In a branch, the priesthood organization is established first. As the number of members increases and as leaders and meeting places become available, the branch president may organize auxiliaries to the priesthood as he determines they are needed. The auxiliaries are Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School.
Until the branch has sufficient women, young women, and children to divide into separate auxiliary groups, they meet together for instruction under the direction of the Relief Society president.
The Relief Society assists priesthood leaders by encouraging adult sisters (18 and older) to build faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Relief Society helps women and their families come unto Christ and live worthily to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Relief Society sisters teach and learn the doctrines of the gospel, provide charitable service, develop homemaking skills, strengthen family relationships, and serve and support each sister.
When a branch has at least two women members, the branch president may organize a Relief Society. Under the direction of the branch president, the Relief Society president:
Directs or conducts a class for adult women (18 and older) on Sundays while the men and young men are in priesthood meeting.
Works with the branch president to advise him of the needs and activities of women, young women, and children.
Helps the branch president identify and care for those in need.
See “Aaronic Priesthood” on pages 8–10 of this guidebook.
The branch presidency has essentially the same responsibility for young women 12 through 18 years of age as for young men of that age.
The Young Women organization helps girls (12 through 17) become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, honor their parents, prepare to make and keep sacred temple covenants, become worthy wives and mothers, and give service. Young women receive gospel instruction in Sunday meetings and in weekday activities.
Young women 12 through 17 may meet separately from the Relief Society when the branch president determines that enough young women live in the branch. He may organize them into Beehive (ages 12–13), Mia Maid (ages 14–15) and Laurel (ages 16–17) classes. He may call and set apart a worthy young woman in each class as class president. A member of the branch presidency may call and set apart two additional young women as counselors to each president and a class secretary when enough young women are in the class.
Under the direction of the branch president, the Young Women presidency (adults) works with the branch presidency and with the Young Women class presidencies (girls) to strengthen each young woman’s faith in Jesus Christ and to increase her understanding of and commitment to live in harmony with the principles of the restored gospel. Sunday gospel instruction and wholesome weekday activities may help to achieve these goals.
Young Women class presidencies and Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies, in cooperation with the Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood adult leaders and under the supervision of the branch president, may plan combined Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood activities. The combined activities are called Mutual.
The Primary teaches children (ages 3 through 11) the gospel of Jesus Christ and helps them learn to live it. In Primary, children feel welcome, feel the Savior’s love, and feel the joy the gospel brings.
The Primary theme is “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (3 Nephi 22:13). The Primary assists priesthood leaders in accomplishing the mission of the Church by encouraging children to study the scriptures, pray, and follow the example of the Savior. The objectives of Primary are to:
Teach children that they are children of God and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love them.
Help children learn to love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Help children prepare to be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and keep their baptismal covenants and promises.
Help children grow in their understanding of the gospel plan and provide opportunities for them to live gospel principles.
Help boys prepare to receive the priesthood and be worthy to use the priesthood to bless and serve others.
Help girls prepare to be righteous young women, understand the blessings of the priesthood and the temple, and serve others.
Priesthood and Primary leaders and teachers help parents teach their children the gospel of Jesus Christ as they seek and are guided by the Spirit. Each child in Primary needs to be loved by caring teachers and leaders, especially children who come from homes that lack strong support for gospel living.
When the number of children is sufficient, they meet separately from women and young women for class instruction and sharing time during the Sunday School and the Relief Society and Young Women time periods. Branches may organize occasional activities for Primary-age children on a day other than Sunday. More instruction regarding sharing time and weekday activities is available through priesthood leaders.
The Sunday School helps members and investigators 12 and older learn the gospel of Jesus Christ and live according to gospel principles by providing edification and instruction in Sunday meetings. Sunday School teachers encourage members to:
Study the scriptures.
Obey the commandments.
Receive the essential ordinances and keep the associated covenants of the gospel.
The Sunday School presidency oversees the Sunday School. The president recommends potential teachers to the branch president. The branch presidency calls and sets the teachers apart to teach Sunday School classes. Youth and adults meet together where they are few in number, but when numbers justify doing so, they may meet separately for class instruction.