I’m a priest within the church, I have concerns with my young men quorum. We just had a recently called young men’s president a few months ago, and things haven’t been the same. Our new young men leader is a bit more strict and less patient with youth. I know that youth aren’t the smartest at times, but it’s really hard to come to mutual and church because of him. I know that he was called through revelation, and I understand that. But he is making things harder. What can I do?
Thank you for your concern over this topic. In fact, it takes some level of maturity, at your age, to try to reach out to an adult for advice instead of simply being rebellious and declaring: He’s just a jerk! So, I’m glad you’re actually looking for a productive way to handle this.
As I thought about your predicament and wondered about what he was actually doing that you found so strict, I came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter. What we need to do is open this up more, not isolate it.
What I mean by that is that your problem is a very common one. Whether it is a church calling that was divinely inspired, or if you get a job with a difficult manager who was simply hired to that position, you’re in a situation where you find it difficult to work with someone who is placed in a position of authority over you. It may also surprise you to know that managers at work find it equally difficult to work with employees who don’t understand the manager’s goals.
So, what can you do as a young man who has a personality conflict with a YM president?
The course of action is to use the established chain of command. Talk to the Lord first. In all things, talk to the Lord. Talk to your parents and ask if they can provide a third party opinion on the situation.
As a priest, council with the first assistant. He would then need to talk to either the president of the priest quorum. That’s right, it’s the bishop. It may seem odd that the priest quorum can talk to the bishop directly, but we need to remember that a primary role of the bishop is that he is the head of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Now, “what” do you say when expressing your concern? Good question.
The first step is to get very specific. You can’t just say something general like,”He’s being too strict.” Find specific examples — several of them. As you do so, express how you and other young men react to these examples.
Second, compare that to known gospel principles. What gospel principles is he violating? What gospel principle is he trying to enforce? Perhaps what he really needs is a person in his life who understands him and how much he cares about obedience. What gospel principles could you, yourself, be violating that brings it on? What are others doing? Are you violating or obeying gospel principles in your reaction to him? What would Jesus do if He were in your shoes? Then after you’ve pondered these things, pray for confirmation that your line of thinking is in line with the principles of the gospel.
Third, have a suggested course of action. If you simply point out a problem, but don’t have an alternative, then you’re admitting that you couldn’t do better if the positions were reversed. Figure out an alternative that you feel you could do yourself. And try to figure out how he could also implement the alternative or even how you could help him implement it. When describing an alternative, simply saying “don’t do that” is not sufficient. Find a “Do…” See, there is no such thing as NOT doing something. You can only choose to do something else. It is this final step that is the most helpful to the person you’re trying to help. And remember, you are trying to help, not just complain.
Throughout all this, it is important to remember that everything you do must be about the behavior, not the person. We love all people. But we talk about certain behaviors that may need to be adjusted. And we do not label the person because of it. We simply see resolution to “the problem” that is caused by the behavior. That is why charity is the best course of action. Without it, you are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal (1 Cor 13:1) In other words, you’d simply be making a lot of noise and not really doing anything useful.
I once heard a wise piece of advice. “It is very difficult to hate up close”. I’d add to that: “It is very difficult to be mean to people who love you so much.” Perhaps you could incorporate these tactics with your drill sergeant.. ehrr.. young men’s president.
In closing I’d like to share a video that I really like regarding judging others: