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Promoting Peculiarity—Different Editions of For the Strength of Youth

By Brent D. Fillmore

Brent D. Fillmore, “Promoting Peculiarity—Different Editions of For the Strength of Youth,” in Religious Educator 8, no. 3 (2007): 75–88.

Promoting Peculiarity—Different Editions of For the Strength of Youth

Brent D. Fillmore

Brent D. Fillmore was a manager at Church Educational System Communications when this was written.

 

The adjective peculiar is used in the scriptures to describe the Lord’s covenant people. After the children of Israel left Egypt, the Lord instructed Moses to tell them, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5–6; emphasis added).

Over time, Moses’s people would be peculiar and would become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation only as they obeyed God’s voice. They were not to become odd, eccentric, or strange—although their obedience to His laws would make them different from the world. They were to become peculiar, which meant in both Hebrew and Greek, “property, wealth, private property, which is laid up or reserved; .. . select, precious, endeared; something exceedingly prized and [diligently] preserved.”[1] They were to become His own treasured property. But to what end? For what purpose? Certainly they were not just supposed to be treasured for the sake of being treasured. Then and now, God wants His covenant people to be peculiar so they can do something. They have a mission they cannot fulfill unless they are His people—purified, preserved, peculiar, and thus owned by Him.

Something can be owned in at least three ways. (1) It can be created. The creator thus owns the creation. (2) It can be purchased. The buyer thus owns the item that was bought. (3) It can be given to another. The receiver thus owns the gift. Thus, for a people to become owned, they would need to be created, purchased, or given. Each of these exchanges is addressed in the covenant relationship between God and man. The first two happen automatically. First, we were created by Him. Second, He has “bought” us through the Atonement, as the Apostle Paul taught: “[He] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Third, as we willingly cede our will to His, we quite literally give ourselves to Him.[2] So a covenant people very literally can become the peculiar “property” of God.

Such a pure, peculiar people (see D&C 43:14; 100:16) would have ready access to the influence of heaven and would thus have increased capacity to “bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations” (Abraham 2:9). They would be more able to assist “all the families of the earth [to] be blessed . . . with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11). “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6). As they choose to become a holy people, He chooses them as a special people unto Him—chosen to assist Him in His work.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that in all ages, “[God] gave revelations, wisely calculated to govern them in the peculiar situation and circumstances under which they were placed, and to enable them by authority to do the peculiar work which they were to perform.”[3] As the living prophet in his day, Moses “sought diligently to sanctify his people” (D&C 84:23). He gave guidelines[4] that would help his people become peculiar. In our day, living prophets also seek diligently to sanctify God’s people. They have provided similar guidelines to God’s covenant people in our day with the same purpose—that of helping them be peculiar so they can assist in His work. The teachings contained in the different editions of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet are an example of how this is done in our day.

A Brief History of the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet

The Church has published nine editions of For the Strength of Youth[5]—1965, 1966, two in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1990, and 2001.

For the Strength of Youth, 1966-70.  

Early Editions: 1965–72

In the first seventy or so years of the twentieth century, the youth program of the Church was carried out by the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Associations (YMMIA and YWMIA). In the 1960s, a series of posters were generated with full-color illustrations called “Be Honest with Yourself.” These included such admonitions as “Virtue Is Its Own Reward,” “Great Men Pray,” and “Temple Marriage Is Forever.” Wallet- and purse-sized reproductions were distributed to the youth of the Church. In 1960, Church leaders launched the Era of Youth, an insert for youth in the monthly Improvement Era.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism notes: “An elaborate June Conference was held in 1969, with many foreign countries represented. An early morning reception on Temple Square was followed by banquets, dance festivals, musicals, dramatic readings, road show presentations, camp training in the nearby mountains, athletic seminars, and testimony meetings.”[6]

