The young women had another special evening recently where they welcomed in the new young women for the year. It went SO well. They performed a program for their parents and friends called "Happily Ever After" that highlighted the theme for the year. Each young woman had the option to sing or speak during the program. I think it's so important for them to have these opportunities at church. Seriously- what better place to develop our talents than among people who love us unconditionally? It was so inspiring to watch them shine!
I mean really- aren't these girls just adorable?!
One of the songs from the program was called, "Return to Virtue". Here are some of the teachings about virtue we shared with the young women:
What does it mean to return to virtue? We are calling for a return to moral purity and chastity. Virtue is purity. Virtue is chastity. The word virtue has also been defined as “integrity and moral excellence, power and strength”. The core of a virtuous life is sexual purity, and yet this definition has almost been erased by the world. The prophet Mormon taught that chastity and virtue are “most dear and precious above all things” (Moroni 9:9).
President Boyd K. Packer has said that "nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world … compare[s] with our present circumstances. Nothing … exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now. Never before has there been a greater need for virtue and purity in the world."
President Thomas S. Monson said, "You will need [courage] to be chaste and virtuous. You live in a world where moral values have, in great measure, been tossed aside, where sin is flagrantly on display, and where temptations to stray from the strait and narrow path surround you. Many are the voices telling you that you are far too provincial or that there is something wrong with you if you still believe there is such a thing as immoral behavior.
"Isaiah declared, 'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness' (Isaiah 5:20). Great courage will be required as you remain chaste and virtuous amid the accepted thinking of the times."
He also counseled: “You be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow. There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness—and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in your appointed place clean and with the confidence that you are worthy to do so.”
Elaine S. Dalton gave us instructions from the scriptures to help us remain virtuous: “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” “Cleave unto [your] covenants.” “Stand … in holy places.” “Lay aside the things of [the] world.” “Believe that ye must repent.” “Always remember him and keep his commandments.” And “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, … seek after these things.”
After the program, each girl was given a white rose as a symbol of purity and to remind her have courage to stand up for what is right and virtuous in a world that often mocks virtue.
Sister Elaine S. Dalton, "As you grow and blossom, your personal purity will enable you to become a force for good and an influence for righteousness in the world. I truly believe that one virtuous young woman, led by the Spirit, can change the world."
And the important reminder about the power of Jesus Christ and the atonement: You are God’s precious daughters! Because of the knowledge of our divine identity, everything must be different for us: our dress, our language, our priorities, and our focus. We must not seek guidance from the world, and if our true identity has been clouded by mistakes or sins, we can change. We can turn around and repent and return to virtue. The Savior’s Atonement is for you and for me. He invites each of us to come unto Him.
The decorations we chose to go along with the theme were all black and white to go along with the theme. And this is the handout that went along with it:
In a world that is blurring morals and lines
between right and wrong, the Lord’s standards
are clear. There are no gray areas.
We don’t believe in being partially honest.
We don’t believe in being chaste only
when we want to. The 13th article of faith
makes it clear what we believe. The
difference between righteousness and
wickedness is “black and white.”
We believe in being true
We believe in being chaste
We believe in being benevolent
We belive in being virtuous
We believe in doing good to all men
And of course us leaders dressed in black and white. Have I mentioned how much I love these women?!
And the refreshments had to go along with the theme too... so we had black and white cupcakes and sundaes with black and white toppings- (marshmallows, choc. chips, oreos, sprinkles, hot fudge, etc.) So fun!
I hope these young women choose to rise above the things of this world- and strive to live a virtuous life. I know they see the consequences in the lives of their peers who have chosen otherwise. Rarely do they see happiness as a result of immorality. I hope they always remember who they are- each young woman is God's own child.