“11. Young Women,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).
“11. Young Women,” General Handbook.
Purpose and Organization
The Young Women organization helps God’s children prepare to return to His presence. As they strive to keep their covenants with God, young women will be “armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14).
The Young Women organization helps young women make and keep sacred covenants and deepen their conversion to Jesus Christ and His gospel.
The purpose of a Young Women class is to help young women work together to accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. In their classes, young women serve others, fulfill covenant responsibilities, build unity, and learn and live doctrine.
Young Women Theme
The Young Women theme can help each young woman understand her divine identity and become converted to Jesus Christ. Young women and their leaders repeat the theme at the beginning of Sunday meetings and at other Young Women gatherings. The theme reads as follows:
“I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny.
“As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I strive to become like Him. I seek and act upon personal revelation and minister to others in His holy name.
“I will stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.
“As I strive to qualify for exaltation, I cherish the gift of repentance and seek to improve each day. With faith, I will strengthen my home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, and receive the ordinances and blessings of the holy temple.”
Young women become members of a Young Women class beginning in January of the year they turn 12.
Young women classes are organized by age-groups. An age-group is all young women who will turn the same age during a calendar year. A class may include more than one age-group. Young women progress to a new class in January of the year they turn the age of the young women in that new class.
Bishoprics and adult Young Women leaders prayerfully decide how to organize classes according to age. They consider leadership opportunities for young women. Each class, regardless of size, should have a president and, where possible, one or two counselors and a secretary. In units with sufficient young women, classes should be large enough so class presidencies have class members to serve.
Classes are referred to by the unifying title of “Young Women.” If a ward has more than one class, age-groups are used to distinguish classes.
Participating in the Work of Salvation and Exaltation
God invites all to come unto Christ and assist in His work by:
Living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Caring for those in need.
Inviting all to receive the gospel.
Uniting families for eternity.
Class presidencies, supported by adult leaders, counsel together about how to accomplish this work. For more information about the work of salvation and exaltation, study chapter 1.
Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Roles of Parents and Leaders
Parents are responsible to teach their children the gospel and help them live it (see Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–28). The bishopric, Young Women leaders, and class presidencies support parents in this responsibility as follows:
Encourage communication between young women and their families.
Ensure that youth activities support and bless families.
Help parents prepare their daughters for the temple endowment, full-time missionary service (if the young women desire), temple marriage, and motherhood.
Leaders should be sensitive to youth who lack family support for gospel living.
Parents and leaders strive to be good examples to the youth. They mentor youth in their efforts to become more like Jesus Christ. The Children and Youth program can help in these efforts (see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Young Women leaders and class presidencies encourage young women and their families to learn the gospel at home. Leaders study the gospel and share with the young women what they learn. They invite class members to share at church what they are learning at home.
Young Women classes meet on Sundays to strengthen faith, build unity, strengthen families and homes, and make plans to accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. Class presidencies, supported by adult leaders, plan Sunday meetings.
Class meetings are held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. They last 50 minutes. A member of the class presidency conducts. She leads the class in reciting the theme and counseling together about assignments and other matters.
A class member or adult leader then leads gospel instruction. Class presidencies counsel with adult leaders about who should teach. Meeting outlines are found in Come, Follow Me—For Aaronic Priesthood Quorums and Young Women Classes (see ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
If a ward has more than one Young Women class, they meet separately. However, they may meet together when there is a special need. Young women and young men may occasionally combine for a Sunday lesson, as coordinated by the bishopric and the Young Women presidency.
Young women are encouraged to participate in seminary (see 15.1).
Service and Activities
Class presidencies, supported by adult leaders, plan service and activities. These should help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. Service and activities should build testimonies, strengthen families, foster class unity, and provide opportunities to bless others. They should be balanced among four areas of personal growth: spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual.
Most youth activities are held at times other than on Sundays or Monday evenings. They are usually held weekly. In some areas, distance, safety, or other factors make weekly activities impractical. In these areas, activities may be held less often, but they should generally be held at least monthly. Activities can be planned on the Sample Service and Activity Planner, available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Some service and activities should include both young men and young women, especially for older youth.
Youth can benefit from socializing in larger groups. The youth in two or more wards may occasionally meet together for service and activities. Stakes or districts may occasionally plan service and activities for youth (see 20.3.2).
Adult leaders help ensure that activities are safe (see safety.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also 20.7 in this handbook). At least two responsible adult leaders should be present at all activities (see 11.6.1).
