Changes in YW and YM over the years

On Sunday I ordained my oldest son a priest and my youngest a deacon – both were impacted by the age changes announced in December. In preparation for the Temple and Priesthood Preparation meeting later that day, I did a little research on some of the changes to the Young Men and Young Women programs over the years.

History of Age for Priesthood Ordinations

  • Before 1877: No age specified; mostly adult men and some boys, ages 8 and up
  • 1877: No age specified; young men between ages 9 and 19 begin to be ordained
  • 1908: Deacons: 12; Teachers: 15; Priests: 18
  • 1925: Deacons: 12; Teachers: 15; Priests: 17
  • 1954: Deacons: 12; Teachers: 14; Priests: 16

There’s a great little article in the 1916 Improvement Era where they gathered feedback from a bunch of bishops about duties and activities of the different age groups. Among the expected duties you’ll find that young men were asked to “haul gravel,” “make cement walks about meeting houses,” and “help with teams to level public squares.” Each had a musical assignment: priests as ward choristers, teachers as choir members, and deacons as organ pumpers.

Priesthood duties in the 1916 Improvement Era

A few notes from a Young Women organizational history article at BYU

The Young Women program had various names over the years:

  • The Young Gentlemen and Ladies’ Relief Society of Nauvoo, 1843
  • The Young Ladies’ Department of the Cooperative Retrenchment Association (Young Ladies’ Retrenchment Association), 1869
  • Young Ladies’ National Mutual Improvement Association, 1877
  • Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (YLMIA), 1904
  • Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association (YWMIA), 1934
  • Aaronic Priesthood MIA, Young Women, 1972
  • Young Women, 1974

Heber C. Kimball organized the first group in Jan 1843. Youth met at his home to talk about “the frivolous manner in which they spent their time—and their too frequent attendance at balls, parties, etc.” The name was shortened to “Young People’s meetings”

Brigham Young in 1869 –

All Israel are looking to my family and watching the example set by my wives and children. . . . I desire to organize my own family first into a society for the promotion of habits of order, thrift, industry, and charity; and . . . to retrench from their extravagance in dress, in eating, and even in speech.

I have long had it in my mind to organize the young ladies of Zion into an association. . . . There is need for the young daughters of Israel to get a living testimony of the truth. . . . Retrench in everything that is bad and worthless, and improve in everything that is good and beautiful. Not to make yourselves unhappy, but to live so that you may be truly happy in this life and the life to come.

From 1880-1904, YW meetings included the following:

  • Singing (Association choir), prayer, roll call
  • Miscellaneous business
  • Bible lecture
  • Historical narrative or biographical sketch
  • Musical exercise
  • Book of Mormon, alternating with Church History
  • Answering of questions
  • Declamation, alternating with select reading
  • Report of current events or an essay
  • Scientific lecture
  • Distribution of queries and reading program
  • Closing exercise, singing, benediction

“Because the Mutual year only ran from September to June, leaders sought a new endeavor for the summer months. Patterned after the Camp Fire program and considered a sister organization to the Boy Scouts, the Beehive program, announced in 1915, involved girls ages fourteen to eighteen. Requirements for advancement included knowing “the proper use of hot and cold baths,” mending and caring for clothing, doing “one good turn” daily, and memorizing Doctrine and Covenants 89. [11] The Beehive experience, so well received, was incorporated into the general program.”

“As many older Primary girls wanted to attend Mutual, parents could choose whether their daughters attended one or the other or both. At this time, the twelve- to thirteen-year-old group was called Nymphs. Later, the entrance age was determined by a girl’s twelfth birthday. Over time, the older girls were divided into Seniors and Advanced Seniors. Then a Junior class was added. From the story of Ruth in the Bible, the Seniors were renamed the Gleaners.”

The Gleaners were renamed Laurels in 1959.

Thomas S. Monson:

The Church moves on and programs change, but the basic responsibility of helping youth to choose the right . . . is as cardinal a rule today as it has ever been.

More changes to come!

Books Music Travel

Favorite Things of 2018

Another year has come and gone. Here are a few of my favorite things in 2018.


