Before I get into the lesson, I feel impressed to tell of my experience in Young Women from a Beehive to Laurel. My ward had an awesome Young Women Presidency. The President was driven to ensure that each young woman had leadership experience. In this, she saw and positioned herself as an adviser, rather than as a leader. Sure, she and her presidency were leaders, but she reminded us that we were the “Young Women,” and she was not. So. One of the Young Women (YW) would conduct the meeting. We started with a prayer, a hymn, a chorus of the YW theme, and upon breaking into classes, the Beehive, Mia Maid or Laurel president would conduct the class, and invite the “adviser” (adult female in the YW presidency) to teach. This was my experience. And it made me into a leader. I did not fear speaking in public, and grew to understand the importance of communication, organization, and inviting the spirit. This was a powerful lesson, and yet—it was just in the way it was structured. But it was structured to make us into leaders. And it worked.
This lesson gives an excellent opportunity for you to invite this system into your Young Women meeting, and will allow the Young Women in your ward experience the act of conducting meetings, arranging for prayers, songs and so on. It will encourage them to develop leadership characteristics. This is a powerful part of this lesson: the concept of leadership, or in other words, the daring of standing alone in the face of opposition and disorder.
Now to start. We use the term covenant quite often. What is a covenant?
One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant. In legal language, a covenant generally denotes an agreement between two or more parties. But in a religious context, a covenant is much more significant. It is a sacred promise with God. He fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. If one accepts the terms of the covenant and obeys God’s law, he or she receives the blessings associated with the covenant. We know that “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” – Russell M. Nelson
Ask the young women to name a covenant that have made. Have them read Mosiah 18: 8-11.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.
How is the YW theme *not* a formal covenant (reminder of baptism), but baptism is a covenant? (confirmed with priesthood)
How is baptism not just “church membership? (refer to Mosiah 18:8-10 again if needed)
What do you think about baptism as a covenant, rather than just as “church membership”? How does that change the way we think about baptism?
Read: Mosiah chapter 5:
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
8 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
What kind of freedom is this scripture talking about? How does obedience make you free?
Both the Young Women and Young Men lesson outlines on LDS.org are linked to this video, Dare to Stand Alone, from President Monson’s conference talk.
From a gender-studies perspective, the story and its associated video, is masculine. To better relate it to Young Women, I recommend reminding Young Women that women can enlist and serve in the armed forces . In the Second World War, women primarily served as nurses, therefore, I have included these selections for the Young Women to read aloud and ponder in addition to the suggested video.**
LaRue Haynie Elliott: “In November (1943), I received my Patriarchal blessing. In my blessing one of the things it said was that with my (nurse) training in these trying times, I would be able to serve many people. (I) went to see the movie So Proudly We Hail, a story about nurses in the South Pacific. We decided right then to join the army…” (LaRue joined the army and was sent on a ship to serve at the French port or Le Havre, which, at that time, had been destroyed by bombings.)
“We knew there were enemy submarines around us because we’d hear the depth charges explode. We didn’t think about being afraid. As I stood on deck looking at the vast expanse of sea, I thought of all I was leaving and wondered what the future would be.” (Rushton, Callister, and Wilson, Latter-day Saint Nurses at War, Covenant Communications, 37-41)*
Lillie Jacobs Fitzsimmons: “I volunteered as an army nurse and was immediately called into the military, commissioned a second lieutenant. I was sent to Lae, New Guinea, with about twenty-five other nurses. New Guinea was an active war zone, and Lae had been pried from Japanese control only a short time before we arrived. The situation at New Guinea was demanding. We worked twelve hour shifts, sometimes longer.
“Coming as I did from Sugar City, Idaho, where nearly everyone in our community was LDS, the military environment in New Guinea was new to me. During my eighteen months on New Guinea, I only went to church one time. Most of this was due to our heavy work schedule. Somehow three members of the church found out that I was LDS and contacted me, picked me up at my barracks, and took me to a sacrament meeting. At that meeting, there were only those three men and myself.
“One day I noticed a young soldier reading a Bible. Some of his buddies began to give him a hard time. As they were all enlisted men and I was an officer, I called them together and suggested that of we spent more time reading the scriptures, we’d be better off.” (Rushton, Callister, and Wilson, Latter-day Saint Nurses at War, Covenant Communications, 47-48)*
Olive Eloise Crouse Kauffroth decided on a military nursing career. Her career began during World war II when she served in a variety of capacities, including work as a nursing escort for psychiatric patients returning from war, and on board a ship that was came under fire, and was taunted by Tokyo Rose (Tokyo Rose was the nickname given to female broadcast voices that were created by the Japanese to demoralize American troops. The voices would come across radio wires, were English, and sometimes called the ships by name, i.e. “Good afternoon, USS Collins. It won’t be long and we’re sorry, but we are going to sink your ship.”) Olive also served at a leprosarium in India, and a Catholic orphanage that housed children born to Indian women and English or American fathers, but had then been abandoned.
