Young Men (organization)
|Purpose/focus||religious instruction; personal standards and development; adolescent male support; Scouting|
|Headquarters||Salt Lake City, Utah, USA|
|General President||David L. Beck|
|Main organ||General presidency and general board|
|Parent organization||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
|Affiliations||Aaronic priesthood; Young Women|
The Young Men (often referred to incorrectly as Young Men's) is a youth organization and an official auxiliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The purpose of the organization is to assist the Aaronic Priesthood in promoting the growth and development of male Latter-day Saints ages 12 to 18.
- 1 History
- 2 Young Men organization in the church today
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
- 5 External links
The first official youth association of the church—the Young Gentlemen’s and Young Ladies’ Relief Society—was formally organized by Nauvoo youth on the advice of church founder Joseph Smith in March 1843 after having several informal meetings since late January of that year under the supervision of Apostle Heber C. Kimball. In 1854, Apostle Lorenzo Snow organized the Polysophical Society and encouraged young Latter-day Saints to join. In 1875, Church President Brigham Young organized the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) and intended that it act as a male equivalent of the Young Ladies' Cooperative Retrenchment Association, which was renamed the Young Ladies' National Mutual Improvement Association in 1877. The purpose was to "help young men develop their gifts, to stand up and speak, and to bear testimony.".
A central committee of the YMMIA led by Junius F. Wells was formed in 1876 to oversee the organization, conduct missionary work, and issue general instructions. A YMMIA general superintendency (later renamed general "presidency") was formed by Church President John Taylor in 1880.
In 1901, the YMMIA was divided into junior and senior classes. In 1911, the church followed the pattern developed by the Boy Scouts of America and created the YMMIA Scouts. The organization was officially integrated into the Boy Scouts of America on May 21, 1913.
In the 1970s, the YMMIA was briefly merged with the church's Aaronic priesthood organization and the church's organization for young women and officially renamed the Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women. In June 1974, this consolidation was reversed: an independent Young Women Organization was restored and the name of the Young Men organization was changed to Aaronic Priesthood. Also in 1974, the church eliminated the YMMIA General Presidency, placing the organization under the direction of the Presiding Bishopric. The organization's name was changed to simply Young Men in May 1977 and a general presidency was reinstated.
Chronology of the general superintendencies and presidencies of the Young Men
Young Men organization in the church today
Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Men organization
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the basic organization for males ages 12 through 18 is the Aaronic Priesthood. The Young Men organization serves as an auxiliary to this priesthood. The Young Men program is designed to assist in achieving the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood, which are to help each young male Latter-day Saint to:
- Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live its teachings;
- serve faithfully in priesthood callings and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices;
- give meaningful service;
- prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances;
- prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission;
- obtain as much education as possible;
- prepare to become a worthy husband and father; and
- give proper respect to women, girls, and children.
In each local congregation of the church, males ages 12 to 18 are assigned to the Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Men organization. The Aaronic Priesthood is led by a bishop or branch president and his counselors (known as the bishopric or branch presidency). The Young Men organization in each congregation, under the direction of the bishopric or branch presidency, is led by an adult man who is called the Young Men President. The president is assisted by two adult men who serve as counselors and may also ask an adult man to be the secretary to the presidency.
When a young man reaches the age of 18, he is normally encouraged to begin attending the elders quorum. In certain instances, such as when a young man turns 18 but is still in secondary school, an 18 year old will be encouraged to continue to attend the priests quorum and the activities of the Young Men organization.
Generally, each age group will hold a separate class for instruction during Sunday meetings after all adult and youth holders of the priesthood meet together for a brief opening prayer and hymn. The Teacher and Deacon classes have a quorum president drawn from the members of the class, who in turn generally chooses two counselors and a secretary to assist him. The bishop or branch president is the president of the priest quorum and chooses two young men to assist him in this role, along with another young man to serve as secretary.
The adult president of the Young Men organization assists the priest quorum, while the first and second counselors assist the teacher and deacon quorums, respectively. Additional adult men may be asked to prepare class lessons and assist with other activities.
On a church-wide level, the Aaronic Priesthood is supervised by the Presiding Bishopric and the local units of the Young Men organization are supervised by the General Presidency of the Young Men. Historically, the Presidency of the Young Men had been Seventies and general authorities of the church. However, in the April 2004 general conference of the church, Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency announced that "a recent decision [has been made] that members of the Quorums of the Seventy [will] not serve in the general presidencies of the Sunday School and Young Men."
Duty to God
All members of the Young Men are encouraged to participate in Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God program. Duty to God is a goal-setting and achievement program that helps young men make progress in four areas of personal development:
- Spiritual development;
- physical development
- educational, personal, and career development; and
- citizenship and social development.
Scouting and other non-church programs
The Young Men organization has been involved in Scouting since 1913. Today, the organization is involved with Boy Scouts of America in the United States and Scouts Canada in Canada. Units of the church in other countries are not formally involved in Scouting. In the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth countries, many church units participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme or its equivalent.
Mutual and camps
In addition to Sunday meetings, the members of the Young Men organization meet on a weekday evening for "Mutual", an hour to ninety minute activity. In the United States and Canada, Mutual is integrated with the weekly Scouting activity. Once per month, a Mutual activity is held in conjunction with the members of the Young Women organization. Whether or not the local organization is involved in Scouting, most congregations also organize annual or biannual Young Men Camps.
- The Contributor
- Improvement Era
- New Era (magazine)
- Worship services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- June Conference
- “A Short Sketch of the Rise of the Young Gentlemen and Ladies Relief Society of Nauvoo,” Times and Seasons 4 (1 Apr. 1843): 154–57. (Google Books scan)
- Introduction to Young Men
- Ericksen, Ephraim E. (1987). "4". In Kenney, Scott G. Memories and Reflections: The Autobiography of E. E. Ericksen. Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books. p. 107. ISBN 0941214494. Retrieved September 6, 2013. "On 31 May 1922, B. H. Roberts was released as first assistant to YMMIA superintendent George Albert Smith. Second assistant Richard R. Lyman became first assistant with Melvin J. Ballard as second assistant."
- "8.1.3 Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood", Handbook 2: Administering the Church, LDS Church, 2010
- Beck, David L. (May 2010), "The Magnificent Aaronic Priesthood", Ensign
- “The Sustaining of Church Officers”, Ensign, May 2004, 24.