“Young Women of Value,” Ensign, Apr. 1989, 43
Ask a young woman what the Young Women Values are, and chances are she’ll recite them to you on the spot, along with the Young Women Theme and Motto.
But young women don’t just know the Values by heart—they’ve also taken them to heart. The principles are strengthening testimonies and changing lives in ways that aren’t always measurable by statistics. They’re helping young women draw closer to the Savior.
The Young Women Values provide what one leader in the Tempe Arizona South Stake calls “a light in a dark, sometimes black world. By holding onto them, our young women will find happiness and bring their own bright lights to their friends, families, and posterity.”
In what Young Women General President Ardeth G. Kapp has described as “a mighty wave of righteousness sweeping the earth,” young women of the Church around the world are committing to live by this set of seven gospel principles called the Young Women Values. A color has been designated for each Value as a visual identification and as a reminder of the principle. Each is a gospel principle of particular importance as young women face the challenges of their teenage years.
“I think that one of the greatest problems facing youth in the world today is not understanding who they are,” says President Kapp. “If they really knew that they are individuals of infinite worth, children of their Heavenly Father, young people would not be vulnerable to many of the temptations they face. They would stand up for what they know is right and make decisions based on right and wrong. Bulimia, anorexia, drug and alcohol use, and immorality are so often rooted in lack of self-esteem. When young people come to understand who they are, what they are to do, and why they are to do it, they gain that sense of self-worth.”
And that’s exactly what the Values are designed to teach a young woman—who she really is, what she is to do with her life, and why she is to do it.
The first three Values—Faith, Divine Nature, and Individual Worth—teach a young woman who she is and where her potential can take her.
The next four—Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity—tell her what she is to do: gain knowledge (both spiritual and secular), choose good over evil, follow the Savior’s example of good works, and make her actions consistent with her knowledge of right and wrong.
The Young Women Theme helps young women set two goals: to stand as witnesses of Christ at all times, and to prepare to make and keep sacred covenants, especially those made in the temple.
“Our main purpose in Young Women is to promote the spiritual growth of each young woman,” says President Kapp. “We are part of a team effort with families, seminary, Sunday School, and other Church organizations to help bring that about. Above all, the Values and Theme are designed to invite young women to come unto Christ.” (See D&C 20:59.)
Young women say that their lives are being changed as they strive to live by these principles. “I used to be inactive, and it was amazing if I attended church,” wrote one young woman. “Now I attend all my meetings, and it would be amazing if I weren’t there. The reason for that is the young women and the leaders and the Values.”
“This month has been a real trial to me,” wrote a thirteen-year-old. “First my grandfather died, then my mother went into the hospital, then my grandmother died—all in four weeks. But I know that I’m a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love him. I will stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places as I strive to live the Young Women Values. I will hold my torch high for everyone to see that I love the Lord and his gospel.”
Juliann Kalehua of the Kilauea Second Ward in the Hilo Hawaii Stake relates how focusing on the principle of faith strengthened her. “I felt alone and inadequate,” she remembers, “and I didn’t think I was doing anything well enough. I felt I didn’t have any friends. Every day I prayed to my Heavenly Father for guidance and for him to help me to like myself. My mom and my bishop were very helpful. One day I began to feel like my old self again. This was the answer to my prayers. Because I had faith I knew my prayers would be answered, and they were.”
Many leaders are finding that the positive impact of the Values extends beyond the Young Women program. An eighteen-year-old wrote: “I still use the Young Women Values, even though I am now in Relief Society. Now that I’m away from my family and on my own, the Values and my prayers help me to realize that I’m not really alone.”
After attending a program that focused on these gospel principles, a father of five daughters wrote, “I appreciate your work in helping us to rear our children as the Lord would have us do. I will try to remind them of these important principles and assist them in their efforts in developing them.”
Roxana Farias of the Talcahuano Chile Stake found her family wanting to help as she worked on presenting her experiences with one of the Values. “When my family saw me working so eagerly,” she wrote, “they helped me, and we talked constantly about the program. I felt the Holy Ghost very strongly.”
A leader from Georgia wrote, “We have a young woman in our stake who comes from a broken home. She recently earned her Young Womanhood Recognition and is a leader among her peers. Her mother says that she is stronger because of her daughter’s example.”
Young Women leaders find that the Values they teach to the girls have an impact on their own families as well. A Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake leader says, “The Values have become important for my children as well as for me. Each of my children has a favorite.”
