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Thoughts on new Children and Youth Initiative?

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A few things come to mind for me. First, I agree with some of what Anddenex and ScottyG said. This is absolutely a part of a sifting process, just like Come Follow Me. And those who follow counsel are indeed obvious. The children and youth program is simply the next step. Those who follow the prophet's counsel will experience blessings, and those who don't will, regrettably, be spiritually left behind. This is a part of adding oil to our lamps. I serve in a certain stake position, and I assure you Come Follow Me, and adherence to it, or not, is a common point of discussion and worry. The same for the new children and youth initiative.

Becoming more spiritually independent is a pattern that began at least as far back as when Preach My Gospel came out. Gone were the days of memorizing discussions word for word, and instruction was to be more spirit-led. Then similar changes came to youth Sunday School lessons, then Gospel Doctrine lessons, then of course Come Follow Me. We are being led line upon line to better, or more closely follow the spirit. I see it as similar to Moses raising the brazen serpent. "What do you mean, if I follow these silly instructions, I, or my family, will be healed/protected? Pffft!" In a sense we have a front row seat to the Law of Moses being superseded by something better. Quibble about policy vs. doctrine, but the changes we are seeing are not arbitrary, and are necessary.

The new children and youth initiative, as I said, is the next step in this progression. We are being prepared, both for obvious challenges such as the world growing more and more wicked, and our need to better qualify for the guiding influence of the spirit for yet unseen dangers and challenges. President Nelson said as much a year and a half ago. I also agree with Traveler that the day ‘may’ arrive where we will have to do it on our own, at least for a while. Think of the 10 virgins. Think of the warning to be spiritually prepared. "In the coming days we will not be able to survive spiritually ..." Imagine the necessity of qualifying for, recognizing, and following the spirit if it’s just up to us. That would not be the time to start figuring out how the spirit, or power in the Priesthood, operates.

Although parents have always had the responsibility to teach the gospel to their families, there is now more onus for us to insure it happens. Come Follow Me, and this new initiative bear this out. As an example, a close reading of what is and isn't in the new youth program may suggest mutual is going away:

Support for the youth in regard to gospel study-

Home-Centered: Prayer, Scripture study, Home evening, Sabbath Day, Family History. 

Church-Supported: Sabbath instruction, Seminary.

I can almost hear some members now (well, in January), "In MY day we had all these programs to help us. Road shows, Church softball and basketball, Duty to God, Faith in God, Young Woman's medallions, Scouting, and Mutual. How are we ever going to provide our youth the support they need to have a chance in this wicked world? What are our leaders thinking!?" In reality, what program or check-list can ever match the sacred right parents have to claim revelation for their children? In the end, we are either led by Christ through prophets, seers and revelators, or we are not. To whom much is given much is required, but don't forget to whom much is required, much is given!

As an addendum, don't be surprised if we hear something new about sisters this coming weekend. 😉

Edited by Wilderland

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1 hour ago, priesthoodpower said:

This is the new model in general, the church realizes that they no longer have the same micro control overs its members. The irony is that there have always been philosophers through out time that taught that the power of God is within us all. "Self-sufficient, home centered, at ur own pace", is all signs that we need to discover that power within us (within the teachings of the gospel) rather than rely on a church leader to tell us if we are worthy or not.

I agree with part of what you are saying. Too many in the past have used the Church as their crutch to lean against without developing their own spiritual legs to stand upon. But true spiritual self-reliance is not about enabling us to step away from the Church but to move closer to it, to become a support instead of a burden. The ultimate end of self-reliance is the development of individual ability to be consecrated to the Church and its mission to build the kingdom of God. So the true irony of self-reliance is its goal of helping us become one rather than separate.

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1 hour ago, Anddenex said:

This new program really doesn't have anything to do with the Church "micro" managing its members. I have never felt "micro" managed by the Church. By some members, sure, not the Church.

Thanks for clearing that up, that is exactly what I meant. The "Culture" of our religion, or any social organization where a group of people gather, is going to have this element of judging and controlling in it whether it come from a member in the group or a leader.  

