'Bee a mentor' - Righteous influences critical in life
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"And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also" (Doctrine and Covenants 84:106).
The new, revised Personal Progress encourages every young woman to become a mentor.
A mentor is defined as a wise or trusted teacher or counselor. Mentors are usually people who have gone before and know the path. They are guides. For young women, the righteous influence and example of their peers and others is critical in a world with shifting moral ethics and values. Mentoring ensures that no one is left alone on the path of progression.
Mentoring is not a new idea. The scriptures and Church history are replete with examples of great men and women whose lives were blessed by mentors. These individuals helped prepare others for their future missions. Mary had Elizabeth. Naomi was Ruth's mother-in-law and her mentor. Naomi helped Ruth know what to do in a very difficult time. Joshua had Moses as his mentor. Alma mentored Amulek and helped him understand and teach the gospel. The angel Moroni was a mentor to the young Joseph Smith. These mentors encouraged and taught the things they had learned from experience. They passed on their knowledge to another so that each could be edified and better prepared to fulfill their divine roles and missions.
Earning the Honor Bee in Young Women encourages every young woman to become a mentor. After a young woman finishes her Personal Progress and receives her Young Womanhood award and medallion, she can become a mentor to another young woman and, in the process, she can earn an Honor Bee. The Honor Bee is a symbol of someone who has gone the extra mile and beyond the requirements.
A young woman who desires to be a mentor can earn an Honor Bee by reading the Book of Mormon one more time and completing 40 hours of service. All or a portion of those service hours must be dedicated to mentoring another young woman. A young woman can earn as many Honor Bees as she desires by repeatedly completing these requirements.
In today's society, young women need mentors. Never before has the need for righteous role models, examples and mentors been greater. The best and most effective mentors and advisers to a young woman are her parents. This eternal relationship is fostered as a mother assists her daughter with her Personal Progress. Scripture reading, service and shared experiences strengthen this eternal bond. Mentors can assist best when they have actually experienced and completed the things that they are teaching to another. A mentor is a leader or a guide, and a leader must be out in front.
We can all do more to encircle, protect and teach our precious young women — the future mothers of the Church. When the pioneers were traveling to Zion, if they sensed danger or a threat to their safety, they circled the wagons. Mentoring is figuratively "circling of the wagons" of support around a young woman to protect and guide her as she navigates her life's journey. As pornography, drugs, illicit sex and other evils penetrate every sector of society, righteous mentors to young women are essential.
The blessings of mentoring are astounding. Mentoring another young woman gives the mentor the opportunity to teach what she has learned and experienced — thus solidifying her knowledge and testimony. It gives her the opportunity to nurture and learn the joy of service. It provides an opportunity to bear testimony in informal settings. Mentoring another young woman in her Personal Progress helps both the mentor and the young woman being mentored. A bond of love and respect are the result. Shared experiences and testimony are cherished. As a young woman moves into life's transitions, she can know that she is not alone.
In the end, mentoring boils down to love — the pure love of God. Mentoring is a belief in the individual and the capacity of that individual to be or become more.
President Henry B. Eyring said of the Savior: "In some not very distant time … you will find that He knew the way and wanted to share it with you. And you will have confirmed to you that He was the perfect example in mentoring, as He is in all service that brings real value" ("To Choose and Keep a Mentor," BYU Speeches, August 1993).
As the Young Women general president, it is my wish that every young woman will have many mentors in her life to "lead, guide and walk beside" her as she grows and becomes all that her Heavenly Father intended for her to become. As we "lift up the hands that hang down," the light within us grows a little brighter and illuminates the way before us.