Young Men (organization)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Young Men
Purposereligious instruction; personal standards and development; adolescent male support; Scouting
HeadquartersSalt Lake City, Utah, USA
General President
Stephen W. Owen
Main organ
General presidency and general board
Parent organization
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
AffiliationsAaronic priesthood; Young Women

The Young Men (often referred to 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 organization in promoting the growth and development of male Latter-day Saints ages 12 to 18.


Mutual Improvement Association Scouts in front of the Church Administration Building, c. 1917. With the organization of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910, the LDS Church organized the MIA Scouts a year later, and became one of the first sponsoring organization of the BSA in 1913.

The first official youth association of the church—the Young Gentlemen’s and Young Ladies’ Relief Society—was formally organized by Nauvoo, Illinois, youth on the advice of church founder Joseph Smith in March 1843. The group had held several informal meetings since late January of that year under the supervision of apostle Heber C. Kimball.[1] In 1854, apostle Lorenzo Snow organized the Polysophical Society and encouraged young Latter-day Saints to join. In 1875, LDS 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".[citation needed]

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 LDS 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 Young Men in May 1977 and a general presidency was reinstated.

Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women was the name of an official auxiliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between 1972 and 1974. It was formed by consolidating the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association and the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association into one organization. Leadership of the auxiliary was shared between the presiding bishopric and the general presidency of the Young Women. The combined organization was short-lived, and in 1974 the organization was again divided into the renamed Young Men and the Young Women.

Chronology of the general superintendencies and presidencies of the Young Men[edit]

No. Dates General President
(General Superintendents in Italics)
(Church general authorities in bold)
First Counselor
(First Assistants in Italics)
(Church general authorities in bold)
Second Counselor
(Second Assistants in Italics)
(Church general authorities in bold)
Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association
1 1876–80 Junius F. Wells Milton H. Hardy Rodney C. Badger
2 1880–98 Wilford Woodruff Joseph F. Smith Moses Thatcher
3 1898–1901 Lorenzo Snow Joseph F. Smith Heber J. Grant Additional Assistant
B. H. Roberts
4 1901–18 Joseph F. Smith Heber J. Grant B. H. Roberts
5 1918–21 Anthony W. Ivins B. H. Roberts Richard R. Lyman
6 1921–35 George Albert Smith B. H. Roberts (1921–22)
Richard R. Lyman (1922–35)[2]
Richard R. Lyman (1921–22)[2]
Melvin J. Ballard (1922–35)
7 1935–37 Albert E. Bowen George Q. Morris Franklin L. West
8 1937–48 George Q. Morris Joseph J. Cannon (1937–45)
John D. Giles (1945–48)
Burton K. Farnsworth (1937–45)
Lorenzo H. Hatch (1945–48)
9 1948–58 Elbert R. Curtis A. Walter Stevenson Ralph W. Hardy (1948)
David S. King (1948–58)
10 1958–62 Joseph T. Bentley Alvin R. Dyer (1958)
G. Carlos Smith (1958–61)
Marvin J. Ashton (1961–62)
Marvin J. Ashton (1958–61)
Verl F. Scott (1961)
Carl W. Buehner (1961–62)
11 1962–69 G. Carlos Smith Marvin J. Ashton Carl W. Buehner (1962–67)
George R. Hill III (1967–69)
12 1969–72 W. Jay Eldredge George R. Hill III (1969–71)
George I. Cannon (1972)
George I. Cannon (1969–72)
Robert L. Backman (1972)
Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women
13 1972–74 Robert L. Backman LeGrand R. Curtis Jack H. Goaslind
1974–77 None (Under jurisdiction of Presiding Bishopric)
Victor L. Brown (Presiding Bishop) H. Burke Peterson (First Councilor) J. Richard Clarke (Second Councilor)
Young Men
14 1977–79 Neil D. Schaerrer Graham W. Doxey Quinn G. McKay
15 1979–85 Robert L. Backman Vaughn J Featherstone Rex D. Pinegar
16 1985–90 Vaughn J Featherstone Rex D. Pinegar (1985–89)
Jeffrey R. Holland (1989–90)
Robert L. Simpson (1985–86)
Hartman Rector Jr. (1986–88)
Robert B. Harbertson (1988–89)
Monte J. Brough (1989–90)
17 1990–98 Jack H. Goaslind LeGrand R. Curtis (1990–91)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1991–92)
Stephen D. Nadauld (1992–96)
Vaughn J Featherstone (1996–97)
F. David Stanley (1997)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1997–98)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1990–91)
Stephen D. Nadauld (1991–92)
L. Lionel Kendrick (1992–93)
Vaughn J Featherstone (1993–96)
F. David Stanley (1996–97)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1997)
F. Melvin Hammond (1997–98)
18 1998–2001 Robert K. Dellenbach F. Melvin Hammond John M. Madsen
19 2001–04 F. Melvin Hammond Glenn L. Pace (2001–03)
Lynn G. Robbins (2003–04)
Spencer J. Condie (2001–03)
Donald L. Hallstrom (2003–04)
20 2004–09 Charles W. Dahlquist II Dean R. Burgess Michael A. Neider
21 2009–15 David L. Beck Larry M. Gibson Adrián Ochoa (2009–13)
Randall L. Ridd (2013–15)
22 2015– Stephen W. Owen Douglas D. Holmes M. Joseph Brough

