Integrity and Virtue

On Sunday, I attended my last week in the Plymouth Ward. I have been serving in the primary and nursery for my tenure in the ward, but really wanted to attend Relief Society for my last week. I’m so glad I did. There was a combined lesson/program on finding JOY in the season through serving Jesus, Others, and taking time for Yourself. I was immediately drafted to sing Lord, I would Follow Thee in a small ensemble with violin.

But even more moving than the lesson and music was the letter read by one of the Young Women from the First Presidency during announcements. It was announcing a change to the Young Women’s theme, based on a talk by Elaine Dalton:

“Now is the time for a return to virtue!”

The attribute and value of Virtue has been added to the Young Women theme. “Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards. It encompasses chastity and moral purity.”

The time has come for the young women of the Church to lead the world in a return to virtue. This is the time to be pure and to qualify for the guidance of the Holy Ghost. In the coming year, it is our desire that all young women and their leaders focus on the meaning of virtue, what young women can do to accept and act upon this value, and how this attribute can strengthen young women as they prepare to be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive temple ordinances.

We will distribute through local priesthood leaders and also post online the Personal Progress value experiences and projects associated with this value. We desire all young women to complete and be recognized for completing this value, in addition to the seven values listed in the Personal Progress book. You may want to study the following scriptural references as you contemplate a return to virtue.

“I believe one virtuous young woman led by the Spirit can change the world.”

For those not familiar with the LDS Church, Young Womens is the organization for girls aged 12-18. For the third hour of our Sunday church block, YW meet to discuss spiritual topics relevant to their age group, based on the Young Women’s Values: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity…and now Virtue.

It made my heart burn with happiness to know that the leaders of the church are ever mindful of the moral turpitude of the world in this day and age. Our YW NEED the instruction on moral principles, even more than I felt that I needed the annual “chastity lesson” or “standards night” 10-12 years ago. It’s not always easy to tell a hormonal teenager, “Don’t date till you’re 16” or “Don’t make out with your date in the car.” With the onslaught of sexual content easily accessible (whether sought or accidentally discovered) on television, movies, and the internet…I feel that this generation needs more frank discussion on virtue and morality.

I worry about my daughter as she becomes more impressionable to adult themes, and I have to always be careful what I allow her to watch. Obviously, I believe that moral values need to be taught in the home, but for YW who think their parents are fuddy-duddys and old fashioned…a carefully-prepared lesson from a YW leader they trust just might be the catalyst for more careful and virtuous behavior. The church curriculum will be updated, and personal progress goals will soon be added.

Kudos to you, church leaders, for making this doctrine and subject a priority.

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