Lazy. Connected. Liberal. Narcissistic. Educated. Idealistic. Tolerant. Compassionate. Healthy.
Throughout the media, these adjectives are only a few of those used to describe Millennials.
Studies have been done mapping out the relationship trends, political opinions and spending habits among the generation that makes up one-third of the U.S. population, according to Pew Research Center.
For example, they have found Millennials to be the generation least likely to associate with a specific religion, according to Pew Research Center. They have found that 12 percent of Millennials claim to be patriotic. Seventeen percent claim to be lead moral lives. Fifty-nine percent of Millennials describe themselves as being self-absorbed.
Of the characterizations that have been associated with Millennials throughout the media, those chosen to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ has never been one of them.
Researchers may never classify the generation in terms like that, but that is exactly how President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, defined them during his CES Worldwide Devotional address Sunday, Jan. 10.
“The term Millennial is perfect for you if that term reminds you of who you really are and what your purpose in life really is,” he said. “A True Millennial is one who was taught and did teach the gospel of Jesus Christ pre-mortally and who made covenants with our Heavenly Father there about courageous things — even morally courageous things — that you would do while here on earth.”
Latter-day Saint Millennials and Church leaders said that with this generation being given that kind of trust, LDS Millennials need to remember their identity and use the best parts of their culture to help them reach their fullest potential.
Andrea Bell, a junior studying applied mathematics, said she would consider herself to have a variety of similar desires as other Millennials her age.
“I want to have fun with my life and do something important that helps the world,” she said. “I want to have a meaningful relationship with someone else. These desires are nothing new for Millennials: in fact, they’re universal desires.”
Bell said it is her knowledge of gospel principles and truths that set her apart from other millennial women. Because of her knowledge of the gospel, she feels she has clearer direction for her future.
“I know that serving others and raising a righteous family will help change the world in ways I can’t even imagine,” she said. “The gospel provides a lot more of the answers than my friends have, and so that’s the main difference I see.”
Hank Rainbolt, a senior majoring in university studies, said that the gospel brings LDS Millennials peace about their future.
“One of the single biggest fears for a human is simply the unknown,” he said. “We know the end of our story, and we have no need to fear if we obey and are prepared. We have peace. Many don’t know where to go and where their life is headed. . .Gratefully, we have an eternal perspective.”
Jordan Fidal, a freshman studying mechanical engineering, said he feels like one of LDS Millennials’ greatest sources of strength to help them fulfill their purpose is in their identity.
“Just the fact that we know who we are and where we came from and we believe that we’re capable of so much more will allow us to put forth the effort to actually do that,” Fidal said. “We have that advantage over other Millennials because we were given something to shoot for that is higher — way higher — than the world gives us.”
President Ross Baron, Stake President of the Rexburg YSA Third Stake and faculty member of the religion department, said he feels that the threat of distraction can easily lead an LDS Millennial away from their true identity and purpose.
“Quoting from Lion King, when Simba’s forgotten who he is, he’s just off messing around and hakuna-makata-ing out in the jungle,” he said. “And I think, the millennial generation, if you forget who you are, then you’ve got a lot of stuff to play with — you’ve got video games, and Googles and this and that.”
Baron said he feels that if LDS Millennials forget their identity, they will never be able to accomplish the task they were put on earth to do.
Fidal said that if LDS Millennials want to be a good influence in the world, all they need to do is live by the Church’s standards.
Jurnee Mears, a junior studying psychology, said she has found that she finds confidence and happiness in trying to keep actions in harmony with the Lord’s will.
“I guess it’s just because I have a testimony that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing,” she said.
She said that as she has grown and matured through the years, she has found the importance of doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things.
“I’ve realized that in order to be happy I need to follow God’s plan because I’ve done things that just haven’t made me happy, and it’s just like, ‘Why am I doing this? I’m not happy right now,’” Mears said. “I’m only happy when I’m doing good things.”
Fidal said that as LDS Millennials desire to share the gospel, they will do so best if they stick to their standards while being respectful to others’ beliefs and opinions.
“I think our role and our purpose should be to be the leaven in society — to be that small little bit that raises the rest of it with us,” he said.