In my own home I am guilty of micro controlling my wife (at the time) and daughters with the way they dress, what they watch/listen to, who they hang out with etc... My rules in the home are based on the standards and values of the church. This is a reason why my daughters are frustrated with me and have lost interest in the church. My two oldest are 16 and 12 and I no longer force them to attend church, two hours before church starts on Sunday I announce that they should get ready, when the time comes only me and my 9 yr old are out the door.

About 5 yrs ago I remember our stk representative saying in a WC meeting that "we are losing our youth", and the solution coming down from SLC at that time was the come follow me curriculum which made the class lessons more interactive/involved hoping that this would keep the kids interest. Fast forward to today and we are talking about the classroom being the secondary source of learning. To me it sounds like we are saying "ok, ok we no longer are able to control our youth and get them in the class room, parents its your responsibility and your home is the primary place for gospel learning". I would argue that we are moving the goal posts (culturally not doctrinally) because ever since I have been a member from birth the chapel (church, seminary, scouts) was our primary source of gospel learning.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

...The problem though, not the Church, is that members were relying on the Church to teach their children.These programs are to help us more fully recognize our responsibility as parents, and the responsibility our children have to learn on their own also.

We have sinned as a Church then. Why? let me explain, because culturally we have gotten away from it and now Pres Nelson is steering us back in that direction.

In the 1960's there was only one stake in this town and my Grandfather (my dads dad) was on the stk presidency (we now have 5 stks). There was a LDS family in the area that took family home evening to the next level, they had extended family, friends and neighbors over for a gathering every month. They shared gospel discussion but more importantly they ate, sang and enjoyed each others company. Upon hearing rumors of these saints gathering my grandfather and the rest of the stk presidency became concerned that they were getting too big and there may be signs of apostasy. The head of that household was called in to meet with the stk presidency and told to stop the gathering or he would be excommunicated.

This is the form of control that my generation has grown up with under the church. Maybe that's why we relied on the church to teach us because they wanted to make sure they controlled the message, the process and the behavior? Maybe it did not start off like this under Joseph Smith but over the years it developed into it. I think it was a year ago I read an article on lds.org where we are now encouraged to worship with other saints in our homes. 

Funny thing is that the head of that household that was told to stop his gatherings had a son that ended up being the temple president years later, he also had a granddaughter that ended up marrying my dad, yes she was my mom. I can assure you that the group was not apostatizing, they were just ahead of their time.

  

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5 hours ago, priesthoodpower said:

We have sinned as a Church then. Why? let me explain, because culturally we have gotten away from it and now Pres Nelson is steering us back in that direction.

In the 1960's there was only one stake in this town and my Grandfather (my dads dad) was on the stk presidency (we now have 5 stks). There was a LDS family in the area that took family home evening to the next level, they had extended family, friends and neighbors over for a gathering every month. They shared gospel discussion but more importantly they ate, sang and enjoyed each others company. Upon hearing rumors of these saints gathering my grandfather and the rest of the stk presidency became concerned that they were getting too big and there may be signs of apostasy. The head of that household was called in to meet with the stk presidency and told to stop the gathering or he would be excommunicated.

This is the form of control that my generation has grown up with under the church. Maybe that's why we relied on the church to teach us because they wanted to make sure they controlled the message, the process and the behavior? Maybe it did not start off like this under Joseph Smith but over the years it developed into it. I think it was a year ago I read an article on lds.org where we are now encouraged to worship with other saints in our homes. 

Funny thing is that the head of that household that was told to stop his gatherings had a son that ended up being the temple president years later, he also had a granddaughter that ended up marrying my dad, yes she was my mom. I can assure you that the group was not apostatizing, they were just ahead of their time.

  

A couple things. I don’t believe for a second that the church was intentionally trying to control the Saints. And in the case of your grandfather, I am almost positive it is church policy to not allow “church gatherings” like bible study or group FHEs to gather without the presence of a bishopric member present, I remember wanting to form a bible study group a few years back and it got shot down. My reaction to it after being explained the reason of needing a church leader present was “of my goodness that makes perfect sense”. If one person in that group is spiritually sick, it can spread like the flu. Without a spiritual healer present, it could lead to apostasy. Not that it WILL, but it was a policy to protect the saints. Now I actually do prefer this change to allow us to gather, but the original policy made sense. Lastly, someone turning out to be a temple President is not cause reason to say “they should have been allowed to break policy because obviously they are so righteous the rules didn’t apply.”

