There is an admonition and a promise in the 2007 Young Women and Young Men Mutual theme, said Susan W. Tanner.
Quoting the theme taken from Doctrine and Covenants 121:45, "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God," the Young Women general president explained that virtue includes sexual purity but also emphasizes "moral strength and valor. I think of virtuous thoughts as being charity and gratitude and forgiveness, kind of like the 13th Article of Faith: 'We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men....'
"This year we'll talk about standards," Sister Tanner continued in an interview with the Church News. "We'll emphasize strength and moral excellence and the promise. Our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God."
For this purpose, the Young Women general presidency, which includes Sister Tanner's counselors, Julie B. Beck and Elaine S. Dalton, will use the Mutual theme as the theme for the upcoming Young Women general meeting, scheduled for March 24.
To prepare for that event, Sister Tanner said she hopes young women throughout the Church will do the following:
- Memorize the theme from Doctrine and Covenants 121:45.
- Be familiar with the 13th Article of Faith.
- Memorize the words to the hymn, "As Zion's Youth in Latter Days."
- Read the "For the Strength of Youth" booklet and circle all references to the Spirit.
As youth have virtuous thoughts and live virtuous lives, said Sister Tanner, they'll come to this reality: "I can have the Spirit to be with me."
The opposite of virtuous thoughts takes one on a downward spiral, she emphasized, "and when you're on the downward spiral you're more subject to Satan's temptations and deceits. Examples would include impure thoughts as well as depressed or discouraged thoughts. When you go with negative thoughts, you feel worse. 'I'm no good. I'm a failure."'
Being virtuous, Sister Tanner said, invites the Spirit of God and builds confidence in the presence of God in one's life.
And she has seen this firsthand in the lives of youth throughout the Church as she has traveled in her capacity as Young Women general president most recently in Chile.
"As I go around I'm amazed at the universality of the problems. The problems the young women face seem to be similar (regardless of culture). One of the biggest challenges is the wickedness of the world. They have to really work on having virtuous thoughts."
This is especially challenging without the support and righteous example of family and friends, Sister Tanner added. Many young women, including in Chile, are the only active Church members in their families.
That being said, however, Sister Tanner said she was touched and lifted by the examples these young women are setting. "It was almost breathtaking to see the light in the countenances of these girls. They know the truth and they are living the truth. They're going to bring their families around (to the gospel). I saw this in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Russia. I saw it throughout Europe."
These young people are, as President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, the "one bright shining hope of the Church," Sister Tanner added.
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