Mutual. Personal Progress. Theme.
Do these words sound familiar? If you’re a girl about to turn 12, you’ll soon be hearing them all the time. We asked Sister Susan W. Tanner, Young Women general president, and her second counselor, Sister Elaine S. Dalton, to tell us everything you need to know about entering Young Women.
The first thing?
“We love you!” Sister Tanner says. “You are so fresh and beautiful and enthusiastic. You desire to do good in your lives. We’re excited for you to enter Young Women, and we’re there with arms to wrap around you and make you feel welcome.”
Finally you’ve turned 12. Now instead of going to sharing time, you’ll enter Young Women. Sister Tanner says, “There will be loving people there to meet you: Young Women leaders, a Beehive class presidency, and other friends.”
A Beehive is a young woman age 12 or 13—in other words, you! Young women ages 14 to 15 are called Mia Maids, and those 16 to 18 are called Laurels.
Even though Young Women is different from Primary, you have nothing to fear. “You’ve been lovingly prepared in Primary, and you’re ready,” Sister Dalton says.
“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.”
You’ve heard the same message in Primary, Sister Tanner explains, when you learned to sing “I Am a Child of God” (Children’s Songbook, 2–3). But it’s not a new verse—it’s the first line of the Young Women theme, which you’ll recite each week.
“It’s so important for that message to be instilled in your heart,” Sister Tanner says. “If you have a firm testimony that you are His beloved spiritual daughter, it affects everything you think and every way you respond to life’s challenges. It gives you courage.”
Sister Dalton adds, “If you know who you are, you will have the strength, desire, and commitment to stand as a witness of God. That’s so important in these latter days.”
Being a part of Young Women can help prepare you for the future as you learn about the seven values listed in the theme: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, and integrity.
“I love the name of Personal Progress because it’s exactly what it says it is,” Sister Tanner says. “Heavenly Father’s plan is for each of us to progress throughout our lives.”
Like Primary’s Faith in God program, Personal Progress is a way to “develop a closeness to Father in Heaven. You can practice keeping commitments and learn to keep covenants,” Sister Tanner says. Personal Progress goals are listed by seven categories—the seven values.
Sister Dalton points out, “As you work on Personal Progress you’ll use your scriptures, and they’ll help you feel the Spirit.” You’ll begin to better understand the scriptures, your own great worth, and your baptismal covenants. Then you’ll be prepared to make temple covenants.
“That’s why the Personal Progress book has a temple on the cover,” Sister Tanner says. “It reminds you that Personal Progress is a way to prepare.”
Activity night, or Mutual, is held every week. Usually you’ll meet with the young women or just your Beehive class, but once a month your activity will include the young men too. You might enjoy a cultural event, give service, learn a skill, play a sport—and always have fun!
Being a part of Young Women can also give you the chance to attend firesides, youth conferences, and other meetings. Each year you’ll enjoy a special session that is broadcast all over the world like general conference. It’s the general Young Women meeting, the Saturday before April general conference. You’ll hear counsel from our prophets and leaders just for you.
“This is a time when you get to leave the rest of the world behind, go out into Heavenly Father’s beautiful world, and feel His love for you,” Sister Tanner says. You’ll not only have a great time in the outdoors, but you’ll also feel “a great sense of belonging to Heavenly Father’s eternal family.” You might hike, sing, laugh, learn, and make crafts; but many young women agree that the testimony meeting is the best part of all.
You will not only receive many gifts from being a part of Young Women; you’ll be able to give of yourself too.
Sister Dalton says, “In Young Women you’ll be able to develop your talents more and also use them to bless others.”
You may even receive your first calling in Young Women. If it is large enough, each class has a president, two counselors, and a secretary. Sister Dalton says, “The class presidency will look out for you and make sure that you’re informed about all the activities.” As you watch them, pay attention because you may be called someday to be in a class presidency.
Another way to contribute is to be excited. Sister Tanner says, “Share your enthusiasm when you come into Young Women!”
Don’t be afraid to give of yourself, and you’ll receive even more.
Perhaps your ward or branch is too small for your class to have a class presidency. Maybe you live too far away to attend weekly activities. But you can still participate in Young Women! Even if you are the only young woman in your ward or branch, you can say the theme each week. You can learn to live by its values, and you can work on Personal Progress.
Sister Tanner says, “No matter where you are and no matter what your circumstances are, you are a young woman in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can always be personally progressing toward the temple and coming unto Christ.”
That’s what Young Women is all about.
As you step into your new role in Young Women, we hope you will find a new friend in the New Era, the Church’s magazine for teens. In the pages of the New Era you’ll find lots of fun and uplifting articles that relate to your life as a young woman. You’ll also find good ideas for activities and Personal Progress, answers to questions you’re facing, and stories from other youth who are just like you.
The New Era invites you to its pages with open arms. Come and see what’s waiting for you.
The New Era staff