Personal Progress for Mormon Teen Girls
It’s difficult for me to put into just a few words what the Personal Progress program can do for a young woman. For those who don’t know much (or anything) about it, the Personal Progress program was designed for the Young Women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The Young Women program of the Church consists of girls age 12-17.
In recent years the Personal Progress program was revamped to help make it a bit less complicated for the girls to accomplish. When girls turn twelve and enter Young Women, they are given a small, 4×6 book titled, “Young Women Personal Progress – Standing As a Witness of God.” Therein lies the theme around which the girls will attempt to pattern their lives for the next six years.
Inside the front cover of the Personal Progress book is a copy of “The Living Christ” which is a testimony of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this modern age. This declaration was officially released on January 1, 2000, and stands to strengthen the testimonies of all members of this Church. Also within the first few pages of this book is “The Family A Proclamation to the World.” This declaration was first released in 1995, and is intended to help strengthen our views on the family in the face of an ever-changing world.
Next we come to a welcoming address given by the First Presidency of the Church. It’s beautiful words encourage the Young Women to search in various ways their noble callings in this life, particularly through discovering talents through personal prayer, scripture study, serving others, and others. Most of all it is understood how important all of these things will be in preparing to becoming a wife and mother, and strengthening our homes and families.
All of these things can be obtained and accomplished through setting a series of goals over the six years they are in the Young Women Program. All of these goals will revolve around seven particular values stated in the Young Women Theme:
“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all thing, and in all places’ (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works and Integrity. We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”
These seven values are intended to help the young women more fully understand precisely who they are, why they are here on this earth at this time, and precisely what things they should be doing as a daughter of God to enrich the lives of others.
To complete the program the girls are instructed to live the standards listed in the “For the Strength of Youth,” complete six Value Experiences and one Value project for each of the seven values, keep a personal journal, and record their testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. After all of these have been accomplished and signed off by a parent or one of the Young Women leaders they must still be interviewed by the bishop/branch president (leader over the congregation).
Within each of these values there are three Value Experiences that must be completed. One example for Faith would be:
“Living gospel principles requires faith. Choose a principle such as prayer, tithing, fasting, repentance, or keeping the Sabbath day holy. In your own home or another setting, plan and present a family home evening lesson about how faith helps you live that gospel principle. If possible, ask a family member to share an experience that has strengthened his or her faith. Share your own experiences as well. In your journal write down one of those experiences and describe your feelings about faith.”
Three more experiences must also be completed, but these are voluntary. The girls can pick from a list, or can come up with one of their own. After the six experiences are accomplished in that one area a value project is their next goal. Project ideas come directly from the girls, though they need to be signed off by a leader. Each project must revolve around one of the seven values, and must be at least ten hours long. It can be anything from participating in a school play (Individual Worth) to putting together a large service project (Good Works).
I will go further into the seven values, the scriptures and themes that go with them, and in what ways they can make your life better. These few words really can’t even begin to hit upon what centering your life on these seven values can do to help you in the day-to-day particulars. I can only testify that these values can help you make choices that will help you stand up for those things the Lord would have you choose. Doing this can only bring joy into your lives.