After completing 27-plus hours of lifeguard training, reading the writings of the Apostle Paul, and listening to General Conference, I better understand the following fact:
In the swirling world around us, practices, procedures, and policies constantly change. Basic principles embedded in truth, however, remain constant through the ages.
For example, I recently completed a demanding American Red Cross life-guarding, first aid, CPR, and automated external defibrillator course.
Virtually everything has changed in nearly half a century since I first took a lifesaving class and roamed pool decks as a certified lifeguard.
Water entries, victim approaches, releases, removing people from water, and airway ventilation methods are extremely different today than in the early 1970s.
Emergency action plans, 911, rescue tubes, resuscitation masks, non-latex gloves, and AEDs were non-existent around public pools back then.
Fireman entries, spoon dives, chin pulls, cross-chest carries, ring buoys, and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation have all gone the way of the abacus.
In those days when a kid cut himself in a pool or upon its equipment or deck, lifeguards slapped a Band-Aid on the wound and scolded them with a “Don’t do that again” lecture.
If a cut were long and deep enough, we told them, “You might need a stitch or two. Maybe you should call your mom.”
However, amidst all the changes and updates in practices and procedures, the basic life-guarding responsibility of preventing drowning and other injuries from occurring remains the same.
The Apostle Paul wrote that women should not speak in church, that it is shameful for a man to wear long hair, wives should submit themselves to their husbands, and other cultural norms of that era.
However, a closer look at Paul’s teachings shows that the foundation of living a Christian life is based on the principle that our relationship with Christ guides and defines our relationship with others.
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In case you blinked, here’s a bullet list of some of the administrative changes President Russell M. Nelson and the Quorum of the Twelve implemented in the first few days of October:
• Women, youth and children may now serve as witnesses of sealing ad baptismal ordinances.
• Temple questions concerning moral cleanliness, Sabbath day observance, living a Christian life, and repenting of serious sins have been clarified and adjusted.
• Young Women presidents report and counsel directly with the bishop.
• The ward budget for youth activities will be divided equally between young men and young women. This was virtually impossible when Scouting served as the activities arm for young men.
• A new Young Women theme acknowledges that we have heavenly parents and more clearly emphasizes the sacred role of the Savior. “I” replaced “We” as the theme becomes more personalized.
• The class names Beehives, MIA Maids, and Laurels are discontinued. Bishops now have the flexibility to organize young women groups according to size and needs of their ward.
• Ward Young Men presidencies are discontinued and members of the bishopric will now lead Aaronic Priesthood quorums.
• Youth advisors and leaders are strongly counseled to guide — not direct — the youth of the wards in planning activities.
• The word “Mutual” is shelved.
• “Auxiliary” to categorize organizations is changed to “organizations.” Imagine that.
Members of the Church are buzzing about all these administrative changes in policies, practices and procedures.
However, the everlasting principle that Jesus is the Christ and our loving Father in Heaven guides us in changing and challenging times continues today and throughout the eternities.
Charlie Roberts previously served as a bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.