‘Peace in Christ’: LDS youth leaders discuss 2018 theme

Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: David Guerrero

“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:23).

Take a careful look at the latter-day scripture above which is the 2018 Youth Theme. It reads almost like a mathematical equation: Learn of me + Listen to my words + Walk in ‘the meekness of my Spirit’ = Have peace in Christ.

And like a math equation, the result promised by Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 is beautiful, absolute and unassailable. Just as 2 + 2 + 2 will always equal 6, peace in Christ is certain when one chooses to learn, listen and walk in the meekness of the Lord’s Spirit.

“We live in a turbulent time, a time when a lot of youth experience anxiety and other emotional issues, where there’s a fear in the world,” said Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president. “Where does peace lie? Where can we find peace in the world? It is found through Jesus Christ. That is a message that is extremely important for our youth to understand.”

The Young Women and Young Men general presidencies hope the coming year will be defined by youth who find true peace after following this divine pattern.

“It’s a great progression,” Sister Oscarson said. “The youth have got to find the source of peace themselves in order to make it in the world, and this is the way to do it. These are the words of the Savior, it is the Savior speaking to us, and He is saying, ‘learn of me, listen to my words, walk in the meekness of my spirit and ye shall find peace in me.’ ”

First and foremost, the 2018 Mutual Theme focuses on Christ, said Brother Stephen W. Owen, the Young Men general president.

“It’s about conversion and becoming like the Savior,” he said. “And when you become like Him, you find happiness and peace.”

Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency said, “Youth are being directed to find Christ in His words, in learning of Him so that they might really learn how to emulate Him. The peace in Christ isn’t just indicating that we believe Christ, but it really is knowing Him, knowing of Him, feeling His Spirit and walking with that Spirit.”

The general youth leaders say their “great desire” is for the young men and young women of the Church to become converted to Christ’s gospel and then live by its teachings.

“If we can get the young people to know the Savior, they will then naturally love His words and naturally follow Him,” said Brother Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 offers a peace not found anywhere outside the Lord, added Brother M. Joseph Brough, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency.

“The verse is not talking about the world’s definition of peace,” he said. “It’s talking about the calmness and comfort that we can only have in the Savior.”

Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said, “I am especially touched by the part of the scripture that says, ‘walk in the meekness of my Spirit,’ because that is often missing in the lives of youth. Meekness and walking in His Spirit leads them to peace. Even when there is no peace around, there is peace in Him.”

Brother Owen said “meekness’’ is an essential element in realizing true peace. Meekness is “strength grown tender.”

“Meekness is associated with power — and power does not come by gaining worldly things. It comes by receiving the Holy Ghost and accessing the power of the priesthood. It comes when a youth understands his or her role in the plan of salvation and helping all mankind.”

Meekness does not imply weakness, Sister Marriott added. “When I say meek I don’t mean wimpy or easily trampled over. I mean obedient and willing to bow before the Father and do His will rather than the world and its words.”

Walking in meekness is also synonymous with looking out for others, said Brother Owen. “Once again, we follow the example of the Savior, whose life was defined by service.”

Great power and peace is also found in listening to the words of God and His prophets and apostles — which are the same, added Brother Brough.

Brother Holmes said peace in Christ is a priceless remedy for the stress and fear facing young people across the globe. Today’s youth are anxious about their education, dating, future career decisions and being socially accepted. Satan thrives on such turbulence.

“But Christ gives us the recipe for peace, and that promise of peace is of great significance.”

Sister McConkie said peace in Christ comes from setting aside all of the “stuff” — worldly messages and temporal things — that have nothing to do with the glories of God.

“In focusing on Christ we allow ourselves the opportunity to feel love, the spirit, joy and peace,” she said. “Peace is not only obtained in the next life. Peace in Christ is available in this life.”

If Brother Owen and his counselors had an opportunity to meet individually with every young man in the Church, their counsel would be the same: prayerfully study the Book of Mormon and learn from its examples of servants who powerfully “walk in meekness” such as Ammon, Alma and Amulek.

The words of the scriptures and the Lord’s prophets “can’t simply be in our heads, they have to move to our hearts.”

Sister Marriott added, “These youth are going to have to recognize they can have peace in them. … The world will not give us peace and they probably will not be in circumstances that are peaceful all the time, but they can carry the peace in them as they are yoked, walking side-by-side with the Lord. It doesn’t matter where they are.”

Brother Holmes challenged the youth “to follow President Thomas S. Monson as he implores us to study the Book of Mormon, and then, as we read, ask the Lord what He is trying to teach us.”

Materials focused on the theme — including a music video, sheet music, printable images and ideas — are available for youth and leaders on the website.

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