In its first issue, the editor of the New Era explained the rationale for its creation, stating:
By direction of the First Presidency, the New Era is the publication arm of the Church to the unmarried persons of the kingdom—those from twelve up to marriage. It will reflect those qualities that have given rise to the Lord’s confidence in youth: sincerity, authenticity, intellectual stimulation, and inspiration.
The New Era regularly includes articles written by general authorities of the LDS Church on gospel topics, as well as articles contributed by other church members on topics such as preparing for marriage, media and entertainment, and the family. Poems, artwork, tips for coping with life's challenges, and true stories of inspiration, are also commonplace. Other regular features include Questions & Answers (a question for the youth (e.g., "How can I know I've truly been forgiven after I've repented?") and readers' responses), and the New Era poster (or MormonAd).