150 years of Young Women weaving a tapestry of identity, purpose and belonging

As we celebrate 150 years of the Young Women organization, we reflect upon what has been and, at the same time, we excitedly anticipate what will be. The future is faith-filled and bright. The Lord loves and trusts His precious daughters, and He continues to invite them to be a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation.

Even though this life is not an easy journey for any of us, revelation continues to unfold before our very eyes. As we reflect on the past and look forward to the future of the Young Women organization, we find, woven throughout its beautiful tapestry, the common threads of identity, purpose and belonging.

Identity

Each young woman is “a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents with a divine nature and eternal destiny.” These dearly loved daughters are the literal offspring of exalted parents. What a glorious thing to know and understand. And just like children of earthly parents, through the sanctifying and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, these remarkable young women have the potential to grow, develop and become like their Heavenly Parents.

Purpose

Brigham Young founded the Young Women organization on May 21, 1870. Its first leaders and members included Brigham Young’s own daughters. Under spiritual direction, he formed this society to help young women strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ and help them understand their purpose in the work of salvation. He said, “I wish our girls to obtain a knowledge of the gospel for themselves. For this purpose, I desire to establish this organization …” (Brigham Young quoted in “History of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association” by Susa Young Gates, 1911).

The First Young Ladies’ Department of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association was formed on May 27, 1870, by some of the prophet Brigham Young’s daughters. This was the origin of the Young Women organization.
The First Young Ladies’ Department of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association was formed on May 27, 1870, by some of the prophet Brigham Young’s daughters. This was the origin of the Young Women organization. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Although the Young Women organization has evolved through the years, its purpose has remained consistent: To help young women draw closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. A latter-day prophet of God has called our young women, and all youth, to be active participants in the gathering of Israel and in the work of salvation and exaltation, “the greatest challenge, the greatest cause and the greatest work on earth.”  

Belonging

As we celebrate the Young Women’s sesquicentennial anniversary, we pray that every young woman may know and feel that she belongs and is an important part of something extraordinary. Because of the covenants made at baptism, each belongs to the family of Jesus Christ.

Making and keeping these covenants makes them unique in the world and unites them with others who are striving to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our young women are an essential part of the ongoing Restoration and gathering of Israel. Their service, their perspective and their leadership is needed now more than ever. 

A celebration and an invitation

How grateful we are for technology that will allow us all to gather from around the world for a special Face to Face event on Nov. 15, 2020. Together we will celebrate 150 years of amazing young women and adult leaders.

Screenshot of the Huddersfield England Stake “MyOneHundredAndFifty” Instagram page where youth of the stake share what they are doing to commemorate the 150 years of Young Women.
Screenshot of the Huddersfield England Stake “MyOneHundredAndFifty” Instagram page where youth of the stake share what they are doing to commemorate the 150 years of Young Women. Credit: Screenshot of the Huddersfield England Stake Instagram page

In preparation for this event, we have invited the young women to pray about something that they can do related to the number 150. Participation ideas range from reading 150 pages of the scriptures, sending 150 inspiring text messages, biking 150 miles, pulling 150 weeds, finding 150 family names to take to the temple, sewing 150 masks or even photographing 150 images of nature. The possibilities are endless.

Read more about the Young Women general presidency’s 150 challenge

As they minister in their families and throughout their communities, the young women can post individual goals, or goals as a class/organization, on any social media platform using the hashtag #StriveToBe.

Young women from the Huddersfield England Stake, like so many others around the world, accepted the invitation immediately. Some have written 150 kind notes. Others are running 150 laps around their school. One young woman made the goal to do 150 days of journaling. Another is drawing 150 pieces of art. These remarkable young women, with support from their parents and leaders, created an Instagram page to share their uplifting experiences with the world and invite others to join them and “do 150 of anything positive.”  

It is our prayer that, as we celebrate and serve together, our young women will gain a greater understanding of their identity, purpose and belonging as daughters of Heavenly Parents who have a mighty work to do.

Screenshot of the Huddersfield England Stake “MyOneHundredAndFifty” Instagram page where youth of the stake share what they are doing to commemorate the 150 years of Young Women.
Screenshot of the Huddersfield England Stake “MyOneHundredAndFifty” Instagram page where youth of the stake share what they are doing to commemorate the 150 years of Young Women. Credit: Screenshot of the Huddersfield England Stake Instagram page