Why can’t we have a youth movement in the Church?
November 1971

“Why can’t we have a youth movement in the Church?” New Era, Nov. 1971, 8

“Why can’t we have a youth movement in the Church, campaigning for causes that the Church espouses or permits us to espouse?”

Answer/Bishop Victor L. Brown

The Church has causes for which the youth of the Church campaign—but even more than campaigning, Latter-day Saint youth do something about these causes. To suggest that Latter-day Saint youth do not espouse a cause indicates a lack of understanding of the Church youth program, which enlists its youth in many causes—from missionary work to the pursuit of education. No one should be espousing the cause of Jesus Christ more than we who have taken his name upon ourselves. But it is essential to understand the difference between many of the campaigns of the people of the world and the campaigns of Latter-day Saint youth under the direction of Church leadership. The Lord’s house is a house of order. All of the activities of the members of the Church, if carried out through Church organization, must of necessity be carried out in an orderly manner.

It is also important to recognize that the Church is a church of action, not just words. An example of how the youth of the Church can function in espousing good causes was demonstrated in 1970 in the Salt Lake Valley. A black congregation had great difficulty in completing their chapel. They approached the leaders of our church for assistance. It was felt that this was a wonderful opportunity for our Aaronic Priesthood-age young men and women to band together and raise funds for others in need. Literally thousands of young Mormon men and women engaged in projects from washing cars to babysitting to mowing lawns in order to raise thousands of dollars to assist their neighbors. At the conclusion of the drive, a wonderful banquet was held with representatives from the various bishop’s youth committees and the black congregation. There was no marching, carrying of banners, or loud oratory; but rather, in an orderly, enthusiastic spirit, under the direction of their own organizations, these Latter-day Saint youth demonstrated how other Mormon youth can go about espousing a good cause—this one appropriately designated as “Operation Good Samaritan.”

Society today seems to center its attention largely on the group that makes the loudest noise, overlooking the quiet group that gets things done. I would hope that the youth of the Church will not be concerned with the recognition of the world but rather will carry out in a quiet, orderly, dignified, effective way the injunction of the Savior to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” (D&C 58:27.)

The bishop’s youth committee and the stake M Men and Gleaner council are the two councils that span the youth of the Church (twelve through twenty-six). Turn to your representatives on these councils and voice to them your desire to be involved in some good causes. I don’t know of a single representative who would not welcome your participation.

  • Second Counselor, Presiding Bishopric