David O McKay
“Safeguards against the Delinquency of Youth”
October 1946 General Conference
A fourth and final safeguard against delinquency of youth is the moral atmosphere of the town or community. This is determined by the ideals and actions of adults, and particularly of civic officers and those who are entrusted to enforce the law. The following from one of our leading columnists (Miss Dorothy Thompson) referring to the “pervasive example of the behavior of adult civilization,” is pertinent:
As long as we publicize and condone violence; reward profiteering; intensify civil strife; glorify personalities with the sexual morals of rabbits; teach in our high schools and colleges a cheap relativism which denies personal responsibility and places all our sins upon the “economic system” or “infantile conditioning,” so long will we have juvenile criminals. Our children are reflections of ourselves, or of the things in our communal life that we tolerate. England, now, is making special films to be shown in special theatres for teenagers—films which are partly educational and partly pure entertainment, made by first rate artists, and frankly designed to magnify and make attractive virtue.
The writer then quotes Thomas Jefferson who “did not believe that you can get a good society except through good, honest, well-mannered, considerate, law-abiding, clean-living citizens. He thought, in fact, that if education concentrated in the first line on creating these, society and the state would take care of themselves.”
Yes, we are living in perilous times, but let us hope that they may be to the present generation as the fiery furnace that consumes the dross but purifies the gold.
A clean man is a national asset. A pure woman is the incarnation of true national glory. A citizen who loves justice and hates evil is better than a battleship. The strength of any community consists of and exists in the men who are pure, clean, upright and straightforward, ready for the right and sensitive to every approach of evil. Let such ideals be the standard of citizenship.
They are fundamentals in the Church of Jesus Christ.