For the Strength of Youth
“For the Strength of Youth is a guide given by the First Presidency of The Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] to young men and young women. It presents the standards of the Church and teaches youth how to apply them" (Guidebook for Parents and Leaders of Youth , 7).
Standards of truth and righteousness have always been a part of Christ's gospel. The word standard comes from flags or banners on the field of battle. Each side would raise up its standard so that soldiers would know where to turn when in danger, it was a rallying point. Standards in battle needed to be raised where they could be seen by all. Similarly, the standards of the Church offer a rallying point for Christ's church. When we follow standards, we know we cannot be too far from our Leader. Church leaders have often warned us about letting our standards slip:
- We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them" (Boyd K. Packer, "The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected," Ensign and Liahona, Nov. 2003, 26).
- We are seeing the removal of traditional standards of morality and behavior in today’s world. The vernacular of today is “anything goes.” The world views time-honored standards as old-fashioned or out-of-date. We belong to a church where adhering to standards is expected. Things that have always been wrong in the past are still wrong today. The Church does not modify standards of morality by adapting to changing customs or to the mores of the societies in which we live (Earl C. Tingey, “For the Strength of Youth,” Ensign, May 2004, 49).
- If you conduct yourselves properly and develop your personalities along Church standards, your candle will be high on a hill and will burn brightly for all to see. Dare to think for yourself. Have the strength of character to act the way you know to be right (David B. Haight, “You Are Different,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 40).
This guidebook helps youth understand the Church’s boundaries in different areas of life. Youth are reminded that they do not have to follow these guidelines but that if they do they will gain more blessings and have a better understanding of the gospel.
For the Strength of Youth contains seventeen different categories for guidelines which are:
- Agency and Accountability
- Dress and Appearance
- Entertainment and the Media
- Music and Dancing
- Sexual Purity
- Sabbath Day Observance
- Tithes and Offerings
- Physical Health
- Service to Others.
To understand what the guidelines are like here is an example from the section Physical Health:
- The Lord has commanded you to take good care of your body. To do this, observe the Word of Wisdom, found in D&C 89. Eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. When you do all these things, you remain free from harmful addictions and have control over your life. You gain the blessings of a healthy body, an alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
- Never use tobacco products, such as cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipe tobacco. They are very addictive and will damage your body and shorten your life. Also, do not drink coffee or tea, for these are addictive and harmful.
- Any form of alcohol is harmful to your body and spirit. Being under the influence of alcohol weakens your judgment and self-control and could lead you to break the law of chastity or other commandments. Drinking can lead to alcoholism, which destroys individuals and families.
- Any drug, chemical, or dangerous practice that is used to produce a sensation or “high” can destroy your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. These include hard drugs, prescription or over-the-counter medications that are abused, and household chemicals.
For the Strength of Youth is specifically geared toward the youth of the Church but leaders of the Church also suggest that it is a wonderful resource for new members of the Church as well as for parents when trying to teach their children. It comes in both a pamphlet version and a condensed wallet size.