Timely Messages for Today's Young Men
There are many duties that come with holding the Aaronic Priesthood. But it is more than just blessing or passing the sacrament each Sunday. It is a full-time responsibility that young men should always respect. Here are some messages to help you teach your young men how to honor their priesthood each and every day.Every word you speak, every person you talk to, every movie you watch, every conversation you participate in, every date you go on, your priesthood is there with you. By making a conscious effort to live worthily in every aspect of your lives, you can honor your priesthood whether you are in passing the football in gym class or passing the bread and water in sacrament meeting. Here are some specific ways to honor your priesthood, inside and outside of the chapel. Dress with Dignity and Class The image of the world these days is body piercing, tattoos, sloppy or extreme hairstyles, and shabby and immodest clothing. Some young people are trying very hard to look just like the world. Perhaps they don't realize that they're following a false god--the god of popular opinion, or, in other words, the god of the "likeness of the world." The priesthood calls us to rise above the world and to be a light to the world. If we don't heed that call, we become just another chunk of driftwood, caught in the currents of fashion and "going with the flow" to the gulf of misery. Make Wise Media Choices Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel (A of F 1:4), so naturally Satan makes it his first principle to pollute our minds with things that make our thoughts unworthy and that erode our faith in Christ. Think about a fishing lure. When pulled through the water, it is flashy and attractive to fish. The fish thinks it's something good, but it's fake! They're attracted to it, but they only see the flash and color--they don't see the danger. Look closely at a fishhook. Notice that is has two sharp ends, not one. The outside point hooks the fish first. Then, when the fish tries to let go, it's hooked by the second point, called a barb. Once the fish is hooked, the fisherman takes control of the fish's life. Let's be blunt. Pornography is frightening stuff. It hooks people, and as hard as they struggle, many find that they can't let go. It destroys their lives. It robs them of happiness. So I offer this advice with great intensity: Don't look at it, don't toy with it, and don't even get near it. Imagine a bunch of trout having a meeting at the bottom of a lake. Do you think any of them would say, "Well, it isn't that fishhooks are bad, just bite them in moderation; a little bite doesn't hurt"? No way. All it takes is one lure and you're hooked. To honor our priesthood means to take charge of what we choose to see and hear. The Lord has given us counsel in deciding what we watch, and we must rise up, be men, and take a stand! Speak Clean Language The Lord expects you, as an Aaronic Priesthood holder, to control your tongue. You can't hold the power of God and be a potty mouth at the same time. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "It is as wrong for you to use foul language as it would be for a missionary because you also hold the priesthood." He reminds you that you have the same mouth Monday through Friday that you have on Saturday and Sunday. How can you pronounce the prayer on the sacrament one day and swear at school the next? Profanity is not macho, manly, or mature. It's low-class, low-level language and, like it or not, people will judge you by the words you speak. When they judge you, they will judge the Church and the priesthood as well. Respect Young Women As an Aaronic Priesthood holder, you can have a powerful impact on the young women you know. In fact, some of them need your example and help. They need to know that because you honor your priesthood, you value virtue and modesty. You might even have to open your mouth and tell them so! Let the young women know that girls who dress immodestly may get attention, but it's based on how they look on the outside, not on who they are on the inside. Let the young women know that popularity is different than respect. Let the young women know that you are more attracted to a fun, outgoing personality than to a worldly look. You may not know it, and you may not believe it, but there are probably a few Beehives, Mia Maids, and Laurels watching what you do every week. Make sure they can look up to you as an honorable priesthood holder. Amazing Young Men from the Past Looking to inspire your young men to honor their priesthood? Here are some great examples to share with them. Pre-Deacon Age: * Noah was ten years old when he received the priesthood (D&C 107: 52). * Mormon was ten years old when Ammoron charged him to observe the doings of the people in preparation for completing the Book of Mormon (Mormon 1: 2-4). Deacon Age: * Jesus was twelve years old when he spoke to the doctors in the temple and answered their questions (JST, Luke 2:46). * Anthon H. Lund was called on a mission when he was thirteen years old. He later served twenty years in the First Presidency. Teacher Age: * Mormon was fifteen when he was "visited of the Lord" (Mormon 1:15). That same year he was appointed to lead the armies of the Nephites (Mormon 2:2). * Joseph Smith was fourteen when he received the First Vision (JSH 1:7). * Joseph F. Smith was fifteen when he was called to serve a mission in Hawaii. Priest Age: * Joseph Smith was seventeen when he was visited by Moroni. * Matthew Cowley was called to be a missionary at seventeen. He later served as an apostle. [BIO] John Bytheway is a part-time instructor in religious education at BYU. A favorite speaker and teacher, he is the author of many best-selling books and audio products, including the What I Wish I Knew series; Get an Attitude: Heroic Examples from the Book of Mormon; and Honoring the Priesthood as a Deacon, a Teacher, and a Priest, from which this article is excerpted. John and his wife, Kimberly, are the parents of six children.