Note: In our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), members of different ages are given opportunities to speak in the main service called Sacrament Meeting. On this day, Josh was asked to speak on the church's pamphlet, For the Strength of Youth. The booklet contains guidance for young people in maintaining high moral standards in today's world. The following text is what Josh prepared at home before he spoke at church.
For the Strength of Youth (Church Talk)
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I was asked to talk on a topic related to the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet. As I was pondering on what I section I should choose to speak about, I felt that I should address on the guide as a whole.
Living in the land of Uz during the Old Testament was a man named Job. We read about how God favored Job for his trust in the Lord, "a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God." The Lord gives Satan leave to tempt Job with afflictions to his animals, his family, and to Job himself. Yet, Job remains strong and praises and worships the Lord.
Looking into the now, we have it easy, don't we? We don't have temptations like Job had. Or do we?
We are living in the fullness of times, when temptations are at its all time high. We need to learn how to, first off, recognize that we are being tempted by the devil, and to be able to consciously make the decision to cast Satan out of our minds and to follow the commandments that are set forth in our religion. But how can we learn to do this? How can we learn what is expected of us?
We have been blessed to have been given the opportunity to each one of us have this For the Strength of Youth pamphlet given to us by the First Presidency of the Church. With it, we can have the power to resist temptation and to make our homes and communities a better and more spiritual place.
But are we living it up to our potential? Is there still contention and confusion in our very own area? Does it seem like this spiritual guide is not being executed fully?
Is simply owning a copy of For the Strength of Youth pamphlet going to make a difference? Is it only for teens anyway? This pamphlet is only useful if it is read, and pondered on with an open, humble heart, and with a desire to fulfill our duty to God.
You can compare it to fine-tuning a musical instrument. As many of you know, I am in the symphonic band at the junior high school. I play the euphonium, or baritone, which is pretty much a mini tuba. Anyway, when we warm-up and tune as a class in band, the band director instructs us to pull out the tuning slide, which is a part on all band instruments that I am aware of. As temperatures change, the metal shrinks or expands, thus, there is a different pitch. Pull in or out the tuning slide, and it changes the size of the tubing to compensate to exact concert Bb. As I was saying, he tells us to pull out our tuning slides a couple inches, expecting to be wrong, or incorrect, then listening closely to the band room tuner and our own tone as we slowly move our slide in, until the sound matches. Often, we like to assume that our tune is perfect and silently refuse to consider ourselves sharp and to take the effort of changing until the tune is exact.
Now, back to For the Strength of Youth. We need to study and approach each standard with humility and a willingness to change if we are to improve. We need to consider the fact that we might be wrong in some areas, and that Satan is trying to make us think that we are justified or that we aren't doing anything wrong at all.
The temptations to Job in the Bible are similar to what we have now. We also have many others with the advances in technology like the Internet. We can all use For the Strength of Youth pamphlet to strengthen our individual souls, and to one day be made glorious like Jesus Christ. Satan wants us to think that we won't be cool or esteemed, but people will have respect and will look up to you like you couldn't believe. You will be blessed with earthly miracles, but more so for the next life if only we believe and cast our burdens and faith on Christ.
I encourage all of you, to study this with faith and humility as a family. If all of us apply these standards in our lives, we personally will be happier, and everyone else in this world will benefit, and may feel the spirit inside of us and come to an understanding that this is the Church of Christ.