Youth Activities: Pet Peeves

While many youth activities are uplifting and serve valuable Gospel purposes, I’m puzzled over some of the exceptions I see. For example, why teach youths that their bodies are sacred temples to be treated with respect, and then promote eating contests, where kids are pressured to make fools of themselves stuffing food into their faces? For those who are overweight and already subject to teasing about their eating habits, an eating contest can be a dreaded nightmare. It’s not healthy, it’s ugly, it’s undignified, and I’m sure it’s something Christ would never approve of. What a sad deviation from the Word of Wisdom – and from wisdom in general. (Alternative suggestions if you have to have a competition with food: why not see how much food kids can prepare to give to the needy, or how food storage can be cataloged in a given time, or how many meals for missionaries can be cooked, or anything besides gorging?)

Another pet peeve is water fights or water balloon activities. Yes, they can be fun, but I’ve seen these events become traumatic for kids who came in nice clothes not knowing that they were going to be drenched. Many times the “fun” spills into the church building, with wet carpet and other problems. And sometimes the event becomes nasty. I recall one event in which a couple boys got socks wet with toilet water to throw at others. Ah, those sons of Helaman….

If 30 kids have a blast, and one goes home feeling like he or she never wants to come again because an event got ugly, I think the event is a failure.

Final thought: youth leaders, please be sure that water activities follow the Safety Afloat principles of Boy Scouts of America. Aquatic events can be so fun, but they are where some of the most terrible tragedies occur when Safety Afloat principles are violated. Years of good leadership in the Church won’t take away the pain, regret, and even financial disaster if a young person dies under your watch when proper safety principles were not followed. It’s serious stuff, and there are horror stories that go with each rule. Better to have people upset with you for being so paranoid about safety than to risk a fatality through negligence. And yes, you are likely to be sued if there was negligence (and, sadly, even if not).


Author: Jeff Lindsay

11 thoughts on “Youth Activities: Pet Peeves

  1. I have a “pet peeve”, too! Why in the world do Primary leaders do face painting at Church Harvest Festivals? This is in direct violation to President Hinckley’s admonition to NOT mark the body with tattoos. Scripture tells us that our bodies are the temples and we should not defile our bodies!

    Will you please “wake up” Primary leaders?

    Thank you,
    Deaunna Evans

  2. Deaunna,
    just my opinion but I don’t believe Pres. Hinckley was referring to cute little rainbows or pumpkins painted on kid’s faces when he spoke against permanent tattoos. These are easily washed off after the event and can’t really be compared to permanently shooting ink under your skin. In fact, having your ears pierced is far more destructive to our bodies and permanent than a face painting, yet it’s completely acceptable in the church.

  3. I have a “pet peeve”. Its leaders who whine about matters that don’t matter. Lighten up, let the kids have fun. And hay, if one kid out of 30 goes home unhappy – let him build a bridge and get over it. Better than 30 kids going home unhappy. Would people quit pandering to the whiners – its so depressing.

  4. I also have a “pet peeve”!!! I despise people who breathe. It is just repulsive! I’m standing worshiping, when suddenly I feel a moist breeze on the back of my neck. My neck! This directly violates all my values. Making me lust and other such sinful manerisms. So in conclusion, such breathing should be steadily banned from all mormon activities.

  5. Face painting? Seriously? Most of the members I see at church wear more "face paint" than required to create a pumpkin (i.e. make-up).

  6. 1 Cor 6:19 “…Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” The scriptures use the term “temple” to describe your child’s body. Would you teach your child about the sacredness of the temple by taking him by the hand and walking up to the Salt Lake Temple and painting a cute little orange pumpkin on the front door just because it is Halloween? You wouldn’t? Why? It will wash off!

    Isn’t face painting and tattooing Satan’s way of dulling ones senses to the counsel of the latter-day prophet’s? Isn’t wearing a cute little pumpkin around on your face serving to familiarizing yourself with the real thing? “Try it before you buy it!”

    The way we interpret the commandments and counsel from the latter-day prophets is a sign of our knowledge and commitment to the Lord. We can keep the commands in a luke- warm way or we can follow the example of the Stripling Warriors and keep the commandments with exactness. “You and I should strive to become like the stripling warriors described in the Book of Mormon, who did “perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them. …” (David A. Bednar Nov 2010 Liahona)

    What is the spirit of the latter-day counsel to youth found in For the Strength of Youth.? “Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way.” If you don’t think that painting a cute little pumpkin or a black and white skeleton’s skull or spider on your child’s face is not showing lack of respect and is indeed defiling your child’s body then that is a clear indication of your knowledge and level of commitment to the way you keep the commandments.

    Good luck to you when your teenager comes in with a permanent tattoo and throws it in your face that you have let him get tattoos all his life!

  7. What about makeup? I'm presuming you think the same way toward that as you do towards face paint? Only I'm sure I've seen Prophets wives, and those on the General Boards for Young Women and Relief Society wearing makeup…Surely the Prophet would have said something to them…

    I have never heard of face paint being in violation of the commandments before and I've been in the church for 30 years! I'll be sure to ask next time I see a General Authority.

  8. I think we should not get too hung up on external issues. In other words, it's a better world with a little makeup.

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