“You, the Youth, and the Mutual Theme,” Ensign, January 2018
Every year the Young Men and Young Women General Presidencies invite the youth to study, learn about, and put into practice a scriptural theme approved by the First Presidency. Learning and living the teachings in the Mutual theme can strengthen faith and testimony and unite quorums, classes, and families.
This year’s theme teaches youth how to find the peace that comes from Jesus Christ. In Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, the Lord invites, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.” In a world that can be filled with uncertainty and fear, this is a powerful promise.
This scripture provides parents, leaders, mentors, and teachers an opportunity to teach patterns that can strengthen the youth through challenging times.
The Young Women and Young Men General Presidencies have invited us to memorize the scripture, study the doctrine, and apply the principles in our lives. Although these things can be done individually, doing them together can help unite and strengthen the youth and their families.
There are many opportunities to incorporate the theme into the lives of our youth. It can be used in family home evening, in lessons at church and in seminary, as a topic for youth sacrament meeting talks, to enrich Mutual opening exercises, and to provide focus for youth activities, including camps, youth conferences, combined activities, New Beginnings, and devotionals.
The following are a few ideas for incorporating the Mutual theme throughout the year. For more ideas, visit youth.lds.org.
Learning about Jesus Christ is important to finding peace in Him. There is peace and assurance in knowing what He is like, learning how He lived, and understanding what He does for us.
When he was 14 years old, President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) was asked whether he had read the Bible all the way through. “I had read many books by that time, the funny papers, and light books, but my accusing heart said to me, ‘You, Spencer Kimball, you have never read that holy book. Why?’”1 From that point on, President Kimball made it a point to “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 32:3).
Consider asking the youth to keep a study notebook to record what they are learning about Jesus Christ and His gospel.
You might invite the youth to commit to take President Russell M. Nelson’s challenge to “consecrate a portion of [their] time each week to studying everything Jesus said and did as recorded in the [scriptures].”2 In class or in family home evening, you could ask them to report on what they’re learning and how they’re applying it in their own lives.
Listening to the Savior’s words includes not just hearing but hearkening (or obeying). Great peace and assurance can come from knowing that we are living in harmony with His teachings.
When he was eight years old, President Thomas S. Monson decided to have a campfire with his friend Danny. There was just one problem—the field they wanted to use was dry, prickly, and full of weeds. It was then that young President Monson had an idea: “I said to Danny, ‘All we need is to set these weeds on fire. We’ll just burn a circle in the weeds!’ He readily agreed, and I ran to our cabin to get a few matches. …
“… I recall thinking that the fire would burn only as far as we wanted and then would somehow magically extinguish itself.
“I struck a match on a rock and set the parched June grass ablaze.” Soon realizing the fire would not go out on its own, the boys ran for help, and the blaze was put out after several hours of work.
“Danny and I learned several difficult but important lessons that day,” said President Monson, “not the least of which was the importance of obedience.”3
Ask the youth to study obedience in chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel, including the obedience section of the attribute activity at the end of the chapter.
Talk about things that could distract us from listening to the Lord’s words. For example, you could invite the youth to replace 10 minutes of screen time with 10 minutes of scripture study.
Take regular opportunities to ask youth what they will do because of what they have learned.
Learning and listening describe what we need to do. Walking in the meekness of His Spirit is how we need to do it.
Being meek means “enduring injury with patience and without resentment,”4 something that takes both strength and humility. In 1838, Thomas B. Marsh, the first President of the Quorum of the Twelve, left the Church, in part because of his resentment that Church leaders didn’t side with his wife in a dispute over milk. In his later years, he lamented the blessings he had lost and returned to the Church, saying: “I have frequently wanted to know how my apostacy [sic] began, and I have come to the conclusion that I must have lost the Spirit of the Lord out of my heart. … “… I felt angry and wrathful; and the Spirit of the Lord being gone, as the Scriptures say, I was blinded.”5
The Savior’s life wasn’t easy. Find examples in the scriptures of times when Jesus demonstrated meekness in the face of challenges. Discuss how we can apply the Savior’s example in situations we might face today.
One way to become meek is by serving others. Consider different acts of service the youth could do individually or as a group.
Peace can mean different things to different people—hope that healing is possible, certainty that there is a way through hard times, or reassurance that we’re on the right path.
Consider watching the 2017 Easter video, “Prince of Peace,” at Mormon.org/easter. You might invite the youth to share the video online with a testimony of how they’ve found peace in Christ.