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Seven Anchors to Religiousness of Youth

A new study from Brigham Young University shows that teen religious commitment goes deeper than prayer and church attendance.

According to a Deseret News article, BYU professor David Dollahite and former master’s student Emily Layton found seven anchors to religiousness of youth:

  • Religious traditions, rituals and laws
  • God
  • Faith tradition or faith denomination
  • Faith community
  • Parents
  • Sacred texts
  • Religious leaders

Results were generated with open-ended questions to 80 teens of various religions — including Latter-day Saints — from northern California and the New England area.

The article gives an example of how Layton, a Latter-day Saint mother of four, and her husband incorporate rituals and traditions in their religion and family life. One of these traditions is associated with the Church’s general conference, which takes place every six months. Although the conference originates in the 21,000-seat ConferenceCenter in Salt Lake City, millions more watch worldwide from home.

Their family recently began the tradition of "Conference crepes," where they have crepes for breakfast as they watch the LDS General Conference held twice annually.

"Though we have only been doing it a couple years, it has made our children look forward to the event and be much more invested in the conference experience," she said.

Read the full story from the Deseret News .

Aside from family traditions, several Church initiatives aim to help teens develop a solid spiritual foundation. For example, Mormon high school-aged youth are encouraged to enroll in four years of religious education (in addition to regular schooling) known as the seminary program.

Latter-day Saint teenagers attend a seminary class

Mormon teenagers also participate in the Church Young Men and Young Women programs. As part of these programs, teens meet in classes on Sundays for religious instruction and several times during the month for social activities — including service projects, sports, camping and dances. Young men and women are also given leadership positions within the organization, in which they learn to set goals, plan group activities and solve problems. For example, “Dayton’s Legs,” a recent Mormon Message, tells the story of how a 13-year-old Latter-day Saint boy in Arizona pushed himself to the limit so that his friend who has cerebral palsy could participate with him in a triathlon.

The First Presidency of the Church has also created the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet for teens. The standards in this booklet — including honesty, clean language, regular exercise and obtaining as much education as possible — encourage teens to take an active part in their religion and community and are rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

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