Young Men (organization)

Young Men (organization)
Young Men
Formation 1875
Type Non-profit
Purpose/focus religious instruction; personal standards and development; adolescent male support; Scouting
Headquarters Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
General President David L. Beck
Main organ General presidency and general board
Parent organization The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Affiliations Aaronic priesthood; Young Women

The Young Men (often referred to incorrectly as Young Men's) is a youth organization and an official auxiliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The purpose of the organization is to assist the Aaronic Priesthood in promoting the growth and development of male Latter-day Saints ages 12 to 18.



Mutual Improvement Association Scouts in front of the Church Administration Building, c. 1917. With the organization of the Boy Scouts of America in 1910, the LDS Church organized the MIA Scouts a year later, and became one of the first sponsoring organization of the BSA in 1913.

The first official youth association of the church—the Young Gentlemen’s and Young Ladies’ Relief Society—was organized by church founder Joseph Smith in February 1843. In 1854, Apostle Lorenzo Snow organized the Polysophical Society and encouraged young Latter-day Saints to join. In 1875, Church President Brigham Young organized the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) and intended that it act as a male equivalent of the Young Ladies' Cooperative Retrenchment Association, which was renamed the Young Ladies' National Mutual Improvement Association in 1877. The purpose was to "help young men develop their gifts, to stand up and speak, and to bear testimony."[1].

A central committee of the YMMIA led by Junius F. Wells was formed in 1876 to oversee the organization, conduct missionary work, and issue general instructions. A YMMIA general superintendency (later renamed general "presidency") was formed by Church President John Taylor in 1880.

In 1901, the YMMIA was divided into junior and senior classes. In 1911, the church followed the pattern developed by the Boy Scouts of America and created the YMMIA Scouts. The organization was officially integrated into the Boy Scouts of America on May 21, 1913.

In the 1970s, the YMMIA was briefly merged with the church's Aaronic priesthood organization and the church's organization for young women and officially renamed the Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women. In June 1974, this consolidation was reversed: an independent Young Women Organization was restored and the name of the Young Men organization was changed to Aaronic Priesthood. Also in 1974, the church eliminated the YMMIA General Presidency, placing the organization under the direction of the Presiding Bishopric. The organization's name was changed to simply Young Men in May 1977 and a general presidency was reinstated.

Chronology of the general superintendencies and presidencies of the Young Men

No. Dates General President
(General Superintendents in Italics)
(Church general authorities in bold)
First Counselor
(First Assistants in Italics)
(Church general authorities in bold)
Second Counselor
(Second Assistants in Italics)
(Church general authorities in bold)
Additional Assistant
(Church general authorities in bold)
1 1876–1880 Junius F. Wells Milton H. Hardy Rodney C. Badger
2 1880–1898 Wilford Woodruff Joseph F. Smith Moses Thatcher
3 1898–1901 Lorenzo Snow Joseph F. Smith Heber J. Grant B. H. Roberts
4 1901–1918 Joseph F. Smith Heber J. Grant B. H. Roberts
5 1918–1921 Anthony W. Ivins B. H. Roberts Richard R. Lyman
6 1921–1935 George Albert Smith B. H. Roberts Richard R. Lyman
Melvin J. Ballard
7 1935–1937 Albert E. Bowen George Q. Morris Franklin L. West
8 1937–1948 George Q. Morris Joseph J. Cannon
John D. Giles
Burton K. Farnsworth
Lorenzo H. Hatch
9 1948–1958 Elbert R. Curtis A. Walter Stevenson Ralph W. Hardy
David S. King
10 1958–1962 Joseph T. Bentley Alvin R. Dyer (1958)
G. Carlos Smith (1958–1961
Marvin J. Ashton (1961–1962)
Marvin J. Ashton (1958–1961)
Verl F. Scott (1961)
Carl W. Buehner (1961–1962)
11 1962–1969 G. Carlos Smith Marvin J. Ashton Carl W. Buehner (1962–1967)
George R. Hill III (1967–1969)
12 1969–1972 W. Jay Eldredge George R. Hill III (1969–1971)
George I. Cannon (1972)
George I. Cannon (1969–1972)
Robert L. Backman (1972)
13 1972–1974 Robert L. Backman LeGrand R. Curtis Jack H. Goaslind
1974–1977 None
(Under jurisdiction of Presiding Bishopric)
Victor L. Brown (Presiding Bishop)
H. Burke Peterson (Presiding Bishopric) J. Richard Clarke (Presiding Bishopric)
14 1977–1979 Neil D. Schaerrer Graham W. Doxey Quinn G. McKay
15 1979–1985 Robert L. Backman Vaughn J. Featherstone Rex D. Pinegar
16 1985–1990 Vaughn J. Featherstone Rex D. Pinegar (1985–1989)
Jeffrey R. Holland (1989–1990)
Robert L. Simpson (1985–1986)
Hartman Rector Jr. (1986–1988)
Robert B. Harbertson (1988–1989)
Monte J. Brough (1989–1990)
17 1990–1998 Jack H. Goaslind LeGrand R. Curtis (1990–1991)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1991–1992)
Stephen D. Nadauld (1992–1996)
Vaughn J. Featherstone (1996–1997)
F. David Stanley (1997)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1997–1998)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1990–1991)
Stephen D. Nadauld (1991–1992)
L. Lionel Kendrick (1992–1993)
Vaughn J. Featherstone (1993–1996)
F. David Stanley (1996–1997)
Robert K. Dellenbach (1997)
F. Melvin Hammond (1997–1998)
18 1998–2001 Robert K. Dellenbach F. Melvin Hammond John M. Madsen
19 2001–2004 F. Melvin Hammond Glenn L. Pace (2001–2003)
Lynn G. Robbins (2003–2004)
Spencer J. Condie (2001–2003)
Donald L. Hallstrom (2003–2004)
20 2004–2009 Charles W. Dahlquist II Dean R. Burgess Michael A. Neider
21 2009– David L. Beck Larry M. Gibson Adrián Ochoa

