After vigorously ringing Brigham Young's family prayer bell, President Ezra Taft Benson briefly talked about "the young women of Zion" as he participated in the Young Women anniversary celebration Nov. 29.
At the commemoration, plans and a date were announced for the worldwide 120th anniversary celebration of the Young Women next year."God bless the youth of Zion," President Benson told past and present board members and Young Women general presidencies who had gathered in Salt Lake City for the dinner and celebration. Then, turning to the 42-voice young women choir that had performed during the evening's program, he continued: "I have every confidence that you'll perform as you've indicated and so I ring the bell again."
President Benson then proceeded to ring the original prayer bell that was used by Brigham Young on Nov. 28, 1869, to call his daughters together for a meeting that would become important in the history of the Church. It was in the front parlor of the Lion House that the foundation for today's Young Women organization was laid, said Young Women Gen. Pres. Ardeth G. Kapp.
"The young women of today, reserved for this time, are building on a noble past," observed Sister Kapp. She said the evening's 119th anniversary celebration was important because "we are taking this occasion tonight to officially announce a worldwide celebration for young women to be held next year, on the 120th anniversary of the Young Women's organization. The event will take place at sunrise on Nov. 18, 1989," she explained. "On that occasion, in every area, the bells will ring and an historic call and blessing from President Benson will be heard by young women around the world."
Last week's commemoration program also included a short re-enactment of that first gathering of President Young and his daughters. Actor James Arrington portrayed the prophet, while his daughters were portrayed by young women from the Bountifull/
Ogden area. The script for the 10-minute play was written from records kept about the meeting by Brigham Young and others.
"I have long had it in my mind to organize the young ladies of Zion into an association so that they might assist the members of the Church," Arrington quoted the prophet as saying. "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," he concluded. And thus was the beginning of the Young Ladies Retrenchment Society.
Sister Kapp spoke after the re-enactment. "With the vision of the great influence and contribution young women could make and the challenges they would face, [Brigham YoungT felt to establish an organization that would provide identity and a worldwide sisterhood; an organization that would set young women apart from the world," she said.
"We are likewise blessed by a prophet-leader in our day, and he has a vision concerning young women," she continued. She then quoted from an article written by President Benson, who sat on the front row of the audience and appeared visibly moved as he listened.
You are choice spirits,' " Sister Kapp quoted from the June 1986 New Era. "Many of you have been held in reserve for almost 6,000 years to come forth in this day, at this time, when the temptations, responsibilities, and opportunities are the very greatest.' "
Those assembled also previewed a recorded message by President Benson that will be sent to every unit in the Church for next year's anniversary celebration. More instructions and details about the celebration will also be included, Sister Kapp said.
"We have heard the bell ring loud and clear once again," Sister Kapp concluded. "Our great prophet-leader, President Benson, has issued a call to young women, not only to those in the Lion House, not just those in Utah or even the United States, but to young women around the world."