Church leaders emphasize that young men and women will have a valuable opportunity to achieve their Duty to God and Young Womanhood Recognition through weekly Mutual activities. Direction on the purpose, planning and structure of Mutual activities can be found in the Guidebook for Parents and Leaders of Youth handbook.
The weekly gathering, on a day or evening other than Sunday or Monday, plays a key role in helping youth remain faithful, said Elder Cecil O. Samuelson Jr. of the Presidency of the Seventy.
"There are many resources available to help youth accomplish their goals, including parents, the bishopric and other youth leaders," Elder Samuelson said. "In addition, we feel that Mutual plays a key role in helping youth remain faithful.
"Mutual gives youth an opportunity to meet in a social setting, apply gospel principles taught on Sunday, strengthen testimonies, give service, develop wholesome relationships and communication skills and reach out to less-active youth. Mutual also helps them to achieve their Duty to God award and Young Womanhood Recognition. If Mutual is not properly in place our efforts are more likely to fail."
Elder Samuelson emphasized that Mutual does not replace the family. Instead, it supports the efforts of parents with their youth. Likewise, Mutual is a tremendous resource to assist youth from less-active families and homes where there aren't other members of the Church; in such situations, active youth are able to exert a positive influence on others in a proper environment, he said.
"Under the direction of the bishopric, the ward Young Men and Young Women presidencies oversee Mutual," Elder Samuelson said. "They may be assisted by class presidencies, advisers and specialists. Their plans are approved in bishopric youth committee meetings."
Held on a day or evening other than Sunday or Monday, Mutual should, if possible, convene at the same day, time and place each week. "This helps families schedule their activities," Elder Samuelson said. "Generally, Mutual should be one to one and a half hours in length and include opening exercises, class or quorum activities and an optional practice or social activity. Also, information will be sent from Church headquarters to priesthood leaders suggesting an annual worldwide theme and activity."