Friday, March 12, 2010
The Rising Generation
I have long been interested in our youth and have often noticed what the scriptures say about the "rising generation." Just before he died, King Benjamin gave a powerful speech from a specially built tower in the temple courtyard. The scriptures teach, "There were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the traditions of their fathers" (Mosiah 1:26). Less than forty years later, the prophet Alma traveled to the various cities and villages in the land in an attempt to reclaim the people who were falling away from the church. "And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea to preach unto … everyone that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; … the aged … the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again" (Alma 5:49). Another eighty to ninety years passed, and the prophet Nephi wrote, "And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness because of the wickedness of the rising generation" (3 Nephi 1:30). It appears from these scriptures that we must be ever mindful of the rising generation because they stand at a critical intersection in their lives. Many voices are calling to them to come this way or that way. The teenage years are times of great decision. They are important times of needed guidance. Use them wisely and appreciate those quiet and reverent conversations that you may have with your young people. Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: "Reserved by the Lord for this time, [the rising generation] must now be preserved… and prepared for their special moment n human history! They have been held back to come forth at this time, but now they need to be pushed forward to meet their rendezvous" ("Unto the Rising Generation," Ensign, April 1985, 8). These wonderful young people are worthy of our best efforts to support and strengthen them. There is a great need for nurturing and strengthening of the rising generation. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) taught, "Never forget that these little ones are the sons and daughters of God and that yours is a custodial relationship to them, that He was a parent before you were parents and that He has not relinquished His parental rights or interests in these His little ones…. Rear your children in love, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Take care of your little ones. Welcome them into your homes, and nurture and love them with all of your hearts. They may do, in the years that come, some things you would not want them to do, but be patient, be patient. You have not failed as long as you have tried" ("Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley," Ensign, July 1997, 73).