Thursday, March 8, 2012

Notes from Meeting Sister Dalton

[Note: I also posted a later post commenting on my notes, rather than simply copying over my notes. I focused on just a few points from the training: the temple, virtue, personal progress, and family history. The later post can be found here: http://beginningsnew.blogspot.com/2012/03/further-thoughts-on-temple-virtue.html]

Good morning! I wanted to share some fun stuff with all of you. Sis. Dalton came to our Stake Center to do training for all the YW presidencies in the area. It was a great meeting and I have lots of random notes I'm going to type up for you all. Also, though, I wanted to let you know I told her quite a bit about the blog, and that we were happy to help if we could in any way. Even if it was nothing more than doing a survey about how things are going in your various YW programs, because we do have quite the variety among our readers!

Also, she let us know in the meeting that they have spent the last 4 years working on a new teaching curriculum, and she hopes it will be out and ready within the next year or so. She was very excited to share with us that it's not going to be lecture style with set suggested outlines, it will be focused on teacher and student studying and learning the scriptures together! A great piece of news for those of us here who have been trying to get that idea out as much as we can already. So you can imagine that she was very pleased to hear about the existence of our blog (which is quite unusual!) and promised to look us up. I was thrilled! So Sis. Dalton if you're reading this, hi! Welcome! Feel free to comment and let us know you're here! :)

So stay tuned for more info from Sis. Dalton's talk! And, stay tuned on the blog in general for aftershocks from her meeting. For example, I recruited a media reviewer because of some of the things she taught us.

So, without further ado, my notes from Sis. Dalton:

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Teach the YW so well that you would trust them to teach your own kids someday.

What is the vision for the work we do in the YW? One word: TEMPLE.

  • Everything leads to the Lord and His Holy House. This was an official change in the handbook. The official vision of the YW program is to lead to the Temple.
  • Being WORTHY is the key to getting there. This is why we added the value of VIRTUE.
  • Why are we losing many YW? For many, it is because they made one mistake. But that one mistake gnawed at them, Satan told them they didn't belong at church, at mutual, and soon they believed Satan was right: they were bad, they weren't really the sort of person who could live righteously, even though they wanted to. One girl told Sis. Dalton Satan would tell her "You're bad. Why pray? He's not going to hear you." They don't understand they can repent.
  • Tell your leaders: Help YW understand they can change! Repent. Come back. They are not bad.
  • This is why we've called for a RETURN to Virtue. We can all return. We all repent. All of us.
  • The Book of Mormon, all through it, says to say nothing but repentance unto this generation. 
  • Teach repentance.
  • Teach the atonement
  • Teach the scriptures. In the scriptures he calls for his CHOSEN ones to return to Him, over and over again. You are not "bad." He is calling to you. Return!


Announcements, especially about Online stuff:

  • We're working on many tools on the internet. It's a narrow funnel to get things approved so we're waiting a lot, but it's coming a little at a time.
  • But remember your greatest help will come from up, from God, straight to you.
  • Leadership Training Library is online, lots of help
  • Please email them. The YW general office email is online. Please send feedback. You can put her name on it if you want and she'll read them.

Online Personal Progress: still revising. Added a "special needs" section with videos to watch instead of reading, etc. Go check it out.

  • And all of you leaders can get Personal Progress too.
  • Don't ask the YW to do it unless you are willing to do it. :) 
  • But with all the work we do, we should already have it! Cleaning up your home? That's a 10 hour project! Some YW will tell her they are too busy doing good things already. She smiles and says that's the whole point - doing good things. You should already have your medalion then!
  • And do it again! You can get many medalions and many honor bees. 
  • The YW will watch you: Are you the real deal?
  • And "spiff it up"! Wear it on a long chain, short chain, bracelet, whatever you want. Sis. Dalton hopes to have a whole bracelet full of honor bees before she gets released someday.
  • The RUBY, do you know what it stands for? Do your YW know what it stands for?
  • A virtuous woman.. more precious than rubies. Teach your YW "Don't let anyone treat you as not precious and virtuous."

For Strength of Youth media is online

  • This is also refocused on becoming worthy to go to the temple.
  • Try it: go through it and circle all the times these words show up: "Holy Ghost"/"Spirit", "worthy" and "temple"
  • Have your youth try it. This is the focus of everything we do.
Youth Media Site
  • new videos at least monthly
  • we know there have been problems downloading, and it's been improved. 
  • BTW, YW office has a policy to not release anything until it's in at least 3 languages. Working fast to get things in as many languages as possible

Church News - YW general presidency has a monthly article in the Church News.