In her words: “I was sworn in as Second Lieutenant Olive Eloise Crouse, ANC, at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 2, 1944. In May 1953, [after I had been commissioned the rank of Captain] an interesting moment occurred admonishing me to remember my Latter-day Saint background. I was home on leave. My mother had asked me to have my picture taken in full uniform, captain bars and all. After we had completed that, we went to ZCMI department store. We were on the second story and waiting for the elevator when some people around us whispered that President and Sister McKay were in the building near us. We stood there with a group of ten to fifteen and the elevator opened. There stood President and Sister McKay. He saw me in uniform and came to shake my hand. I’ll always remember how piercing his blue eyes were as he looked directly into mine. He asked me where I was from and where i was stationed., and, still holding my hand, he asked if I was a member of the Church.
““Then, my dear,” he told me gently, “always remember that you are a Latter-day Saint woman.”… When we remember these times of our youth, it is always with the warm glow of hope and such promise for our lives. For me, the times were exciting and full of important lessons. But even more important was to be in these hospitals helping the people who had been far away from home serving their county. I still feel that every young man and woman should have the opportunity to spend time in service to their country.” (Rushton, Callister, and Wilson, Latter-day Saint Nurses at War, Covenant Communications, 69-74)*
*All of the women here were married during or after World War II, and had children following marriage. Since President Monson did not relate his video with fatherhood, I opted to not include the marriage and motherhood sections for these women. If you feel impressed to add that these women were all married and had children, in addition to their professional training, then feel free to do so. (It might be important to also note that if women became pregnant, they were automatically discharged from service at that time period. Many nurses in this time period also worked at American army bases in obstetrics, i.e. they assisted or delivered the babies of servicemen’s wives.) It is also fun to note that in this book, Latter-day Nurses at War, male nurses were also included.
Additionally, in the video, Monson was relieved to learn that he was not standing alone, although he *thought* he was alone at first. For many of the histories of the LDS women who served as nurses in World War II, the women *knew* they were the only church members in their units or otherwise. I think it is important to allow the Young Women to understand that sometimes they will make choices or be in situations where they will be well and truly “standing alone.” But when we are prepared to be “alone” when necessary, we can be assured that Christ will be by our side. (This also reaffirms the concept behind encouraging the young women to develop leadership characteristics and skills.)
**I suggest having each Young Woman have a physical copy of the reading material, and one Young Woman can read the material aloud. In this way, those with tactile learners hold the paper (I know, not great), visual learners can read the words and audio learners hear the words, for a better effect sans video.
After playing the video and reading the above, ask:
What do you think that President Monson’s main message is in this video?
How did the youth depicted in the video, and the female examples from World War II show that they have taken upon themselves the Savior’s name?
How is using your patriarchal blessing (if you have one) a benefit? How can you prepare to receive your patriarchal blessing if you have not already?
Even though Lillie was an officer, she chose to not command the men into submission. How did her gentle prompting better invite the spirit? How is this an example for you of taking upon yourself the name of Christ?
Think of President McKay’s admonition to “remember you are a Latter-day Saint woman.” How is this fitting for all of us as we take upon the name of Christ? Why is it important to take ownership of our church membership (baptismal) covenants?
In the video, there is a suggestion that a young woman left a movie that she did not feel was appropriate. How can we have courage to turn off a TV show, or not surf onto certain web sites that do not invoke the spirit? How can we do this even when we are on our own? How does doing this invoke the name of Christ on our hearts and souls?
How is developing leadership skills necessary as a part of taking the name of Christ upon us? How can taking His name help us to develop as leaders?
Share your own experience, then invite the young women to share their own similar experiences.
My experience: It was my first or second year at college, and my roommate and I went to see a movie. The theatre was packed, and I saw many people from my classes as well as popular students, who were active in clubs, organizations and student government. A few minutes into the movie, sexual violent began—something that I had not anticipated in the film, even though it had a corresponding rating. After a few minutes, my roommate suggested that we should leave. With her leadership, we left. As I walked out, I saw the faces of the popular student government officers, most of whom looked away. I was partly embarrassed to be leaving, but I was also surprised at the people who had chosen to stay to see the movie. No one said a word to me about the movie in the following weeks, though I thought someone would- I thought people would make fun of me. But they didn’t. In contrast, I was offered a job (without even asking about it) at the counselling centre for women on campus who had been subject to date-rape, a coveted position. I gained a reputation as someone who stood up for what I believed in, even though, at that moment, I had mostly been following my friend’s leadership. In this reputation, I gained strength and developed academically and professionally. Not only did others trust me to make wise choices, I trusted myself to make wise and brave choices. I have never since been afraid to speak up when needed. And all because I had a friend who suggested we leave a movie. The benefit for leaving the movie was significantly greater than just ridding my mind of those negative sexual images.
Close with bearing your testimony of the strength of Latter-day Saint women, and the relationship we can develop with Christ when we take His name upon us.