Changes to Youth Advancement in the Church

If you get emails from the Church, you’ve probably seen this already. If not here is a link to the announcement for changes in how the Church will advance girls and boys throught the Young Women program and the Aaronic Priesthood quorums.

Beginning in January 2019, children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and the Beehive class or deacons quorum as age-groups, not on their individual 12th birthdays as they have in the past.

In addition, young men will be eligible to be ordained to a priesthood office in January of the year they turn 12, 14, and 16, and youth will be eligible to obtain a limited-use temple recommend beginning in January of the year they turn 12—based on their “individual worthiness, readiness, and personal circumstances.”

The announcement has a few more details. We encourage you to read through this announcement, and let us know what you think in the comments. It’s exciting times to be a member of the Lord’s church. My husband just remarked he wished Pres. Nelson would slow down just a smidge, not all of us are as fast and good at skiing as he is.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , by Joyce Anderson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Joyce Anderson

Joyce is a mother, wife, sister, school teacher, Bulgarian speaker, conservative, lover of good music, social media junky and a two time culinary arts Grand Champion bread baker. She and the family reside in a remote mountain community where great discoveries have been made. When not changing the world, she enjoys the occasional bowl of chips and salsa. She can be found at: http://pinterest.com/TheAtomicMom

12 thoughts on “Changes to Youth Advancement in the Church

  1. I was very pleased to hear of this announcement, and I think it absolutely will make a big difference in creating unity among the youth of the church.

    The year I turned 12 I was all alone in my primary class from May until my birthday in September. Once the other girls moved on to Young Women’s, my primary teacher stopped having Merrie Miss activities during the week (which shows my age) because she didn’t want to put forth the effort for just one girl. She also stopped sitting with me in Sharing Time so for those months I sat with the class younger than me. It’s a first-world problem, I know, but it was very painful for my tender 11-year-old heart to see all the girls in my peer group attend YW activities, temple trips, and girl’s camp without me, and then gush about how wonderful it all was afterward. My parents tried to ask the leadership in our ward if I could attend the YW activities during the week so I wouldn’t be so lonely and isolated. We were told no, and the other girls ridiculed me for having even asked.

    It was a very lonely time for me. I felt unloved and unwanted, not only by my peers but by my teachers as well. The loneliness and isolation didn’t go away when I turned twelve, because I was *always* the youngest in my peer group and they didn’t let me forget it. (Also being a little socially awkward didn’t help)

    I have a daughter who turns three in about two weeks (she’s my Christmas baby), and my immediate thought upon hearing of these changes was that she would not have to experience what I did. She will always be the youngest in her class, but being able to participate in activities at the same time with the other girls in her age group will go a long way toward giving her a good and nurturing YW experience.

  2. Only one observation. For wards with large primarys and youth groups this places a large burden on the bishop just as he is dealing with tithing settlement. He has to interview all 11 year olds, 13 year olds and 15 year olds in December/January to make the transitions happen. In my ward that is about 20 interviews.

  3. It is clear that the Church is slowly putting more demands on all of its active members. Missionaries are serving at a younger age, we are expected to minister more actively to our brothers and sisters, we are expected to do more Gospel-related study and teaching in the home. And now our youth will have additional responsibilities at an earlier age. My son is 11 and will be a deacon about five months earlier than he expected. I can tell you this will be great for him — he has mentally been out of primary for a year now.

  4. It might be a bit tricky to get everything scheduled, it’s true. Our bishop does tithing settlement in November. He does two marathon Sundays and then it’s over.

  5. This is in line with reducing class time with the new schedule. There is more time for bishops and their counselors to conduct interviews. I have noticed a greater efficiency in tithing settlements as well. With more people using the online payment option, we don’t have to rely on the financial clerk to determine if our record is reconciled. Our bishop began tithing interviews in. November and left in early December to meet his son as he completed his mission. While traveling in September I heard of November schedules for tithing settlements in other wards. The personal experience of Beth Buck presents another reason for the change. There was/is a similar problem with being the oldest in a class, and as she indicated, some teachers are not that interested in teaching ‘ the one’s.

  6. Great move! We’re giving more power to younger people.

    Bishops can delegate the girls interviews to his counselors, as well as temple interviews. Tithing settle ment is often done in Nov.

  7. Geoff, I see it not as the Church asking more of us, but rather that we are moving into an era where we need to streamline and simplify. Having the youth interviews in January rather than keeping track of birthdays throughout the year and simplifying teacher callings rather than dealing with the extra leaders required to have both an 11yo class in Primary and the youth classes is simplifying and reducing the burden, not adding to it. It also makes planning youth activities and keeping class and quorum presidencies staffed so much easier.

    We are being asked to step up, but it’s in terms of quality not quantity of time.

