“Church Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, Feb. 1978, 77–78
The following notice recently appeared in Messages, which is sent to local priesthood leaders as official guidelines from Church headquarters.
Primary 100th Birthday. The first Primary of the Church was held 25 August 1878, in Farmington, Utah. Now, one hundred years later, Primaries all over the world will be celebrating Primary’s 100th birthday with special activities. A publication entitled “Birthday Celebration Ideas” has been sent to stake and ward Primary leaders to assist in planning these activities.
As part of these activities, each bishop is requested to plan one sacrament meeting during 1978 to recognize the 100 years of Primary. The bishopric adviser to the Primary and the Primary presidency should be asked to speak. The theme of their remarks should be centered on the importance of Primary. Music should be furnished by the Primary children. Participation in this sacrament meeting by the Primary will be in addition to the annual children’s sacrament meeting presentation.
It is suggested that the Primary prepare an exhibit in the cultural hall to be viewed after the sacrament meeting, displaying Primary materials and programs as well as projects and activities of children. This would give many parents the opportunity to learn more about Primary and how it can assist the home in teaching children the gospel.
Celebrating Primary’s 100th birthday will present an opportunity for all to reflect upon our Church heritage and recognize the importance of strengthening each child.
The following notices recently appeared in Relief Society Notes to the Field.
Transition of Young Women to Relief Society. It is recommended that a young woman who becomes eighteen while a second-year Laurel remain in the young Women program until the end of the Church curriculum year. After her eighteenth birthday, however, there may be a special circumstance, such as individual maturity, desire to attend Relief Society, peer group associations, or graduation from high school, which may make it advisable to provide an exception to this policy. At that time a young woman may choose to move into the Relief Society program to meet her specific needs. This is done after consultation with her bishop. When a young woman marries, she becomes a member of the Relief Society. When a girl younger than eighteen goes away to a college where a campus branch is available, she may be enrolled in that Relief Society.
Suggestions for Concerned Citizens. In response to inquiries regarding community service received by the Relief Society General Presidency, the following guidelines are given:
A woman’s first responsibility for service is to her family; this is the fundamental priority established by the Lord. It should be her first consideration and the consideration of those who call her to positions or seek her assistance in any endeavor. Service in the Church should most often be a woman’s next priority, and service in the community her third consideration. Regarding this third area of service, in October 1977 general conference, President Spencer W. Kimball urged all Church members “to lift their voices, to join others in unceasingly combatting, in their communities and beyond, the inroads of pornography and the general flaunting of permissiveness” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 5).
In the founding period of Relief Society, the Prophet Joseph Smith admonished women to “assist by correcting the morals and strengthening the virtues of the community” (History of Relief Society 1842–1966, 1966, p. 18). Today, women have many opportunities to strengthen the virtues of their communities. For example, a mother of school-age children could become involved in the improvement of the schools her children attend, or she could make her family aware of appropriate ways family members can be involved in worthy community causes. A woman whose family and Church responsibilities will permit might wish to run for political office or serve on a community commission.
Each woman should realize that she can be an effective, concerned citizen. One vote, a phone call to a local TV station, a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, a letter to one’s local or national legislator—any of these by an informed person can have a positive effect in the community.
Informed is a key word. Published statements by the First Presidency on moral issues are the most reliable source of information. The Church News, Ensign, and conference talks also provide helpful guidelines for applying gospel standards to community issues. Local newspapers and other news media generally cover national and local issues on which citizens should be informed in order to vote and act intelligently.
Among the many opportunities to join with others in strengthening the community are—
1. Serving on school boards and related committees.
2. Serving on zoning boards.
3. Joining citizen groups opposed to neighborhood displays of pornographic materials or offensive advertising.
4. Recommending needed neighborhood improvements such as street lighting, crosswalks, or traffic signals.
5. Beautifying neighborhoods with garden and cleanup projects.
The Relief Society continues to urge its members to act as individual concerned citizens and to strengthen themselves, their homes and their communities by becoming knowledgeable about important local issues and voicing their opinions in appropriate ways.