At this time, a committee representing several organizations at Church headquarters[7] worked together to prepare the first edition of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet printed in 1965. The First Presidency approved the publication, [8] encouraging priesthood leaders to “familiarize themselves with the information in this book and [to] create an opportunity to distribute it in order to inform the youth and their parents of its contents. . . . A copy in the hands of every young person in each ward and branch will help them set higher goals and standards by which to live.”[9]

In keeping with the concerns of the times, the 1965 edition contained headings on dress, manners, dating, dancing, and clean living. The headings Propriety in All Things and Literature, TV, and Entertainment were added in 1966. The text under Literature, TV, and Entertainment read: “Youth should rigidly and energetically resist at all times, unclean stories, jokes, reading or printed matter, salacious films, objectionable TV programs, immodest or degrading advertising, and immoral material in any form. Such material is an affront to right living and clean thinking and must be rejected wherever one comes in contact with it in social experiences, in entertainment, or in school. Youth must assert themselves in making choices and demanding only that which is uplifting.”

Further explanations were provided on choice of music: “Moderate and modest music should always be played. When electronic bands or instruments are used, an extremely loud beat is discouraged because it is inconsistent with church standards. Musical lyrics should always be in good taste and sung in a dignified way.” Guidelines on acceptable and appropriate dancing and dance planning were included.[10] In the 1972 edition, two First Presidency statements previously printed in the New Era were added to the sections on “Dress and Dating.”[11]

      

For the Strength of Youth, 1972, front and back.  

Significant adjustments in Church organization and practice took place in the 1970s and 1980s.[12] Partly responsible for these changes was the eighteen-year gap between the publication of the 1972 edition and the 1990 edition. But this was a gap in publication, not in message. President Spencer W. Kimball became the President of the Church in December 1973. His teachings were used more and more extensively after he became President of the Church.[13] He taught extensively about chastity, modesty, cleanliness, and so forth. The Church began to expand even more over the earth, and missionary work, temple work, and growth in membership leapt forward.

President Ezra Taft Benson became the President of the Church in November 1985. At his clarion call, the Book of Mormon began to flood the earth. The construction of temples continued. President Benson spoke in conference and in other settings to targeted audiences. These addresses were published and distributed in pamphlet form.[14] The Young Women’s motto, “Stand for Truth and Righteousness,” and the logo, a torch with the profile of a young woman’s face, were introduced.

As the Church grew throughout the world, the influence of the adversary also grew. And with that influence, the ever-increasing need for greater peculiarity grew. It became clear that a concise statement of standards would be very helpful to the members of the Church. Efforts to put such a resource together had been ongoing during this time. The teachings of the prophets and others given during these years, together with organizational adjustments, provided a firm basis upon which a new edition of the pamphlet could be written.

1990 Edition

Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president, explained why the next edition was published in 1990: “The title For the Strength of Youth is not new. It was previously published in 1965 under the direction of the First Presidency. But because of the trend toward immorality and other ills in society and also because of the expansion of the Church into new geographical areas over the years, a more comprehensive, more explicit statement of Church standards was needed.”[15]

Elder Jack H. Goaslind, then Young Men general president, elaborated: “In the world our youth are growing up in, it’s easy, with all the media influences, for them to get a feeling that maybe the Lord has changed or softened on this or that. It’s easy for youth to think that maybe what was wrong when Mom and Dad were growing up isn’t wrong now, because there’s so much of the wrong going on. Youth are exposed to so much evil today. I think this pamphlet is an attempt to let them know that the Lord’s standards are the same now as they were when Mom and Dad were growing up, even though conditions were different in the days of Mom and Dad.”[16]

The changes were many and significant, and the new edition was nineteen pages long. There were sections with the following headings: “Why Standards”; “Dating; Dress and Appearance”; “Friendshipping”; “Honesty”; “Language”; “Media: Movies, Television, Radio, Videocassettes, Books, and Magazines”; “Mental and Physical Health”; “Music and Dancing”; “Sexual Purity”; “Sunday Behavior”; “Spiritual Help”; “Repentance”; and “Conclusion: Worthiness and Service.”

