2015 Mutual Theme: Youth Encouraged to Embark in Service
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer, and Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
- The 2015 Mutual theme encourages youth to serve God and others and comes with a promise of protection.
- The theme becomes the focus of youth conferences, Young Women camps, and other important youth events held around the globe.
“When we decide to embark in the service of God, great things begin to happen in our life and the lives of people around us. We learn of Him. We come unto Him.” —Neill F. Marriott of the Young Women general presidency Busath.com
The 2015 Mutual theme doubles as a call to action to faithful young men and young women across the globe:
“O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”
Found in D&C 4:2, this divine charge of service was originally given to the Prophet Joseph Smith’s father, Joseph Smith Sr., almost two centuries ago. The passage remains an eternal directive on laboring in the kingdom.
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, said the theme is a reminder of covenants LDS youth “made at baptism to serve the Lord for the rest of their lives.”
Sister Oscarson said selecting a theme was important because the theme becomes the focus of youth conferences, Young Women camps, and other important events held each year across the globe. “It needs to be something that will help strengthen youth against the things they are facing in the world.”
The scripture also comes with a promise, said Sister Oscarson. “If our youth can give their all to serving and to coming unto Christ, it will be a protection for them.”
Many of Brother David L. Beck’s messages have focused on service. Serving others is how one serves God, said the Young Men general president. “When you love God, Church callings and other assignments are not burdens but opportunities to express the love you feel,” he said at a BYU–Idaho devotional last February.
Brother Larry Gibson, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, said membership in the Lord’s Church signals a sacred call to serve.
“I love this verse because it identifies what is required of us in order to truly give valiant service to Him,” he said. “It also provides the wonderful promise that we will stand blameless before Him if we fulfill the charge given.”
Brother Gibson added that each of the four attributes of service (heart, might, mind, and strength) have special meaning.
“Heart shows that we love Him first and foremost and have an unwavering desire to serve Him; might is our willingness to boldly move forward in His cause without ever giving up; mind means to always continue in lifelong learning; … and strength is to constantly develop and refine ourselves physically, emotionally, socially, temporally, and spiritually.”
Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said Church leaders are aware of the challenges the youth are facing. The theme, she said, will help teens “focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“This is a scripture of consecration—of consecration of time and talents and good to His service,” said Sister McConkie.
Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said a “circle of blessings” surround those who follow a “pattern of embarking.”
“When we decide to embark in the service of God, great things begin to happen in our life and the lives of people around us. We learn of Him. We come unto Him.”
Sister Marriott said, in a way, the theme is a continuation of the 2014 Mutual theme: “Come unto Christ.” First youth need to come unto Christ, and then they need to embark in His service, she said.
The 2015 Mutual theme is contained to one verse of scripture. But much can be accomplished by adhering to its rich counsel and promises. Members of all ages can find blessings as they “embark in the service of God.”
“This scripture is a treasure trove,” said Brother Randall L. Ridd, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency. “It’s a wonderful and complete summary of the Lord’s requirements for missionary service.”
Brother Ridd added that local leaders can utilize the theme in their activities and lessons throughout the year to teach the true meaning of service.
“If we are serving for the right reasons and with real intent, you will see the difference in future missionaries.”
Sister Oscarson said Doctrine and Covenants section 4 is a missionary chapter and this is an important time when Church leaders have asked members to help the Lord hasten His work and when more young people are serving as missionaries than at any other time in history. All young people must engage in the “work of salvation,” she said.
The Church’s sixth President, President Joseph F. Smith, said the verse “contains sufficient counsel and instruction for a lifetime of study. No one has yet mastered it.”
The Young Men and Young Women general presidencies hope the theme will enrich Mutual opening exercises and be a topic for youth sacrament meeting talks and a focus for youth activities at camps, youth conferences, and devotionals.
It may also be used to guide youth in preparing for and participating in Christlike service in their homes, the temple, the Church, and the community.
Several resources for introducing the theme, such as video and music, will be available to local youth leaders by the end of 2014.
Additional materials supporting the theme will be made available in Church magazines and at ChurchofJesusChrist.org throughout 2015.