Brother Brad Wilcox: Making Choices Based on Principle

As a young sixth grade teacher, I always invited students to write five rules for the classroom, five rules for the library, five rules for the dining room, and five rules for the playground. Students obediently write their own lists and turn them in.

Then I unceremoniously threw the list in the bin and said, “Now that I know you know the rules, let’s talk about a principle: we’re here to learn and teach. Anything that gets in the way of that is against the rules. .”

Brother Bradley R. Wilcox, Second Advisor to the Young Men First Presidency

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Over the next few weeks, when students did something inappropriate, I would ask, “Is this helping you with your studies? Is this helping me teach? Is there anything that needs to change?” Soon, These sixth graders begin to learn to manage themselves according to principles rather than a list of rules.

With the release of the new “Power for Youth” guide during the October 2022 general conference, some are wondering how best to help youth make the same transition. How can we help young people make the right choices based on principles? I recently sat down with three religious education teachers at Brigham Young University and asked for their input.

Guy StrassenThe Associate Dean said: “Principles are eternal, but the application of these principles changes over time and from one family to another depending on the church and individual circumstances. Exodus 31:13-16 teaches a The principle that the Sabbath is a sign of God’s covenant with his people. In Jesus’ day, the Jews tried to keep the Sabbath holy, but their situation changed from when the command was given to Moses. For example, the Israelites received advice not to Specific instructions for collecting manna on the Sabbath. However, by the time of Jesus, there was no manna for over a thousand years. So the Jews looked for other ways to apply the Sabbath command. I learned to understand when I was a teenager in principle Sabbath. My father is not a church member. Every year his fishing club hosts a Christmas BBQ on Sunday. It was the only time Dad asked our family to do something with him on Sunday. At first, I didn’t want to go because in my opinion it was a Sabbath violation. But as I studied Exodus 31:13-16 and learned about the covenant aspect of the Sabbath, I concluded that my covenant with God also included an important relationship with my father. ”


The youth of Herriman Utah Pioneer Stake holds a copy of the new guide “Power for Youth: A Guide to Making Choices”.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tyler Griffinanother associate dean responded, “Counseling together. We see a pattern in the church where those [priesthood] Keys often tell members “what”, let’s discuss “how” together. A stake president who holds the keys might say, “Let’s plan a great youth meeting that focuses on the results of X, Y, and Z.” Then, the stake youth council, which includes stake Young Women and Young Men Presidency, begin to work out the details of how to achieve inspired results. Sessions are ultimately better because adults and teens counsel together. As families use the new “Youth Power Guide” (what), we will be more successful if parents and children take the time to discuss what to do together. “

Anthony sweat“Principles help us make choices ahead of time,” said the associate professor of church history and doctrine. One of the greatest benefits of making choices based on principles is that our choices need not be unduly influenced by the external pressures of our peers or the internal pressures of our emotions. There may be differences, but the principle is the same. CS Lewis once defined faith as “holding on to what your reason has once accepted, notwithstanding your changing moods” (cf. Pure Christianity, 140-141). Sometimes we’re not in the mood to read the scriptures, serve others, or attend church. When we make these decisions ahead of time, we just do what we’ve decided before and are almost always glad we did. This view makes the covenant So important. Covenants guide our future behavior. We make covenants today to protect ourselves from being tempted tomorrow. We make and renew covenants when we think best. A covenant relationship with God and Christ moves us forward, even if It’s not easy, unpopular, or inconvenient. Many of our eternal covenants are based on eternal eternal principles, and the revised “For the Strength of Youth” guide explains many of the principles that guide God’s covenant children.”

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