  • Great archive of these articles, great for training etc. Go check them out.

More on Personal Progress

  • Why does Personal Progress help us get to the temple? In addition to worthiness, it sets a pattern.
  • Make commitments, keep commitments. Pattern to make and keep covenants.
  • Private religious behavior - that's what makes the difference.
  • "Conversion is what you do about what you know and believe" (from a conversation with Pres. Erying)


Remember that talk by Elder Bednar?

  • Essentially turned the key to the youth to do Family History (Karen's thought: I love that image of "turning the key" because it sounds like Joseph turning the key to the RS to have revelation for their own good works in their own organization.)
  • Family History ALSO focuses the YW on the temple!
  • It will fortify them. Get them in the temple doing baptisms. 
  • BTW: Sis. Dalton gets sent videos from all over the world, all the good things going on. In fact she says every night she sits in her bed with her laptop and watches them, it's her "bedtime reading." And she just loves them and just bawls, she said. :) She showed us one on family history, and several youth told us their experiences (it was very real, down to earth, honest. Really liked that video. Not up on the media site yet though.)

Look for Promises in Elder Bednar's talk:

  • -Promises of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob planted in hearts. (If you're not sure what those promises are, then she suggests a personal study. She says she's still studying that herself! Wonderful, deep, real topic) 
  • -Deep and Abiding faith
  • -Protection from Satan! What a great promise!
  • -Safeguarded.


This is not fluff. This is not to entertain.
See how this (family history was her specific example) resonates with their souls?
They'll come to mutual etc.
When you hear a prophet speak, you move.

More on teaching:

  • When you express gratitude, the Spirit comes.
  • Don't drown out the Spirit for youth.
  • That's one reason camp goes so well - they are still
  • Nephi says in 2 Ne 32: Feast upon words...
  • Notice this: Scriptures tell you what to do. Then he says to ask to understand. Holy Ghost will show you. 
  • Scriptures and Holy Ghost


Help youth understand the Beauty that comes from having the Holy Ghost

  • You will have a light.
  • And light cleaveth to light
  • Don't just compliment on outward appearance. That's easier - easy to say you like their headband, etc., and that's fine, but it will reinforce that beauty is outward. 
  • Compliment the beauty you see in their souls. The Spirit will help you see it and know what to say.


100% Club:

  • Let's be 100%. We all chose to come here 100%. "You're not 50% kind of people"
  • Be exact in obeying the For the Strength of Youth standards. You leaders, too.
  • Remember the serpent in the old testament. It was simple, seemed silly.
  • So, the 100% club:  Be 100% every day in these 4 things:
    • 1. Pray
    • 2. Read scriptures (even 5 minutes!)
    • 3. Smile (her YW board said, "Sis Dalton, we can't say that. That's not doctrine!" She said to them, "Oh yes it is doctrine! The scriptures say to be of good cheer and that's how we're going to show it!")
    • 4. Obey (especially the standards)
  • Start with one thing to be 100% on and then add to it. It's like cleaning a house. She said she remembers when she had 6 kids and her husband was called as a bishop or something and it was just chaos! She picked one drawer - her pencil and paper drawer - and made it just perfect. Then she could say I'm 100% in that one thing. Then she added more and more things to be 100% in. 
  • She says she's got a little sign now for people around the world - if you are in the 100% club, give a 2 thumbs-up. Just low down, not flashy. She says you won't believe the cities and airports she's in and someone will look at her, smile, and give her two thumbs up. Just low-down, not obvious to anyone else, but deliberately looking at her and with a smile on her face and in her eyes. :)
  • Doing things 100%, we will be "more Fit for the Kingdom" (Karen's thoughts: and then for doing the work of the kingdom!)
  • This is our "spiritual fitness" to climb to the "mountain of the Lord's House" to get the youth, and us, to the temple.

