When I was a stake Young Men president several years ago I spoke in a priesthood leadership session of our stake conference. In my remarks I said that the greatest achievement a boy can attain during his years in the Young Men and Scouting programs is not: becoming an Eagle Scout, obtaining a Duty to God certificate, or receiving his mission call. Rather, I believe the greatest achievement a young man can attain in his youth is to learn to diligently fulfill his duty to God, regularly and faithfully.
I believe being a faithful priesthood holder is the crowning achievement for a young Aaronic Priesthood member. As I mentioned last week, Duty to God (DTG) is a process, not a program. It is a lifelong experience. It is a means to a much more important end in a young man’s life. The DTG process teaches a young man how to regularly feel the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “Men ought—above all things in this world—to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing as important as having the companionship of the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no price too high, no labor too onerous, no struggle too severe, no sacrifice too great, if out of it all we receive and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost” (A New Witness of the Articles of Faith, 253).
Elder Richard G. Scott counselled: “There is no simple formula or technique that would immediately allow us to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit. Our Father expects us to learn how to obtain that divine help by exercising faith in Him and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 6-7).
The greatest blessing a young man can receive in his life is to learn how to feel, recognize, and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The DTG process is designed to teach a young man how to “master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit.” It helps him “learn how to obtain divine help” by exercising faith in God. The activities in the Fulfilling My Duty to God guidebook help a boy develop spiritual attributes and become the kind of priesthood holder Heavenly Father wants him to be. DTG is a process where a young man gains the spiritual strength to stay on the path of righteousness by developing habits of regular prayer and scripture study. As a young man fulfills his duty to God he administers priesthood ordinances, serves others, and invites all to come unto Christ.
Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood are the perfect platforms upon which your boys can feel the Spirit of the Lord. A boy gains experience with the Holy Spirit as he faithfully fulfills his priesthood duties to “preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties” (D&C 20:46-47). He experiences the workings of the Holy Ghost when he learns through faithful study of the scriptures, acts upon the things he has learned, and bears witness of his experience by sharing his testimony with others. Additionally, the Holy Ghost quietly touches a young man’s heart during moments of reflection following a Scouting or priesthood activity. A boy hears the whisperings of the Spirit as he quietly ponders the significant experiences of his life from the vantage point of a mountain top or a secluded campsite. It is in the quiet of a vast, starlit night that a young boy is often moved by holy promptings. The still small voice speaks loudest in the silence of the night.
Brethren, you are in the business of saving boys. The most powerful tools you have in your arsenal to fight against the evil influences of the world are Scouting, the Aaronic Priesthood, and the Duty to God program. You can help bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of your boys by teaching them how to feel and recognize the Spirit of God as He speaks to them. You save boys when you help your young men learn, act, and share their experiences with the Spirit of the Lord.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Have you taught your boys how to feel and recognize the Spirit? Do you feel the Spirit in your own life?
- Are you personally engaged in the Duty to God process? Are you working in your booklet?
- How is the Duty to God process affecting your life? Is it making a difference in your life?
- Have you received a personal testimony of the Duty to God process?
- Have you learned about the Duty to God program, developed a plan of action to help the boys, and shared your experiences with your young men?
- Are your experiences helping you to better teach your boys how to feel and recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).
-Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.