News Release

Latter-day Saint Leaders Invite Parents and Youth Leaders to ‘Engage Heaven’ when Serving Children and Youth 

Broadcast available in English and ASL with other languages coming soon on June 18

“The most precious thing we have in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is our children and our youth,” said President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, after sharing a message about a program that provides tools to help parents and leaders support children and youth of the Church as many areas begin to come out of the pandemic.

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In the virtual event, “Supporting Children and Youth: A Broadcast for Parents and Leaders,” available beginning Sunday, June 6, 2021, President Ballard and other Latter-day Saint leaders spoke to parents and local leaders from around the world on how to create meaningful opportunities to help Latter-day Saint youth and children continually develop faith in Jesus Christ.

“Who are they? They are sons and daughters of God. What is their potential? Unlimited,” said President Ballard. “We’re raising up the future leadership of the Church.”

In addition to President Ballard, Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and General Officers from the Church’s youth, women and Sunday School organizations also participated.

The new Children and Youth program was first announced in November 2019, but its implementation was unexpectedly interrupted when COVID-19 impacted the global faith’s members worldwide. In-person worship opportunities were limited or paused because of pandemic-related safety precautions.

“This has been such a challenging year with COVID,” said President Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, from the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. “We just barely began the process, and then things shut down, so I think this is really a good time to help them remember that they have the most important impact in their children’s lives.”

The youth gospel program is a home-centered and Church-supported curriculum that aims to help young Church members develop faith in Jesus Christ through balanced growth in the spiritual, physical, social, and intellectual aspects of their lives.

“This program is the combination of gospel learning, service and activities and personal development,” said President Steven J. Lund, Young Men general president, when sharing a message for leaders of youth ages 12 through 17.

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To help get parents and youth leaders back on track and better understand how to use it as a gospel learning tool, the one-hour program shares practical ideas and examples that parents and Latter-day Saints can use to engage children and youth ages 7 through 18 years in the Church’s Children and Youth program.

In an interview with Church Newsroom, President Camille N. Johnson, Primary general president, shared that rather than giving adults a specific to-do list of how to support young Latter-day Saints, the Christ-centered program encourages them to seek heavenly inspiration that is tailored to youth and children’s individual needs.

The Primary is a Church organization for children ages 18 months through 11 years.

“As leaders and parents and stewards of this rising generation, we have an obligation to help them engage heaven, so that [children and youth] can prove successful and navigate the challenges ahead as we anticipate the return of our Savior,” President Johnson said.

In her message, President Johnson shared experiences of Latter-day Saint parents and Church leaders of children taking the time to get to know each youth member whose lives they are a part of.

She also emphasized the important role Church leaders play when they serve youth whose family circumstances don’t include supportive parents and family.

Whether implementing the program from their homes or within their local congregations, all leaders encouraged adults to help young Church members draw connections between youth-focused gospel activities, service and their individual relationship with the Savior.

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“Just remember that the lessons, the activities and the goals are not the objectives. They are the tools to help us all reach our real objective: to build faith in Jesus Christ and become more like Him,” said President Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, in her message to youth leaders.

“Under the Children and Youth Program, we’re expecting the youth and the children and their parents to figure out those things that are essential for them in the areas that are covered, their areas of focus,” said Elder Cook. “We’re expecting them to go to our Heavenly Father and to pray and to get answers from those prayers as to what actual goals, what objectives, what are the things that will move them along the covenant path?”

The broadcast is now available at ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on the Gospel Library in English and American Sign Language (ASL).

It will be available in Cantonese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish on Friday, June 18, beginning at midnight mountain daylight time.

“This is the beginning of a wave of messaging and resources and things that are coming again to support what was launched last year,” said Joshua Rich, a Priesthood and Family Department employee who helped organize the event.

In addition to being available as a full one-hour program, shorter age-group specific video clips that Latter-day Saint parents and leaders around the world can use in class or training settings will also be available at ChurchOfJesusChrist.org.

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