Leaders of young men throughout the Church enjoy a sacred privilege and opportunity to help the boys they serve to realize and fulfill their duty to God.
That was the message emphasized at the May 10 spring training for Young Men adult leaders. The annual training originated from the Bountiful Regional Center and was broadcast via the web to congregations of Young Men leaders around the world.
Brother David L. Beck, who presides over the Young Men general presidency, called for "all hands on deck" in the Church's ongoing efforts to provide Aaronic Priesthood holders with the examples, instruction and resources they need to fulfill their sacred work and duty to the Lord.
Serving with the young men, he added, is edifying labor. "They will love you forever as you show patience and kindness and help them fulfill their duty to God."
The training included several clips from Aaronic Priesthood-themed talks from the recent general conference, including excerpts from President Thomas S. Monson and several others from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. The event was interactive. Local Young Men's leaders from anywhere in the world were invited to e-mail questions about the ins-and-outs of their callings during the two-hour training session. Several questions were then discussed during the live broadcast by members of the Young Men general board.
The training session can be viewed via the Church's youth website at www.lds.org/youth and is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Brother Beck began the training by noting the presidency's gratitude and concern for all those — parents, advisors and local priesthood leaders — called to serve young men. "We pray for you morning and night," he said.
Holders of the Aaronic Priesthood, he added, have a sacred responsibility and promise to develop priesthood "disciplines" such as being faithful and magnifying their callings. "It's important for a priesthood man to have discipline," he declared.
The recent general conference addresses of President Monson and many others demonstrated the importance of such discipline — along with the need for sacred service performed by worthy priesthood holders.
Brother Larry M. Gibson, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, focused his training on the value of Scouting and worthwhile activities for the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood. Under priesthood leadership, Scouting is beneficial "in developing testimonies and priesthood power," he said.
A lifelong Scouter himself, Brother Gibson emphasized the Church's support of the Scouting program. Scouting provided activities that support a young man's development into a man of the priesthood. Even in areas of the world where Scouting is not available, the principles found in the storied program for boys can be utilized to help young men grow and develop.
Safety, he added, is a top priority in all Scouting activities. A "safety page" is available online on the youth website to help Young Men leaders in their activity planning "to ensure that our young men are kept safe."
By utilizing the doctrine, principles and resources of the Church, youth leaders can develop the qualities in the boys they serve that were found in the 2,000 stripling warriors. Like those young warriors of the Book of Mormon, today's holders of the Aaronic Priesthood can be valiant, strong and courageous, he said.
Scouting can also help young men fulfill their Duty to God goals as they invite others to participate in uplifting and exciting outdoor activities.
Brother Adrian Ochoa, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency, spoke of the online resources found on the Church's youth website that support the Duty to God and the For the Strength of Youth booklet. Several videos are available to young men and their leaders that teach essential gospel principles. Many celebrate the actions of young men in the Church who are blessing the lives of family and friends through their service and example.
Leaders of young men, he added, need to be examples of true priesthood men. The young men of the Church need mentors that they can look up to and learn from. Personal worthiness is vital. "Our hands need to be clean...so we can be examples," he said.
Aaronic Priesthood holders live in treacherous times. There is danger about. "We need to provide [them with] the strength, examples and weapons to be able to triumphant in this time of danger," he said.
The revised Duty to God program was introduced two years ago, said Brother Beck. Since then, the program has yielded "wonderful success stories" and has blessed many young men and their families. "The Duty to God program is more than a self-improvement program...this is about doing God's work." he said.
Duty to God, he said, can be most effective when leaders make time in each Sunday quorum meeting to discuss the program and invite the boys to share their Duty to God experiences. The program should also be a regular element of Mutual and family home evening activities. The program will help young men recognize and develop the "disciplines" of the priesthood.
Brother Beck reminded the Young Men leaders that the Lord has placed them in the lives of boys. The small and simple things they do for each young man can change lives. It's "our call," he said, to serve every young man and "to have priesthood power operating through them."