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. What will be different about this Sunday? 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 who have been watching your progress and are excited to welcome you, 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. “You have the beginnings of a strong testimony, and it will continue to grow as you advance in Young Women.”
“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.
“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.
As you stand to recite the theme, don’t worry if you don’t know the words yet. Before long, you will not only memorize them but also want to live by them.
“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. But Personal Progress is different from Faith in God because the 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 can be preparing for Young Women now with your own talents.” For example, if you’re taking piano lessons, you may be asked to accompany during Young Women or Mutual opening exercises.
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 happy and that you’re informed about all the activities. As you watch them, be sure that you pay attention because you will be called at some point to be in a class presidency. In that role, you’ll be able to learn leadership qualities that will help you all throughout your life.”
Another way to contribute is to be excited. Sister Tanner says, “Share your enthusiasm when you come into Young Women! I visited a Young Women group that had about seven girls. The youngest girl raised her hand every time a question was asked, and she had good ideas. I thought, ‘She’s not afraid!’”
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 always 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.