Young men of the Church have a noble calling to help prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior, explained Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the First Quorum of the Seventy and general Young Men president.

And the Lord has given them great power and authority to help them get the job done, Elder Featherstone said.He outlined some of those duties and shared his vision of the potential of young men in an interview with the Church News.

"The Aaronic Priesthood, when conferred upon young men, gives them the rights, authorities and blessings to a sacred and holy ministry," Elder Featherstone explained. "Holders of the Aaronic Priesthood may go to the temple and do vicarious work for the dead. Those ordinances are recognized in heaven and are valid for eternity. Even kings and rulers do not have that authority.

"The Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels. Every soul who enters the Lord's kingdom comes through baptism into this Church, and the Aaronic Priesthood administers the blessings of repentance and of baptism by immersion. And the Aaronic Priesthood administers the sacrament to every worthy member of the Church every week, performing the ordinance that, more than any other, ties directly to the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"If the Lord did not have confidence in this generation of youth, He never would have entrusted them with these sacred responsibilities."

Young men of the Church will perform other critical roles in the Church and in society as a whole, Elder Featherstone added.

He said that some statisticians estimate that by the year 2050, there will be 50 million Church members.

"Somewhere right now is a deacon, teacher or priest who could, at that time, be the prophet of the Church, who will lead the Church when there are seven times more members than there are right now. His counselors, and the Council of the Twelve, and members of the Seventy are out there being trained.

"Everywhere I go in the Church I think, `I wonder if some of them are in this group?' "

Faithful young men also will be leaders in the arenas of science, medicine, architecture, politics, education, business and athletics, said Elder Featherstone. "They will be accomplishing things that we would not believe possible."

The Young Men president added that youths of the Church will set the standard in areas of morality, as well.

"We will have a generation of young men that will be a model against the things we despise, such as family abandonment, child abuse, drug abuse. Our young men will be pure and holy and will set a standard for the world. They will be as the great army of the Lord, described in the 105th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, `. . .fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations.' " (D&C 105:31.)

Elder Featherstone concluded by encouraging young men and their leaders throughout the Church to follow the leadership of today's prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson.

"I think President Benson has been one of the most wonderful leaders of youth in the history of the Church. He is like a General Mormon or a Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon. He has an understanding, a sensitivity, a love and a concern for our youth. He is a man of absolute integrity."