10.1 Overview of the Young Women Organization
Purpose and Objectives of the Young Women Organization
The purpose of the Young Women organization is to help each young woman be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple. To accomplish this purpose, Young Women leaders guide each young woman in accomplishing the following objectives:
Young Women Theme
The Young Women theme provides a foundation for helping each young woman accomplish the objectives listed above.
Young women and their adult leaders repeat the theme at the beginning of Sunday meetings and at other Young Women gatherings. The theme reads as follows:
“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places’ (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
“We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”
Young Women Motto and Logo
The Young Women motto is “Stand for Truth and Righteousness.”
The Young Women logo is a torch surrounded by the Young Women motto. The torch represents the light of Christ that can shine through each young woman. Young women are invited to “arise and shine forth, that [their] light may be a standard for the nations” (D&C 115:5).
Young Women Values
The Young Women values are Christlike attributes. Sunday gospel instruction, Mutual, and other activities help each young woman apply these values in her life.
The following statements and scripture references give insight into the meaning of each value. Leaders should use these statements in lessons. Leaders encourage young women to apply these truths in their lives and use them as resources for talks and presentations.
The colors associated with the values are to help young women remember the values.
Young Women Classes
The young women in a ward are divided into three classes according to their ages: Beehives (ages 12–13), Mia Maids (ages 14–15), and Laurels (ages 16–17).
As a young woman advances to a new age-group, her new Young Women leaders and class presidency welcome her.
Beehives, Ages 12–13
When a young woman reaches age 12, the bishop interviews her. She advances from Primary to Young Women and begins attending Young Women meetings during Primary sharing time (see 11.4.3). She is a member of the Beehive class.
For the early pioneers of the Church, the beehive was a symbol of harmony, cooperation, and work. When the young women of the Church were first organized as a group, they were known as Beehives.
As a member of a Beehive class today, a young woman strengthens her faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and learns to work with others in harmony and cooperation. This is a time for her to stand for truth and righteousness and “arise and shine forth” (D&C 115:5).
Mia Maids, Ages 14–15
A young woman becomes a member of the Mia Maid class when she reaches age 14.
The term Mia refers to the Mutual Improvement Association (MIA), which was once the name of the youth program in the Church. The word Maid means young woman. The Mutual Improvement Association adopted the rose as an emblem of their organization, and that emblem continues with Mia Maids today as a symbol of love, faith, and purity.
As a member of a Mia Maid class today, a young woman strengthens her testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, accepts and acts upon the Young Women values, and learns about love, faith, and purity.
Laurels, Ages 16–17
A young woman becomes a member of the Laurel class when she reaches age 16.
For centuries, the leaves of the laurel tree have symbolized honor and accomplishment, especially when woven into a crown.
As a member of a Laurel class today, a young woman prepares to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple.
Eighteen-Year-Old Young Women
A young woman normally advances into Relief Society on her 18th birthday or in the coming year. By age 19, each young woman should be fully participating in Relief Society. Because of individual circumstances, such as personal testimony, maturity, school graduation, desire to continue with peers, and college attendance, a young woman may advance into Relief Society earlier than her 18th birthday or remain in Young Women longer. Each young woman counsels with her parents and the bishop to decide what will best help her remain an active participant in the Church.
Young Women and Relief Society leaders work together to make the transition into Relief Society successful for each young woman.
10.10 Stake Young Women Leadership
Members of the stake presidency oversee the Young Women organization in the stake. As part of this responsibility, they instruct bishops in their responsibilities for young women.
The stake president assigns one of his counselors to oversee the stake Young Women organization.
For more information about the stake presidency’s responsibilities relating to auxiliary organizations, see 15.1.
High Councilor Assigned to the Stake Young Women
The stake president assigns a member of the high council to work with the stake Young Women presidency. This high councilor’s responsibilities are outlined in 15.3.
Stake Young Women Presidency
The responsibilities of the stake Young Women presidency are outlined in 15.4.1.
Stake Young Women Secretary
The responsibilities of the stake Young Women secretary are outlined in 15.4.2.
Stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women Committee
The stake president assigns a counselor to preside over the stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women committee. Other committee members are the high councilors assigned to the stake Young Men and Young Women organizations, the stake Young Men presidency and secretary, and the stake Young Women presidency and secretary.
The stake presidency may invite youth to attend the committee’s meetings as needed.
Stake Young Women Activity Specialists
The stake presidency may assign stake members to serve temporarily as Young Women specialists, helping plan and carry out stake activities or programs. Specialists may be assigned for such activities as Young Women camp, stake and multistake events, and sports. They serve under the direction of the stake Young Women presidency.
10.11 Adapting the Young Women Organization to Local Needs
If adult leadership is limited in a ward or branch, the Young Women presidency may teach the Sunday lessons and administer the activity program without advisers. In a very small unit, the Young Women president may be the only adult leader in the Young Women organization. In this case, she teaches the Sunday lessons and oversees activities for all young women. When possible, counselors and a secretary should be called.
In a very small branch that does not have a Young Women president, the Relief Society president may help parents organize instruction for the young women until a Young Women president is called.
Because youth often benefit from socializing in larger groups, the young men and young women in two or more small wards or branches may meet occasionally for combined activities. If neighboring wards and branches have few young women, the bishops and branch presidents may authorize the young women to meet together for weekly activities. When considering these options, bishops and branch presidents take into account factors such as distance and travel cost.
In a small stake or a district, the Young Women president may be the only stake or district Young Women leader. When possible, counselors and a secretary should be called.
For general information about adapting to local needs, see chapter 17.
10.12 Additional Guidelines and Policies
Youth under Age 14 in Youth Conferences and Dances
Youth under age 14 do not usually participate in youth conferences or in dances that are held at times other than the regularly scheduled Mutual night (see 13.6.14). An annual Young Women camp is an exception to this guideline.
Young Women of Other Faiths
Young women of other faiths who agree to abide by Church standards should be welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate in youth activities. They may also participate in the Personal Progress program and earn the recognition. Expenses for their participation should be handled the same as for young women who are members of the Church.
Young Women Who Have Disabilities
Young women who have disabilities are normally included in their regular classes. Exceptions may be made with the approval of the parents and the bishopric.
Young Women Who Are Pregnant out of Wedlock or Who Are Unwed Mothers
If a young woman is pregnant out of wedlock, the decision to participate in Young Women classes and activities is left to the prayerful discretion of the young woman, her parents, and the bishop.
If a young woman age 17 or older has a baby out of wedlock and chooses to keep the child, she is welcomed into Relief Society, where she can be taught and helped in her new responsibilities. She no longer participates in Young Women.
If a young woman under 17 has a baby out of wedlock and chooses to keep the child, the decision to participate in Young Women is left to the prayerful discretion of the young woman, her parents, and the bishop. If the young woman participates in these classes and activities, the child should not accompany her.
For information on the Church policy discouraging single young women from keeping a child born out of wedlock, see 21.4.12.