Thursday, September 12, 2013

To the young men

This is the "lecture" I would really like to give to our Teachers quorum this Sunday:

"I want to talk to you guys for a minute. Something happened this week that I can't stop thinking about. We had several young men show up here on Wednesday night, but most of you weren't here, and none of the leaders were either. Now, I know the plan was to go up to the lake to help P---- with his Eagle project. I wasn't able to go up so I don't know what actually happened, but those who did go went up earlier than your usual meeting time.

"The problem is, not everyone knew what was happening and came here instead, expecting an activity. One of those who was here was N----. From what I could tell, he was rather upset that nobody let him know what was going on. The more I have thought about it, I believe that N---- will be making a very important decision in the very near future. On the one hand, he can keep coming to this thing we call "Scouts," hoping that somebody will be here and there is a plan to do something fun. On the other hand, he can give up on all of this because he thinks that those who he thought were his friends don't really care about him after all.

"See, we have a tendency in the church to talk about our weeknight activities during quorum meeting on Sunday, and whoever is here then knows what is going on and can make it and everyone else is left in the dark. Sometimes, if we think about it, we talk to a few others who weren't there to let them know, but I'm afraid that doesn't happen very often. That has got to change.

"Now, I know we need to re-organize your quorum presidency. There has been some confusion about who should be leading. I am sorry for that. That is my responsibility and I am working on it. I had hoped to have that taken care of by now, but things haven't worked as well or as quickly as I would have liked. We are close, however, and that might help solve some of the problems. Hopefully, having a quorum presidency in place and actively meeting each week will improve the situation.

"In the mean-time, however, we need to figure out a way to make things work. When you are sitting in your quorum meetings and talking about your upcoming activities, do any of you think about who isn't here? Do any of you step up and volunteer to talk to N---- or C---- or any of the other guys who aren't here and let them know what the plan is? I would hope that if the topic comes up that each of you would be willing to raise your hand and say "Here am I. Send Me."

"Each of you bears the Priesthood of God. Each of you has it within yourselves to be a leader. Robert Baden-Powell once said that "a Scout is active in DOING GOOD, not passive in BEING GOOD." The scriptures say essentially the same thing: "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; (D&C 58:26-27)"

"As Scouts, and especially as Priesthood holders, you need to be active in doing good.

"Of course, if we had strong quorum leadership we could assign somebody to talk to N---- and C---- and make sure they know what's going on. But I don't think that's the best option.

"I hope you realize that N---- is at a crossroads. I also think it's important to realize that you're close to losing him. Now, maybe you don't really care that much about him. Does it make a difference that he isn't a member of the church? Does that make him less important? Or just easier to forget?

"Our goal here isn't just to make sure he knows what the plan is for Scouts each week. Our goal is to have a positive influence on his life. As bearers of the Priesthood, that is your duty. But you need to remember what the scriptures say: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; (D&C 121:41). Now what do you think "love unfeigned" means? Unfeigned means not faked. If you want to have an influence on anyone, you have to love them, and you have to be genuine. It can't be assigned and it can't be faked. It has to be real.

"I think I've lectured enough. I don't mean to get after you and tell you you're a bunch of bums, because you're not. It's just that I can't stop thinking about how disappointed N---- looked on Wednesday night. I can't stop thinking about how frustrated he was that nobody had talked to him and let him know what was going on. I think he is reaching out for help. I think he desperately wants your friendship. Each of you has an opportunity right now to make an influence for good in that boy's life. He may never join the church, but I guarantee the interactions he has with you will change his life. I just hope you'll decide to change it in the right direction."


  1. Wow. You ought to send this in to Ensign...

    Someone sent me this video clip about a rescue mission for a downed airman in North Vietnam. Gen. Steve Ritchie, the speaker, was the USAF's only ace of the war. He describes how the war was put on hold, and 150 aircraft were dedicated, to rescue one man down over 60 miles and 23 days behind enemy lines. Lessons from this 8:45 clip include leadership, comradeship, communication, loyalty and more.

  2. Well, I did spend a few minutes talking to them on Sunday, and even covered some of the stuff I did in this post but it wasn't exactly the same (I never expected it to be exactly the same), but I hope they got the point.

    I had also intended to throw in something about how if they plan on serving a mission there would be no better preparation than by practicing missionary work right now, but that somehow didn't make it in.