How much do leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really know about the lives and struggles of the rising generation — including those raising the next generation? President Dallin H. Oaks of the Church’s First Presidency said leaders stay as current as they can on all issues of concern for a diverse global Church of 16 million people.
On Friday, August 24, 2018, President Oaks spoke to hundreds of young married Latter-day Saints at a chapel in Santa Monica, California, about how to help their children in several sensitive areas, including concerns with mental health, Church history and LGBT issues.
President Oaks noted that in addition to the already formidable challenge of raising children in an era of information overload and indifference or hostility toward religion, young parents face the complexity of mental illness. He cited statistics from 2014 that show one in five of the U.S. population between the ages of 18 and 25 had a mental illness. He also noted that between 2008 and 2016, there was a 40 percent increase in college students being diagnosed or treated for depression and a 70 percent increase in diagnosis of or treatment for anxiety.
“Truly these are different times for your generation, and it is not surprising that you young marrieds look to Church leaders for help in doing what you need to do and teaching your children what you need to teach,” President Oaks said.
To those who wonder how to resolve concerns some have with Church history, President Oaks said the Church’s many historical resources may help the sincere seeker. He added that the ultimate solution to a crisis of faith is an increased focus on faith in the Savior of the world. “The best answer to any question that threatens faith is to work to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church. And conversion to the Lord comes through prayer and study and service, furthered by loving patience on the part of spouse and other concerned family members.”
To those (1) unsure how to reconcile the Church’s stance on LGBT issues with local and national laws, or (2) asking how to help their LGBT friends and family find greater happiness and hope in the absence of a heterosexual marriage, President Oaks encouraged a compassionate, faithful, eternal perspective. He said that in his “persistent prayerful ponderings, I have never found a better, shorter answer to the innumerable questions on this subject than a thorough knowledge and total faith in the love of our Heavenly Father and the plan of salvation He has established for the blessing of all of His children. The central truth of that plan is the Atonement of His Only Begotten Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
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