Standards were emphasized from the scriptures and were cited directly. The pamphlet was made available in eighteen languages, and local Church leaders were instructed to distribute the pamphlets to each young person (ages twelve to eighteen) in their wards or branches and to the parents of all youth. Young men and young women graduating from Primary were to receive the pamphlets as they entered the Young Men and Young Women programs. It was also recommended that the pamphlet go to all college-age Latter-day Saint students and to youth of high-school age.[17]

The First Presidency again emphasized the idea of peculiarity: “You are not just ordinary young men and women. You are choice spirits who have been held in reserve to come forth in this day when the temptations, responsibilities, and opportunities are the very greatest. You are at a critical time in your lives. This is a time for you not only to live righteously but also to set an example for your peers. As you seek to live the standards of the Church, you will be able to reach out and lift and build your brothers and sisters. . . . You will be fit and pure vessels to bear triumphantly the responsibilities of the kingdom of God in preparation for the second coming of our Savior.”[18]

2001 Edition

For the Strength of Youth, 2001.

Media became an even stronger force for good and evil in the 1990s. The availability of magazines, movies, music, news, and so forth was greatly expanded. VHS tapes, DVDs, cable television, and the Internet provided access to a myriad of good and evil influences to more and more people. The adversary’s use of these items and their accessibility made the challenge to be peculiar even more difficult for God’s covenant people. Once again the prophets spoke. Once again the message was clear: Be different from the world. Be holy.

The 2001 edition of For the Strength of Youth incorporated a subtitle, “Fulfilling Our Duty to God.” The pamphlet was forty-four pages long. Included within it were four pictures of the Savior, a picture of the Salt Lake Temple, and various pictures of youth in a variety of settings. The cover had a picture of the three eastern spires of the Salt Lake Temple on a blue background. The text was updated to incorporate more teachings from Church leaders.[19] At the end of the pamphlet was the January 2000 statement, “The Living Christ, The Testimony of the Apostles,” as well as the September 1995 statement, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

The pamphlet had the following section headings: “Agency and Accountability”; “Gratitude”; “Education”; “Family”; “Friends”; “Dress and Appearance”; “Entertainment and the Media”; “Music and Dancing”; “Language”; “Dating”; “Sexual Purity”; “Repentance”; “Honesty”; “Sabbath Day Observance”; “Tithes and Offerings”; “Physical Health”; “Service to Others”; and “Go Forward with Faith.” Each section heading had a scripture quoted and referenced beneath it. There was a deliberate focus on principles that provide a universal application of the standards contained in the pamphlet.[20]

The 2001 edition was published in connection with several other pieces of Church literature for youth. Efforts by the general Young Men and Young Women presidencies again coincided as the Personal Progress, Young Womanhood Recognition, and Duty to God programs were more fully correlated and promoted. The pamphlets of these programs matched each other in size, look, and feel, and all had the temple as their emblem. Both of these programs are based on standards set forth in For the Strength of Youth. A companion publication, True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, was also made available.

The message from the First Presidency in the 2001 edition was emblematic of the idea that a peculiar people would be protected from the world, would become holy, and would thus be enabled to fulfill their mission:

Our beloved young men and women, we have great confidence in you. You are choice spirits who have come forth in this day when the responsibilities and opportunities, as well as the temptations, are the greatest. You are at the beginning of your journey through this mortal life. Your Heavenly Father wants your life to be joyful and to lead you back into His presence. The decisions you make now will determine much of what will follow during your life and throughout eternity.

Because the Lord loves you, He has given you commandments and the words of prophets to guide you on your journey. Some of the most important guidelines for your life are found in this pamphlet. We testify that these principles are true.

We promise that as you keep these standards and live by the truths in the scriptures, you will be able to do your life’s work with greater wisdom and skill and bear trials with greater courage. You will have the help of the Holy Ghost. You will feel good about yourself and will be a positive influence in the lives of others. You will be worthy to go to the temple to receive holy ordinances. These blessings and many more can be yours.