For more information, see YoungWomen.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. See also JustServe.org where it is available. These resources provide service and activity ideas.
Annual Activities. In addition to regular youth activities, young women may also participate in the following each year:
A meeting for youth and their parents near the beginning of the year. It can be held for young men and young women separately or together. It can also be held at the ward or stake level. It is planned and led by the assistants to the bishop in the priests quorum and the presidency of the oldest Young Women class. Young women turning 12 during the year may receive their emblems of belonging during this meeting (see 11.6.3). For more information, see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
A Young Women camp (see Young Women Camp Guide). Young women may participate in additional overnight camps, events, and activities throughout the year, where feasible.
A ward or stake youth conference or a For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conference. For information about FSY conferences, see FSY.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. For information about ward and stake FSY callings and responsibilities, see FSYLeader.ChurchofJesusChrist.org (for the U.S. and Canada) or the FSY Planning Guide (for all other areas).
At least one activity emphasizing the standards in For the Strength of Youth. This event could include both young men and young women. Parents may also be invited.
Age Requirements. With their parents’ approval, young women may attend overnight Young Women camps beginning in January of the year they turn 12. They may attend dances, youth conferences, and FSY conferences beginning in January of the year they turn 14. However, they should be at least 16 before dating (see For the Strength of Youth , 4).
Paying for Activities. Activities, including supplies, are paid for by the ward budget. Travel and expenses should not be excessive.
As an exception, if the ward budget does not have enough money to pay for multiday activities, such as camps, leaders may ask participants to help pay for them. However, a young woman should not be prevented from participating if she cannot help pay. If more money is still needed, the bishop may authorize one fundraising activity each year (see 20.6.5).
The bishopric ensures that the budget and activities for young women and young men are sufficient and equitable. Budget for the young women is based on the number of young women in the ward. Budget for Aaronic Priesthood quorums is based on the number of young men in the ward.
See FSY.ChurchofJesusChrist.org for information about funding for FSY conferences.
In their efforts to become more like the Savior, youth are invited to set goals to grow spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually (see Luke 2:52). Youth seek inspiration to discover what they need to work on. With help from parents, they make plans, act on their plans, and reflect on what they learn. Leaders also offer support as needed. However, they should not track the young women’s goals or progress. Parents and leaders may suggest goals, but they allow youth to seek their own inspiration about what goals to pursue.
Youth are encouraged to complete at least two goals in each of the four areas each year. They can use Personal Development: Youth Guidebook or the Gospel Living app to set and record goals.
For more information, see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Caring for Those in Need
Young women should have regular opportunities to serve others in and with their families, during youth activities, and on their own. Ideas for service are available at ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Where it is available, JustServe.org suggests opportunities for service in the community.
Ministering is caring for others as the Savior would. Young women may receive ministering assignments beginning in January of the year they turn 14. For more information, see chapter 21.
Inviting All to Receive the Gospel
Young women invite all to receive the gospel as they “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9). Some ways they can do this are listed below:
Set a good example as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Share their testimonies with friends and family members.
Minister to less-active members of their classes.
Invite friends to attend church or youth activities.
Invite friends to participate in the Children and Youth program. Leaders work closely with parents of these youth to help them understand the program and determine how they and their children would like to be involved.
Invite friends to be taught by the missionaries.
Parents and leaders can help young women prepare to share the gospel throughout their lives. Some ways they can do this are listed below:
Encourage young women to gain a personal testimony of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the restoration of His gospel.
Provide opportunities to serve in the Church.
Provide opportunities to teach the gospel in class meetings and other settings.
If young women desire to serve full-time missions, parents and leaders help them prepare. This includes teaching them about the blessings and expectations of full-time missionary work.
As part of this preparation, the bishopric or stake presidency may organize a missionary preparation class. The main resources for this class are the scriptures, Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ, and Preach My Gospel. This class is not held during regular Sunday meetings.
Missionary.ChurchofJesusChrist.org provides additional resources that can help young women who desire to prepare to serve a mission. See chapters 23 and 24 for more information.
Uniting Families for Eternity
Young women can help unite families for eternity in many ways. Some of these ways are listed below:
Honor their parents and set an example of Christlike living in their home.
Prepare to have their own eternal family.
Have a current temple recommend.
Prepare to receive temple ordinances, including eternal marriage.
Learn about their extended families and ancestors (see My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together).
Identify ancestors who need temple ordinances (see FamilySearch.org).
Participate in baptisms and confirmations for the dead as often as circumstances allow.
Participate in indexing (see FamilySearch.org/indexing).
Serve as temple and family history consultants, as called by the bishopric (see 25.2.4).
Ward Young Women Leadership
The bishop’s foremost responsibility is to care for the young women and young men in his ward. He and his counselors learn their names and understand their home circumstances. They meet with each young woman at least twice a year (see 31.3.1).
The bishop has responsibility for the ward Young Women organization. He meets regularly with the Young Women president. He reports on Young Women matters in bishopric meetings.
The bishop and his counselors regularly participate in Young Women meetings, service, and activities. If there are multiple Young Women classes, the bishop may assign himself and his counselors to work with specific classes.
Adult Young Women Presidency
The bishop calls and sets apart an adult woman to serve as the ward Young Women president. If the unit is large enough, she recommends one or two adult women to be called as her counselors (see chapter 30). The bishopric considers her recommendations and extends the callings.
In a small unit, the Young Women president may be the only called adult leader in the Young Women organization. In this case, she works with parents to organize instruction and activities for the young women. She also ensures that at least two responsible adults are present at all meetings and activities. When possible, counselors and a secretary should be called.
If a branch does not have a Young Women president, the Relief Society president may organize instruction for the young women until a Young Women president is called.
The Young Women president has the following responsibilities. Her counselors assist her.
Serve on the ward council. She serves as (1) a ward council member who helps address needs in the ward and find solutions and (2) a representative of the Young Women (see 29.2.5).
Serve as a member of the ward youth council (see 29.2.6).
Minister to individual young women.
Submit recommendations to the bishopric for sisters to serve in Young Women.
Teach other Young Women leaders and class presidencies their responsibilities.
Counsel with young women about challenges that do not require the bishop or involve abuse (see 32.3, 31.3.1, and 38.6.2).
Mentor class presidencies in their leadership responsibilities. Each class is assisted and overseen by a specific member of the Young Women presidency.
Support young women who serve as companions to adult sisters in ministering (see 21.2.2).
Regularly hold Young Women presidency meetings and meet with the bishop.
Oversee the records, reports, budget, and finances of the Young Women organization.
If the unit is large enough, the Young Women president recommends to the bishop an adult sister to serve as Young Women secretary. She may have the following responsibilities:
Help the Young Women presidency prepare agendas for presidency meetings. She attends these meetings, takes notes, and keeps track of assignments.
Instruct class secretaries and help them keep attendance records.
Help the Young Women presidency prepare a budget and account for expenses.
Class Presidency and Secretary
Calling, Sustaining, and Setting Apart
Each Young Women class should have a class presidency. The Young Women presidency may recommend young women to serve as class presidents. Members of the bishopric prayerfully counsel together to determine whom to call.
A member of the bishopric calls a young woman to serve as a class president. When there are enough young women to serve, she prayerfully considers class members to recommend as counselors and a secretary. The bishopric considers her recommendations and extends the callings.
Before asking a young woman to serve in any of these callings, the bishopric member asks permission from the young woman’s parents.
After extending these callings, a member of the bishopric presents the young women to their class for sustaining. The bishop or an assigned counselor sets the young women apart.
A member of the bishopric announces these callings in sacrament meeting. He does not present them to be sustained.
Shortly after class presidencies are set apart, a member of the bishopric should orient them to their responsibilities. See “Aaronic Priesthood Quorum and Young Women Class Presidency Orientation” at YoungWomen.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also chapter 4 of this handbook.
Class presidents serve on the ward youth council (see 22.214.171.124). Class presidencies also have the following responsibilities:
Lead the class’s efforts to participate in the work of salvation and exaltation (see chapter 1).
Get to know and serve each young woman, including those who do not attend class meetings. Be aware of their needs and circumstances.
Participate in ward efforts to share the gospel and strengthen new and returning members. A presidency member of the oldest Young Women class attends coordination meetings (see 23.5.7).
Participate in ward temple and family history efforts. A presidency member of the oldest Young Women class attends coordination meetings (see 25.2.7).
Plan and conduct Sunday class meetings (see 126.96.36.199).
Plan and carry out class service and activities (see 188.8.131.52).
Regularly hold class presidency meetings (see 184.108.40.206).
When class secretaries are called, they prepare agendas for meetings, take notes, and keep track of attendance.
Members of the Young Women presidency regularly teach class presidencies about their responsibilities (see 11.3.2). Class advisers and specialists should actively help (see 11.3.5 and 11.3.6).
