90944_000_009Last November our prophet rang a bell calling young women to stand for truth and righteousness. You made some commitments then. You haven’t forgotten them, have you?
Ding! Dong! Ding!
What does the sound of a ringing bell remind you of? If you’re like nearly 400, 000 other LDS Young Women, you’ll think of a special day about four months ago. You’ll think of a link you felt with past Church leaders like Brigham Young. You’ll think of a link you felt with today’s Church leaders like President Benson. And you’ll think of some very special commitments you made to link yourself with a happy future.
It was just about four months ago that Young Women worldwide gathered to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Brigham Young’s organization of a young women’s program. How are you doing now with the commitments you were encouraged to make then? Do you think of them every time you hear a bell? Are there other reminders that bring back that sweet feeling of emotion you felt when you promised to heed the prophet’s call to stand for truth and righteousness?
Young Women in Page, Arizona, remember it every time they put their hands in their coat pockets. They were given pocket-sized bells so they could carry them always—the bells’ delicate, tinkling sound to be a reminder of “the whisper of the Holy Ghost.”
One Laurel, Tamara Smith, thought everything the bells represented was so important that she wore her bell to work at a fast-food restaurant, pinned to her uniform. “This bell is a wonderful missionary tool,” she said. “People ask me why I’m wearing it, and I explain the Church’s standards and some of the gospel to them.”
For some girls, like Jazmine Gautierrez of West Palm Beach, Florida, bells will help remind her of an awakening. “The feeling I had inside of me was so strong,” she said. “I never had that feeling before.” Things have not been easy in Jazmine’s life, but reading the scriptures and trying hard at church have helped. “Jazmine has really changed,” said Nohemi Sotelo, her branch Young Women president. “It is so special to see.”
Every time Las Vegas Young Women pass by their temple which was holding an open house at the time of the anniversary celebration, they think of their commitment to stay pure, clean daughters of God. Young Women from the Las Vegas North Stake were given small wooden models of the temple, made of molding scraps cut from the temple walls. “This is the icing on the cake for everything that’s happening in Las Vegas,” said Jennifer Winsor, 17. “I want to prepare and keep my life straight so I can feel worthy to be in the temple.”
When Young Women in the Cedar Mill Stake (Portland, Oregon) hear a bell, it reminds them that they’re not alone—that Heavenly Father is always there, eager to help. Mia Maid Erin Bowman explained it like this:
“I like to think of life on earth as a big soccer tournament. We’re all players, and every time we score a goal or achieve something, we feel really good inside and know Heavenly Father and Jesus are rooting for us. Even when we miss a goal and fail to score, they are still cheering for us and telling us to try again. When we win the game and go on to another team, or another aspect of life, we always know that there are those who love us and are there supporting us.”
When Beehive Lydia Clark of the Hillsboro Stake (Oregon) hears the chiming of a bell, she thinks of how important it is to stand for truth and righteousness even in small ways. She talked about how two non-LDS friends asked her to drink iced tea one day. “I guess they don’t understand rules aren’t made to be broken,” she said. “If they had talked me into taking some, they might have tried to get me to do other things later.”
They Saw the Prophet
Just as Brigham Young used a bell to call his ten oldest daughters together in 1869, President Benson himself used a bell to call the Young Women of the Edgemont North Stake in Provo, Utah. His presence at their celebration was a surprise for all the girls—an inspirational one. “This has really been a spiritual experience,” said Natalie Parker, 12. “The prophet seemed so happy inside. This is my first time seeing him, and I will never forget this day.”
Back east, temperatures were low but spirits were high for the celebration. Young Women in the Washington, D.C., area gathered at the Netherlands Carillon, and as the city bells peeled “Come Hold Your Torches High,” the girls shivered. But not from the cold. It will be hard for them to hear those bells without thinking of the commitments they made that day.
It’s the same for the Young Women of Hingham, Massachusetts. All over town, bells rang from churches of all denominations, wishing the LDS girls well. A Sunday will never pass for those girls when the local church bells don’t bring back warm memories.
The temperature was not warm in Philadelphia either, but it didn’t detract from the warmth of the sisterhood Young Women felt as they collected near the Liberty Bell. They could really relate with Laurel Jennifer Geigle, as she spoke to them, saying:
“When I see girls at school, and sometimes at church, snubbing others because they don’t meet the specified rules for being ‘cool,’ it makes me really upset. Who set these ‘cool’ rules, and who says we have to abide by them? Church standards are different from the ‘cool’ rules because we know they come straight from a Heavenly Father who loves us, to a prophet, and then to us. I see no point in following rules that we don’t even know who set, but I see many reasons for following standards given to us by someone who loves us and knows how to help us with our own happiness.”
Wherever You Are
The anniversary celebration was not just limited to the U.S., though. Young women gathered worldwide, as they did in Japan. It isn’t often that the girls in the Hokuriku get to hear the prophet speak directly to them, and they were thrilled. It was also a thrill to many of their non-LDS parents who came to listen. They won’t soon forget the day they arose early and traveled far to meet with members from other branches to share the Young Women values.
Whether you were shivering in the cold at Fort Monroe, near Newport News, Virginia, or basking in the sunshine hitting the chapel on the hill in Hemet, California; whether you were dressed in pioneer clothes like the girls in the New Haven Connecticut Stake, or dressed in your best colorful saris, like the girls in Hyderabad, India; that day, four months ago, you were celebrating your commitment to stand for truth and righteousness with your sisters all over the world. Go back to your journals. Read what you wrote that day. Try to remember and recapture that warm glow you felt, and do your best to carry it on.
“When a boxer is knocked down and the bell rings before he is counted out, we say he was saved by the bell. The young women of Brigham Young’s day were saved by the bell which the prophet rang. This is happening for us today. We need to remember the symbol of the bells.”
—Kristy Floyd, 13, Page, Arizona
“I was inspired by the program, and I really liked getting to know other people in the stake through it. Some are my good friends now.”
—Kristi Huffman, 11, Hillsboro Stake, Oregon
“Standing for truth and righteousness means going to school in the morning and not wearing that miniskirt, or not saying that word you heard someone else say. I’ve seen so many people I’m close to fall, and it breaks my heart. We need to look around and reach out to people who need help.”
—Kathy-Jean Brown, 17, Miami, Florida
“We should not be so caught up in the things and fashions of the world that we don’t have time for our spiritual lives.”
—Tracy Brewer, 15, Miami, Florida
“It is easy to forget what we stand for. President Benson has noticed this, and is calling us to ’set aside the things of this world.’”
—Amanda Cobb, 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
It was so inspiring! I felt like I was connected to young women all over the world. We can all stand together for truth and righteousness, even if we’re just barely Beehives.”
—Corisa Neilsen, 12, Hemet, California
“Now I know growing up in the Church is such a happy thing—my blessings are priceless treasures. Being a member of the Church, I see things people outside the gospel cannot see. I can see wisdom and virtue from God—I can see this from my leaders’ examples. I am very thankful. I know every Young Women presidency gives so much faith and love to help us. As they pray for us, we also pray for them, our leaders. Thank you for helping me to know that I am a child of God. Thank you for letting me know that I am a very blessed young woman.”
—A Laurel, Taipei, Taiwan