, p. 24
Truly, my dear young friends, you are a chosen generation. I hope you will never forget it.
I hope you will never take it for granted. I hope there will grow in your hearts an overpowering sense of gratitude to God, who has made it possible for you to come upon the earth in this marvelous season of the world’s history. — President Gordon B. Hinckley
“It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve. “Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord – not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation” (October 2011 general conference). — Church News, Viewpoint, “A Sense of Urgency,” June 24, 2012, p. 16
To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say: “Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation. You have a monumental work to do, underscored by that marvelous announcement President Thomas S. Monson made yesterday morning. Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The First Great Commandment,” Ensign, November 2012
The Lord is in his heaven, and all is right with your world if you keep his commandments. . . . You Latter-day Saints, the youth of the noble birthright, if you can say, as Martha said, “Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world – if you can say that and know that he is in his heaven, and you believe that with all your soul, you will not be trapped in the pitfalls of life.
I can say to you young people that I know – as did Martha in that flash of testimony – I
know that he is up there. He is there, and he is closer to this church than you have any idea that he is. He is the resurrection and the life. And though you were dead, yet shall you live. As he lives, you shall live. If you believe in him, you shall live in everlasting life, as one who has won the fight and has kinship to him who gave his life that men might be. — President Harold B. Lee, “Be Loyal to the Royal Within You,” BYU Devotional, September 11, 1973
You are now laying a foundation in the bloom and beauty of youth and in the morning of your days to step forth upon the stage of life to act a conspicuous part in the midst of the most important dispensation and generation in which man has ever lived.
And I can say in truth and safety that the result of your future lives, the influence which you will exert among men, and finally your eternal destiny for time and eternity, will in great measure depend upon the foundation which you lay in the days of your youth, the manner in which you store your mind and cultivate while young. — The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 265-266
In a time that we have been told would be much as in the days of Noah, we must help our young to learn how to make right choices, to grow in justified self-esteem, especially when they can be under the direct influence of the home, where family love can make repentance both possible and significant. The environment of our young outside the home and Church will often be either empty, so far as values are concerned, or contain ideas that contradict the principles of the gospel.
It seems clear to me that the Church has no choice – and never has had – but to do more to assist the family in carrying out its divine mission, not only because that is the order of heaven, but also because that is the most practical contribution we can make to our youth – to help improve the quality of life in the Latter-day Saint homes. — President Harold B. Lee, “Preparing Our Youth,” Ensign, March 1971