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How the Children and Youth program supports the rising generation in accomplishing the work of salvation and exaltation

Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, listens as a young woman named Delaney shares her experience with the leadership lessons on the Children and Youth website, during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the M Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo
Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, speaks about the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo
Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, invites a young woman named Kiera to share her experience with temple and family history work, during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Ut Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo
Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, speaks about the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo
A graphic outlining the responsibilities of youth, elders quorums and Relief Societies within the work of salvation and exaltation in the ward is shown during a BYU Education Week presentation by Sister Michelle D. Craig and Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt on Au Credit: BYU Photo
Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, speaks about the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah — What does gathering Israel look like? President Russell M. Nelson described four ways someone can help gather Israel: Live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, serve someone in need, invite someone to receive the gospel and help unite families for eternity.

“It’s really quite simple,” Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said in a BYU Education Week presentation on Wednesday, Aug. 18. “That is our purpose: to live, care, unite and invite.” 

Building on what Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund taught the previous day about the nobility of youth, Sister Craig and Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, led the second of four sessions on “Understanding and Implementing the Children and Youth Program.” Their class was titled “Accomplishing the Work of Salvation and Exaltation.”

Read more: Children and Youth program is not about goal setting — it’s about exercising faith in the Savior, Young Women and Young Men leaders say

“Gone are the days when adults plan activities to entertain the youth,” Sister Craig said. “We’re living in a different time, and our youth need to be prepared differently.” 

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, speaks about the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, speaks about the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. | Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

Sister Craig introduced a video clip of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaking during the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction about involving youth in the work of salvation and exaltation. Young Women classes and Aaronic Priesthood quorums now have essentially the same responsibilities in the work of salvation as Relief Societies and elders quorums — including missionary work, temple and family history work and ministering. 

Don’t underestimate the capacity of what the youth can accomplish, Elder Bednar said. When elders quorums, Relief Societies, Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women classes are “laser-beam singularly focused” on the work of salvation, “the miracles that occur in the advancement of this work in the earth will be astronomical.”

Read more: Understanding and implementing the Children and Youth program — What President Nelson has said about today’s youth

Brother Corbitt said engaging quorum and class presidencies is one of the most important aspects of the Children and Youth program. “Keep in mind, they’re not tomorrow’s leaders. They are today’s leaders. … To the extent we train them, we can help them to be effective and successful,” he said. 

He pointed to the resources for quorum and class presidencies found on the Children and Youth website, including an orientation guide and leadership lessons. 

Brother Corbitt said he and other general youth leaders have observed that as quorum and class presidencies hold presidency meetings weekly, “they are becoming more effective.”

Quorum and class presidencies help support the work of salvation and exaltation in the ward as they attend ward youth council. Members of quorum and class presidencies are also invited to attend the ward temple and family history coordination meeting and sharing the gospel coordination meeting, he explained.

Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, speaks about the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, speaks about the Children and Youth program during BYU Education Week on Aug. 18, 2021, in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. | Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

In closing, Brother Corbitt testified, “I know that the Children and Youth program is a prophetic tool. I know that it has existential value for our Church, to the extent we can implement it fully and comprehensively, and as envisioned by prophets and apostles, that the Church will go on strongly to the next generations.”  

Sister Craig added her testimony of this year’s youth theme, “A Great Work,” found in Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34

“If you have a calling working with the youth, we know that it’s not always easy, and sometimes you’re tired,” she said. “But we bear witness that you are laying the foundation of a great work and that Jesus Christ, through His grace, we will be made equal to those things that we have been asked to do.”

The class series “Understanding and Implementing the Children and Youth program” continues tomorrow, Aug. 19, with Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, and Brother Bradley R. Wilcox, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency. They will speak on “The Tool We Call the Children and Youth Program.”

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