Nations, communities, and families are strengthened when individuals have virtue. Virtue is a Christlike attribute, and He commands everyone to develop this attribute. “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God…” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45).
In a world where a large majority of Americans believe our nation’s moral values are declining, we must model and teach virtue to the rising generation. In a Gallup poll taken in early May 2015, 72 percent of those polled believe “the state of moral values” in America are “getting worse.” Our nation and world definitely need more people with virtue.
So, what is virtue? Two past leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints described virtue. President James E. Faust (1920-2007) described virtue as encompassing “all traits of righteousness that help us form our character.” (See “The Virtues of Righteous Daughters of God,” Ensign, May 2003, 108.)
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) added this to the definition of virtue: “Love of God is the root of all virtue, of all goodness, of all strength of character.” (See “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 73.)
In addition, Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught the women of the Church, “… of all your associations, it is your relationship with God, your Heavenly Father, who is the source of your moral power, that you must always put first in your life. Remember that Jesus’s power came through His single-minded devotion to the will of the Father. … Strive to be that kind of disciple of the Father and the Son, and your influence will never fade.” (See “The Moral Force of Women,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 31.)
So, why does our rising generation need virtue? If virtue can help one stand strong in the presence of God, it will also give courage to face the difficult people and things in life – such as bullies. It will give our children and youth courage to do the right thing for the right reason. While the world seems to be spiraling down into moral decay, virtuous members of the rising generation can strengthen their families, communities, and nations.