Young Men in Neutral: Wake Up and Get All the Education You Can

Following a reference to “young men stuck in neutral” by another speaker earlier in the day, President Hinckley in the Priesthood session of General Conference last night expressed pointed concerns for a dangerous trend among young men in the world. Young men in this nation are increasingly drifting in life, failing to follow the Lord’s counsel about getting all the education we can. I was surprised to hear him say that getting all the education you can was not just common sense or a good idea that he came up with, but he expressed it in much stronger terms as modern revelation from God. Revelation from God in this are has told us that we need to get all the education we can, and he is concerned that young men in the Church (and naturally, young men in general) are failing to follow this important counsel from God.

He notes that young men are not keeping pace with young women in terms of graduating from high school, going to college, and getting advanced education. There is good news here about young women moving forward, but there is a genuine problem that many of us see in young men increasingly slacking off in life and being content with low-paying jobs, little education, living with their parents into adulthood, and just wasting their life (stop the flames – I did not say a thing about sitting around all night playing video games instead of doing something productive!).


Author: Jeff Lindsay

18 thoughts on “Young Men in Neutral: Wake Up and Get All the Education You Can

  1. “I did not say a thing about sitting around all night playing video games instead of doing something productive”

    Why not!? 🙂

    Jokes aside, I think it’s great that the Lord is concerned about more than our spirituality.

  2. Great conference, but why do we keep hearing this nonsense about Thomas B. Marsh and the milk cow from the pulpit.
    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m on level 7 of Doom.

  3. Does the call for education include an historical knowledge (as opposed to a whitewashed version) of Joseph Smith, his escapades in Kirtland and Nauvoo, his prediliction for young women, and the latest DNA studies?

  4. That is a humorous comment, Sarah. Not for its wit but rather for its naivete.

    As a matter of fact, I’m a history major who has received a fair amount of scholarship money to study these things. Add to this that one of my jobs at BYU was to look through MOrmon journals, searching for bombshells worth noting. Interesting thing–I always wondered what all of those shredders in the back room were for…

    Really, now, I’ve been looking for these very things–asked the same questions myself. And I’ve found that the LDS scholarship is just as rigorous (often more so) than anything put by the likes of what I hear spewed on a regular basis by naysayers.

  5. Walker, where can we read your findings? Are you published? I am genuinely interested, and not just trolling.

  6. Back to the President of the Church–

    Look around—-The YM drifting is a perfect analogy by President H. I am wondering if he offended any?

    The thirst and desire for education comes from parents. Not parents saying it—-as much as parents demonstrating the desire.

  7. Interesting corollary article to this is this article in Counterpunch
    From the article: ‘During the past five years (January 01 – January 06), the information sector of the US economy lost 644,000 jobs, or 17.4 per cent of its work force. Computer systems design and related work lost 105,000 jobs, or 8.5 per cent of its work force. Clearly, jobs offshoring is not creating jobs in computers and information technology.'”
    Paul Craig Roberts quotes a number of formerly pro-globalization economists who are now seeing the light of the harrowing of the US middle class. It’s not limited to I.T. Roberts quotes one recanting economist, Alan Blinder, as saying that 42–56 million American service-sector jobs are susceptible to offshoring.

    Jobs that require a lot of education might be less susceptible to offshoring.

  8. I guess it depends on the sector. Doctors persay – require a lot of education aren’t really susceptible to off-shoring, but they are to other things, like mal-practice suits and rising costs of insurance (ask a local obgyn).

    Technology sector jobs are prone to off-shoring, but within that sector you’ve got high education positions that get off-shored too. A lot of programming jobs are off-shored when applicable, and it seems that companies that do hire locally want higher education, I couldn’t have gotten my position if I hadn’t gotten a Bachelors degree.

    I see it as mostly a low education type job that get’s off-shored, customer service is the big one – the one that takes no formal education…jobs that would be available for those who didn’t persue higher education, which wouldn’t be a problem as long as people would go after higher education.

    Personally I think education, meant just that – learning all you can! I think this stems from last Aprils talk on men who sit at home and don’t work and force their wives to work.

    I try to help boslter my sons appeitite for learning by making it interesting. They come up with questions and we try to find the answers if I don’t have it. How stuff works (web site) is probably one of the more eye candied ways of doing this..get’s them bright eyed when they can see how stuff works.

  9. I didn’t segue my comment as smoothly as I wanted…apologies.

    I would submit that when Pres. Hinckley instructed men to get all the education they could, he was not simply referring to the Marriott School of Management or the hard sciences. Anything you can do to make a positive contribution to society, something to uplift others, and as Elder Maxwell said, scholarship that “helps ferret out the truth,” is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

    On my publications, we will soon be publishing an annotated bibliography of every published journal at our library. This includes “explosive” diaries like Abraham Cannon’s account of the inner-working of Manifesto-era church government. Each journal has an abstract describing the basic contents and significance of the journal to Mormon historiography. These journals are often quite candid. William Clayton provides a key record for Joseph’s plural marriages (though this record too can be sensationalized by those with penchants for the sensational).

    Unfortunately, this bibliography will not be coming out for a while. Hopefully it will be completed by the end of 2007.

  10. I thought the comment about not wanting to be married to someone with more education than you was interesting. Hinckley was specifically referring to a theoretical scenario in which the wife’s level of education is greater than the husband’s. He then spoke of being “equally yoked.” I wonder if it goes both ways? That is, should the wife feel comfortable being married to someone whose education exceeds her own? I would personally like to take President Hinckley’s counsel as applying to both sexes (the wife should feel free to get just as much education as her husband), although I’m not sure if that was the intended thrust of his remarks.

  11. Steve M.-

    In light of President Hinckley’s repeated admonitions to the sisters to continue their education, I’d say this counsel is indeed applicable both ways.

    Jeff, I think you alluded to this, but it seems to me that “get all the education you can” isn’t university-centric. It applies equally well to trade schools and apprenticeships, as well as emotional, spiritual, and physical education. God certainly encourages us to grow in all aspects of our lives, through to the end of our lives.

  12. Right. College is just the beginning of education. Once you leave college or any other institution of learninf, you can’t stop! Read, study, learn, develop new skills – you must do this throughout your career.

  13. RE: Women and education
    I was disabled at age 52. I am very thankful that my wife has an education and has been able to take over as chief wage earner.

  14. Re: women and education

    In addition to all the other good reasons for women to get an education, it’s beneficial even if she chooses to stay home and be a mother instead of “working” (as if proper parenting weren’t work!).

    The kids will see a lot more of her education than Dad’s. Maybe that might help motivate some of the rising generation to apply themselves a bit more at school?

  15. Until “stay-at-home” moms are valued every bit as much as “working world” moms, families will still send their daughters to college expecting them to enter the corporate world for better or for worse. (I think it’s for the worse, personally!)
    Stacey Pokorney
    Dallas, TX
    staceypokorney at

  16. The way I see it, education involves far more than just sitting in classes. My carpool partner, though very sharp, boasts that in the fourteen months he went to college, he never read a single book. Now he spends his spare time watching sports and MTV and listening to Howard Stern. Education needn’t be formal; all you need is a local library and endless amounts of curiosity.

  17. What we need is men that apply themselves to their studies, and desire to become more like God! President H. really just wanted men to lengthen their stride. Women, keep doing what you are doing! you are amazing! But for me, I would want to have a woman with a Master degree, who is willing to stay at home and be with our children. Because that will be a great sacrafice, and she will be able to use her education for her children! Pres. Hinckley’s quote is great!

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