“Youth Need ‘Inoculation’ Against the World,” Ensign, Apr. 2004, 74–75
President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, addressed the need for teachers in the Church Educational System to help “inoculate” young people against the world during a CES devotional held on 6 February 2004.
“These are days of great spiritual danger for our youth,” President Packer said. He said that he knows of no time when worse things were so widely accepted in the world, not even in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. While evil was localized then, he pointed out, it has now spread across the world.
Although facing evil of “epidemic proportions,” students can be inoculated through a knowledge and testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, President Packer taught. He also said that while teachers play an important role in fortifying youth, they are not the first line of defense against the effects of the world.
“The Lord places that responsibility on parents first. All the saving ordinances center on the family. The shield of faith is handmade in the cottage [and] … polished in the classroom.”
After relating how he decided on a career in education and sharing some of his experiences as a teacher, President Packer said it may sometimes seem that we are losing the war in maintaining high moral, social, political, and intellectual standards. But, he continued, “Satan cannot win.”
President Packer described the town-wide quarantines of former days against physical illness and outlined the immunity-building power of studying the standard works to guard against spiritual illness. After naming some of the principal doctrines taught in each course of study, President Packer explained that we have not been left without knowledge of what to do.
He quoted Christ’s “supernal prayer” for the Apostles, in which the Savior asked not for them to be taken out of the world, but for them to be sanctified through the truth (see John 17:15–17). He advised teachers against seeking intellectualism without the gospel core and against focusing merely on activities in their teaching.
The task may seem daunting, but teachers should not fear, President Packer said. “For they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kgs. 6:16).