Class Presidency Meeting
Young Women class presidencies meet regularly. The class president conducts these meetings. The adult Young Women leaders assigned to support the class presidency also attend. During these meetings, leaders counsel together and seek revelation about the Lord’s will for their class. The agenda could include discussion of the following items:
Accomplishing the work of salvation and exaltation
Serving class members, with special attention to supporting new members and reaching out to less-active members
Reaching out to those of other faiths and beliefs
Planning class meetings, service, and activities
Leadership instruction from adult Young Women leaders or a member of the class presidency
A Sample Presidency Meeting Agenda is available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Ward Youth Council
The purpose of the ward youth council is to help the youth bring others to Jesus Christ and to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation.
The bishop presides over the ward youth council. This council’s members include:
One of the bishop’s assistants in the priests quorum, the teachers quorum president, and the deacons quorum president.
The Young Women class presidents (or the entire class presidency if the ward has just one Young Women class).
The Young Women president.
The ward youth council discusses ways to help others build testimonies, receive saving ordinances, keep covenants, and become consecrated followers of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 6:4–5). They counsel together about the needs of the young women and young men in the ward. They may discuss activities to meet these needs. However, detailed planning of activities should happen in quorum or class presidency meetings.
See 29.2.6 for more information about the ward youth council.
The Young Women presidency may recommend that the bishopric call Young Women advisers. Each adviser works with a specific age-group of young women.
Advisers have the following responsibilities:
Help the Young Women presidency with their responsibilities.
Support and guide class presidencies as they learn and carry out their responsibilities.
Teach Sunday lessons as needed. Help young women who have been invited to teach a lesson to effectively prepare and teach.
Attend class activities.
Attend ward Young Women presidency meetings when invited.
At least two responsible adult women should be present at each class meeting and activity. Advisers must complete the training at ProtectingChildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org (see 11.6.1).
Where needed, the Young Women presidency may recommend that the bishopric call specialists to assist with a particular event, such as a camp, a youth conference, or sports.
All specialists serve under the direction of the ward Young Women presidency.
Specialists must complete the training at ProtectingChildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org (see 11.6.1).
Helping Young Women Prepare to Join Relief Society
A young woman may join the Relief Society when she is 18. By age 19, each young woman should be fully participating in Relief Society. In some cases, a young woman may come into Relief Society earlier than her 18th birthday. Each young woman counsels with her parents and the bishop to decide what will best help her continue to strengthen her faith in Jesus Christ.
Parents and Young Women and Relief Society leaders work together to help each young woman successfully progress into Relief Society. These leaders provide ongoing opportunities for young women and Relief Society sisters to make connections and develop relationships.
Stake Young Women Leaders
A member of the stake presidency calls an adult woman to serve as the stake Young Women president. If a stake is large enough, she recommends one or two adult women to serve as counselors and another to serve as secretary. These women are called and set apart by a member of the stake presidency or an assigned high councilor. For information about the responsibilities of the stake Young Women presidency and secretary, see 6.7.1, 220.127.116.11, and 6.7.3.
A counselor in the stake presidency has responsibility for the Young Women organization in the stake. He also has responsibility for the work of the stake Young Women presidency. He also instructs bishops in their responsibilities for young women.
The stake presidency assigns a high councilor to work with the stake Young Women presidency (see 6.5). This high councilor and the Young Women presidency and secretary serve on the stake youth leadership committee (see 29.3.10).
Additional Guidelines and Policies
When adults are interacting with youth in Church settings, at least two responsible adults should be present. It may be necessary to combine classes to make this possible.
All adults who work with youth must complete the children and youth protection training within one month of being sustained (ProtectingChildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). They repeat the training every three years thereafter.
For information about how these guidelines apply to ministering companions, see 21.2.2.
Young Women with Disabilities
Class presidencies give special care to young women who have disabilities. For information about helping these young women, see disability.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also 38.8.27 in this handbook.
Children and Youth Emblems
Young women receive emblems as part of the Children and Youth program. Every young woman should receive an emblem of belonging from her class presidency when she becomes a member of Young Women. She also receives a copy of Personal Development: Youth Guidebook. This could be done when the class presidency and adult Young Women leaders meet with her to welcome her to Young Women. It could also be done at an annual meeting for youth and their parents (see 18.104.22.168).
In January of the year a young woman turns 18, she receives an additional emblem of belonging.
Young women may earn an emblem of achievement by striving to become more like the Savior.
For more information about emblems, see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.