SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learn to recognize and respond to the needs of other people as a part of their age-appropriate Church programs.
Youngsters in Primary, the Church children’s organization, join in activities defined in the Faith in God program, while teenage boys take part Young Men programs such as the Duty to God and, in some areas, in Scouting.
Teenage girls follow the guidelines of an achievement program called Personal Progress. Each age-based program provides encouragement for the young people to participate in a wide variety of learning activities but also places a strong emphasis on service. Girls in Young Women, for example, design and carry out seven 10-hour service projects to complete their individual award requirements.
As goals are achieved and new skills learned, Mormon youth often stand out as leaders in their schools and communities.
Danen Clarke, an Eagle Scout from Peachtree City, Georgia, for example, has been honored posthumously by Fayette County High School as an example of honorable living and high moral standards. Clarke was the only Mormon in his school and lived by the personal motto, “It’s simple. Just do what’s right.”
After Clarke’s untimely death in an effort to rescue a friend who had been pulled underwater by a vicious current, his entire school adopted Clarke’s slogan. Many students made individual pledges to abide by Clarke’s personal standard to avoid alcohol and pornography.
Clarke was also honored, along with two other Eagle Scouts, Brett Boot and Brock Gardner, with the Medal of Honor with Crossed Palms — Scouting’s highest award for heroism — for extreme-risk heroism for their efforts to save another teenager caught up in the floodwaters created by Hurricane Cindy in 2005.
“In the end, it’s not about what you learned but what you are willing to do with that knowledge,” explained Brad Clarke, Danen’s father. “Danen didn’t wake up that day two years ago thinking he’d lose his life to save another. His preparations for that moment occurred over the course of many years, with Scouting and the gospel of Jesus Christ being key forces that helped shape his character and turned him into a doer.”
This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at lds.org.