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Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 10 Jan 2022, 11:22
by nibbler

Re: Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 12 Jan 2022, 16:39
by Ilovechrist77
I was kind of curious how those went. Definitely Uchtdorf's, maybe Rasband's, not so much Cook's, though.

Re: Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 13 Jan 2022, 14:53
by Roy
I need more context. What are these?

From what I have skimmed, I wonder if there is any relevance for people that do not believe everything.

Re: Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 13 Jan 2022, 20:41
by nibbler
Sorry for the missing context/content. Of late I've had the exact opposite of whatever "time" is.

Earlier in the year the church announced six area devotionals hosted by apostles and their spouses to be given on January 9, 2022. The devotionals were aimed at the youth (18-30) of the church.

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.or ... -worldwide

Three of the six devotionals were linked in the original post. I only watched the devotional with Elder Cook. Here are some highlights:

Sister Cook talks about the ideal family. Temple marriage, a home with active priesthood, obedience. There's not much in the talk that strays from the well worn paths and unfortunately those are some themes that end up hurting people that don't meet the church ideals. In my opinion we need to create a lot more space for more diverse families. Families are the people we love and the people that love us, not some one size fits all mold to aspire to.

She only spoke for about 5.5 minutes, which was a bummer. By contrast, Elder Cook got about 25 minutes.

Elder Cook focuses his talk on a theme Sister Cook mentioned in her remarks, maintaining faith.

Finding balance:
Here Cook speaks from a perspective that the youth don't put in nearly as much effort towards faith as they do other worldly endeavors. He used the analogy of a rabbit pie. People become suspicious that the pies contain horse meat, the cook (pun) denies at first, but later admits that the pies contain half horse and half rabbit. People inquired what he meant by half horse, half rabbit and the cook clarified that the pies had one horse and one rabbit, meaning the pies were mostly horse with very little rabbit. Cook used the analogy to say that for some the attention we give faith is the rabbit portion of the pie.

It's an odd analogy to be sure. While he related it, I couldn't help but think of the foundational narratives we use to establish the authority of the church. The faith promoting portions of the story are the rabbit pie. The "anti-Mormon lies" are the horse. Well okay, the foundational narratives are half rabbit, half horse. Okay you got me again, lots of those stories are all horse. Here's some gospel topic essays to try to get some rabbit back in there. We good? :thumbup:

Book of Mormon contains literal history:
Cook relates a story about President Nelson gifting a BoM. Emphasis added:
My wife, Mary, and I had the great privilege of accompanying President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy, to South America in August of 2019. I loved the way President Nelson introduced the Book of Mormon to the president of one country we visited. President Nelson gifted him a leather-bound copy of the Book of Mormon with the country’s president’s name embossed on the cover. When President Nelson handed the book to him, he explained that the Book of Mormon is a thousand-year history of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. President Nelson noted that because it was a history, it was not like a book where there was a beginning and an end that would be read from cover to cover.
Borrowed light:
Cook talks of the importance of a personal testimony. I get that eventually we'll all have to be independent some day. Here I think Cook is concerned with people losing faith or not being saved because borrowed light is insufficient. I'm more in the camp that things will work out in their own due time. D&C 46 mentions the following as a gift of the spirit:
To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
Kudos to Cook for:
  1. Talking about having faith in Christ. We often conflate Christ with the organizational church. There were a few places where Cook spells out faith in Christ in clear terms where it's not used as a proxy to refer to loyalty to the church. I think he did a better than average job of framing the relationship between following Christ and the role of a prophet.
  2. Quoting a religious leader of another faith (Harry Emerson Fosdick)
  3. Says the church is the beneficiary of the knowledge of our day. I call this out because in the past I've heard it stated slightly different, that the church is somehow responsible for the knowledge of our day.

Re: Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 15 Jan 2022, 16:56
by Arrakeen
I feel like every time I see one of these it only serves to remind me that church leaders have no idea what it’s like to be a young adult in the 21st century.

I wish instead of these generic talks we could have a “reverse devotional” where the YSA could teach the general authorities about their concerns and give advice about how to relate better to the younger generation.

Re: Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 17 Jan 2022, 08:44
by Old-Timer
That would be awesome. The Church does surveys for that purpose, and I like that, but in-person would be great.

The issue is finding people who would be willing to “challenge” an apostle, especially with other people around who might react negatively.

Re: Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 20 Jan 2022, 17:11
by Sheldon
Arrakeen wrote:
15 Jan 2022, 16:56
I wish instead of these generic talks we could have a “reverse devotional” where the YSA could teach the general authorities about their concerns and give advice about how to relate better to the younger generation.
No No No!. Elder Packer taught that a General Authority faces the Prophet, with his back to the people, not the other way around. He represents the Prophet to the people, and does not represent the members to the Prophet.
“Which way do you face?” President Boyd K. Packer surprised me with this puzzling question while we were traveling together on my very first assignment as a new Seventy. Without an explanation to put the question in context, I was baffled. “A Seventy,” he continued, “does not represent the people to the prophet but the prophet to the people. Never forget which way you face!” It was a powerful lesson.

Re: Recent Youth Area Devotionals

Posted: 24 Jan 2022, 09:20
by Roy
Luckily, in practice, there is some of both. I know that church leaders have contracted marketing researchers and focus groups to try to get a bigger picture on societal trends and concerns.