OGDEN -- A little over a year ago, young men across the LDS Church were given new Duty to God books and instruction as to how the program had changed.
The Duty to God program helps young men, ages 12 to 18, strengthen their testimony and relationship with God; learn and fulfill priesthood duties; and apply standards from the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet.
The program changed a year ago in that it ceased being an achievement program and moved more toward being a program that would guide the young men's lives.
The key to the program, according to the Young Men's General Presidency, is to help the young men learn, act and then share what they have learned with others -- and that is how the booklet is set up for the boys.
The booklet is divided into the three sections as the young men progress through the Aaronic Priesthood.
There is a Deacon section, Teacher section and Priest section, with each outlining what the boys' duties and responsibilities are during that particular time of their lives.
Boys receive certificates at the end of each two-year section. They also receive a larger certificate of recognition when the program is completed after six years of being in the Young Men's organization. Boys are also encouraged to do the Scouting program as the activity portion of the Duty to God program.
"The purpose of Duty to God is to help you experience the power, authority and divine mandate you received when the priesthood was conferred upon you," said Craig C. Christensen, a member of the Seventy in a special Duty to God New Era Magazine.
In the Duty to God booklet, which is also available to young men in an interactive online site at DutytoGod.lds.org, there are sections on spiritual strength, priesthood duties and For the Strength of Youth for each two-year time period of the youths' lives: ages 12 to 14, 14 to 16 and 16 to 18.
For each category, specific direction is given for the boys to learn, space for the boys to write a plan to act, and then specific instruction for the boys to share with others what they have learned and to record that knowledge in a personal journal.
"If someone were to ask you to name the duties of a deacon, you would probably say that a deacon passes the Sacrament and collects fast offerings. And you would be right. However, as the Fulfilling My Duty to God booklet illustrates, the service of a deacon encompasses much more than that. For example, a deacon is to watch over the church, fellowship quorum members, speak in meetings, and share the gospel and his testimony with others. As you work on Duty to God, you will gain a much broader vision of what is expected of you and how you can better fulfill your duties as a deacon, teacher or priest," Christensen said in the article.
"Duty to God is a resource that creates a change of heart," Young Men's General President David Beck said at a special training for young men leaders during the summer. Beck said there can be challenges with helping boys and leaders to understand the program.
"The adversary does not want Duty to God implemented in our church."
Young Men leaders across the church are working to make the program successful in wards and stakes, and the "learn, act, share" model is being understood by and taught to many, Beck said.