I love watching the Aaronic Priesthood young men fulfill their duty to God. I am spiritually and emotionally touched every time I witness these faithful servants prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament. I’m amazed when I see them giving selfless service to the Church and in the community. I’m impressed when I watch boys cooperating and helping each other on a Scouting activity or outing. I marvel at what these young men can do when the adults get out of the way and let them lead.
In my last blog message (Mac’s Message #82) I shared a quote from the book The Hobbit. There are great spiritual truths found in that story, so I will share another quote. When the dwarves question whether Bilbo Baggins would be a good addition to a treasure quest, Gandalf responds, saying “There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.”
There is a lot more in our young men than we can imagine. Certainly, there is a lot more in them than they may fathom. Numerous Church leaders have declared that the youth of today are a chosen generation. The purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting program is to draw out from our youth the divine potential within them. It is to help them to live up to their potential as a chosen generation. We accomplish this when we provide meaningful, soul-searching activities that cause young men to find the character and strength within them. The Young Men program is divinely designed to do just that.
In the Aaronic Priesthood, youth leaders hold keys. They have the right to preside, direct, control, and govern the affairs of their priesthood quorum. A youth, who is called and set apart as a quorum leader, has the power and authority to call down revelation from God concerning his calling and the people within his stewardship. He is the one authorized to receive inspiration regarding the planning, organizing, and conducting of quorum activities. Adult Aaronic Priesthood leaders should strive to provide numerous opportunities for God to work through a young man as he performs his priesthood duties. This is the purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Scouting has always been a means to self-discovery and self-mastery. As a young man works on merit badges and progressively harder advancement requirements, he discovers talents, skills, and abilities that may have lain dormant had he not been involved in Scouting. I repeatedly encourage adult Scouting leaders to use the aims and methods of Scouting. They are purposefully designed to nurture a young man’s physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual qualities during the most important developmental years of his life.
Speaking to the youth of the Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I have great confidence in our young people as a whole. I regard you as the finest generation in the history of the Church. I compliment you, and I have in my heart a great feeling of love and respect and appreciation for you.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Chosen Generation,” Ensign, May 1992)
I love the youth of the Church, particularly the young men. They are our future. They are the future leaders of our wards, stakes, missions, and general leadership of the Church. Their destiny is being molded by you today. Their future is being fashioned by your influence. Their faithfulness and activity in the Church is being strengthened or diminished by your actions or inactions as an adult Aaronic Priesthood or Scouting leader. I hope you take every opportunity to be a righteous influence in the lives of your young men for they are a chosen generation.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you realize the power you have to influence the lives of young men?
- Are you proactively and purposefully doing all you can to strengthen your young men physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually?
- Are you helping your young men to live up to their potential as a chosen generation?
- Are there things you need to do differently in your Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting program to better prepare your young men for the future?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all – they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him” (Alma 53:20-21).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.