“Programs and Policies Newsletter,” Ensign, June 1971, 124
“Bishops for a Day” Discontinued. Some bishops through their youth committees have been featuring “bishop for a day” programs where young people are appointed to serve as a bishopric and to serve as officers of ward organizations for a week’s time. The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve have recently decided that these programs should be discontinued. Their concern is not only with the spirit of levity and irreverence that seems to be a part of some of these programs, but also with the serious questions of authority and jurisdiction that are raised. The name of the program and the procedures followed necessarily imply a relinquishing of authority by the bishop, suggesting an erroneous principle to Church members and especially to the impressionable young people who participate and who may not be well grounded in correct principles and procedures.
Ordination of Elders. The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve have decided that hereafter worthy priests are to be ordained elders at age nineteen in order to give equal recognition and opportunity to all worthy young LDS men, whether or not they are privileged to fill missions.
Inservice Instructors. Stake and ward YMMIA officers and teachers are to meet with the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood quorum instructors during priesthood meeting for their monthly inservice lessons. These lessons will be given by the ward teacher-development directors, who receive instructions from the stake teacher-development directors. Stake YMMIA and ward YMMIA inservice leaders are no longer required. For the YWMIA, these lessons are to be presented by the ward YWMIA inservice leader (a member of the ward YWMIA board) at a monthly evaluation-inservice meeting.
No Mixed Youth Camping. Stake presidents, bishops, and other Church leaders are asked not to sponsor joint camping activities of any kind for young men and young women. However, youth conferences involving young men and young women are permitted when they are adequately supervised by responsible adults and are planned according to the brochure “Youth Conference,” which has been distributed by the Presiding Bishopric.
Length of Missionary Service. The standard term of service for lady missionaries is now eighteen months. Those who attend one of the language training missions will serve there for two months and then for sixteen months in the field. The term of service for older couples has also been reduced to eighteen months. Couples who remain in the mission field for one year or more will be provided their return transportation.
Sacrament Meeting Speakers. When outside speakers are invited to participate in sacrament meetings, the bishop should know the subject to be treated and the background and reliability of the speaker. Speakers who sponsor promotions, who speculate on the existence of buried evidences of the Book of Mormon, who discuss matters of a controversial or visionary character and other questionable matters should not be permitted to express such things in sacrament meetings.
Fireside Announcements. Announced invitations to attend bishop’s Sunday evening discussions (firesides) 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 to participate in a fireside this evening. …” This caution will preclude the attendance of fourteen-year-old Beehive girls at these gatherings.
Membership Problem/BYU Enrollment. If a serious problem affecting the membership status of a prospective student at Brigham Young University should occur between the time the bishop interviews him for enrollment and his actual enrollment, the bishop is requested to notify the BYU dean of admissions of the situation.