Lesson 47: An Uplifting Environment

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 179–82


Each young woman will seek to develop an uplifting environment in her life now and in the future.


  1. 1.

    Pictures 22 through 25, A Meetinghouse, Home, Recreational Activity, and Geographical Location. All are located at the back of the manual.

  2. 2.

    Optional: Make a poster of the definition of environment, found in the Introduction.

  3. 3.

    Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development


Picture discussion

Display the pictures of different types of environments. Ask the class to define and discuss the term environment. Then display the poster.


Environment: Conditions and surroundings that influence the life of an individual or community.

Explain that many of the factors in our environment are beyond our control. Ask the young women to identify some of these factors. List them on the chalkboard under the heading “Cannot Control.”

Chalkboard discussion

The list might include these factors:

    Cannot Control

  • Geographical area

  • Climate

  • Size and status of family

  • Type of home

  • Parents’ occupation

  • Place in the family

  • Attitudes of parents

Teacher presentation

Explain that the uncontrollable factors of our environment strongly influence our day-to-day living. However, we can control many parts of our environment, and these should be of great concern to us. We should improve our environment whenever possible.

Creating a Wholesome Environment

Chalkboard discussion

Ask the young women to identify factors in their environment over which they do have control. Add their suggestions to the chalkboard list under the heading “Can Control.” Include such factors as the following:

    Cannot Control

  • Geographical area

  • Climate

  • Size and status of family

  • Type of home

  • Parents’ occupation

  • Place in the family

  • Attitudes of parents

    Can Control

  • Friends

  • Hobbies

  • Use of time

  • Personal attitudes

  • Types of media presentations participated in

  • Cleanliness


Read the following statement:

“Two obligations face the saints where the matter of environment is concerned: 1. To create for themselves and their families the most wholesome and edifying environment possible, so there will be less chance of any member of the family circle being lost through transgression; and 2. To rise above every unwholesome environmental situation that may be encountered during the course of this mortal probation. …

“… The saints should establish peace and love in their families; engage in wholesome recreation only; perform their daily labors in the cleanest and most wholesome environment possible; associate with proper companions always; and seek to live under those surroundings and influence that breathe the spirit of righteousness and faith. Constant association with that which is low and vulgar inevitably leads to the debasement of the human soul” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 229).


  • According to Elder McConkie, what is the first responsibility we have for our environment?


Present the following story, which tells how young women can help to create a wholesome environment.

Carla and Jenny Lynn are sisters who shared the same room. However, the room contained two totally different types of environments. Carla had posters of rock music stars and handsome men on the walls of her side of the room. A radio played loud rock music whenever she was at home. Clothes were piled on every chair and chest and were draped on the closet door. She had difficulty finding her shoes because the bottom of her closet was always cluttered, as was the space under her bed. Her soiled laundry was mixed up with her clean clothes until it was hard to distinguish which was which. Her bed was seldom made.

Jenny Lynn, on the other hand, decorated her walls with high school souvenirs and pictures of her friends and family. She had a large picture of a temple on one wall, along with small pictures she had received at Church of the Savior and the prophet. Her closet was usually organized and she usually made her bed. She kept the drapes open to allow the sunshine into the room whenever possible.


Discuss the differences in the environment each young woman was creating.

  • How could the environment affect each of the young women’s personalities?

  • Their studies?

  • Their Church activity?

  • Their ability to get along with each other?

Article of faith

Have class members read or recite the thirteenth article of faith.

  • What does this article of faith tell us about the kind of environment we should try to create?


Have the young women find and read Philippians 4:8.

Explain that the scripture and the thirteenth article of faith state some of the virtues sought by faithful Latter-day Saints.

  • What are some of the things in life that are lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy?

  • How can these things make us better people?

  • How can we incorporate them into our personal environment?

  • How can friends help us find these kinds of things?


The following story tells us how one young woman improved her environment.

Louise was a member of a large family. Times were very hard, and her father brought home a meager income. The humble family home consisted of two rooms and a lean-to porch on the back. With only two beds for the entire family, Louise and her eleven brothers and sisters slept most of the time on the floor. In warm weather the boys slept outside or in a shed behind the house. Although the physical environment of this family showed poverty and want, the children used their creative and imaginative minds to make their home life beautiful.

Louise tells about how in her younger years she looked forward enthusiastically to each Thursday night. This was the night she and her sisters had their turn to sleep in the bed. It was also the night when they could have their “orchestra practice.” With no real musical instruments available, they each chose their favorite imaginary instrument and spent the evening humming and singing every melody they knew while beating out the rhythm on an imaginary drum or playing an imaginary violin, banjo, saxophone, clarinet, or bass. But the favorite instrument of all was the “grand piano.” The little girls would take turns sitting on an old chair at the foot of the bed (the only metal bedstead in the house) and using it as a keyboard for their imaginary piano. Louise loved that piano. No performance by Bach or Beethoven was ever more eloquent than her performances as she rolled melodious scales up and down those imaginary ivory keys.

It was not until many years later, after the struggle of getting through school and after being married, that Louise was able to have a real piano. Her dream of playing a musical instrument did come to pass. And the joy of hearing great performers and artists, especially her own daughters, themselves accomplished musicians, was a great fulfillment in her life. It was the fulfillment of a dream of a little girl who lived in humble circumstances but who had a heart always reaching up and out in search of beauty.

  • How did this young woman create beauty in her environment?

Rising above Unwholesome Environments

  • What is the second responsibility mentioned by Elder McConkie?

Teacher presentation

Explain that as Latter-day Saints, we sometimes find ourselves in environments that are unwholesome and not in keeping with our moral standards. The following story is one way of handling such situations.

Case study

“‘One cool summer evening when I was a freshman in college, I had a date with someone I really liked. I didn’t know him well, but I looked up to him a lot.

“‘When he came to pick me up for the movie, we walked to the theater, since he didn’t have a car. We had a great time getting to know each other better.

“‘Then the movie started. It was okay for the first ten minutes, but even though it had a [moderate] rating, it started making me uncomfortable. The dialogue became more and more suggestive, and I started to sink lower and lower in my seat.

“‘And do you know what he did? Even though we’d only been there a short time, he turned to me and said, “I really don’t like this movie. Do you mind if we leave?” He didn’t make a big deal over it, he just suggested we leave. I’ll always remember that date because of his integrity. That’s the kind of man I want to marry.’

“Add to this story countless others that are similar, and you come up with one alternative that many young LDS people are choosing: walking out, tuning out, turning off when movies, plays, radio, or television offend their standards” (Kathleen Lubeck, “The Turn-off Walk-out Factor,” New Era, June 1981, p. 26).


  • What were the alternatives in this situation?

  • How did this couple’s decision to leave show that they respected each other?

  • What would you do if you found yourself in a similar situation?

  • What other kinds of unwholesome environments do young people find themselves in?

  • How can we rise above these situations?


Teacher presentation

Explain that we can help to create a positive environment for ourselves, our friends, and our family. Our home can be a tent, a hogan, a cabin, a large brick building, or a palace. Whatever our situation, we should do all we can to overcome unwholesome influences and create an uplifting environment in our surroundings.

Lesson Application

Suggest that the young women evaluate their own rooms or other areas of the home where they might improve the environment. Suggest that they do what they can to make their own homes pleasant and uplifting places to be.