Beginning in January 2019, Latter-day Saint children will complete Primary and progress to youth programs as age groups, instead of on their birthdays, the First Presidency announced on Dec. 14. The following are frequently asked questions, included in a letter from the First Presidency to Church members, about the announcement and upcoming changes:
1. What is the schedule for age-group progression?
Children will typically complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and the Beehive class or deacons quorum at the beginning of the year they turn 12. Young women will typically progress between Young Women classes and young men between Aaronic Priesthood quorums in January of the year they turn 14 and 16. This progression will take place as age groups, not on the individual birthdays of children and youth.
Some children or youth may not move between organizations, classes or quorums according to the typical schedule due to personal circumstances. The bishop and parents counsel together to decide what is in the best interest of each child or youth.
2. When are young men eligible to be ordained to an Aaronic Priesthood office? When are young women and young men eligible to obtain a limited-use temple recommend?
Young men will be eligible for ordination to the appropriate priesthood office in January of the year they turn 12, 14 and 16. Ordinations will typically take place throughout January. Young women and ordained young men will be eligible for a limited-use temple recommend beginning in January of the year they turn 12. However, being ordained to a priesthood office for young men and obtaining a limited-use temple recommend for young women and young men continue to be based on worthiness, readiness and personal circumstances.
3. Are ages for ordaining young men to priesthood offices doctrinally mandated?
No. Ages for ordination to Aaronic Priesthood offices have varied throughout Church history.
4. When should these adjustments be implemented?
Local leaders should implement these adjustments throughout January 2019. Movement between classes and organizations typically takes place at the beginning of January. However, sustainings and ordinations may need to take place throughout the month to accommodate family and interview schedules.
5. When are youth interviews held?
The bishop interviews each young woman when she completes Primary and moves to a new class. He interviews each young man when he completes Primary and when he moves to a new quorum and is ordained to a priesthood office. Youth who are 12 to 15 should meet with the bishop yearly and with one of his counselors at another time during the year. Youth 16 to 18 should typically meet with the bishop twice each year.
6. Do bishoprics recognize in sacrament meeting those who complete Primary, those who move to a new class or quorum and young men who are ordained to a priesthood office?
Bishoprics do not recognize children and youth in sacrament meeting when they move between organizations, classes, and quorums. Young men who are being ordained to a priesthood office are presented in sacrament meeting for a sustaining vote. They do not come to the podium but stand in the congregation as their names are presented and they are sustained.
7. Must the transition date for age-group progression always be January?
No. In areas of the world where January is not a natural transition date, areas may implement these changes based on the local transition date now followed.
8. How do Primary and Sunday School classes change?
Eleven-year-olds who have completed Primary attend Sunday School. Each Sunday School presidency organizes youth ages 11 to 18 into classes according to age. Classes could be organized for each age group, or they could be combined for more than one age-group. The Valiant 11 Primary class is discontinued.
9. Can youth who are not yet 12 attend camps? Can youth who are not yet 14 attend dances and youth conferences?
Yes. Generally, youth in a class or quorum may enjoy the privileges that are appropriate for that class or quorum. With their parents’ approval, Beehives and deacons may attend camps before their 12th birthdays. Likewise, Mia Maids and teachers may attend dances and youth conferences before their 14th birthdays. However, a young woman or young man should be at least age 16 before beginning to date (see For the Strength of Youth).
10. Can youth who are not yet 14 have ministering assignments?
Yes. All Mia Maids and teachers may be invited to participate in ministering and may have ministering assignments. They need not wait for their 14th birthdays.
11. How do these changes affect activity days?
Where practical, Primary continues to hold activity days for girls and, outside the U.S. and Canada, for boys. Children may begin attending activity days in January of the year they turn 8 and continue until they complete Primary.
12. How do these changes affect Cub Scouts and 11-year-old Scouts in the U.S. and Canada?
Until a new initiative for children and youth launches in 2020, progression in Cub Scouting and 11-year-old Scouts remains much the same. Boys continue to join Cub Scouts and 11-year-old Scouts and to progress between dens on their birthdays. However, when they move from Primary to Aaronic Priesthood quorums, they leave 11-year-old Scouting and participate in Scouting with the deacons quorum.