    Two hour Church simplifies so many things and reduces the burden on Primary teachers and so many other callings. It’s awesome. We are reducing burdens where we can so we can put more emphasis on what really matters: conversion, covenants, family and personal study, etc.
    I see the same thing happening with ministering vs. visiting/home teaching. We are supposed to step up and in when and how we are needed, not worry about having an in-person visit that could be very time-consuming depending on how far away you live, etc.

  8. There are some cultures where everyone’s birthday is effectively taken as January 1st.

  9. I like the move to a cohort model. I forget if the guidance specifically says that interviews need to occur at the annual advancement for the entire class. Since temple recommend interviews are spread out across the year (now two years, remember?) according (generally) to birthday, it seems possible that bishops might be permitted to keep most youth interviews spread across the year. As to the temple recommend interviews for advancing Primary classes, there would be a rush right before the first temple trip. But I don’t know that this is terribly different from what happens already.

    When my husband and I talked about it, he mentioned that we might lose the cool instances where the bishop tells us about the advancing young person. It’s been a chance in our ward for those of us who aren’t in the youth program to get to know them. If this does become a casualty of the new schedule and cohort model, I imagine having youth as ministering brothers and sisters, combined with celebrations of youth achievement outside of core hours, will help mitigate any negative aspects of this loss.

  10. The FAQ page mentioned that the youth may be recognized, but the bishop should just have them stand where they are sitting in the congregation, not come up to the stand anymore.

  11. In the FAQ that accompanied the announcement, it was stated that people advancing from Primary to the youth program would no longer be announced in sacrament meeting. The only thing left will be a sustaining vote when young men are to receive a new priesthood office, and they’ll stand where they are instead of coming to the pulpit. (Not unlike how people receiving Melchizedek Priesthood offices are already voted on in stake conferences.)

    “Bishops can delegate the girls interviews to his counselors, as well as temple interviews.”

    The FAQ says youth 12-15 should still meet with the bishop once each year, and also with one of his counselors during that year, while bishops should meet with youth 16-18 twice per year. There’s no suggestion of unequal treatment between the boys and girls, nor should there be. A girl’s worthiness and progression in the gospel is just as deserving of a bishop’s attention as is the case for boys.

  12. “Geoff, I see it not as the Church asking more of us, but rather that we are moving into an era where we need to streamline and simplify. Having the youth interviews in January rather than keeping track of birthdays throughout the year and simplifying teacher callings rather than dealing with the extra leaders required to have both an 11yo class in Primary and the youth classes is simplifying and reducing the burden, not adding to it. It also makes planning youth activities and keeping class and quorum presidencies staffed so much easier.”

    Appreciated this perspective.

    “We are reducing burdens where we can so we can put more emphasis on what really matters: conversion, covenants, family and personal study, etc.”

    For some, the new church schedule will likely *increase* their burdens, which puts more on us as members to really be aware of ministering needs, as you talked about here: “We are supposed to step up and in when and how we are needed.” I’m here to say there are women who will be in more need than ever. I hope we will be mindful of them.

    I have heard more than one story of what I call spiritual widows (women who don’t have the spiritual support of a husband at home, either because of divorce (and sometimes because of a nasty divorce that includes nasty divisiveness around Church issues), addiction, inactivity, or other painful situations. I have not been able to stop thinking about such women, and for those with young children, not having as much potential teaching/mentoring in formal settings at church could very likely increase the burdens of these mothers at home (e.g., think of a divorced mom who has an every-other-weekend situation for custody with a hostile-to-the-Church attitude, which will mean that those children will not get either Sunday School or YM/YW if they are youth. Or think of women whose husbands and children have left the Church (which is the case for good friends of mine) where they already are seen, because of their faith, as the black sheep in the family they are supposed to be leading and nurturing spiritually. It’s already such a lonely road, and these are women of faith, but my heart still hurts for them. I share those thoughts here with people I know care about serving and helping others. Please be mindful of families like this, especially the mothers.

    I do believe compensatory blessings can and will be given in God’s time and way to women and children (and sometimes men) in such situations, but please, let’s be careful not to make blanket statements about how the changes are simply better for all out the chute.

    Let me be clear: I *absolutely* trust that there are reasons for this shift, but my heart is very tender right now on behalf of some who are feeling an increased sense of aloneness many are feeling right now.

    “The FAQ says youth 12-15 should still meet with the bishop once each year, and also with one of his counselors during that year, while bishops should meet with youth 16-18 twice per year. There’s no suggestion of unequal treatment between the boys and girls, nor should there be. A girl’s worthiness and progression in the gospel is just as deserving of a bishop’s attention as is the case for boys.”

    THANK YOU for pointing this out. A bishop’s primary role is the youth, all of the youth. This was one of the things pointed out when the home/visiting teaching programs changed. The more we as members do for each other, the more the bishop can do to minister to the youth.

Comments are closed.