“From the Conference Pulpit,” Ensign, Sept. 1974, 89, 91, 93
President Spencer W. Kimball
“It is of the utmost importance that the bishops realize that their first and foremost responsibility is the Aaronic Priesthood and the young women of their wards.
“The degree to which the stake presidents train the bishops will have a major impact on the success of the entire youth program of the Church.”
“The bishops of the Church have the stewardship for 213,000-plus young men. This is the reservoir for future missionaries of the Church.”
“In addition to these young men, the bishops have the responsibility for 217,000-plus young women. The degree to which they fulfill this stewardship with the young men and the young women will have a vital impact on the percentage of them who are married in the House of the Lord.”
“It is our firm conviction that our bishops and their counselors will spend even more time with their youth, and that bishoprics will be more influential in helping the young men be prepared both to go on missions and to be married in the temples. We should not be afraid to ask our youth to render service to their fellowmen or to sacrifice for the kingdom. Our youth have a sense of intrinsic idealism, and we need have no fear in appealing to that idealism when we call them to serve.
“One young man spoke tellingly of this when he recently said, ‘I hope that when I am called to go on a full-time mission, I am called and told that the Lord wants me to go, and that it is my duty, rather than just being told that a mission would be a good thing for me if I wanted to go.’”
Elder Marion D. Hanks
Assistant to the Council of the Twelve and associate managing director of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA
Pursuit of Excellence
“We have had in the Church for many years a wonderful award program leading to Master M Man or Golden Gleaner recognition.
“We are moving forward now in another effort—an achievement challenge called the Pursuit of Excellence.
“The purpose of this program is to begin where we are and to undertake a continuing pursuit of excellence—intellectually, physically, and spiritually, especially in the areas of service and character.
“Primarily, participation in the program is for those between the ages of 18 and 29; that is where the emphasis will be. But anyone beyond 29 may involve themselves simply by presenting their request to a priesthood leader. A person wishing to participate will … discuss the program with the priesthood leader, establish his own goals, and then begin the pursuit of those goals.”
“There will be a pin and a certificate awarded, but obviously this pursuit does not culminate with an award. It will last a lifetime, and eternally.”
“It is our purpose to continue to emphasize and strongly support competitive athletics on a ward, stake, region, and area basis throughout the Church. But at best, athletic competition in the Church involves relatively few members in any ward or branch. We have the strong feeling that we should do better.”
“… think of what we could do with a recreation program in each ward or branch of the Church that would involve the entire ward family in wholesome activities—members of individual families participating with other families. Single people, unmarried, divorced, widows, and widowers, the active and the less active, all joined together in opportunities that would recreate and regenerate, that would bring rich social and physical and spiritual benefits to those involved.”
“What a remarkable blessing would come to so many who need something enjoyable to do, and, please don’t forget, someone to do it with.”
Bishop Victor L. Brown
Presiding Bishop and president of the Aaronic Priesthood
“Under the inspired leadership of President Kimball, adjustments have been made in the Aaronic Priesthood MIA organization that will shorten the lines of responsibility and authority, eliminate some of the gray areas, and place the responsibility for all youth between the ages of 12 and 18 on the bishop’s shoulders as never before.”
“It is important that each of us recognize that … there are no changes in the existing program, that the organizational changes on the stake and ward levels are minimal, that the manuals you presently have … are as applicable today as they were yesterday.”
“As you catch the vision of this change, you will understand that there are two organizations one for the Aaronic Priesthood and one for the Young Women—and that the Aaronic Priesthood organization is presided over by the Presiding Bishopric who, in addition, have the responsibility for the women of comparable ages.”
“What we are saying is that the youth of the Church are the first and foremost responsibility of the bishops, including the Presiding Bishopric.”
“I cannot overemphasize that the bishop holds the keys that will bring about the miracles that take place in the lives of youth as they relate the Savior.”
President Spencer W. Kimball
“There are numerous young men who postpone marriage. There are many of them who are merely procrastinating. There are others who have found it easier to live alone without sharing responsibilities. There are others who are praying for a satisfactory marriage and do little else about it. Then there are an increasing number of men, especially in the ‘world,’ who do not intend ever to marry and insist that they can have every satisfaction without marriage, and that the single life is so much easier, with much less responsibility.
“Now, may I say to all our brethren: Marriage is honorable before God. We were placed on earth, not primarily to have fun, or to satisfy our cravings for wealth and distinction, or to satisfy our passions in a life of selfishness.”
“Let no single man excuse himself [from the eternal covenant of marriage] by rationalizing.”
“There are numerous young women who are worthy, attractive, educated, and well-groomed, and who appear to be most desirable. To them we say, we cannot supply you husbands as you might want. If you have fewer opportunities, you need to evaluate yourself carefully. Take a careful inventory of your habits, your speech, your appearance, your weight, and your eccentricities if you have them. Take each item and analyze it. What do you most admire in others? What personality traits please you? Can you make some sacrifices to make yourself acceptable to others?”
“Certainly, we want all of our people to be happy, but much depends upon the individual. Self-pity is most destructive. Do you feel sorry for yourselves?
“Consider: Have you made yourself attractive physically? Are you well groomed, well dressed, attractive mentally, engaging, interesting, well read? If not, then change yourself.”