The new year brings with it a new theme for the worldwide Mutual program. But the charge of 2007 and past themes, say the Church's general youth leaders, haven't been forgotten. Indeed, the 2007 Mutual Theme "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly" serves as a prelude to this year's motto.
"The themes have built upon one another we look for that as we are choosing them," said Young Women General President Susan W. Tanner.
Last year, "the focus was on improving our thoughts as well as the resulting actions," said Young Men General President Charles W. Dahlquist II. "That means elevating our thoughts from negative to positive; from degrading to uplifting; and from self-centered to unselfish thoughts of service and loving those around us."
By following the example of King Benjamin and his subjects found in Mosiah, the youth of the Church are becoming a covenant people. That's essential to being "steadfast and immovable," said Sister Tanner.
There are many destructive forces about, vying for the minds and thoughts of the youth of the Church, Brother Dahlquist added. But there is also much good that can elevate their thoughts and actions.
"Having worked hard during this past year to master our thoughts, 2008 is a time to stand up and be counted as one who is willing to, as President Hinckley has encouraged us, 'stand for something.' It is time to stand with Nephi and Helaman, with Esther and Ruth, with the Prophet Joseph and with Brigham Young, and with countless others who have risen above the temptations of the world and stood 'steadfast and immovable."'
The youth leaders throughout the Church can play pivotal roles in helping young men and women increase their faith in and knowledge of Christ.
The youth "have been baptized and they've made all the promises that the people of King Benjamin were making," Sister Tanner said. "I hope that this year (the youth) truly focus on the Savior. When we're focused on the Savior, it changes who we are and how we act."
To meet such a charge, the youth of the Church must have already made the decision to be steadfast and immovable long before temptation arrives, Brother Dahlquist said.
"It means that a young man has already decided to serve a mission and to keep himself worthy to serve long before he enters the mission field or even the Missionary Training Center," he counseled. "It means that a young woman has decided to be clean and pure long before she goes to the temple to be sealed for all eternity."
President Hinckley has challenged the Church's youth to find happiness and peace by standing "steadfast and immovable" amid temptation, peer pressure and potential ridicule, said Brother Dahlquist.
Christ stands as the perfect Exemplar for the youth of the Church who are eager to follow this year's Mutual theme.
"They can take His name upon them and be as He is," Sister Tanner said. "By coming to know Him and knowing that they've taken His name upon them, they can imbue those characteristics into their lives."
In 2008, Sister Tanner hopes the youth and their leaders seek inspiration from the Spirit, rather than simply following a set list of projects.
"If they do it prayerfully and think about their own circumstances and the needs of their own lives and their communities and congregations, they will come up with things that will be far more meaningful in patterning themselves after Jesus," she said.
Church leaders are anxious for the young men and women of the Church to experience joy and happiness in 2008.
"I also want them to know that they are in the constant thoughts and prayers of their leaders and that we believe in them and in what they can do and what they are becoming as they stand for truth and righteousness," Brother Dahlquist said.