We pray for each of you. May you keep your minds and bodies clean from the sins of the world so you can do the great work that lies before you. We pray that you will be worthy to carry on the responsibilities of building the kingdom of God and preparing the world for the Second Coming of the Savior. . . .

When you do these things, the Lord will make much more out of your life than you can by yourself. He will increase your opportunities, expand your vision, and strengthen you. He will give you the help you need to meet your trials and challenges. You will find true joy as you come to know your Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and feel their love for you.[21]

Peculiarity—Ancient and Modern

The Lord has always helped His covenant people to be peculiar by providing teachings and guidelines to help them fulfill His plan for them. The teachings and guidelines contained in the various editions of For the Strength of Youth help the Lord’s covenant people today to become peculiar in much the same way ancient teachings and guidelines helped ancient peoples. These teachings serve to protect modern Saints from the onslaught of the world. These teachings provide assistance in the process of becoming holy. As His covenant people choose to obey, they enter into a partnership with Him and become His—preserved, purchased, precious, purified, powerful, peculiar.

And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory. (1 Nephi 14:12–14)

Giving heed to the teachings of the living prophets will assist God’s people to be armed with righteousness and with power. Doing so will cause them to become “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” They will then “shew forth the praises of him who hath called [them] out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9; emphasis added).

 

Notes


[1]. William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1978); cited in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003), 124.

[2]. “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give,’ brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!” (Neal A. Maxwell, in Conference Report, October 1995, 30; or “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,” Ensign, November 1995, 24).

[3]. Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 1:277; emphasis added.

[4]. These included the Ten Commandments, laws pertaining to integrity and godly conduct, various feasts and other ways to remember the Lord, donations of property, building the tabernacle, cleanliness and appropriate dress of Aaronic Priesthood holders, Sabbath day observance, repentance and forgiveness, caring for the poor, laws about what to and what not to eat and drink, how and when to enter holy places, warnings not to be worldly, warnings about various evil practices, warnings about the worship of false gods, warnings about adultery, warnings about homosexuality, warnings about spiritualism, and warnings about other abominations. (See headings to many chapters in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.)

[5]. See Jared A. Jepson, “A Study of the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet, 1965–2004,” masters thesis, Brigham Young University, 2005. Brother Jepson performed an exhaustive analysis of the various editions together with interviewing many of those involved in the development of the text.

[6]. In Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 4:1618. Stake youth conferences held in the month of June were initiated to reinforce dress and dating standards and to stress morality.

[7]. “The general officers of the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Associations, together with the Brigham Young University and the Church School System and a large group of representative youth of the Church” (introduction, 1965 edition).

The superintendent of the YMMIA from July 2, 1958, to October 6, 1962, was Joseph T. Bentley, with assistants Alvin R. Dyer, G. Carlos Smith, Marvin J. Ashton, Verl F. Scott, and Carl W. Buehner. From October 6, 1962, to September 17, 1969, the superintendent was G. Carlos Smith, with assistants Marvin J. Ashton, Carl W. Beuhner, and George R. Hill. From September 17, 1969, to June 25, 1972, the superintendent was W. Jay Eldredge with assistants George R. Hill and George I. Cannon. The title was changed from superintendent to president, and from June 25, 1972, to November 9, 1972, President W. Jay Eldredge had George I. Cannon and Robert L. Backman as his counselors.

The president of the YWMIA from April 6, 1948, to September 30, 1961, was Bertha Stone Reeder, with counselors Emily Higgs Bennet and LaRue Carr Longden. From September 30, 1961, to November 9, 1972, the presidency consisted of Florence Smith Jacobsen, with counselors Margaret R. Jackson and Dorothy Porter Holt.

[8]. The signatures of David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown, and N. Eldon Tanner followed the introduction. The 1966 edition included the signatures of Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson, who had been appointed as additional counselors in the First Presidency by President David O. McKay in October of 1965. The 1972 edition included the signatures of Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and N. Eldon Tanner.

