Thoughts on Why the New Youth Pamphlet and Related Changes in the Church – Changes Toward the “Higher & Holier Way” without Falling into “Anything Goes” Pitfalls, Emphasizing Parental Leadership – 4.23.23




The church is always changing, this is based on the needs and abilities of the members, as dictated by the spirit of the Lord through the prophet. Church leaders are not infallible, but we can see inspiration in these things. A theme of the changes in the church is to direct us to a “higher and holier way.”

Jesus taught the people that rather than focusing on a list of laws, they should remember the higher laws of loving God and neighbor. This was to make a “higher and holier way” rather than to make a culture of “anything goes”.

Sadly, many do interpret these changes of a more hands off principles based approach as a direction toward “anything goes” with an emphasis on being non-judgemental. The true saints however view these changes as for just the reason that church leaders are saying they came for: to make a higher and holier way.


An important element of the “higher holier way” and the apparently more vague guidebook is that each family home should follow the spirit to make progress that they are ready for, and that the church focuses on giving the overarching principles rather than the applications of those principles.

The parents give the what and the why, the church reinforces the why. When the church emphasizes things like “find joy in Christ” and “Christ will help you” in their youth guidebook, these things alone of course will not lead to salvation, as they are not substantive in and of themselves, and leave the youth wondering HOW to apply those things. Do we find joy in Christ by just trying to be “spiritual” while engaging in whatever others are doing? The youth NEED the religious culture of their parents if they are to survive in this hands off curriculum.

Of course the youth should pray and get their own revelation about what to do, but the parents must fuel this. For example, a parent could say “you need to do x. You can pray about it.” The youth can then pray about it, and the spirit can confirm to them to do what their parents have taught them. As the church reinforces the why of discipleship, the spirit can remind the youth that “yes, you can and should do what your parents have taught you.” Of course youth can get new ideas of what to do for God, but they need to start with following the council of their parents, those chief advisors appointed before the foundation of the world for not only the strength but the salvation of youth.


We open the doors for more good and more evil when the church has a more hands off approach. The saints are allowed to slack off if they so chose, but they’re also not forbidden from living higher laws. More freedom to act in either direction is given. Yes, when we raise the bar, some simply don’t chose to strengthen their muscles to be able to overpass that higher bar. Make no mistake, gathering Israel and building Zion always involves a sifting of the wheat from the tares, a polarization between those who are disposed for good, and those who are disposed for evil.

We have seen polarization in opening the doors for personal interpretation in some other areas in the church as well, not just the new youth standard manual. Here are 4 examples:

  1. With Preach My Gospel (the missionary manual) which replaced memorized presentations, some missionaries used that to teach with greater power, catering to the real spiritual needs of investigators. Other missionaries were left clueless and didn’t really teach anything other than a tiny scripture or something to check off the box of having taught SOMETHING while they met with people.
  2. There’s also the Come Follow Me curriculum. Some parents are still just reading the lessons / chapters (or sadly just a verse or two) to their children, others are running with the curriculum and using it to have more meaningful gospel discussions about how to apply principles in their lives in practical ways to be real Christians.
  3. Another is ministering rather than home/visiting teaching, which involves less numbers in reporting, less assigned curriculum to teach, and more flexibility in how meetings are accomplished. The idea of this shift was to be more involved in the lives of those we are assigned to help, but some have taken the change to mean that a text every 3 months is all that is needed, some form of communication to say hello, and all is well. Others have taken ministring to mean having a more involved connection to their assigned brethren and sisters, and also to make their lives more service oriented in general, and to find where they can help further when their assigned members don’t need excessive attention. We could easily ask as did the savior, which is minister, the person who barely makes any contact and doesn’t want to make waves, or the person who finds someone to have real connection with, to help them make real spiritual progress?
  4. Lastly, let’s look at the “church supported home centered” church, which came with shortened church and more vague principles based instruction. Some took this to mean their faith could be more casual and theoretical. Others took it to mean that the burden was shifted from some leader to the parents to muster fiery faith in their youth.

    Let us all, particularly us adults, chose to have the Christian fire of faith that doesn’t need detailed instruction – but let us also train those who need our personal training those standard particulars they will need to survive. Parents will teach their children rules, and will teach them the keys to firey faith which they can grow into. Parents must not suffer their children to quarrel and do other evil things, or be in evil places or engaged in evil uses of media, etc. The church takes a more hands off approach (though not completely hands off, they still give a few specifics), but the home must be willing to dive deeper and show applications of faithful principles.

    Let us love and adhere to what instruction we already have, and use that as a springboard for going even further forward. Let our left hands not know what our right do, and quietly kindle mighty faith. We must raise the bar in our own lives, we cannot wait for the church to tell us what to do. Just because the church is intentionally vague as it addresses its worldwide audience and its ever rapidly growing membership, does not mean that in our homes we must be so very vague! Indeed, we should make specific invitattions to our children, and promise them specific blessings, as the missionaries are taught to do!

    We focus on the gospel, on the conversion to the Lord. Really, all the lists that have been made about how to be a disciple are insufficient. Joseph Smith taught that a religion which does not require one’s all isn’t sufficient to produce salvation. So no, we aren’t just avoiding professional sports on the sabbath, we are praying on the sabbath and feeding the poor. We aren’t just not getting tatoos (and yes the specific injuncture to not get tatoos was removed from the youth standard pamphlet, which some are using to justify tatoos now), we are finding ways to eat a healthier diet to better glorify God in the temples of our bodies, and finding ways to use the temples of our bodies to be not only clean and strong, but to do holy things with our time. (PS- what kind of media is your child watching if they are so desperate to find an excuse to get a tatoo? That is the root of the problem.) (PSS- the bible does specifically say not to get tatoos, so again, lets up our scriptural literacy here folks.)