Question and Answer time:

  • Before she took questions, she explained some of the things they've said or learned doing Q&A at the open houses in SLC around conference time. 
  • Sis. Beck would often say, "You've have scriptures and you have knees." :)
  • "Most revelation comes in response to a question."
  • Personal Progress: we love having moms do it too. Pairing up Moms and YW binds important relationships. Or, there are other options. We know some don't have moms who will do this. She can work with any woman in the ward. 
  • "We shouldn't lose anyone when we have the Relief Society" to help us.


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Great, great meeting! I loved meeting Sis. Dalton. She is a happy, down-to-earth, open, and committed woman. She is well aware of things in the church (yes, even the bloggernacle). And, she is pleased with our faith, our commitment, and our work on this blog. So, let's keep it up! And see what more we can do to be Fit for the Kingdom, and to share that vision with others!

31 comments:

  1. Wonderful!! I wish I could have been there to hear this message. I am very excited to see the new teaching curriculum!! I would love for the Young Women to dive into the scriptures deeper and have a more rounded understanding of them. It seems that right now, they know the scripture mastery scriptures, but the more subtle nuances and narratives are not understood. I hope that the curriculum incorporates some of the new understanding that has come forth from various new translations, the dead sea scrolls, etc. There is a rich abundance of new scriptural knowledge that would benefit the Young Women a great deal.

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  2. Okay, I'm pardon my wet-blanketedness for a moment. I'm glad there are changes afoot, and I am sure that it will help a number of people. On the other hand, "she hopes it will be out and ready within the next year or so." That's what they've been saying for 4 years, so what's holding it up - getting approval from the PH leaders (who, as I recall, nixed an RS-led overhaul of women's curriculum in the 1990s and gave us instead the Teachings of the Prophets. The women who proposed those changes are long gone, but the men who didn't approve the women's ideas are still in charge.)

    And, frankly, I really REALLY wonder if the main reason YW are leaving is because they "made one mistake" and then allowed their guilt over that mistake to pull them down and out of the program. I'd suspect the program itself was the problem - not that the girls were feeling guilty for transgressing. And then, to focus on VIRTUE instead? If that's not done with an emphasis on repentance and the fact that no mistakes are permanent bars to leading a virtuous life; if that's not done without broadening the definitions of virtuous and moral, won't it make MORE girls feel bad for coming close to lines of moral behavior? If it becomes the central theme of discussions, it kind of increases the importance.

    Why can't the YW focus be on SERVICE and LEADERSHIP instead? Oh, that's right. The boys will be the PH leaders and the PH is a way to serve. The girls get to keep the house clean and spiffy and earn their 10 hours of service project stuff to create a beehive around their necks.

    I really enjoyed participating in YW (although it was before the value colors and all that) and I've enjoyed my time serving as a YW leader in several different wards. The girls are great and there are ways to make the YW program relevant and important in their lives. The YW program can provide both a guiding beacon and a firm foundation, and I know the folks in SLC have lots of great and wonderful ideas to help the YW. I suppose that focusing on going to the temple rather than getting married is a good thing, as it empowers the girls to do something to build their own relationships with Heavenly Parents and Jesus, but oh how I wish there were a few more tweaks. Luckily those tweaks could be made in individual wards.

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  3. I'm more than a little concerned that the #1 mission is the Temple. How about building a personal relationship with Christ? Seems that got bumped down the list ((sigh)).

    Also, I would love to see goals spoken about not in terms of homemaking. What about education and career goals. The majority of these YW WILL be in the workforce during their life. Does she not get that???

    I'm frustrated. Although anything is better than the old YW manual.

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  4. Thank you for this!

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  5. Do you know what the email address is?

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  6. very excited to hear that a new manual is coming, we have all been clamoring for that! a little surprised for how savvy sister dalton is that she did not know about this website... makes me nervous that maybe the new manual isn't exactly what we'd all been daydreaming about!

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  7. LRC - I think those changes always need to be done at an individual ward level. The great big church institution does its thing, but the real work is, must be, and should be, done locally. The manuals are just to help set up some idea of what we're after, but even perfect manuals are nothing without the Spirit.

    And yes, I'm sure approval does hold things up, but that doesn't hold you or me up, thankfully. :) But seriously, it's out in a pilot-program in several areas so that's at least a huge step forward. We have been waiting, what, 35 years?

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  8. anonymous about the temple -

    She mentioned specifically that the reason for the focus on the temple was to solidify their relationship with Christ. So by all means, as you teach it in your local ward, focus on that aspect of the temple and make it a subtopic of their relationship of Christ.