[9]. Introduction, 1966 edition, 2.

[10]. The program encouraged youth committees to determine proper music, types of dancing, dress standards, and so forth. It also included a two-paragraph statement from President David O. McKay: “Many of the young people of our Church do not have any evil intentions in dancing current fad dances. However, we think the test of a proper dance is not whether the dancers have evil intentions, but whether the dance is of such dignity and propriety that, even to an onlooker, it suggests nothing but style and good grace. After all, young men and women of our Church should shun even the appearance of evil, and that is why we would very much prefer that you avoid the current trend of what, to many of us, appears to be vulgar dancing. There are too many fine things in this world for the young people to engage in without resorting to dances that are questionable. I hope that you will follow my advice by dancing in accordance with the standards described. You will find that when you accept these standards you will get much more joy and wholesome satisfaction than you do from the questionable dancing engaged in by many” (For the Strength of Youth . . . LDS Standards).

[11]. “The Church has not attempted to indicate just how long women’s or girls’ dresses should be nor whether they should wear pant suits” (“Policies and Procedures,” New Era, August 1971, 50). “We have advised our people that when going to the temple they should not wear slacks or miniskirts, or otherwise dress immodestly. We have not, however, felt it wise or necessary to give instructions on this subject relative to attendance at our Church meetings, although we do feel that on such occasions they should have in mind that they are in the house of the Lord and should conduct themselves accordingly” (Priesthood Bulletin, June 1971).

Under the heading “Dating,” two sentences that had been in the previous editions were replaced: “There should be no dating before the age of sixteen. Up to this time, social life should be limited to group activities.” These sentences were replaced by four new paragraphs taken from the New Era:

No dating activities should be planned for the Beehive girls and deacons (Scouts) in the programs of the Church. Supervised activities are planned for these young people to socialize together, learn the basics of dancing and the social graces, etc., as a foundation for future dating.

Mia Maid girls and teachers (Explorers) have many activities of a social nature planned for them, both in their school and Church programs, which they should enjoy in groups. They should avoid boy-girl single-dating relationships.

When young people enter senior high school (approximately Laurel, priest-Ensign age), they may appropriately date with the consent of their parents, who are the best judges as to whether they are mature and responsible enough for this kind of young-adult experience. It is generally advisable that they double-date with friends. Outside of the United States, where school terminology differs—after girls have been in the Mia Maid class two years and boys in the teacher-Explorer class two years—they may appropriately date with the consent of their parents, if customs of the country permit.

Youth should observe the policy of their social group (school and Church groups) and observe standards of dating for their particular group, provided that such standards meet the standards of the Church. This policy is for the protection of youth during their early teen years, allowing them to learn and develop adequately before assuming responsibilities of maturity. (“Policies and Procedures,” January 1971, 30)

In the 1990 edition, age-specific counsel on dating was updated: “In cultures where dating is appropriate, do not date until you are sixteen years old. Not all teenagers need to date or even want to. Many young people do not date during the teen years, because they are not interested, do not have opportunities, or simply want to delay forming serious relationships. Good friendships can be developed at every age” (p. 7).

[12]. Among these were the following:

§ In the early 1970s, a correlation program was introduced to integrate the efforts of many Church departments. The production of curricular materials and programs began to be centralized, and the responsibility for training began to shift to local priesthood leaders.

§ President Harold B. Lee organized the Aaronic Priesthood Mutual Improvement Association under the direction of the Presiding Bishopric to provide leadership to the general Young Men and Young Women leaders.

§ The First Quorum of the Seventy was organized in 1975.