    So do the youth get it? Are they converted? Will they have the spiritual maturity to obey the counsel of their parents, as well as to follow the spiritual principles of spiritual self reliance which the church is teaching? If they are lead correctly, great results can come by and by. But one thing is sure, we cannot rely on the church to teach our kids everything they should know. That would be entirely insufficient, and the church has never claimed to be the source of all parenting, all politic, all philosophy, or even all doctrine. The church functions as a springboard and a safety rail, but not as a cage or a dictator. Prophets have always taught that God has more in store for our lives than only what we hear from a pulpit. When parents see their responsibility to take the youth further, hope is kindled.

    So what do we do about our liberal friends who want to make a “New Age Christian” who approves of many abominable acts in the name of tolerance and love? We set an example. What we cannot write with our pens and official church pamphlets, we must speak with our actions. Like Moroni said, he can’t tell us every way to sin. We must teach our chidlren that some chose spiritually vain activities, but that they must always be accountable to God, rather than just comparing themselves with what the bishop lets his kids do, or other such nonsense.

    We must seek to inspire in our children the Christian fire of the ancients, the whole soul sacrifice. Along the way, yes, we will have some rules and some lower laws. We will encounter liberal claims about “anything goes Christianity.” But make it clear that in your house, you serve the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, and that they each can chose this day whom they will serve, but that in your house, there will certainly be some baseline rules in addition to the conscience training of getting them to listen to the promptings of the spirit to live the higher laws. While they are still learning to tap into their conscience, we will show them ours.


    As we get away from “cliche Mormons” as Brigham Young distainfully called them, and focus on more important things, we will move away from the current war being waged on the righteous. Yes, there prevails a culture in society (and the church society isn’t entirely immuned to it) to persecute those who do chose righteousness, and to say that the righteous are actually “self-righteous,” that their attempts at holiness are actually sacreligious. Ironically, many who accuse people of being wickedly self righteous, have themselves become wickedly self righteous in the sense of their unjust condemnation of holiness, and their promotion of a vain “no standards” approach to religion (which more and more supposed Christians of America appear to be adopting). We don’t need Pharisee culture, and our duty is to leave such behind, but we do need righteous and holy culture, and this will unite us in meaningful ways, putting an end to scoffers on both sides.

    What does the future hold for people who get away from pharisee nonsense and live real Christianity? The day when we can embrace a holier Christianity is a day when we can have a powerhouse message to the peoples of the world, that God dwells with us, that there is real temporal and spiritual security among our people. This is the day when the righteous masses of Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and others will see the real value in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and will gladly flock to it.

    It was well said by an apostle on the church website recently that our diversity is going to increase in the church as more and more members join from around the world. But this diversity isn’t what the left is yearning for, it isn’t a disregard for standards. It is an increase of standards, and a decrease of Pharisee cultural requirements. The holy people of the earth who know right from wrong will join us, and their righteous culture will send shock waves among our numbers which will bring the members to humble remembrance of the faith of their fathers.

    No, this culture of trendiness and woke society in Christiandom cannot last forever. Those racing to the tatoo artists when that is pulled from a standards pamphlet will be left without words when the church flies so far above that issue, that it would seem more reasonable to put ink in your breakfast cereal than in your arm. The holy peoples of the world will come and bring their holy cultures with them, and we the saints are beginning to prepare to embrace those cultures who are still focused on God, holiness, family, and righteousness that will force itself into the political structure of society by common consent. These then are the seeds of Zion and the millennium, and it’s scarry now, but God is at the helm, this is his church, and he will prepare us for our millennial mission. We must save Israel from the spiritual (and temporal) famines upon (and coming upon) us. We must embrace the birthright and welcome home our brethren of faith around the world. We must be saviors on mount zion and bring in the ultimate era of holiness, the sabbath of the earth, and this is our destiny to live and sacrifice for each day.

    I will be the first to say that I miss the old standards book and how specific it was on some things. But I must confess that such a book as we had does not have the spiritual power we need to rise at this time to the “higher and holier way” which the Lord is calling us to. We need the whole soul Christianity of our fathers, we need the power and revelation of God in our lives, we need a home (family) centered church, and the days of expecting it all to be laid out for us by some leader somewhere are past.

    Not everyone will get it, but we will work one converted person at a time. Some will flounder with the new, more hands off systems, but the Lord can do more with one truly converted soul than he could with 10 servants that had to be told what to do in every instance. Then from these seeds of true faith, from this salt, this leaven, the peoples of the earth will be offered Christ’s salvation, and many will find it.

    Wake up saints, do away with trivial agendas, schedules, expectations, and focus on doing good, teaching truth, giving your whole soul as a Christian, and teaching your children so to do. Be like Alma – be born again into a new way of life. Preach the word. Use the strict word of God. Use prayer. Use the words of the prophets. Be who you were born to be, and let no calendar or financial vanity hold you back from sending a message to the world that they will never forget. Rise up like humble Enoch, and be so grounded in God’s word and the spirit of Zion that the rivers of culture in your home and outward turn their course at your preaching, and the beasts of evil cry out in fear, being unable to overturn the wake of your faith.

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