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Young Women's Theme
The Young Women's "theme" helps each young woman understand her identity, purpose, and destiny as a daughter of God. Young women and their leaders repeat the theme during Sunday classes and at other Young Women gatherings:
- We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
- Divine Nature
- Individual Worth
- Choice and Accountability
- Good Works
- Integrity, and
- We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
The Young Women logo is a torch surrounded by the Young Women motto. The torch represents the light of Christ, inviting all to “come unto Christ” (Moroni 10:32). It invites all young women to hold up the light of Christ by keeping His commandments.
Like the Young Men, the Young Women are divided into three groups by age. The names of these groups are also symbolic. Young Women between the ages of 12 and 14 are in the Beehives. Upon their 14th birthday, they are advanced to the Mia Maids. The 16 and 17 year-old Young Women comprise the Laurels. These age groups all have their own presidency comprised of members of the group. The presidencies each have a president, called by the bishop or branch president, and two counselors and a secretary, who are selected by the president from among the girls. Depending on the president, the secretary may or may not play an advisory role during presidency meetings. The presidency meets to plan their age group's meetings, and resolve any issues the group may be having. Each age group also has one or more adult advisors. There is also an adult Young Women's Presidency in each ward or branch that is in charge of the entire organization in that ward or branch.
- Beehive—"The beehive was a symbol of harmony, cooperation, and work for the early pioneers of the Church. Beehive was also the first name by which young women were known. Beehives today learn to work together in cooperation and harmony as they strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and prepare to stand for truth and righteousness. This is a time to 'arise and shine forth' (D&C 115:5)."
- Mia Maid—"The name Mia Maid refers historically to the Mutual Improvement Association, which adopted the emblem of the rose as a symbol of love, faith, and purity. Mia Maids today learn about love, faith, and purity as they strengthen their testimony and accept and act upon the Young Women values."
- Laurel—"For centuries the laurel wreath has been a crown woven from the leaves of the laurel tree. It is given to someone who finishes a significant achievement as a symbol of honor and accomplishment. Laurels today are finishing their preparation to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple."
Founded in 1869, the Young Women organization was originally known as the Young Ladies’ Department of the Cooperative Retrenchment Association. Brigham Young, the second President and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called together daughters and their mothers for a special meeting in the parlor. Following family prayer, President Young addressed his family. Among other things he said: “I desire to organize my family into a society for the promotion of habits of order, thrift, industry, and charity; and, above all things, I desire them to retrench from extravagance in dress, in eating and even in speech. The time has come when the sisters must agree . . . to set an example before the people of the world worthy of imitation. I want you to set your own fashions . . . and set the style for the rest of the world who desire sensible and comely fashions to follow. I want my daughters to learn to work, and to do it.
“I have long had it in my mind to organize the young ladies of Zion into an association so that they might assist the older members of the Church, their fathers and mothers, in . . . teaching and practicing the principles I have been so long teaching. There is a need for the young daughters . . . to get a living testimony of the truth. I wish our girls to obtain a knowledge of the Gospel for themselves . . . We are about to organize a Retrenchment Association, which I want you all to join, and I want you to vote to retrench in . . . everything that is bad or worthless, and improve in everything that is good and beautiful. Not to make yourselves unhappy, but to live so that you may be truly happy in this life and the life to come.”
The Young Women organization has been referred to by several different names throughout its existence:
- 1869 — Young Ladies’ Department of the Cooperative Retrenchment Association
- 1877 — Young Ladies’ National Mutual Improvement Association
- 1904 — Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association
- 1934 — Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association
- 1972 — Aaronic Priesthood, Young Women
- 1974 — Young Women
This international organization is the oldest and largest organization of its kind for teenage girls.
The following women have served as general presidents of the Young Women:
- Ella Young Empey, 1869-1880 (Retrenchment Association President}
- Elmina Shepard Taylor, 1880-1904
- Martha Horne Tingey, 1905-1929
- Ruth May Fox, 1929-1937
- Lucy Grant Cannon, 1937-1948
- Bertha Stone Reeder, 1948-1961
- Florence S. Jacobsen, 1961-1972
- Ruth Hardy Funk, 1972-1978
- Elaine Cannon, 1978-1984
- Ardeth Greene Kapp, 1984-1992
- Janette C. Hales Beckham, 1992-1997
- Margaret D. Nadauld, 1997-2002
- Susan W. Tanner, 2002-2008
- Elaine S. Dalton, 2008-2013
- Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson, 2013–2018
- Bonnie H. Cordon, 2018-present