A look at the new language in the LDS Church’s ‘For the Strength of Youth’ guide

Updated version provides principles, says apostle Dieter Uchtdorf, to help young people make “righteous choices.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Youngsters receive the new guide “For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices” after the morning session of General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Oct. 1, 2022.

Gone is the prohibition on tattoos or extra piercings and the condemnation of bare shoulders or midriffs. The ban on “passionate kissing” is no longer there nor is the shaming of those with same-sex attraction.

This is the new and updated “For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices,” a printed and digital pamphlet aimed at young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The best guide you can possibly have for making choices is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the strength of youth,” apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf said in Saturday morning’s General Conference session. “So the purpose of the [pamphlet] is to point you to him.

“...I suppose the guide could give you long lists of clothes you shouldn’t wear, words you shouldn’t say, and movies you shouldn’t watch,” he said. “But would that really be helpful in a global church? Would such an approach truly prepare you for a lifetime of Christlike living?”

Instead, the new “For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices” stresses the “values, principles and doctrine” young Latter-day Saints can use to make decisions for themselves.

Instead of specific behavior, the new version provides general principles, Uchtdorf said, which could help young members “make righteous choices based on those eternal truths.”

Here are excerpts from a few of the revised statements:

• On bodies — “As you make decisions about your clothing, hairstyle, and appearance, ask yourself, ‘Am I honoring my body as a sacred gift from God?’ … Avoid styles that emphasize or draw inappropriate attention to your physical body instead of who you are as a child of God with an eternal future.”

• On dress, grooming, tattoos and piercings — “The Lord’s standard is for you to honor the sacredness of your body, even when that means being different from the world. Let this truth and the Spirit be your guide as you make decisions — especially decisions that have lasting effects on your body.”

• On sexual purity — “Outside of marriage between a man and a woman, it is wrong to touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body even if clothed. In your choices about what you do, look at, read, listen to, think about, post, or text, avoid anything that purposely arouses lustful emotions in others or yourself. This includes pornography in any form.”

• On same-gender attraction — “Feeling same-sex attraction is not a sin. If you have these feelings and do not pursue or act on them, you are living Heavenly Father’s sacred law of chastity. You are a beloved child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Remember that the Savior understands everything you experience. Through your covenant connection with him, you will find strength to obey God’s commandments and receive the blessings he promises.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A aerial view of a For the Strength of Youth conference in Brazil in 2016.