8. Aaronic Priesthood
Quorum leaders and quorum advisers plan activities based on the needs and interests of quorum members. They make a special effort to reach out to all young men, including those who have recently joined the Church and those who are less active. Activities may help young men accomplish their goals in the Duty to God program. Quorum leaders should participate as much as possible in planning and carrying out activities.
Plans for quorum activities should be approved by a member of the bishopric and should follow the guidelines in chapter 13.
Most quorum activities occur during a time called Mutual. The term Mutual suggests shared experiences in which there is mutual respect and support for one another and opportunities to learn together. Mutual activities should provide youth with a variety of opportunities to serve others and to develop spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually.
Mutual is generally held weekly. If travel or other restrictions make this impractical, Mutual may be held less frequently, but it should be held at least monthly. Mutual should be 1 to 1½ hours long and should take place on a day or evening other than Sunday or Monday.
The Young Men presidency, under the direction of the bishopric, oversees Mutual for young men.
Young Men and Young Women presidencies may use Mutual activities to prepare for stake or multistake activities (see 13.3).
Annual Theme for Mutual
Each year, the First Presidency announces a theme for Mutual. Leaders emphasize this theme in Mutual opening exercises and in other youth activities.
Mutual usually begins with brief opening exercises presided over by a member of the bishopric. The bishop’s priests quorum assistants and members of the Laurel class presidency take turns conducting. Adult leaders prepare youth leaders for this responsibility.
Opening exercises include a hymn and prayer and may also include musical selections and opportunities for the youth to share their talents and testimonies.
Quorum and Class Activities or Combined Activities
Following opening exercises, Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women classes generally hold separate activities. In a ward or branch with few young men, all the young men may meet together for activities. Activities may also be planned for any combination of quorums and classes.
Combined activities for all young men and young women are normally held once a month. Members of the bishopric youth committee schedule, plan, and review these activities in their meetings. The activities are carried out under the direction of the bishopric.
Some examples of appropriate activities are service projects, music, dance, drama, cultural events, sports or athletic events, career exploration, and outdoor activities.
Bishopric Youth Discussions
Bishopric youth discussions are planned and carried out by the bishopric. These discussions, which are held occasionally, give the bishopric opportunities to address subjects that are interesting to the youth and that strengthen the youth spiritually. Topics in For the Strength of Youth and True to the Faith are especially appropriate. Occasionally the bishopric may invite guests to participate. Guests are usually members of the ward or stake.
Bishopric youth discussions may be held with all of the youth together or with the youth of a certain age-group. They may be held during Mutual, on Sunday during the time for quorum meetings and Young Women classes, or at another time that does not put undue burden on families. The bishopric determines their frequency. They are scheduled in bishopric youth committee meetings.
Standards events are special programs that emphasize moral values and eternal goals. They encourage young men to live the standards in For the Strength of Youth, which will bring them closer to the Savior.
These events are held annually, or more often as needed, usually during Mutual. They may be held on a quorum, ward, multiward, or stake level. Depending on how a subject is presented, these events may include any combination of Aaronic Priesthood quorums. They may also include mothers, fathers, mothers and fathers together, and young women.
Where Scouting is authorized by the Church, quorums may participate in Scouting activities during Mutual. Scouting should help young men put into practice the gospel principles they learn on Sunday.
Each member of the bishopric oversees the Scouting program for the Aaronic Priesthood quorum he oversees. Members of the ward Young Men presidency generally serve as Scout leaders. Or the bishopric may call assistant quorum advisers as Scout leaders, with members of the Young Men presidency called to serve as assistant Scout leaders.
In each quorum, the bishop usually appoints the quorum president or one of his assistants in the priests quorum to serve as the youth leader of the Scouting program. However, he may appoint other young men as youth Scout leaders.
Where Scouting is authorized by the Church, young men ages 12 to 15 should be registered. Young men ages 16 and 17 should be registered if they are pursuing rank advancements or if the stake president or bishop chooses to sponsor Scouting programs for young men of this age.
All adult Scout leaders should register before they begin their service and should receive proper training in their responsibilities. In the United States, registered adult leaders receive liability protection from the Boy Scouts of America.
The Church pays all or part of the fees for registering young men and adult leaders in Scouting. The Church also pays for unit chartering. Registration and chartering expenses are paid from the stake general checking account. The Church provides these funds in addition to the budget allowance.
The bishopric organizes a ward Scout committee to ensure that Scouting functions properly as a supporting activity for Aaronic Priesthood quorums.
Where there are few young men, a Scout troop may be organized to serve multiple wards and branches or, in some instances, an entire stake or district.
For information about financing Scouting, see 8.13.7. For additional information about Scouting, see the Church’s Scouting Handbook.
Stake and Multistake Activities
Funding for Activities
Funding for Aaronic Priesthood activities, including Scouting activities where they are authorized by the Church, should come from the ward budget (see 13.2.8).
Funding for an Annual Camp or Similar Activity
If the ward budget does not have sufficient funds to pay for an annual extended Scout camp or similar activity for young men, leaders may ask participants to pay for part or all of it. If funds from participants are not sufficient, the bishop may authorize one group fund-raising activity annually that complies with the guidelines in 13.6.8.
In no case should the expenses or travel for an annual camp or similar activity be excessive. Nor should the lack of personal funds prohibit a member from participating.
Funding for Equipment and Supplies
If possible, equipment and supplies that the ward needs for annual youth camps are purchased with ward budget funds. If these funds are not sufficient, the bishop may authorize one group fund-raising activity annually that complies with the guidelines in 13.6.8.
Equipment and supplies purchased with Church funds, whether from the ward budget or a fund-raising activity, are for Church use only. They are not for the personal use of individuals or families.
Church funds may not be used to purchase uniforms for individuals.