Mormon teens are getting a whole new look to their programs in 2013. It’s an exciting change that will make it clear to teens that the Church considers them capable of hard things, of adult responsibilities, and of teaching themselves the gospel. It will help prepare them to serve missions at a younger age and to get ready for adult life in the church and in the world. Here’s a peek at what is coming up (and you don’t have to be Mormon to come and take advantage of all this).
The theme for 2013 is “Stand ye in holy places.” It comes from a Mormon book of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants. The full verse is: “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord” (Doctrine and Covenants 87:8).
The theme will remind teenagers that the gospel of Jesus Christ is an all-day everyday part of life. Wherever we find ourselves we have to keep our standards with us and not let the world drag us down into a world without standards. Teens will work to prepare for the day when Jesus Christ returns.
A webpage is available to help you study the theme. You’ll find videos, posters, t-shirt designs, and even a free downloadable album of music entirely written by teenagers. You’ll also find thoughts posted by other teens on the theme.
New Learning Program for Church Classes
The way you’ll learn in your classes is all-new. Sunday School, Young Women and Young Men, and Seminary will all be coordinated so you’re following a theme each month.
Your leaders and teachers will become mentors, guiding you while you teach yourself the gospel. If you and your classmates decide you need another week on that topic, you’re free to take it. If there are parts of the topic you have special concerns about, you’ll deal with them. You’ll be using the current prophets and apostles to learn what the church teaches today and you’ll have the opportunity to discuss some of the big issues going on around you. Instead of using a manual written years ago, you’ll learn from what is being said right now. Your teachers will take the study guide from the Internet, so the material can be updated at any time.
Let’s look at the Young Women’s monthly theme for September. The boys will have the same theme, which is commandments. The lesson materials for the teachers suggest seven possible topics. Since you’ll only have four or five Sundays, the teacher will choose the topics she feels are the most important for you—or you might ask the teacher to cover one of them you’re concerned about.
One suggested topic is to discuss how to be in the world, but not of it. This means to figure out how to live the gospel even when the people around you aren’t and to keep your standards high no matter what the world tries to tell you.
The lesson guidelines for teachers include a list of scriptures, talks by church leaders, and videos that could be used. The teacher will choose the ones she feels are best for your class.
Every lesson starts with a discussion of the last week’s lesson. At the end of each class, you’ll be asked to try to have an experience with the topic of the day’s lesson. Then, the next week, you’ll have a chance to share what you did or what else you learned as you studied and thought about the topic.
Then it’s on to the new topic of the day. The guidelines offer several suggestions for ways to introduce the topic that your teacher can choose from. Let’s suppose she decides to talk about what the lesson title means and how Jesus set the example. Instead of telling you what it means, she will ask you what you think it means. She will ask you what examples from Jesus’ life show that He was doing those things. You’ll teach each other through your comments, thoughts, and questions.
One suggestion is to watch some of the recommended videos and then talk about what they show us about living the gospel. Another is to look up some scriptures for clues. Students might also decide to make a list of commandments some teens find difficult to live and then look in For the Strength of Youth for answers.
Some lessons also use Mormon Ads or include a craft project just to break things up a little—for instance, making a poster for your room. The better the teacher knows you, the better she can plan good experiences for you.
The lessons end with students deciding what they’ve learned and whether or not they want to discuss this again next week. They commit to having an experience with the topic over the coming week and to share it with others. The weeknight activity might be related to the lesson learned on Sunday.
These lessons require the students to really participate. They need to come to come to class ready to discuss the topic and they need to participate with questions, comments, and ideas. How well these new lessons go will be up to the students, who will choose the path by their own participation. When you come to the topic feeling spiritual and curious, ready to really dig in and learn, the entire class will be more intellectually and spiritually exciting.