Young Women general presidency: ‘What’s in a name?’

One year ago, in October 2019 general conference, Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon announced four exciting adjustments to the Young Women program:  

  1. Inspired revision of the Young Women theme  
  2. Adjustments to Young Women class structure  
  3. Unifying name of “Young Women” given to all classes (Laurel, Mia Maid and Beehive class names retired)  
  4. Role and purpose of class presidencies strengthened and more clearly defined

In the 12 months since these adjustments were announced, we have witnessed the power and incredible Spirit that has been a force for good in the lives of our young women. Each adjustment has a unique and vital role in the spiritual progression of each of our precious youth.

Referring to all young women under one unifying name will increase unity and affirm divine identity. It was not easy to retire the names of Laurel, Mia Maid and Beehive. This change came with clear direction after a long struggle. Our name needs to reflect our true identity in every language. As a Young Women general presidency, we sought the best thinking of many people and pondered and prayed over new class names for a long time. 

As we sought the Lord’s guidance, clear, simple direction came to our hearts and minds. We were inspired to simplify and help our dear sisters focus on the power of belonging. The name of “Young Women” has a unifying effect on each class, and their identity is clear. These sweet sisters are not Laurels, Mia Maids, and Beehives. They are Young Women and daughters of God. A number will usually not need to be added to the end of a class name. Our youth usually don’t say they are members of the Sunday School class for 14-15-year olds, they just go to Sunday School. In the same way, we hope our young women and their adult leaders can refer to Young Women classes without always feeling a need to attach a number.

Cortlin Talbot holds up the new Young Women themes which she decorated with thoughts and images.
Cortlin Talbot holds up the new Young Women themes which she decorated with thoughts and images. Credit: Amy Wright

This change has been difficult for some, but we have great hope that identity will be found not in class names, but rather in the words of the Young Women theme. They are “beloved daughters,” “disciples of Jesus Christ,” and “witnesses of God.”

We love all of the action verbs in the new Young Women theme and how they confirm identity. A young woman strives, seeks, acts, ministers, stands, cherishes, strengthens, makes, keeps and receives. She is committed to her sacred covenants. She is “[taking her] questions directly to [her] Heavenly Father in prayer. [She is learning for herself] how to receive revelation. And nothing will make a bigger difference in [her] life than that” (President Russell M. Nelson 2018 Worldwide Devotional). 

Does changing a class name really matter? We testify that a name does matter.

Heavenly Father loves all of His young daughters all over the world, and He sees them as young women who are exercising faith in Jesus Christ. As time goes on, they will continue to be women of God, knowing how to serve, lead, love and minister in Christ’s holy name.

King Benjamin taught a righteous people, “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters, for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name” (Mosiah 5:7). A continued focus on divine identity will bring power to each young woman, changing her heart through faith in His name.  

As adult and youth leaders focus on the identities of young women found in the theme, they will discover who they are and feel their divine worth and purpose. They will begin to ask questions which will invite the ministering of the Holy Ghost into their lives. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently taught, “Do not be fooled: you are not of the world; you are divine” (BYU devotional, Jan. 21, 2020). The Spirit will testify this truth to their souls.

Because young women are divine, so is their purpose.  

Now, looking at the new class name of “Young Women,” what can adult and youth leaders see, with spiritual eyes, that will help them minister to this valiant rising generation?

Do youth remember and embrace who they are and what they were sent here to do? We don’t want the world’s many voices to obscure the divine identities of young women. Reminding them that they are beloved daughters of Heavenly Parents, disciples of Christ and witnesses of God, is the beginning of the path to sacred promises shared by President Cordon (October 2019 general conference). She promised that these adjustments would help each young woman:

  1. Develop her sacred personal potential  
  2. Increase her righteous influence  
  3. Gain unshakable faith in Christ  
  4. Gain a sure knowledge of her divine identity

We pray for young women and their leaders all over the world and hope they are seeking to realize these promises and are exercising faith and hope in promises yet to come!