    And where are you seeing here that goals are always homemaking goals? Oh, maybe you are referring to the example she used. Well, that's the one I wrote down in my notes because of the funny way she told a story about it, and because quite frankly my house is in complete chaos most of the time! I think she does get the other things, like education/work, sorry if my notes don't bring that out. I think a lot of our frustrations are very, very justified, it's just that they are problems all around us locally, not just Sis. Dalton. Actually, it's more scary that they are all around us and not in one person; that would be a lot easier to fix! :)

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  9. robin marie - I was a bit too, although you have to admit that most YW blogs claiming to enhance lesson material aren't worth a 30 second glance! :)

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  10. Their email is youngwomen@ldschurch.org. You can also use the feedback form, which is usually accessible from any page on lds.org.

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  11. Why are we losing many YW? For many, it is because they made one mistake. But that one mistake gnawed at them, Satan told them they didn't belong at church, at mutual, and soon they believed Satan was right: they were bad, they weren't really the sort of person who could live righteously, even though they wanted to. One girl told Sis. Dalton Satan would tell her "You're bad. Why pray? He's not going to hear you." They don't understand they can repent.

    I can't help but think that if I called a meeting and asked the attendees to send me their best proposals for changing the YW program to make the problem described above WORSE, the winning proposals might look something like this:

    (1) Make VIRTUE VIRTUE VIRTUE be the emphasis all the time. Girls will see this nonstop emphasis on virtue as saying that being a virgin is the most--even only--important thing, and will take it that much harder if they make one mistake.

    (2) Make a club called the "100% club" where the message is, "Let's be 100%. We all chose to come here 100%. "You're not 50% kind of people"" Message: church is all about being 100% and 100% VIRTUE. This goes for girls and leaders. If you are not 100%, you don't belong. If make a little mistake and you're now only 99%, or 50%, then you have no framework for envisioning yourself now or when you are grown as part of the church in a positive way, so you may as well leave now.

    I think we can and *must* do a much better job emphasizing discipleship with Christ in terms of service and growth. Not discipleship in terms of obsessively eradicating every tiny perceived fault to get to some mythical "100%." YW are already prone to self-loathing and obsessing on their every little fault to an unhealthy degree. Why should we feed that tendency. Lets get them to look upward and outward in a positive way. Lets help them see that discipleship is a process that includes repentance and isn't made up of just one all-important trait of Virtue.

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  12. "They prided themselves on their strict observance of the law...The tendency of their teaching was to reduce religion to the observance of a multiplicity of ceremonial rules, and to encourage self-sufficiency and spiritual pride."

    LDS Bible Dictionary, under the heading Pharisees.

    II couldn't agree more with the 10:22 pm anon commenter above. This new program causes me great worry- we are reducing our teachings to a myopic focus on one thing, and we are passing by many opportunities to serve the body of Christ as we move through life. When we focus to the exclusion of achieving the appearance of perfection, we really are missing the whole point.

    Also, the Temple is something you get to go to as a privilege of trying to live a Christlike life- from my perspective, if "getting there" is the only thing you're aiming for (nevermind how temple= marriage= virtue= virginity as the only 100% path for young women), you're trampling all the things on the road to there that would be opportunities to serve the body of Christ- our brothers and sisters. The temple is a by-product, a beautiful respite from the work of the world it is not the reason for living a righteous life.

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  13. Okay, okay. I can't help but feel like I'm either a great fool, or a horrible note taker, or something.

    I have had similar concerns about the virtue value, but I loved her point that it's a return to virtue. Now, does that mean that every one is teaching that? No. But that's why I found this part of her message so interesting. What she is saying, though it might not be getting to the end of the row, is that the atonement and Christ are what we need to teach, and that we can all return to virtue. Where is the hurt and pain in that? That was a revelation to me, a "Oh, THAT'S what we're supposed to be doing and no one is listening." Is it Sis. Dalton's fault, or ours?

    If it's her's, well, then I'm going to take a break from blogging for a while and rethink my work here. I guess I've got a lot more to learn before I make any claims. I thought this was a great step forward; apparently, I need to open my eyes. Or something. I can't figure this all out. YES! There are problems! But I tend to assume that the leaders have the Spirit and are trying to do something profound, and it's us who aren't understanding what they are saying. Am I the only one who assumes that? Sorry, just not sure what to do from now on.

