“The new practice of allowing young men to set their own goals each year as they work for their Aaronic Priesthood Certificates of Achievement has raised a question concerning the requirements for the Duty-to-God Award. Since minimum meeting attendance requirements for the Certificate of Achievement are no longer prescribed, it is possible for a young man to have four of these certificates and still not be eligible for the Duty-to-God Award. In order for a young man to earn the Duty-to-God Award, he must now fill the explicit requirements of being in attendance at priesthood meeting, sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and the regular YMMIA meeting at least 75 percent of the time for four years, not necessarily consecutive years.”
The following is of widespread interest to many youth: “Young men and women in the deacon and Beehive programs are not invited to participate in bishops’ Sunday evening discussions (firesides). Young people should not attend until they enter the teacher and Mia Maid programs. Announced invitations to attend bishops’ Sunday evening discussions should be by age-group rather than by age; for example, ‘All young men and women of priest-teacher and Laurel-Mia Maid ages are invited to be present and participate in the bishops’ Sunday evening discussion. …’ This approach avoids inviting the fourteen-year-old Beehive girl, who is not eligible to attend until she moves into the Mia Maid class.”
Two points seem worthy of comment: The Sunday evening discussion is limited as to who should attend partly because the General Authorities know the differences in interests and problems that face older youth, and they obviously desire you to really come to grips with issues important to you in your Sunday discussions.
The second point deals with terminology—“priest-teacher” and “Laurel-Mia Maid.” Note how gently the General Authorities try to teach us the correct usage of the language of the Church. A person is not referred to as a fifteen-year-old but as a teacher or Mia Maid, in part because age says so little but also because “teacher” and “Mia Maid” say that one is involved, committed, actively engaged in a good cause; they accurately identify one’s place in the kingdom.
The brethren are desirous that all of us “be keenly aware of the effort the Church is making to reach Latter-day Saint college-age youth who go to school. The services of the Student Association of the Church are available to help college students find spiritual strength and balance while they grow in the academic and social life of college.
“The fundamental principle underlying the work of the Student Association is that every individual soul is of great worth in the sight of God. Even though there are well over 200,000 Latter-day Saint college students on campuses throughout the world, the Student Association, in a very real sense, focuses its efforts on the individual.
“Weekday Church-related activities on campus are correlated under the direction of a designated local priesthood leader, who is a stake president. The Student Association has a commission to (1) assist the priesthood leaders in this correlation on campus, (2) enhance communication between college students and their Church leaders, (3) bring all Latter-day Saint students into close affiliation with Church influence, and (4) strengthen Church efforts to serve Latter-day Saint students on campuses by correlating with the MIA and other Church agencies as they work with young adults of college age.”
If you wish to know more about the Student Association or wish to know how you can become a part of it, see your bishop or branch president or contact your nearest institute of religion instructor.
“In ward meetings such as priesthood meeting, Sunday School, and sacrament meeting, the bishop is the presidng officer. In the bishop’s absence his first counselor presides. If they are both absent, the second counselor presides. If a General Authority or a member of the stake presidency visits a meeting, the member of the bishopric conducts under the direction of the visiting higher authority. A high councilor, visiting a ward as an official representative from the stake presidency, does not take over the presiding authority of the bishop.
“The sacrament should be given first to the highest Church authority who sits on the stand and then passed to all others in an orderly way. A high councilor visiting a ward as an official representative of the stake presidency and sitting on the stand should be recognized by receiving the sacrament first, unless a General Authority or a member of the stake presidency is present on the stand. It is not necessary to recognize a high councilor while attending his own ward in an unofficial capacity, although there is no objection to such courtesy being extended to him.”