But I do believe this is a fantastic shift, the youth program. Looking back on my life, the gospel was discussed and talked about almost entirely at church. Fast forward to my life now, I have through my own self interest and by the grace of God developers a life style where the gospel is learned, discussed and spoken almost entirely at home and supplemented at church. For many, the 2 (once 3) hours of church were their spiritual highs for the week. What it needs to be is a little bump on our spiritual graph and an opportunity to share what we have learned and strengthen each other. 

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12 hours ago, priesthoodpower said:

I would argue that we are moving the goal posts (culturally not doctrinally) because ever since I have been a member from birth the chapel (church, seminary, scouts) was our primary source of gospel learning. 

This to me highlights the different ways people can live out faith while being in the same church.

For me (from birth to today), the chapel has NEVER been the primary source of Gospel learning.  The Gospel was/is something to be lived 24/7.   The best learning happened in your metaphorical closet- private moments with God.  Always been told to read my scriptures, pray, and have been enriched when done so.  My family growing up was admittedly not very diligent in having formal Family Home Evenings or scripture reading, but I always knew where everyone's faith was and we could talk about anything whenever.  On Sunday morning, you'd hear people tell their stories about how they were impacted by God throughout their lives and it was a structured time for that sharing... or (more commonly) you'd somewhat ignore them and think about things with God in your own life.  

 

It's just interesting how people can have such different experiences.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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As I listened to the 48-minute video it reminded me of why my wife and I decided to home-school.

Both of us had been public schooled, but we wanted something different for our family. We called it: "Learning is a Lifestyle" and that became our philosophy and motto. Everywhere we went, and everything we did was an opportunity to learn. The classroom never ended. It was very successful and our children have grown into hard working well-rounded adults. Academically most of them earned full-ride scholarships to college so it worked well in that area too.

If I were to name this new program I would call it "Gospel Learning is a Lifestyle" and it would have fit into our home learning philosophy perfectly. When our kids were young we would often have family home evening five, six, or seven days a week. The one thing we wanted was a home-based seminary program that we could use, but because we didn't live in a remote area the Church would not allow us to use the existing home curriculum for seminary.

It seems to me that the natural extension of this new home-centered, church supported Gospel program would be making the seminary program home-based as well. It would be a major change but I guess we will see. I taught Seminary and I loved it, but it is definitely a major disruption to family life in the mornings.

So, bottom-line is that I am super excited for this program because it fits perfectly into my views on life and education! :twothumbsup:

Edited by clwnuke
grammar

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A while back I met a guy in my stake that worked for the Church statistics department.  One thing I learned is something I already kind of knew.  Even though revelation is and essencetial, Saints are encouraged to be invested in operations.  Kind of like the brother of Jared given the task to come up with an idea to light the ships with not windows.  The church leaders work very hard to learn and add insights.  During one of my opportunities to learn from my friend in the Church stats dep. told me of the results of several studies conducted by the Church.  I will summarize some of the elements I remembered:

1. In order for a ward to function and be successful there must be at least 5 "Power" families.  

2. A power family is a family with stable parents committed to each other and children - all (or most all) active in the church and willing to accept calling.  It is also a social family that gets along well with neighbors (especially other church members) and the kids are also likeable and friendly within the ward social circles.  

3. Power families are likely to not only help other families to remain active but have an influence of resolving disputes between others families.

4. The biggest surprise is that the number 1 requirement for defining a power family - is not regular scheduled family prayer, family home evening and scripture study.  The number 1 most important element is that the family has regular activities of fun for the whole family and that the family enjoys being together.  

 

The reason I bring this up; can be summarized by a talk I once heard where the speaker defined family home evening as a family argument opened and closed with prayer.  Sure there is a little humor but one of the reason for the focus on family is for the purpose of families having fun and learning to enjoy being around each other.  So I will make a prediction.  The new program for youth will fail or fall short in those families that do not know how to have fun together.  Likewise the families full of fun and enjoyment - will find that very little changes or appears to change with the new program.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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20 hours ago, Traveler said:

  So I will make a prediction.  The new program for youth will fail or fall short in those families that do not know how to have fun together.  Likewise the families full of fun and enjoyment - will find that very little changes or appears to change with the new program.

The Traveler

So in other words this change will accomplish nothing? Well that's a rousing vote of confidence. I agree that many families who struggle today will likely struggle tomorrow, regardless of any changes that take place but we shouldn't underestimate the quality of youth the Lord is sending to the earth. We hear it said by the brethren all the time and I don't think they are empty platitudes either. There will be many amazing individuals who come out of less than ideal family situations. Of course the impact of having a supportive family can not be overstated but with good youth leaders I think there will be many youth, if given the proper tools, who will emerge from less committed families and become stalwarts in the kingdom of God. 

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2 Thoughts:

1.) Filipinos and lots of Filipinos!!!

2.) The feminists are not gonna remember anything out of the video except the one time the Young Men President interrupted the Young Women President.

🤡

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On 10/5/2019 at 8:56 AM, laronius said:

So in other words this change will accomplish nothing? Well that's a rousing vote of confidence. I agree that many families who struggle today will likely struggle tomorrow, regardless of any changes that take place but we shouldn't underestimate the quality of youth the Lord is sending to the earth. We hear it said by the brethren all the time and I don't think they are empty platitudes either. There will be many amazing individuals who come out of less than ideal family situations. Of course the impact of having a supportive family can not be overstated but with good youth leaders I think there will be many youth, if given the proper tools, who will emerge from less committed families and become stalwarts in the kingdom of God. 

My father started out after college as a school teacher.  I remember he was telling me about his students, that regardless of how easy or difficult he made his course that there would always be some students exceed what was required to do exceptionally well and learn lots and some fail mostly because they did not do what was asked.  But then he stated that it was always the same students that would fail and the same that would exceed the requirements.  I remember well he would ask me - what kind of student I was.

I have learned that those that complain, find shortcomings and do the minimum that they must will likely fail.  Those that find fun, excitement and joy are more likely to be those to exceed what is asked and will have success.  But you are so - so very right - those with a poor attitude will likely find that the changes will accomplish nothing.

 

The Traveler

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There are some good replies to this thread. Just to be quick.
I think the goal setting idea is a great way of trying to teach the youth to be self motivated. This allows them to act, expands agency, and focuses them on change. (Faith, Repentance....)

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12 hours ago, Crypto said:

There are some good replies to this thread. Just to be quick.
I think the goal setting idea is a great way of trying to teach the youth to be self motivated. This allows them to act, expands agency, and focuses them on change. (Faith, Repentance....)

Goal setting sounds like a great idea but let us not confuse goal setting with asking what everybody wants to do.  My experience with young men running their activities will most likely result in playing basketball and geeks skipping activities.  Let me state this another way with the example of white water rafting.  Put 10 kids in a raft and letting them loose on a river without experience against class 3 and class 4 hydraulics is not only foolish but dangerous.  Telling everyone to exercise their agency will likely end with onone understanding agency nor learning to love their neighbor.   Kids that know how to accomplish something through discipline - sure they have a good chance at setting goals.  But when I was a scout master I had kids show up for overnight hikes and camping that had never made their own bed.

The best way to lose kids in a gospel lesson is to ask them what they think of a given gospel subject.

Now I want to point out something interesting - guess what the most common denominator of exceptional learners of any subject?  More than skill or intelligence - it is that they had a mentor.  The first lesson of a mentor is to teach discipline.  For some reason the world teaches that the first characteristic of an exceptional producer is the free spirit (the person with discipline).  No skill is ever accomplished - no intelligence ever improved and no one happy with any accomplishment without discipline.  Jesus called his followers disciples (which has the same root meaning as discipline).  The less an individual or team is disciplined the more likely that they will be discouraged and accomplish little.  The more they are disciplined the more likely they will be happy and confident and capable of setting and accomplishing goals.  

The great trick is teaching discipline without taking over and telling the student what to do - it is the difference between leading by example or being a disciplined mentor or lecturing.  I do not remember the person giving the talk about convincing the kid to not eat too much sugar - but the lesson was that the mentor could not teach what they were not doing.  It looks to me that the new program for youth is really more of a program for the adults.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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10 hours ago, Traveler said:

Goal setting sounds like a great idea but let us not confuse goal setting with asking what everybody wants to do.  My experience with young men running their activities will most likely result in playing basketball and geeks skipping activities. 

To misquote a scripture, "the geek shall inherit the earth."  Over the last 8-10 years, I've noticed basketball and other sports becoming less and less popular for young men activities and geeky activities becoming more and more popular.

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55 minutes ago, dprh said:

To misquote a scripture, "the geek shall inherit the earth."  Over the last 8-10 years, I've noticed basketball and other sports becoming less and less popular for young men activities and geeky activities becoming more and more popular.

A little story - I am a known cyclist (with a few others) in my area.  I was invited to come to our ward YM to talk about a cycling activity.  I came - with my bicycle and talked the YM into a 500 mile cycling activity.  I will not go into all the details (including  all the parent opposition) but the bottom line was that I sold them the activity.  The activity included several weeks and months of preparation to be fit and ready for the 500 miles in one week.  I promised them that they would forever see the world differently than what they were used to seeing from the window of a car as they traveled.

On our first 25 mile ride - I lost control of a few boys that took off on their own and ran a red light.  I ran them down and knocked them over which upset some parents.  My response was that I did not know how else to get them home without them getting themselves in danger and killed.  I also reminded them that learning cycling (including in traffic) for the YM was initiated by the YM.

We ended up with more YM going that initially planned - several from outside the ward and inactive.   They learned to work together and draft one another - they learned to eat correctly to have enough fuels to last day after day for an extended ride.  Not one boy has ever said they regretted going on the ride.  To this day a large number have told me it is the most outstanding accomplishment of their life - including one kid that is now 100% inactive (they are adults now).  Every one of them remembers the ride and thinks I am among their best friends - including the few I knocked down and to which I have remained closer than most.

Sometimes people (not always youth) need to learn what they want to accomplish.

 

The Traveler

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On 10/7/2019 at 9:44 AM, Traveler said:

 

Sometimes people (not always youth) need to learn what they want to accomplish.

 

The Traveler

I think this is probably true, I need to learn this. Please teach me!

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On 10/17/2019 at 1:15 PM, Alemmedial said:

I think this is probably true, I need to learn this. Please teach me!

Perhaps the first thing is to think on what ought to be accomplished.

I will show you, perhaps a way to begin once a particular accomplishment has been determined.  Whenever you begin an important task (of our own choosing or one brought by circumstance) or the first thing to start your day - present yourself to G-d in prayer and explain to him what it is you would like to accomplish (be as detailed and specific as you can).  Then explain all the steps you plan to accomplish your chosen task.  This will likely take some thought and preparation.  Before you end your prayer ask G-d for his approval and assistance.  Sometimes even before your prayer is ended your intended accomplishment or steps will change.

Then, when your day or important task has completed (or reached an important milestone) - Approach your G-d again in prayer and honestly review with him how things went, what your impressions are and what you think you learned.  Be open about what you think went wrong or failed as well as what seemed to work.  Review what you think you learned.  Again asking for understanding, approval and guidance that G-d would add to your impressions.  

It seem that G-d wants me to try things on my own before teaching me what it is that I missed and what it is I ought to accomplish.

 

I started this process many years ago when I was young single and dating.  It got quite difficult to explain to G-d that my plan was to kiss some girl and ask for his assistance and approval.  Sometimes it was very difficult and embarrassing to explain what I did or what happened when the date was over.  It took me over a decade to learn how to properly court a lady in dating and over 46 years how to be a better husband, father and grandpa - and I am still learning and changing my desired accomplishments.

 

The Traveler

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