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Monday, October 29, 2012

MMM Mail 3: Today's Young Men

We received the following question from Whitney, author of the blog The Life of a Mormon Teen.

Q: What do you think today’s young men need to know?

A: Ben Johnson

No one likes a preachy old man so I am going to deviate a bit from the original request. Instead of telling young men what they need to know, I'll tell the young men what I wish I would have known when I was their age.

1 - High school doesn’t matter as much as you think it does, despite 40000 clichéd movies that say otherwise.

2 - Girls in high school don’t matter as much as you think they do. I don't say that to demean the girls. I mean that if you don't go to every dance or get every date it doesn't matter. You'll live. Older girls are better anyway. They have more money …

3 - A mission can affect you for the rest of your life. Prepare for it and use the service you give for a foundation to build your life on. The people you serve with might be doofuses but that doesn't mean the gospel isn't true.

4 - Your parents are wiser than you think they are. Sure, they're old and they wear socks and sandals (at the same time), but that doesn't mean they can't give good advice.

5 - Learn to save money while you are young. It will make it that much easier when you get older and money is more important.

There are about a thousand other things I wish I would have done differently but those are the top five. Look, have fun while you are young and enjoy life. Pretty soon you will look back and wonder where all the time went. But if you lay a foundation while you are young you will be much better off later on down the road.

A: Scott Heffernan

1 - Be kind to people.

2 - If you make a mistake, repent and move on. Don't get wrapped up in shame. You are good and godly, even if you don't feel like it or act like it all the time. Choose to focus on your deep goodness, rather than your superficial imperfections.

3 - If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or praiseworthy, seek after it.

4 - Be confident enough in your beliefs that you don't need to put others' down. Apply this to yourself as well. Be comfortable enough with yourself that you don't feel threatened by others. Try to build your self-esteem. Self-confidence is attractive.

5 - The church is part human and part divine. Be forgiving of the human side and honor the divine side.

6 - People are part human and part divine. Be forgiving of the human side and honor the divine.

7 - Don't get caught up on minutiae. Focus on the basics of the gospel: love, forgiveness, compassion, empathy. Cultivate these traits within yourself.

8 - Church can be boring. God is not boring. The Earth is fascinating. Seek out spiritual experiences both inside and outside a church setting.

9 - You don't have to be a robot to be a Mormon. The church needs diversity. Be yourself. Don't let people tell you there is only one way to be a Mormon.

10 - The world, the church, and people are not black and white. Life is complex. Have some grace with people and institutions.

11 - Read the four Gospels.

12 - Be happy. God wants you to enjoy your life. Seriously.

A: Saint Mark

I don't think I could say it any better than President Packer did in 1976. I think what he said then is even more important today. He didn't mince words or pull his punches, which is quite impressive considering this talk is 36 years old. Even though his talk is entitled To the Young Men Only, I think a lot of it can apply to Young Women, too. If you are looking for insight and answers about how to best deal with being a teenager, President Packer has the answers. I wish I had had this counsel when I was a teenager.

A: Seattle Jon

1 - Surround yourself with family and friends who love you for who you are, but who also challenge you to be your best self.

2 - Become a well-rounded individual.

3 - Learn to appreciate spirituality and find a place for faith in your life.

4 - Do things that you'll both remember for the rest of your life and want to share, because your children will ask you for your stories.

5 - As your immature belief falls away or is questioned, don't reject religion but use it as a refining influence to find and foster new belief. (David O. McKay)

6 - Don't sit on the sidelines when you have an opportunity to slow dance.

A: Pete Codella

Growing up, I was always in the religious minority. I grew to really enjoy and appreciate the time our family spent at church, in mutual and involved in Scouts with other young men in our ward. Those guys were my closest friends. I intuitively understood that being a member of the LDS Church, and holding the priesthood, made me different. I always tried to live up to that privilege and opportunity. Today's youth are confronted at an even younger age with tough life choices. Knowing who you are and the purpose for which you're here on earth will help you make and keep important promises. Whether or not your friends have your same values, deciding now what kind of young man and man you want to become will help you maintain your resolve even in tempting circumstances. Have fun and learn all you can from your leaders and advisers. Choose good role models and pattern your life after their choices. Your future is very bright. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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