    =ks

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  14. Let me try again. I like hearing these concerns and insights. They are very important to hear. But I think I get defensive because I wish that instead of saying "Look at the bad mistake Sis. Dalton made" we could rather say, "I see that Sis. Dalton is trying to do something good. I just hope that as we teach, we make sure not to take it to this or that extreme, because look at these potential negative consequences."

    I see that there are problems, potential hurt, etc. And I want to have people point these things out to me. It will change the way I teach and bless many YW. But why the negative tone? Why is this not a positive opportunity to share our insights and help others see where their blind spots are? Why is it a time to throw our hands up and complain? Can't it be an good opportunity to give to God's work and make things better?

    So I think that's why I couldn't make sense of some of the above comments. I could see the problems, but I couldn't see the reason for such a depressed tone. Maybe this comment will help you see where I was coming from.

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  15. They are generally trying to do good, I will give you that. I do not believe for a second that they are making an attempt to further entrench the "licked doughnut" attitudes.

    A large portion of teachers (of any program in the church) would be rather unwilling to deviate from the manuals. Hey, these people have the spirit, why would I think I could do better? Or worse, I just want to get through my calling, so I'll just use all suggestions present.

    Based upon an assumption that all YW instructors are NOT like you, ks, there is a high potential for damage if the program is not looked at on a psychological level as well as a theological level. The church, yes, the great big institution, does have a psychological responsibility to the youth, both male and female. A front is presented to membership through cultural mechanisms (not necessarily instituted by the institution) that the institution is perfect, _including_ correlated materials. If lessons do not specifically spell out what VIRTUE means, and the kids assume the most common-used definition of VIRTUE (e.g. VIRGINITY) then you have a high potential for psychological issues within the girls, girls that are lost by the wayside, and when they are found, they will hate the institution. With the institution, goes the religion, because culturally they are so often tied together.

    Ugh, I am sooo rambling.

    We can say that complaining against the church is just complaining, but what little else do we have. Every chance I have had to talk to someone about programs or institutional issues have resulted in three results: deflecting the issue, ignoring the issue, or a call to repentance. I don't believe, AT ALL, that the institution cares what members think or believe, nor the psychological impact of their issues (unless it could lead to a potential lawsuit).

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  16. I can not help but feel this is just a whole lot more of the same old thing. YW should have marriage, family history, and being smiling girls who just get passed from sexist minded leaders to a husband who will lead them with authority to be nothing more then obedient, smiling wives. The YM program needs an overhaul and the church needs to come on with the times. Really surprised you thought this was a good direction for the YW.

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  18. ks- I was intrigued by your post on Facebook, I'm currently the Primary President in our ward, and haven't been in YW as a leader for 5+ years now. I love your posts, I love your willingness to serve, to be obedient! Don't ever second guess yourself, or our leaders. If I ever read anything on blogs or FB that sounds like many of the comments that have been posted here, I think of two things... Murmuring and Obedience. Our leaders are inspired, I know they are led by a higher power, when we complain "murmur" we drive the spirit away. We may not understand completely, nor agree completely, but if I've learned anything in my years on this earth, it's this... Be Obedient, it's the little things, our Heavenly Father tests our obedience on. (I'll never forget as a youth at Ricks College when President HInckley made the announcement about body piercings, how small and trivial it seemed, but the fact of the matter was, will I be obedient to what we're being asked to do?)

    Our theme this year in Primary is Choose The Right, this month's scripture is "O remember my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth, yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of god." My second counselor is a convert to the church (of 4 years), this scripture touched her on Sunday in a way that I've never been able to connect with because I was born and raised in the church. But oh how important it is to teach our youth early, help them build their foundations because the older you get, the harder it is to change... Change is hard, but it's necessary, I think with change comes a little resistance.

    I love the new value- virtue, and look forward to hearing about upcoming changes... this can only be for the better. Focusing on virtue and being worthy to attend the temple can only be a positive change. "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly..." Virtue is more than just being a virgin, other definitions, which I find awesome, 1) moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
    2) conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
    3) chastity; virginity: to lose one's virtue.
    4) a particular moral excellence. Compare cardinal virtues, natural virtue, theological virtue.
    5) a good or admirable quality or property: the virtue of knowing one's weaknesses.
    It will be interesting to see how the value of Virtue will be taught...

