When earnestly seeking truth — eternal, unchanging truth — choices become much clearer, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught in the Saturday morning session of October 2022 general conference.
To help youth learn these truths and make inspired decisions, the Church has prepared a new resource — a revised version of “For the Strength of Youth,” Elder Uchtdorf announced during his talk directed to the rising generation.
“The best guide you can possibly have for making choices is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the strength of youth,” he said. “So the purpose of ‘For the Strength of Youth’ is to point you to Him. It teaches you eternal truths of His restored gospel — the truth about who you are, who He is and what you can accomplish with His strength. It teaches you how to make righteous choices based on those eternal truths.”
The new guide, subtitled “A Guide for Making Choices,” focuses on gospel principles, agency and inspiration. It is now available digitally in English and 49 additional languages at Youth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Youth section of Gospel Library.
What does the new guide ‘For the Strength of Youth’ guide look like?
For over 50 years, “For the Strength of Youth” has been a guide for generations of Latter-day Saint youth, Elder Uchtdorf explained. “It has been updated and refreshed, to better cope with the challenges and temptations of our day.”
Each topic has three parts:
- Eternal truths, or doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Invitations to act on those truths.
- Promised blessings that the Lord offers those who live by His teachings.
At the end of each topic are questions and answers as well as related scripture references and temple recommendation questions.
Topics include “Jesus Christ will help you,” “Love God, love your neighbor,” “Walk in God’s light,” “Your body is sacred” and “Truth will make you free.”
The topic “Love God, love your neighbor,” for example, explains that God has given His children commandments because He loves them and wants to help them make good choices. Youth are invited to show love for God by keeping His commandments from him, treat everyone as a child of God and make sure language reflects love of God and others. Promised blessings are a deepened relationship with God and others.
Questions for further study include “Does the Lord expect me to love everyone, even those who treat me badly?” “When and how should I get to know members of the opposite sex?” and “What can I do if my home is not a place of love?”
Related temple recommend questions include following the teachings of the Church in private and public behavior, keeping the Sabbath day holy and paying tithing.
“’For the Strength of Youth’ is bold in declaring the doctrine of Jesus Christ,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “It is bold in inviting you to make choices based on Christ’s doctrine. And it is bold in describing the blessings Jesus Christ promises those who follow His way of him.
A principle-based approach
The new guide “doesn’t make decisions for you,” Elder Uchtdorf told the youth. “It doesn’t give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ about every choice you might ever face. ‘For the Strength of Youth’ focuses on the foundation for your choices. It focuses on values, principles and doctrine instead of every specific behavior. …
“I suppose the guide could give you long lists of clothes you shouldn’t wear, words you shouldn’t say, and movies you shouldn’t watch. But would that really be helpful in a global church? Would such an approach truly prepare you for a lifetime of Christlike living?”
Through His prophets, the Lord has been guiding His Church and His people in that direction, Elder Uchtdorf said. He cited President Russell M. Nelson’s invitations to “increase [our] spiritual capacity to receive revelation,” “hear Him,” and follow Him in higher and holier ways.
“Is it wrong to have rules? Of course not,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “We all need them every day. But it is wrong to focus only on rules instead of focusing on the Savior. You need to know the whys and the hows, and then consider the consequences of your choices. You need to put your trust in Jesus Christ. He will lead you the right way. He is your strength.”
The principle-based approach of the revised “For the Strength of Youth” guide is consistent with other recent initiatives, including “Preach My Gospel,” ministering, the home-centered “Come, Follow Me” curriculum, the Children and Youth program, “Teaching in the Savior’s Way” and the new General Handbook.
What the general youth leaders are saying about the new guide
Referencing Proverbs 3:5-6, Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon said: “All year we have studied about trusting in the Lord. This guide gives us a remarkable opportunity to act on what we have learned. To trust in Him, in His doctrine of him and in our covenants. To choose to act on that understanding and ‘lean not’ unto the world. And then to experience that extraordinary promise — that we can and will be guided in all that we do.”
Young Men General President Steven J. Lund added: “We are asked to be ‘a light into the world,’ as the Lord gathers Israel this last time in preparation for his return. The ‘For the Strength of Youth’ guide can help as you seek inspiration about how your unique divinely appointed purposes can best be fulfilled through your life and lifestyle decisions. Being known as God’s ‘peculiar people’ is a compliment. It may mean standing out from the crowd as you say through your choices whom it is you follow.”
What youth and leaders are saying about the new guide
The Herriman Utah Pioneer Stake was one of the early adopter stakes of the new “For the Strength of Youth” guide. Chrissy Probst, Young Women president in the Pioneer 6th Ward, said one of the things that she stood out to her was the trust and confidence that Heavenly Father has in the youth.
“I also was really deeply touched, as both a parent and a leader, by the section [of the First Presidency message] that says: ‘There may be times when you don’t feel strong and capable. That’s normal.’ … I think it’s just very validating to know that those feelings are normal. And the very next sentence is,: ‘Especially in those moments, turn to the Savior. He is the strength of youth.’
“We hear the phrase ‘for the strength of youth’ all the time,” she continued, “but to have that so eloquently placed, that it’s the Savior that is the strength of youth, was really meaningful.”
Adam Wilkerson, 16, of the Pioneer 6th Ward, immediately noticed the emphasis on the Savior in each topic. He said the section titled “Jesus Christ will help you” resonated with him.
“It talks about how Jesus is there to help you and strengthen you, and that repentance isn’t punishment — it’s the way that we become free from sin,” he said. “And it really gets the point across that Jesus is always there for us when we need Him, and we’re not being forced into repenting, but He’s just inviting us to.”
For 12-year-old Taylor Robbins of the Pioneer 2nd Ward, reading the new guide “has really helped me connect with God and build a stronger testimony of how He’s there for me and He’s cheering me on.”
Lyndsee Glauser, Young Women president in the Pioneer 2nd Ward, said she hopes the youth can see why making good choices and aligning themselves with the Savior will ultimately lead them to a happier life.
“I think it will carry them through, so that when things are hard, they will be rooted in Christ, and they’ll be able to remember the things that they’ve learned,” she said.
Copies of the new guide were handed out to attendees as they left the Conference Center after the session.
Throughout the rest of 2022, printed copies will be shipped to units worldwide to distribute to all youth in the Church. Additional copies of the guide may be ordered from Store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism