When I was 29 years old, a father of three sons and just out of graduate school, we moved to Stirling, Alberta. A few months later I was called to teach the 16-18-year-olds in Sunday School. The course of study was the Book of Mormon.
Every Sunday after church, I’d read the lesson for the next week. I felt like I was helping them understand the Book of Mormon and strengthening their testimonies. My daily prayers for help and guidance were being answered but I felt like there was more that Heavenly Father wanted me to do. So, I asked Him.
My Prayer Was Answered
His answer was very clear. “Teach them to beware of: immorality, false educational ideas, and the flattery of their friends [negative peer pressure].” That’s what I began to look for within the pages of the Book of Mormon and the formal lesson material in the manual.
The lessons went even better. I’d find ways to teach them about the temptations Satan uses to lure us away from the straight and narrow path.
We discussed how to avoid pornography and anything that persuaded them to think of their bodies as just for personal pleasure rather than the holy temple of their spirits. I stressed that the intimacy reserved for marriage was sacred and perhaps the highest temporal expression of love and commitment.
We discussed false and misleading concepts that sounded sophisticated and lofty but were contrary to eternal truths. I suggested that they should evaluate and judge worldly concepts against the rock solid, eternal truth of the gospel, rather than the other way around.
“There are absolute truths,” I told them. “They are not subject to interpretation or change by educators or politicians. There is a “true north.”
We talked about the influence friends can have on us, for good or ill, and how to recognize them; how to stand up and watch out for each other. “You’re responsible for having one another’s backs. Friends don’t let friends drift off course.”
The students were getting deeper into their study and gaining a sense of power, with the Lord’s help, to control the temptations and forces in their own lives, and to trust in the Lord to take care of concerns over which they had no control.
We had a great year together. We grew closer to each other and to the Savior. After they had graduated and moved on, whenever I saw one of them, they mentioned the lasting effect our class had on them.
A General Authority’s Confirmation
A few years later I was serving as a counselor in our ward bishopric, coordinating with the youth leaders. I enjoyed the calling. At one point a multi-stake meeting was held with Elder Rulon G. Craven the visiting general authority.
In one session for bishopric members and youth leaders, he instructed us on how to magnify our callings. He told us about a recent meeting with the prophet, President Kimball, and all the regional representatives.
Elder Craven said in the meeting they were told that the Lord wanted them to tell leaders of youth to emphasize three things as we taught and worked with the youth.
“Tell these leaders to teach the young people three things to beware of: immorality, false educational ideas, and the flattery of their friends.”
As you can imagine I got goose bumps.
Later, I approached Elder Craven and shared my own experience as a Sunday School teacher a few years earlier.
He said, “You’re not surprised, are you? You were praying and asking the Lord what He wanted you to stress when you were teaching the teenagers in your class. The prophet was praying about the same thing, for all the youth in the church.
“You asked the same question of the same divine source. It’s not surprising at all that you got the same answer. The difference is, yours was for your stewardship in the Sunday School class. The prophet’s answer was for his stewardship of the whole church.”
Seek Divine Guidance For Your Stewardships
We are entitled to receive revelation for our stewardships, personally, as husbands or wives, for our jobs, for service in the community, and, of course, for our calling in the Lord’s Church.
We need to provide our spirits with daily nourishment to help us build and maintain a close, personal relationship with Father in Heaven. He wants to guide and bless us. He wants us to be happy and successful.
He allows challenges to come into the lives of each of us. Often, they are uniquely tailored to help us build the spiritual strength and character we need to be effective servants and to return to live with Him.
Oh, and we must remember to record instances of God’s hand in our lives, each day in our journal. Then our evening prayers of thanksgiving will be specific expressions of gratitude. And even more blessings will flow.
Let’s do our part to make it so.