    The Temple, oh, how I love the temple, the house of the Lord. In our Primary we have a "temple lady" that comes into primary once a month and helps the children better understand the special covenants and blessings that come with being temple worthy... it is never too early to help the children of the church have a love for the temple, and a yearning to "go there some day". I don't feel that you can draw closer to the temple without drawing closer to our Heavenly Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ. Such a wonderful opportunity for these YW to gain a love for the temple, a better understanding of the temple.

    I've decided that some people just need to complain, so ks, don't take things too personally, everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how outrageous:) Thank you for posting your thoughts, I miss having you guys around, and our conversations!

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  19. Well, I think you're both right - the anonymous comments and Stevens. I think that there is a lot amiss in the church, culturally. There's tons. The only reason I take the time to write on this blog is because I am seriously concerned about the quality of teaching in the church. Otherwise, why would I bother?

    But that's just it - I bother about it. So, "what little else do we have"? We have things like this blog. It doesn't change millions of people, true, but we do get many thousands of pageviews monthly and we reach people all over the world - Russia, South Africa, Ireland, Brazil, China, etc. It does do something, doesn't it? I think it does. And that's why I bother to do it.

    And, as you said, too many teachers don't teach other than what's in the manual because they either a) think it's against the rules or b) lack confidence to do otherwise (or don't care. I won't address that one here). And, I see several possible ways to respond: 1) change the manuals they're so dependent on, 2) teach that the rules are different than they think, or 3) teach them to have confidence in themselves and the Spirit. I am constantly trying to do all three solutions. 1) I feel like I'm practically shouting to "READ THOSE SIDEBARS!" because things have changed, if anyone bothers to notice. If we did nothing else but cross out the outlines and give everyone those sidebar/resource guide info, wouldn't that alone change a lot? So the more I can get the word out the better things will be, right? Even a little better? 2) The manual itself - the very manual they're so convinced is straight revelation! it ITSELF claims that it's not revelation, and, also, that the scriptures and the Spirit trump everything. Rather than go against the grain, I can actually use their faithfulness (even when ill-placed) to get something accomplished. If they are committed to the manuals already, then all I have to do is show them what the introduction says, and we're on our way (I just got a tally mark for that in our ward! Whoo-hoo!). When they are sincere, they'll listen. So I try to use loyalty, even when blind, to point to truth. :) It's a great trick. Works in SS too. :) (I think of the words from D&C about wanting truth but knowing not where to find it... So, show them where it's at, but in a way that uses their desires for good to accomplish that.) And 3) Teach them to have confidence- that takes more work. But I'm trying. I am trying to understand the Spirit more and how to teach about it. I'm trying to study out the gifts of the Spirit. I wrote an article that should come out in the next year or so about D&C 42:12-14 and the history in Joseph's time surrounding it. I'm trying. I completely believe in Ranciere's "Ignorant Schoolmaster" method of teaching, where any person can be a teacher - if we trust our students and trust our text, then all we have to do is ask questions, push them to work, and they will learn even from the book, not from us. Doesn't that best apply at church, where the scriptures ought to be our main source of knowledge? I'm also trying to find a place to do a book review of it.

    So, no, I don't think that all we can do is complain. But nor do I think all we should do is shut up about it. I think we get to work. If we feel ourselves uncomfortable with something, then that's our call to get to work. Find out what's actually true. Not how we "want things to be," but what's true behind everything. What the scriptures actually say, not on a cheap surface level reading. Something that's worth eternity. Something that thrills your soul. Feeling uncomfortable or upset is the first step, just don't stop there. Put those brains and that soul to work - the Lord needs it!!

    So there's my soapbox two-bits. But I sincerely believe it. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here.

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  20. Using the scriptures is great however using real life values that represent where these girls are at in modern times is a much more applicable tool. Why do we feel the need to teach these girls homemaking skills, beauty tips, wedding dress photo shoots and how to keep boys minds clean. What are we giving these girls that will give them confidence to reach personal goals education, career, travel and a good life. Instead we get manual updates like this one. Why can we not as members women be able to set aside sterotypical roles and put together a manual that gives a solid base for these girls. Why must an out of touch male p/h tell us what a YW should learn about. If we stand together and say this is not ok, maybe this might change. That is my problem people like you praise these women who just push the same old stuff wrapped in different packaging.