Young Men organization in the church today

Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Men Organization

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the basic organization for males ages 12 through 17 is the Aaronic Priesthood. The Young Men organization serves as an auxiliary to this priesthood. The Young Men program is designed to assist the Aaronic Priesthood organization in achieving the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood, which are to assist each young male Latter-day Saint to:

  • Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live its teachings;
  • serve faithfully in priesthood callings and fulfill the responsibilities of priesthood offices;
  • give meaningful service;
  • prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances;
  • prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission;
  • obtain as much education as possible;
  • prepare to become a worthy husband and father; and
  • give proper respect to women, girls, and children.[2]

Local structure

In each local congregation of the church, males ages 12 to 17 are assigned to the Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Men organization. The Aaronic Priesthood is headed by a bishop or branch president and his counselors. The Young Men is headed in each congregation by an adult man who is called the Young Men President. The president is assisted by two counselors, who are also adult men. The presidency may also ask an adult man to be the secretary to the presidency.

In the Aaronic Priesthood, the young men are sub-divided into three aged-based priesthood offices, which also serve as classes on Sunday:

  • Deacon (ages 12 and 13)
  • Teacher (ages 14 and 15)
  • Priest (ages 16 and 17)

When a young man reaches the age of 18, he is encouraged to begin attending the elders quorum. In certain instances, such as when a man turns 18 but is still in secondary school, an 18 year old will be encouraged to continue to attend the priests quorum and the activities of the Young Men organization.

Generally, each age group will hold a separate class for instruction during Sunday meetings after all adult and youth holders of the priesthood meet together for a brief opening prayer and hymn. Each class has a quorum president drawn from the members of the class, who in turn chooses two counselors to assist him. The bishop or branch president is the president of the priest quorum.

The adult Young Men President assists the priest quorum, while the First and Second Counselors assist the teacher quorum and the deacon quorum, respectively. Additional adult men may be asked to prepare class lessons.

Church-wide supervision

On a church-wide level, the Aaronic Priesthood is supervised by the Presiding Bishopric and the local units of the Young Men organization are supervised by the General Presidency of the Young Men. Historically, the Presidency of the Young Men have been Seventies and general authorities of the church. However, in the April 2004 general conference of the church, Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency announced that "a recent decision [has been made] that members of the Quorums of the Seventy [will] not serve in the general presidencies of the Sunday School and Young Men."[3]

Duty to God

All members of the Young Men are encouraged to participate in Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God program. Duty to God is a goal-setting and achievement program that helps young men make progress in four areas of personal development:

  • Spiritual development;
  • physical development
  • educational, personal, and career development; and
  • citizenship and social development.

Scouting and other non-church programs

The Young Men organization has been involved in Scouting since 1913. Today, the organization is involved with Boy Scouts of America in the United States and Scouts Canada in Canada. Units of the church in other countries are not formally involved in Scouting. In the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth countries, many church units participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme or its equivalent.

Mutual and camps

In addition to Sunday meetings, the members of the Young Men organization meet on a weekday evening for "Mutual", an hour to ninety minute activity. In the United States and Canada, Mutual is integrated with the weekly Scouting activity. Once per month, a Mutual activity is held in conjunction with the members of the Young Women organization. Whether or not the local organization is involved in Scouting, most congregations also organize annual or biannual Young Men Camps.

See also


External links

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