John Bytheway: Power of the Aaronic Priesthood theme can change the world

What if every young man in the world could begin each day by affirming: “This is who I am, this is what I believe, this is what I will do, and this is what I will become”? 

With such knowledge and commitment, the world would change overnight.  

This is the unique privilege of being a young man in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The new Aaronic Priesthood theme is composed of five powerful paragraphs — and every young man may reflect upon these principles as he learns, ponders and internalizes its words:

I am a beloved son of God, and He has a work for me to do.

Identity: My Heavenly Father loves me, and He has a work for me to do.  I was not sent to earth to simply fill time — the Lord is not just waiting to see if I might contribute at some point.  I am not here to be a spectator. He has sent me for a reason. 

The angel Moroni told Joseph Smith that “God had a work for [him] to do” (Joseph Smith—History 1:33), and like Joseph Smith, I have a mission, a purpose and a destiny, and God will help me to discover and fulfill that mission.

With all my heart, might, mind and strength, I will love God, keep my covenants, and use His priesthood to serve others beginning in my own home.

Commitment: When it comes to the gospel, I am “all in.”  

The Lord has given me everything, and He wants my everything in return.  I am beloved of Him, and I love Him.  My covenants motivate me to be a light to the world, and my priesthood service — beginning in my own home — can expand into my circle of influence at church, at school and in my community.

As I strive to serve, exercise faith, repent, and improve each day, I will qualify to receive temple blessings and the enduring joy of the gospel. 

Focus and fruits: As I practice the first principles of the gospel, I can face the future with confidence, always grateful for the chance to repent and improve. The fruits of the gospel lead me to the most heavenly place on earth, the house of the Lord. The covenant path is a path of joy — the lasting joy that only the gospel can bring.

I will prepare to become a diligent missionary, loyal husband, and loving father by being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

My work: Important roles and important goals are milestones along the covenant path, and although I cannot know exactly how my life will unfold, I can prepare to become all the Lord wants me to become.  

I will prepare not only to go on a mission, but to become a diligent missionary; not only get married, but to become a loyal husband; not only to have a family, but to become a loving father; not only to learn about Jesus Christ, but to become a true disciple of Christ throughout my life.

I will help prepare the world for the Savior’s return by inviting all to come unto Christ and receive the blessings of His Atonement.

His work: As one who holds the Aaronic Priesthood, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have a role to play in the global work of salvation.  I will help gather Israel on both sides of the veil that others may find joy in Christ and choose to receive the blessings of His Atonement.

This theme was introduced just before the world pandemic affected our ability to gather. However, pandemic restrictions do not need to stop young men from coming to realize what a blessing it is to know who we are, why we are here, and what God expects them to become. 

Young Men General President Steven J. Lund has said: “We invite young men and their leaders to memorize the new theme. We also invite young boys in Primary to memorize it and missionaries and young single adult men to memorize it too. 

“Beyond that, we invite moms, dads, grandparents and everyone to talk about it and make it a focus in family gatherings. We know our young men will be blessed as a result.”