In the Nov 1978 Ensign, President Spencer W. Kimball advised:
The mass media of communications daily presents us with so much that is evil, that is ugly and sordid, and so much that is destructive of righteousness. Godlessness seems to reign everywhere. Satan is unfettered apparently. We have previously said that the growing permissiveness in modern society gravely concerns us.
We see about us constant change. Even the pace of life itself has speeded up. Sometimes it seems that the world is undergoing such throes of change that people are disoriented, not knowing what is of value. Right and wrong, however, are as they always were. The principles of the gospel are unaltered. All of men’s evil speaking and all of men’s evil acting cannot alter one jot or tittle of the commandments of God.
The forces of good are clearly and continually under attack. There are times when it seems the world is almost drowning in a flood of filth and degradation. And I want to cry out, “Hold on! Hold on to what is right and true. Therein is safety. Don’t let yourself be swept away.”
My question to you is how do we keep from being swept away?
One way is the Youth Programs that the Church provides.
Young Women’s and Young Men’s are wonderful programs that help develop self worth, and friendships. When you attend and apply principles taught in these programs, you are learning truths and skills that you can use throughout your life.
My husband and I are good examples of the importance of these activities. I can trace most of my regretful decisions in High School and shortly thereafter to time periods that Church was not a priority for me.
My mother was in school most of my life. She often had classes that conflicted with my weekly activities, and when I had visitation with my dad, we rarely went to activities. I had to sit in the front row during Sacrament growing up, but I never felt that anything else was important. I wish that I had believed they were important.
I made friendships with people that did not have my best interest at heart, and let them influence my standards. I did not attend as many Church activities as I should have, and lowered my standards. By letting my standards slip, I made decisions that will affect me my whole life. While the choices I made did not hurt anyone, and will not matter to anyone besides me, I still remember them. For me, forgiving myself, is harder than forgiving anyone else. I knew there was a better way, and I let others affect my standards, when I should have lifted them up. I should have let the Saviors light shine through my actions. I am grateful for the atonement, and for Heavenly Fathers love.
If it were not for a faithful Visiting Teaching Companion who was also an old family friend, I don’t know if I would have stayed an active member. I am pretty sure that I would have never understood Heavenly Fathers love for me, and that I have a part in his plan. She lifted me up, and didn’t fail to share her testimony with me. While she may not have been the only person to strengthen me through tough times, she lifted me when I was at my lowest.
I still make mistakes, but I know where to look for the Iron Rod.
Now, look at Brother Fairbourn. If you ask him what his biggest regret is, he says “I don’t know”. He never made that really big mistake, he is very candid about his life, and doesn’t feel like he has to keep anything a secret. He doesn’t have to worry that any one will think less of him because he did something when he was younger. I would be very embarrassed and cautious answering the same question.
He went to Church. He went to his activities, he became an Eagle Scout. Brother Fairbourn went to seminary, and Institute. His family felt that these programs were important, and overcame many obstacles to attend meeting and activities. Brother Fairbourn was often dragged to activities by his older brother and sisters, because there was no one else to take care of him. He says that he got to see how the YSA program was formed in the Akron Stake, and saw it run for a decade and a half, while hanging out with his family. The Gospel was important, meetings were important, and activities were important.
If your children attend Seminary, Young Men’s and Young Women’s on Sunday, and participate in the weekly Wednesday activities, they will receive guidance and strength in a world where once questionable activities are mainstream. If you make attendance a priority, they will see that you understand the importance of these programs. Getting them to the Church is only half the battle. The other half is getting them to class. Encourage them to attend their meetings. If your child tends to leave the moment you turn your back, check back with the teachers, to make sure they attended. Hold them accountable. Also, show them by example that Church takes priority. Go to your meetings, faithfully serve in callings, go to the temple, hold Family Home evening, and discuss with your children why the Gospel is important to you. Yes, I mean bare your testimony, and often.
Go to your meetings and activities. Listen and apply principles taught to your life. The Church created these programs to help you. Participate in class, read your scriptures, be reverent, earn your personal progress award, be an Eagle Scout. This is the time to build your foundation, build a strong one. Find the Iron Rod and hold on to it tight.
I’d like to leave you with the words of a song. Hymn # 274, the Iron Rod:
While on our journey here below, Beneath temptations power,
Through mists of Darkness we must go, In peril every hour.
And when temptations power is nigh, Our pathway clouded o’er
Upon the rod we can rely, and heavens aid implore.
Hold to the Rod, the Iron Rod; Tis strong and bright and true.
The Iron Rod is the word of God; Twill safely guide us through.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.