Meaningful Mutual Activities
Meaningful Mutual activities give young men the opportunity to learn, serve, and have fun with friends and leaders in a wholesome, safe environment. These activities become “shared experiences in which there is mutual respect and support for one another” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders , 187).
To this end, we encourage each Young Men presidency, under the direction of their bishopric, to make effective use of the Aaronic Priesthood committee and the bishopric youth committee in planning, calendaring, and carrying out Mutual activities that strengthen young men in the gospel. Careful planning and preparation will make Mutual a positive experience for all young men and keep it from being merely an unsupervised sports night.
Leaders could look especially for ways to reinforce gospel principles taught in Sunday lessons. For example, a priesthood lesson on respecting womanhood could be followed by Mutual activities designed to show respect for all women, whether mothers, sisters, or young women.
Young Men leaders are to give careful attention to adult supervision, safety, appropriate dress and grooming, and returning youth to their homes at a prearranged time. Parents should be informed of planned events so they can encourage their sons to attend. Some Mutual activities may be organized to include other family members. If possible, hold all youth activities on Mutual night rather than holding multiple activities during the week.
Leaders can enhance Mutual by holding opening exercises presided over by a member of the bishopric. The priests quorum assistants and members of the Laurel class presidency take turns conducting. “Opening exercises include a hymn and prayer and may also include talks, musical selections, and opportunities for youth to share their talents and testimonies” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2, 187).
Effective Mutual nights reinforce Sunday lessons, provide service opportunities, and offer a balanced program of activities.
The Blessings of Family Home Evening
In June 1915 the First Presidency urged members to hold family home evening regularly. They promised that great blessings would result if the Saints obeyed this counsel. President Gordon B. Hinckley recalls how his own father accepted the prophets’ counsel: “My father [Bryant S. Hinckley] said we would [hold home evening], that we would warm up the parlor where Mother’s grand piano stood and do what the President of the Church had asked.
“We were miserable performers as children. We could do all kinds of things together while playing, but for one of us to try to sing a solo before the others was like asking ice cream to stay hard on the kitchen stove. In the beginning, we would laugh and make cute remarks about one another’s performance. But our parents persisted. We sang together. We prayed together. We listened quietly while Mother read Bible and Book of Mormon stories. Father told us stories out of his memory. …
“Out of those simple little meetings, held in the parlor of our old home, came something indescribable and wonderful. Our love for our parents was strengthened. Our love for brothers and sisters was enhanced. Our love for the Lord was increased. An appreciation for simple goodness grew in our hearts. These wonderful things came about because our parents followed the counsel of the President of the Church. I have learned something tremendously significant out of that” (“Some Lessons I Learned as a Boy,” Ensign, May 1993, 54).
Parents today are also encouraged to follow the prophets’ counsel and enjoy the blessings of family home evening (see First Presidency letter, 11 Feb. 1999). Quorum leaders may find it helpful to review and discuss President Hinckley’s experience during a first Sunday quorum meeting. Quorum members may also find it helpful to discuss ways to improve their own family home evenings.