“Worldwide Celebration Notes Young Women Anniversary,” Ensign, Feb. 1990, 76–77
“We call upon you to unite in strength and power as you commit to stand for truth and righteousness,” President Ezra Taft Benson said to the young women of the Church on November 18.
He spoke as young women throughout the world marked the 120th anniversary of the Young Women organization. In Tonga; in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; in Sydney, Australia; in Pocatello, Idaho; and in other places where LDS young women met that day, they responded to the call for commitment.
President Benson spoke during a program that included messages from him, from President Ardeth G. Kapp of the Young Women organization, and from local leaders. Materials for the program, including recorded messages by President Benson and President Kapp, had been translated into sixteen languages and sent to Church units in sixty-two different countries.
“Building on the foundation of the past and with a vision of the future, I issue a call to you dear young sisters: Prepare yourselves that you may be fit and pure vessels to bear triumphantly the responsibilities of the kingdom of God,” President Benson said. “Make a commitment to read the Book of Mormon. Apply its teachings so you will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, and you will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord.”
He invited priesthood leaders to help young women keep their commitments and added: “I feel impressed to leave my blessing upon each one of you dear sisters. May you always remember that it is possible to live in the world without partaking of the sins of the world.”
President Kapp told the young women that “this is no ordinary time, and you are no ordinary youth. Today we unite across continents and oceans, across cultural differences and language barriers. We stand together as daughters of God, bound by our common commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The theme of the November 18 meetings was “Stand for Truth and Righteousness,” the Young Women motto. The program called for a priesthood leader in each local meeting to ring a bell, reminiscent of the family prayer bell rung by Brigham Young on the day in 1869 when Brigham Young called his daughters to the organizational meeting for the Young Ladies’ Department of the Cooperative Retrenchment Association. In most areas, young women were given a bell, or brought one, to ring during their part of the program. The bells, and those they may hear from now on, were to remind them of their commitments.
Each local meeting had its unique flavor. Following are samplings from a few.
Sydney, Australia. President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder James E. Faust, of the Quorum of the Twelve, were in Sydney for a regional conference. They attended the Parramatta stake’s Young Women celebration, along with the Pacific Area Presidency: Elder Glen L. Rudd, Elder Douglas J. Martin, and Elder Benjamin B. Banks, all of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
President Hinckley said that there are young women in the Church by the hundreds of thousands who know the importance of being true to God and to themselves, and of living gospel principles. Church leaders, he said, are proud of the “beautiful young women all across the world who will grow into mature womanhood to be an honor to the Church and to the Lord.”
Elder Faust said that the bell-ringing was a signal to the world from the Latter-day Saints that they are a people who love the Lord and who seek to honor His commandments and to be free from the bondage of evil. He cautioned all to avoid choices that would limit their growth and potential.
Tonga. Young women of this island kingdom were the first in the world to greet Saturday, November 18, and celebrate the Young Women anniversary. Almost twenty-four hours later, young women in American and Western Samoa—comparatively only a few miles away but across the international dateline—were the last to do so.
Provo, Utah. Young women of the Edgemont North stake were pleased to have President Benson attend their program with his wife, Flora. President Benson personally rang the bell to call them to commitment.
Washington, D.C. Young women gathered at the Netherlands Carillon as the carillonneur played “Come Hold Your Torches High.” President Kapp delivered her message in person to young women, leaders, and parents from fourteen area stakes.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Young women of the Philadelphia stake gathered near the Liberty Bell, a symbol of freedom, for their program. In her response to remarks from leaders, Jennifer Geigle, a Laurel from the Jarrettown Second Ward, spoke of the importance of living standards set by a loving Father: “Heavenly Father knew that sometimes this world would be difficult, so he gave us lots of tools to help us. Our values are chosen especially for the purpose of helping us to stand for truth and righteousness.”
Pocatello, Idaho. The program here featured vignettes, including one of Moroni with his title of liberty. After the program, young women and their parents were invited to sign the Highland stake’s banner of truth and righteousness, which will be displayed at stake and ward Young Women events for the next year.
Bountiful, Utah. Bountiful Heights stake president Joe Johnson told of his experiences as a youth herding sheep, when an animal wearing a bell was always the leader of the flock. “Your view will never change if you do not step out in front,” he counseled. “Take a bell and move to the front, and your life will have direction.”