February, 17, 2011

Young Women’s Program

The 1905 Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association of Spanish Fork, Utah

How much do you know about the beginnings of the Church’s Young Women’s Program? I am sure if you ask many members of the Church, male or female, they might have a similar response: not much. From bandilos and pins to necklaces, the Young Women’s Program has improved and enhanced the way of life for many daughters of the Saints.

We know that Church President Brigham Young discouraged apathy and laziness among the Saints, and he created organizations to combat exactly that. In 1869, the Junior Retrenchment Society was developed by the daughters of President Young, who instructed girls to “retrench in everything that is bad and worthless, and improve in everything that is good and beautiful.”  In 1877 the name was changed to the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association.

Throughout the years, this program has encouraged young women of the Church to set and achieve goals while learning important skills. The improvement of the daughters of Zion was just as important in the late nineteenth century as it is today. One ward president wrote, “We had accomplished all that there was to do [in retrenching], and we are now ready to take the lead in higher morals, and set an example in our communities.”