The previous articles – Facing a deteriorating society and Spiritual Apathy + Spiritual Atrophy = Spiritual Drought – are based off Elder Quentin L. Cook’s talk given at the 182nd Semi-Annual General Conference of October 6, 2012. This third article will explore how parents have the privilege, and obligation, to rear up a righteous generation in a challenging and deteriorating culture and society.
Our youth today possess a greater knowledge of the scriptures and our obligation as parents is to equip our children to face the specific challenges developing within our culture.
Elder Cook observes:
Local leaders across the world report that when viewed as a whole, Church members, especially our youth, have never been stronger. But they almost always raise two concerns: first, the challenges of increased unrighteousness in the world, and second, the apathy and lack of commitment of some members. They seek counsel about how to help members to follow the Savior and achieve a deep and lasting conversion.
For the Strength of Youth is a newly updated pamphlet that briefly discusses important Gospel topics for young men and women to discuss and learn as they prepare to enter the House of the Lord
To accomplish this, parents have many resources available at their disposal. These resources can be implemented in with Family Home Evening, family scripture study, and even in those personal priesthood interviews that fathers should have. One of those resources is the official website that speaks directly with the youth. Parents should avail themselves to review the content of this website, to sit with their young adult and discuss some of the content and encourage further development of their faith through personal scripture study, prayer, and finding ways to serve within the family and community.
Another resource that is available for parents is the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, and the website that coincides with the pamphlet. This pamphlet is simple and provides specific gospel related topics that help our youth develop a greater appreciation and understanding of what is important. The goal is to increase the faith and righteousness of our younger generation so that they are worthy to serve a mission and enter into the Temple to make sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father.
These resources are important for parents to rely upon and implement within their family because, as Elder Cook states:
Parents, the days are long past when regular, active participation in Church meetings and programs, though essential, can fulfill your sacred responsibility to teach your children to live moral, righteous lives and walk uprightly before the Lord.
We should encourage our children to participate in their Sunday school, Young Men/Young Women’s activities. Help and support them as they attend seminary. This requires active involvement and not a passive reliance on assuming their leaders are giving them the necessary guidance and instructions to live worthily.
In the Family – A Proclamation to the World, it is established what parents will be held accountable for:
Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
According to this statement, we must not only teach our children how to follow the Savior, but we must encourage our children to have their own spiritual experience, help them understand how to stand courageously in a deteriorating society and culture, and develop a firm foundational testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel. One way this can be accomplished is by fathers and mothers reading and studying this particular guide titled – Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way. And, according to this guidebook, the very first thing parents must do:
The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments. We encourage you to dedicate yourself to living the gospel with greater purpose than ever before. As you do, you will understand how to help youth learn the gospel by their own study and faith, to discover the truthfulness of the gospel for themselves, and to strengthen their families and others by sharing their experiences, insights, and testimony.
If we are not willing to commit ourselves over to living the gospel, to give ourselves over to daily prayer and scripture study, serve within our own family, community, et al, then how can we expect our youth to develop and become converted to the Gospel?
Parents, we have a sacred responsibility, a divine obligation to help rear up a righteous generation in an ever increasing society and culture that is deteriorating. We must first look into our own lives and see determine if we are in a state of spiritual drought because of spiritual apathy and atrophy. If we are, we must first work on committing ourselves to regain our own faith and testimony in the Gospel so that we can turn around and assist our children to develop their own spiritual experience and develop their own testimony on the solid foundations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must never neglect this responsibility and obligation. We are never to take it lightly because we will have to stand before our Heavenly Father and give a report in how we raised the youth, to encourage them, to strengthen their testimony, and to teach them to seek out divine counsel and holding to the Rod of Iron.