Progression is an eternal principle. It is what God’s plan of happiness is all about; it is what we are all about.
Alma taught this principle when he said: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men [and women] to perform their labors” (Alma 34:32).
To help the young women of the Church improve and progress, the Church established its first recognition program for young women in 1915 when it published the Beehive Handbook. Young women could choose from more than 300 projects in seven areas of personal improvement. An example of one of those projects was, “During two weeks, keep the house free from flies, or destroy at least 25 flies daily.”
Life has changed in the past 100 years, so some of the projects have changed as well. The achievement programs of the Young Women organization, past and present, have been helpful as young women “choose goals that help [them] … strengthen testimony, and reach [their] divine potential [of womanhood]” (Young Women Personal Progress, p. 1).
We progress as we increase in knowledge and experience, and the Personal Progress program helps us in that quest.
In recent weeks, the Church issued a statement regarding a new development initiative for children and youth worldwide. “The children and youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide are precious. They represent the future, and ministering to their needs is a significant focus for the Church.
“For years, Church leaders have been preparing a new initiative to teach and provide leadership and development opportunities to all children and youth, to support families and to strengthen youth everywhere as they develop faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This new approach is intended to help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God” (Notice of New Initiative for Children and Youth Development).
Ours is a global Church with changing needs. To meet those needs, and to help prepare both young men and young women to make and keep sacred temple covenants, and act on personal revelation, a new approach to activities and achievement is being developed and will be implemented in January 2020.
Programs and methods may change but never the commitment to eternal principles. Progression is one of those principles. We, as the Young Women general presidency, encourage all young women, their leaders and their mothers to stay engaged in the current Personal Progress program until the new initiative is introduced. Materials will continue to be available through the Church’s online distribution website: store.lds.org. And 18 months is enough time to earn a medallion.
President Thomas S. Monson once said: “This is my day of opportunity I will not waste it” (“The Lighthouse of the Lord,” October 1990 general conference). What a wonderful “day of opportunity” we have before us. Let’s not waste it! We feel the privilege and call of a living prophet in the last days — to prepare ourselves for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
There have always been challenges in the world, and we face difficult ones. But the young women of the Church today are some of Heavenly Father’s very finest and strongest, saved to come to earth “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). They want to do good, they want to be good. Both the Personal Progress program and the new children and youth development effort will help them achieve great things and become the young women that Heavenly Father needs them to be.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged the young women of the Church, “Be a woman of Christ. Cherish your esteemed place in the sight of God. He needs you. This Church needs you. The world needs you. A woman’s abiding trust in God and unfailing devotion to things of the Spirit have always been an anchor when the wind and the waves of life were fiercest. I say to you what the Prophet Joseph said more than 150 years ago: ‘If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.’
“All of this is to try to tell you how your Father in Heaven feels about you and what He has designed for you to become. And if for a time any of you are less visionary than this or seem bent on living beneath your privilege, then we express even greater love for you and plead with you to make your teenage years a triumph, not a tragedy. Fathers and mothers, prophets and apostles have no motive except to bless your life and to spare you every possible heartache we can spare you” (“To the Young Women,” October 2005 general conference).
Involving yourself in these inspired programs will bless your life, help your personal development, progression and preparation to make and keep sacred temple covenants. We are all in, both hands, both feet, and our whole hearts — and we are in it with you. We love you.