§ In February of 1977, it was announced that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would oversee ecclesiastical matters and that the Presiding Bishopric would oversee temporal affairs of the Church. As a part of this change in structure, the Aaronic Priesthood MIA was replaced by the general Young Men and general Young Women presidencies. These leaders served for the brief period between November 9, 1972, to June 23, 1974. The Young Women leaders were Ruth Hardy Funk, Hortense Hogan Child, and Ardeth Greene Kapp. The Young Men leaders were Robert L. Backman, LeGrand R. Curtis, and Jack H. Goaslind. President Backman (currently president of the Jordan River Temple) recalls that when President Lee called him to serve, President Lee said that he was being called to “prepare the young men of the Church for [the] Second Coming of the Savior” (interview with the author, October 2006). His presidency was released from these positions by President Spencer W. Kimball eighteen months later: “On June 23, 1974, the Aaronic Priesthood MIA was dissolved and was replaced by the Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Women directly under the stewardship of the Presiding Bishop. In April 1977, it was renamed the Young Men, and both it and the Young Women came under the direction of the Priesthood Department” (Deseret News 2001–2002 Church Almanac, 105).

§ Beginning in October 1979, the presidency of the Young Men was composed of members of the Seventy.

§ Area conferences were held throughout Central and South America.

§ On June 8, 1978, a revelation was announced extending priesthood blessings to all worthy male members of the Church.

§ In September 1979, a new edition of the King James Version of the Bible was published with Latter-day Saint study aids.

§ On March 2, 1980, it was announced that ward meeting schedules would be consolidated.

§ In September 1981, a new edition of the triple combination was published.

[13]. Examples include The Miracle of Forgiveness (1969), Faith Precedes the Miracle (1972), and President Kimball Speaks Out (1981), which included teachings of President Kimball that had been published in Church magazines. It included chapters on morality, testimony, missionary work, service to others, profanity, personal journals, tithing, administration to the sick, and planning your life. He also frequently spoke to and taught audiences at Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, and Utah State University.

[14]. To the Youth of the Noble Birthright, To the Young Women of the Church, To Young Men of the Priesthood, To the Fathers in Israel, To the Mothers in Zion, To the Home Teachers of the Church, To the Elderly in the Church, To the Children of the Church, To the Rising Generation, To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church, To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church.

[15]. “The Lord’s Standards Haven’t Changed,” Ensign, September 1991, 7–8. This article is a transcript of an Ensign interview with then Young Men general president Elder Jack H. Goaslind and then Young Women general president Ardeth G. Kapp.

[16]. “The Lord’s Standards Haven’t Changed,” 7.

[17]. “The Lord’s Standards Haven’t Changed,” 7.

[18]. For the Strength of Youth (1990), 3–4.

[19]. Many of the ideas presented by President Gordon B. Hinckley in his November 12, 2000, “A Prophet’s Prayer for Youth,” fireside were incorporated into the text.

[20]. It is instructive to examine the teachings in the 2001 edition. Note that there are particular statements of principle and practices based on those principles:

Section

Principles

Practices​

Education

“Education will help you to be an influence for good in the world. . . .

“Education is an investment that brings great rewards” (9).

“Be willing to work diligently and make sacrifices to obtain learning. . . .

“Maintain an enthusiasm for learning throughout your life” (9).

Honesty

“When you are honest in every way, you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to God and others. You will be blessed with peace of mind and self-respect. When you are honest, you will be trusted by the Lord and by those around you. . . .

“Be honest in your job, giving a full amount of work for your pay.

“Don’t rationalize that wrong is right, even though many people around you may think there is no harm in being dishonest” (31).

Dress and Appearance

“Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.

“Prophets of God have always counseled His children to dress modestly. The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others and influence the way you and others act. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and can exercise a good influence on those around you.”

“Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. . . .

“Do not disfigure yourself with tattoos or body piercings. If girls or women desire to have their ears pierced, they are encouraged to wear only one pair of modest earrings.

“Show respect for the Lord and for yourself by dressing appropriately for Church meetings and activities, whether on Sunday or during the week. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask your parents or leaders for help” (14–16).

[21]. For the Strength of Youth (2001), 2–3, 42.