Pizzeria Limone. I’m usually the only male there and they have the worst background music ever, but their Caprese Pizza is really amazing. Here’s my TripAdvisor review.

Breakfast Cereal

Chocolate Cruesli is still the clear winner and will be for the foreseeable future.


Some concerts I enjoyed in 2018 were Brandi Carlile, I’m With Her, The Milk Carton Kids, Gregory Alan Isakov, Josh Ritter, Good Old War (twice), and Gabe Dixon.

For my favorite song of 2018, I’m going to go with Tremble by Oh Jeremiah.

Older stuff that was in frequent rotation in 2018 includes:

  • John Mayer – more popular than I usually go for, but he’s really an amazing songwriter. As he ages he gets more Bob Dylan to me. Try Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967, which is just great storytelling.
  • Guster – I missed out on them when they were medium big in the 90s. They have a lot of great songs. Try Careful or Ramona.
  • Ben Rector – another good songwriter. Favorite from his latest album is Extraordinary Magic.
  • Randy Newman – another late discovery for me. Favorite tune might be Birmingham.
  • Jump, Little Children – Winston-Salem band. Love Mexico and several other songs. They did an independent release last year that’s pretty good.
  • Regina Spektor – way out of my usual style, but she speaks to my inner emo. It’s all I listen to on long flights. Her voice takes a little getting used to. I love Firewood and Obsolete.


I had to check Goodreads to remind myself what I read. It took me most of the year to read Albert Camus’ The Stranger in the original French (L’Étranger), which I’ve been meaning to do ever since I discovered The Cure.

The book that impacted me the most was The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak. I listened to the audiobook after visiting the Documentation Center and Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg and before returning to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. I’m about halfway through The Diary of Anne Frank, which is (of course) excellent.

Another great read was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. That story has bounced around in my head for months afterwards.

All the books that got 5 stars from me in 2018 were:

Title Author
An Introduction to the Book of Abraham John Laurence Gee
L’Étranger Albert Camus
Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts‚ Becoming the Person You Want to Be Marshall Goldsmith
The Most Dangerous Game Richard Connell
The Book Thief Markus Zusak
The Road Cormac McCarthy
Passage by Faith: Exploring the Inspirational Art of James C. Christensen James C. Christensen
Ender’s Shadow (The Shadow Series, #1) Orson Scott Card
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain John J. Ratey
Mastery Robert Greene
Dune Frank Herbert
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism Timothy J. Keller
Ready Player One Ernest Cline
Understanding Temple Symbols Through Scripture, History, and Art Jack M. Lyon
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Why Bob Dylan Matters Richard F. Thomas
Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men Leonard Sax
Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic Mark  Coleman


2018 was the year I fully abandoned Facebook and Instagram. I had to fill the void with something, so I turned to Reddit. I like it for its ability to keep you up to date on memes and cat videos without all the human drama and overvalued opinions of Facebook. If you live in Utah you need to set up an account and pick some subreddits that interest you so you can see beyond the default top posts of your state, which are almost exclusively anti-Mormon rants.


I saw some fun places in 2018. It was my first time in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. I guess the highlight was the Vienna Cemetery.



Yousician is good fun. I’m learning to play the bass. Screen Time says I spend the most time on Fallout Shelter (after taking a break for a couple of years), DomiNations, and Netflix.


The one I’ve thought about the most is Dealt. I watched it on a flight when I was taking a break from Chinese movies and I can’t stop thinking about it. Life is unfair and that’s part of its beauty.

British Panel Show

2018 is the year I discovered Would I Lie To You where British celebrities try to speak convincingly of a personal story that may or may not be true. I think I’m caught up on all seasons. My favorite participants are James Acaster, Bob Mortimer, Greg Davies, and the longtime team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack. It’s hard to say what my favorite clip is, but try this:


My all-time favorites are Nate Bargatze, Jim Gaffigan, and Brian Regan. Dry Bar Comedy has some great clips on YouTube, although they can be hit or miss. Try Heath Harmison’s story about his arch-nemesis Meredith: