- The new Children and Youth initiative is guided by gospel-centered principles such as relationships, revelation, agency, repentance, engagement and sacrifice.
- The gospel-centered relationships championed by the initiative offer strength to resist the world’s ever-increasing secular forces.
- The youth of the Church will find joy by engaging in and sacrificing for the cause of Christ.
The new Children and Youth initiative remains anchored to principles that help place the gospel of Jesus Christ “deep in the hearts” of children and youth.
“As we come to see these principles more clearly, we will recognize this as more than a program for members ages 8 to 18. We will see how the Lord is trying to help us — all of us — get His gospel deeper in our heart.”
The initiative’s first principle is relationships.
“We are not expected to find or walk the covenant path alone. We need love and support from parents, other family members, friends and leaders who are also walking the path.”
Loving relationships are needed to counter the pull of ever-increasing secular forces. Never forget the purpose of activities and meetings is to build uniting relationships that bring the gospel closer to the heart.
Revelation, agency and repentance also connect Latter-day Saint youth with heaven.
“To connect our hearts with heaven, we need individual spiritual experiences. Those experiences come as the Holy Ghost carries the word and love of God to our mind and heart.”
The Children and Youth initiative is defined by a central invitation: Choose to become more like the Savior by seeking the guidance of the Holy Ghost and allowing Christ to “change us into the best version of ourselves.”
Placing the gospel “deep in our hearts” also requires engagement and sacrifice.
“The Children and Youth program focuses on empowering the youth. They choose their own goals. Quorum and class presidencies are placed in their proper role. The ward youth council, just like the ward council, focuses on the work of salvation and exaltation. And quorums and classes begin their meetings by counseling about how to do the work God has given them.”
In the news:
- Along with the Young Men and Young Women general presidencies, Brother Holmes participated in a special youth night at RootsTech in Salt Lake City in February. More than 20,000 youth attended.
- In January, Brother Holmes joined other members of the Young Men and Young Women general presidencies in talking about the importance of the new ward youth council.
- In a Church News article about the new Aaronic Priesthood quorum theme in November, the Young Men general presidency explained how the theme helps bring together a worldwide brotherhood.
- Brother Holmes and the Young Men general presidency emphasized in November that camping and outdoor activities would continue in the new Children and Youth program.
- He and Sister Michelle D. Craig of the Young Women general presidency spoke to the Church News in October 2019 about the alignment of youth curriculum with “Come, Follow Me” at home, in seminary and in Sunday school.
About the speaker:
- Brother Douglas D. Holmes was sustained as first counselor in the Young Men general presidency on April 4, 2015. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a counselor in a stake presidency.
- He served as a young full-time missionary in the Scotland Glasgow Mission and later as president of the Michigan Detroit Mission.
- Brother Holmes received a master’s of business administration from Brigham Young University and is self-employed as an investor and developer.
- He married Erin Sue Toone on June 22, 1985, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of six children.