Monday, November 16, 2009


C did such a great job on his talk, I thought I would post it here:

This morning I see young men, holders of the Aaronic Priesthood, making excellent choices by being where they should be and doing what they should be doing. But even we, holders of God’s mighty priesthood, at times make choices that require self examination so that we may become more like Christ.

To you young men of the holy Aaronic Priesthood I speak this morning; I am honored and in awe of your goodness, faithfulness, brotherhood and Christ-like examples. It’s you, in years to come, that will carry the gospel of Jesus Christ and lead his kingdom on earth. It is also you who will be fathers and leaders in our communities and in our great nation. Who you choose to be today, is what this nation and church will become tomorrow.

In my years of interaction and association with young people I’ve paid special attention to the spiritual and social challenges that face you. May I speak of one this morning.

I’d specifically like to speak to you young men of a principle of chivalry which is loosing ground within our culture. A classical art that is being lost among our young people. An expression of sound honorable character which is being sold off by popular culture in the name of entertainment. A doctrine of Christianity which is sadly being treated as Nephi said, “for the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet.” (Nephi 19:7) …….I speak of the principle of respect.

Today we witness ever increasingly powerful messages in society that make a mockery of things that are worthy of our respect. Some popular television programs are solely designed to make fun of and humiliate others. Video games, which allow the user in fantasy state to steal, harm, abuse, and even kill others, show little respect for others and the law. Entertainment shows display individuals acting in crude, reckless, and dangerous ways all in the name of humor.

Supposed reality situations portray people manipulating, teasing, belittling, humiliating, and intimidating others all in the name of competition. Infidelity or sexual relations before marriage are repeatedly viewed as normal and acceptable in the name of “love.” Pornography provides a steady flow of spiritual sewage which displays disrespect for women and that which is most holy and sacred to God.

So often in our culture, fear, intimidation and physical violence are mistaken for ways to gain respect from others. I can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed youth quickly react in violent ways when they felt as though they were being disrespected by others. Let me be clear to you young men, violence is no way to gain respect from others. I repeat, creating fear in others through violence or intimidation does not equal respect.

Even your schools are not free from general teasing, bullying and rudeness toward students and teachers. And sadly, even some of your homes and priesthood quorums have elements of teasing and other disrespectful behavior. By God’s standards, this just should not be.
Now popular culture is not entirely to blame, there is much more to it than just TV and video games. But the fact of the matter is, respect between God’s children is diminishing and all of us can improve.

Respect for others is shown by your behavior. The things you do toward others. Do you treat others in word and deed that demonstrates that you care, value and honor them? Respect is generated by providing others with something they value and appreciate, which is good. When you serve others, say a kind word, are helpful, follow through on your promises, listen to others, follow instructions, understand another’s point of view, value and honor womanhood and refrain from thinking of young women as anything less than a daughter of God, you are fulfilling your duty to God and you are acting respectfully.

Respect also has an element of thinking. All of your behavior begins within your minds. We are taught by King Benjamin “that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds” (Mosiah 4: 30) we can commit sin in our minds. Respect begins with thinking about others as having value and as being worthy of our respect, simply because they are children of God.

Now respect is not the same as liking someone, you all have different interests and are drawn to different people as friends for different reasons. Though you may not be drawn to someone as a close friend, every child of God deserves your respect.

While all individuals deserve your respect, not all behavior is worthy of respect. Behavior that is evil or contrary to God’s commandments does not deserve your respect. The prophet Moroni teaches, “take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.” (Moroni 7:14)

It is a delicate balance to respect the person and at the same time show not respect to evil behavior, but it is a God like attribute you must cultivate and strengthen during your life.
But you might say that a person is not worthy of your respect because they don’t treat you with respect first. So why show them respect? Good point, but you are wrong if you think that. I could not find in the scriptures where Jesus taught to respect only those who respect you. In fact, the Savior taught, “But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.” (3 Ne. 12:44)

Young men, there are those who deserve an increased level of respect; your Priesthood leaders and advisors and your teachers at church and school. These good people work hard to serve you and prepare you for adulthood. Your Heavenly Father wants them to successfully instruct and teach you. Ultimately the respect you show them will turn to your benefit and learning. By showing them respect, you show God and yourself respect.

Now one last element of respect I need to address. Young men, respect your mother and your father. Especially respect your mother, I beg you. Your parents are not perfect, and they may even make decisions that you do not like. But they are working hard to care for you and provide you with the experiences you need to grow from being a boy to becoming a man. And a man never disobeys his mother. A man never raises his voice or talks back to his mother. And a man never intentionally deceives his mother. She gave you life, and cares for you day after day… respect to your mother! The way you treat your mother and young women now is the way you will treat your future girlfriends, wife and daughters.

A phrase I highly recommend you use at home when your mother asks something of you, is this: “Sure, I’d love to.” Repeat it in your mind as I say it again. “Sure, I’d love to.” Let’s practice again. Will you please clean up your room? “Sure, I’d love to.” Will you please take the trash out, “Sure, I’d love to.”

You now have the secret to success with your mother, especially if you really mean it when you say it. If you keep this up through the years, someday when you have your drivers license and want to use the car, you’ll ask; “Mom, may I use the car?”….and she’ll say….”Sure, I’d love to let you use the car.” AS LONG AS YOU”RE A GOOD DRIVER!

Now… the adult men here this morning. In order to take our young men from being boys to becoming men, we must teach them the principle of respect. In order to teach respect, we must be men worth respecting, and we must be examples of respect to women and others. May the Lord bless you in your efforts to instill respect in your sons, or the boys you influence in your daily walk.

Young men, in conclusion, remember that Jesus was a young man in ways similar to you. The scriptures state, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and Man.” (Luke 2:52) The Savior’s childhood development was normal and natural. James E. Talmage wrote in Jesus the Christ, “He came among men to experience all the natural conditions of mortality;…His boyhood was actual boyhood, His development was as necessary and as real as that of all children.” (Jesus the Christ, p.105)

I share this perspective of the Savior’s life to give you young men understanding that Jesus Christ is your example as you learn to follow this simple commandment to be respectful, even to “ love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Rarely do we reflect on the life and character of the Boy Jesus, however, this is something members of the Aaronic Priesthood should do often. You young men need to know that even you, a young man, can relate to the Savior personally, and He to you perfectly, as you mature and increase in your own wisdom and stature.

One thing is critical as you rely upon the Savior and his example, you must understand he was perfect…..perfect in his obedience. This is where He is different from you and me, but we can learn from Him. Though the Savior understood his divine mission and knew that the authority of His earthly mother was less than the authority of His Heavenly Father, the Boy Jesus obeyed his mother….perfectly. It was through his perfect obedience the Savior obtained a perfect understanding of all things.

Even though he probably said it in Hebrew, I’m sure Jesus was often heard saying as a young man; “Sure….I’d love to.”

May you young men and we old men, show the proper respect deserved by all of God’s children is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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