A Young Women leader in Heber City, Utah, wrote: “During the time of my Young Women in Excellence project, I planted a Values garden in the front yard—flowers of the “Who am I?” colors on one side of the porch and flowers of the “What Am I to Do?” colors on the other. This provided many wonderful teaching opportunities with our children. As I nurtured my flowers’ tender roots, I pondered on strengthening my own roots of conversion.”
President Ezra Taft Benson reiterated the importance of promoting the spiritual growth of each young woman when he said, “Give me a young woman who loves home and family, who reads and ponders the scriptures daily, who has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me a young woman who faithfully attends her church meetings, who is a seminary graduate, who has earned her Young Womanhood Recognition Award and wears it with pride! Give me a young woman who … will not settle for less than a temple marriage, and I will give you a young woman who will perform miracles for the Lord now and throughout eternity.” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 84.)
President Gordon B. Hinckley added to those sentiments when he spoke at the Regional Representatives’ Seminar in April 1988:
“We are prone to put tremendous emphasis on programs for the boys. They are important. … But l am greatly concerned over what may be happening with the Young Women of the Church. …
“I am confident that the daughters of God are as precious to Him as are His sons. …
“It is important to encourage Scouting. But it also is every bit as important to see that everything possible is done to afford every young woman in the Church an opportunity for growth and development, training, and activity that will lead her to faith, testimony, and virtuous and happy living. …
“God will hold us account able if we neglect his daughters. He has given us a trust.”
How can leaders help make the Values a part of each girl’s life? Here are a few ideas.
—To emphasize the principle of good works, young women in the Ghana Accra Mission presented supplies to a hospital and put on a play at a mental hospital.
—Young women in the Makati Philippines Stake held an essay contest. Wrote fifteen-year-old Melady Edlagan, “As a child of God and a young woman, I am very lucky. I know my worth.”
—In the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Stake, young women volunteered to help in the name extraction program. Working in pairs, one read the microfilm and the other printed information on the extraction cards. They are also preparing to help do temple work in the Dallas Texas Temple.
—In the Adelaide Australia Marion Stake, young women befriended a nineteen-year-old woman who had been physically and mentally disabled in a car accident. “How proud we are of these beautiful girls and their leaders,” says Young Women leader Pauline Lee. “We witnessed a change in their lives as the girls became more like the Savior through their compassion.”
—The Hilo Hawaii Stake leaders focus their activities on one of the three areas of emphasis of the Church. Then they use one of the Young Women Values as the basis of the activity. Recent activities include family history work (including baptisms on behalf of ancestors) and joint Young Women-Young Men sharing time, which helps teach the youth about their eternal roles together as men and women.
—Many ward Young Women leaders in the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake have earned the Young Womanhood medallion. One president told about helping two girls visit a less-active young woman. They made a new friend and welcomed her into the group.
—The young women in the Tucker Georgia Stake wrote a script on the meaning of each Value, then prepared a slide show depicting them. They learned more about these principles when the Atlanta Temple matron shared with the girls the feelings of her grown daughters about the role they had played in their lives.
—Young Women leaders in the Bellevue Washington Stake develop skits on the Values, which they present on a regular basis to ward Young Women presidencies.
As young women participate in Project LAMB (Less-Active Member Back) in the Tampa Florida Stake, they use the Values to encourage less-active members into activity. Because of their efforts, Young Women attendance has risen 14 percent.
In the six years that each girl participates in the Young Women program, she is developing an understanding of gospel principles that will impact her life and the lives of others for years to come.
Young Women leader Jana Bell of the Bellevue Washington Stake sums up why: “The Values apply not only to adolescence but to every age of our lives. When they were introduced, it was at a time in my life when I really needed direction. The Values gave me that direction. They are meaningful for every woman, no matter what her age.”
President Kapp emphasizes, “These precious few years from the time of a young woman’s twelfth birthday until she is eighteen are so critical and far-reaching and so essential to her happiness now and in the future. During this time, young women develop an understanding of gospel principles that will affect their lives for years to come. The Values help lay a solid foundation for life.”
“Stand for Truth and Righteousness”
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: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, and integrity.
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
Young Women Values
I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me, and I will have faith in his eternal plan which centers in Jesus Christ, my Savior.
DIVINE NATURE (Blue)
I have inherited divine qualities, which I will strive to develop.
INDIVIDUAL WORTH (Red)
I am of infinite worth, with my own divine mission, which I will strive to fulfill.
I will continually seek opportunities for learning and growth.
CHOICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY (Orange)
I will remain free by choosing good over evil and will accept responsibility for my choices.
GOOD WORKS (Yellow)
I will nurture others and build the kingdom through righteous service.
I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong.