Area General Conference in England in August
An announcement of far-reaching significance concerning general conferences of the Church was made recently by the First Presidency. The announcement: In Manchester, England, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 27–29, the Church will hold what is to be called the first area general conference of the Church. Those invited to attend are the members of the Church in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and members of the Servicemen’s Stake-Europe in Germany.
This decision means that the leadership of the Church and various Church programs will be brought closer to many members who normally would never have an opportunity to attend a general conference. It is a decision that can bring only tremendous enthusiasm among the Saints in the British Isles and is calculated to present the Church in a more impressive manner to nonmembers throughout the area.
In the words of the First Presidency, the “conference will be under the direction of the First Presidency, and members of the General Authorities and executive representatives of the auxiliaries will be present and participate in the various meetings.”
At present there are eight stakes and seven missions in the British Isles—23,869 members in the stakes and 43,217 members in the missions, for a total of 67,086. Servicemen’s Stake-Europe has 1,983 members.
Changes in the Aaronic Priesthood and MIA Organizations
The First Presidency recently approved some changes in the Aaronic Priesthood and MIA organizations. Some of the changes affect the young men and others affect the young women.
1. The names of the Explorer and Ensign-Explorer groups of the YMMIA have been changed. Explorers will now be called Venturers. Ensigns will now be called Explorers. This means that the MIA sequence for a young man is Boy Scouts, Venturers, Explorers, and M Men. The M Men program is for single men between the ages of nineteen and twenty-six.
2. A second important announcement concerning young men is that under the direction of your bishop, a man in your ward is to be called to a new position known as general secretary—youth and YMMIA superintendent. He will be both the general secretary over the Aaronic Priesthood and the superintendent of the YMMIA. Hence it is easy to see that he will be a key person in any young man’s life; in terms of what he does, he will serve as a general youth coordinator and will have his finger on the pulse of all Aaronic Priesthood young men in the ward.
Assisting him will be another man in each ward called to a new position known as assistant general secretary—youth and secretary of YMMIA. He will be the assistant general secretary for the Aaronic Priesthood and secretary for the YMMIA. He will work closely with priesthood quorum secretaries and will keep reports and records on all young men in the ward.
There are several other important changes, and these affect the advisers to every priests, teachers, and deacons quorum in the Church. Here’s what the changes mean to you:
If you are a priest, your priests quorum adviser and instructor will coordinate your priest and Explorer (formerly Ensign) ward activities. He will also be Explorer post committee chairman.
If you are a teacher, your teachers quorum adviser now may either supervise a new quorum instructor or serve as your instructor himself. He will coordinate all teacher and Venturer ward activities, and will be chairman of your Venturer post committee. In addition, he will be an assistant superintendent of the YMMIA, in which position he assists the new general secretary—youth and YMMIA ward superintendent.
If you are a deacon, the pattern is the same. Your priesthood quorum adviser may now either supervise a new quorum instructor or serve as instructor himself. He will be in charge of coordinating all deacon and Scout activities and will be chairman of the Boy Scout troop committee. In addition, he is an assistant superintendent of the YMMIA and assists the new general secretary—youth and YMMIA superintendent.
Thus we can see that the Brethren want to use the YMMIA to help you grow in the priesthood. Your personal activities, opportunities, and experiences in the Aaronic Priesthood and the YMMIA will be carefully guided and followed by good men called to these new positions. Incidentally, the Brethren hope that we will begin to refer to a young man as a deacon, teacher, or priest instead of using his YMMIA names—Boy Scout, Venturer, or Explorer. It’s a subtlety, but it helps us to keep in mind the importance of the priesthood in our lives.
A new personal achievement program for young women of the Church has been announced. This means that each girl from twelve to nineteen years of age now has the choice opportunity of setting her own personal goals for the coming year in the areas of Church participation, family, education, personal, and community activity.
In each of these five areas, you decide your own goals. At the end of the year, if the bishop and you determine that you have achieved your goals, you will be eligible to receive the personal achievement award.
Here’s the way the program works:
1. Prior to your birthday each year, your home teacher will announce to you and your parents that your MIA teacher will soon visit your home to present to you your new personal achievement journal for the coming year.
2. Approximately two weeks before your birthday, your MIA teacher (Primary teacher for those still attending Primary) or someone else designated by the bishop will come to your home and introduce to you your new special journal, which then will be left with you. Depending upon your age, these will be the titles of your journals: Beginning, for 12-year-old girls; Growing, 13 years; Discovering, 14 years; Believing, 15 years; Aspiring, 16 years; Achieving, 17 years; Fulfilling, 18 years. You are to study the journal and determine your own goals for the coming year.
3. On or near your birthday, you will have an interview with your bishop. Together you will review your past year’s goals and accomplishments (and determine your eligibility for a personal achievement award) and then together you will evaluate and set your new goals for the coming year.
4. Six months later, you will have a review with a member of the bishopric. Together you will check how you are coming in reaching your goals.
5. Throughout the year, your home teacher and MIA teacher will encourage you to accomplish the goals you set for yourself.
This kind of program gives you great opportunity for personal creativity and growth throughout each year. Every girl can make of herself and accomplish what she desires. Also, by the time she reaches nineteen, each girl can have a priceless record of what her teen years have been like. This will be a treasured record throughout life for her, her future husband, and her future children, who will want to know what mamma was really like when she was young. There will be no better way to show it than to examine her individual achievement journals. It is a tremendous idea!
Incidentally, the young men of the priesthood are also enjoying a similar program. It went into effect in the fall of 1970.