Young Men organization in the church today[edit]

Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Men organization[edit]

In the LDS Church, 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.[3][4]

Local structure[edit]

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.

In the Aaronic priesthood, the young men are sub-divided into three aged-based priesthood offices, which also serve as classes on Sunday:

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 teachers and deacons classes have a quorum president drawn from the members of the class, who in turn may choose two counselors and a secretary to assist him. The bishop or branch president is the president of the priests quorum and may choose 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 priests quorum, while the first and second counselors assist the teachers and deacons quorums, respectively. Additional adult men may be asked to prepare class lessons and assist with other activities.


Local Young Men organizations are supervised by a stake Young Men presidency, which consists to three adult men. The stake Young Men presidency will also be assisted by a member of the stake high council and are supervised by a member of the stake presidency.

On a church-wide level, the Aaronic priesthood is supervised by the Presiding Bishopric and the local units and stake organization of the Young Men are supervised by the Young Men General Presidency. Between 1979 and 2004, the Young Men General Presidency had been composed of seventies and general authorities of the church. 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."[5]

Duty to God[edit]

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[edit]

The Young Men has been involved in Scouting since 1911 with the formation of their MIA Scouts. The YMMIA Scouts merged with Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on May 21, 1913, with the church becoming the first chartering organization, with John H. Taylor as the first LDS Scout Commissioner. In 1928, the Boy Scouts was named the church's official youth program for boys ages 12 to 16.[6] Young Men organizations in other countries are not involved in Scouting. In the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth countries, some local groups participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme or its equivalent.

As of January 1, 2018, the church withdrew from Varsity and Venturing scouting programs, with boys ages 8 to 13 still enrolled in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.[7] In May 2018, the church announced that they would completely withdrawal from all BSA programs, effective December 31, 2019.[8][9]

In the United States and Canada, the LDS Church uses Scouting as the activity arm of the Young Men organization, which often includes its use as part of the weekly activities

Mutual and camps[edit]

In addition to Sunday meetings, the members of the Young Men meet on a weekday 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 or stakes also organize annual or biannual Young Men Camps.

See also[edit]


  • Brown, Victor L. (April 1973), "The Aaronic Priesthood MIA", General Conference.
  • Peterson, Janet (2011), "Young Women of Zion: An Organizational History", in David J. Whittaker; Arnold K. Garr (eds.), A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, Religious Studies Center, Deseret Book, pp. 277–94, ISBN 978-0-8425-2785-9.


  1. ^ "A Short Sketch of the Rise of the Young Gentlemen and Ladies Relief Society of Nauvoo," Times and Seasons 4 (1 April 1843): 154–57.
  2. ^ a b Ericksen, Ephraim E. (1987). "4". In Kenney, Scott G. (ed.). 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.
  3. ^ "8.1.3 Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood", Handbook 2: Administering the Church, LDS Church, 2010
  4. ^ Beck, David L. (May 2010), "The Magnificent Aaronic Priesthood", Liahona
  5. ^ "The Sustaining of Church Officers", Liahona, May 2004, p. 24.
  6. ^ Toone, Trent (May 11, 2017). "Timeline: A look at the relationship between the LDS Church and Scouting". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  7. ^ Zauzmer, Julie (May 11, 2017). "Mormon Church will leave Boy Scouts' teen programs". Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Betz, Bradford (May 9, 2018). "Mormons to end long association with Boy Scouts of America". Fox News. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Church Announces Plan for Worldwide Initiative for Children and Youth", Newsroom, LDS Church, May 8, 2018

External links[edit]