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    1. I don't know why people are complaining about this change. It is exactly what I've been shouting from the roof top for a long long time. It is sorely needed!

      I am so TIRED of leaders who tell my girls that working/career is what they need to prepare for, that Sh*abby A*pple is okay and that the temple isn't a goal, it is something you can do "later." These have been our experiences in the last two wards (US) wards we have lived it! I am sick that these same women are complaining about the new direction and trying to tell the leaders that what these girls need is a more "modern" focus. The modern focus that THEY HAVE INSERTED themselves is the PROBLEM! Where has it gotten them? Well, I can tell you: girls who are not virtuous, girls who don't understand repentance, girls who wear mini-skirts and fish net stockings to temple outings (because if they leaders do it, so it must be okay!) , girls who would rather have a career than be a wife/mother, girls who think a "bawl fest" is a testimony meeting and girls who don't feel the spirit in weekly meetings! (So, what is the point in coming?)

      I am tired of YW leaders who diverge from the stated goals of the YW program to teach my daughters how important it is wear shabby chic and the cutest bling and have a big house (i.e. work)! There are many days where I tell my daughters that if I see one more leader wearing fish net stockings and a dress so tight (even though it covers their garments) that there is nothing left to the imagination to church, I'll puke! The virtue issue IS a leader issue, because you are not teaching the right stuff! Wearing a skin tight dress, even though it covers your garments, is going to cause the SAME problem that a mini-skirt and a tank top will!

      I believe that much of this leadership training was AIMED at the leaders. (Remember it is called LEADERSHIP training.) The leaders need to be virtuous, have the right mind set about being wives and mothers, and understand that there are far greater goals to strive toward than having the cutest dress at church. My feeling is that the women who are complaining about this are the ones that are causing the problems and that this message was for them!

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  22. Anonymous: you completely lost me at your sixth word.

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  23. I recently heard Sister Dalton speak and was blown away by the Spirit. She is inspired, she is seeking to follow that inspiration, and we can do the same in our own stewardships.

    I love how you captured how the return to virtue and focus on the temple connects to Christ and the Atonement. I also think teaching about virtue and being a light to the world with our standards is also about being emissaries for Christ. His standards empower young women to be free from so much of what the world is teaching young women. Keeping covenants gives them the power of God. I think it's essential that we not be afraid of teaching the things that she is feeling pressed to repeat over and over again, because there is power there for the finding.

    I'd just say keep listening and praying for insight and inspiration about why she is talking about the things she is talking about. Sister Beck is the same way. I believe these women are tapping into the gift of prophecy and revelation. They are Esthers for our time. They are being guided about what to focus on. And the Spirit can help us receive and understand their message and figure out how to then help get the messages to the young women in our lives with the Spirit.

    I believe the solution for cultural problems is not to focus on the problems, but to each focus on fulfilling our responsibilities with the Spirit, to trust the doctrine, and to seek to teach it with purity and with power. "True doctrine, understood, changes behavior."

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  24. I loved reading this! As the mother of seven daughters, I'm thrilled about the changes and the emphasis going on. Thank you for sharing.

    And could I suggest that you stop allowing anonymous comments? Some of these really detracted from your site. If people want to gripe and complain, at least ask them to identify themselves -- I think Elder Cook would agree with me: http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/ces-devotionals/2012/03?lang=eng&pid=738917358001&pkey=AQ~~%2CAAAAmBrDwtE~%2C_58lK-P1xvJ5WTHbRnmdONkYkAiPKoal

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  25. I think it all sounds GREAT! Girls digging into the scriptures and learning to understand them for themselves? Women as mentors in spiritual things, helping girls to gain testimonies of fundamental doctrines for themselves? YES PLEASE! That sure doesn't sound like a recipe for Priesthood Monarchy Woman-repression or whateveritis that many women here are worried about. That sounds like a lot of confident young women who know how to seek out their own inspiration directly from the source - Christ and his teachings.
    Also, I think the temple is a great goal. Yes, a relationship with Christ is the ultimate place we want our girls to be, but that's such a personal journey, can you really make that concrete enough to be a "program" goal? I think that would be impossibly challenging. I don't feel like I personally reached that point until I was a little more mature and had been through more life experience. But girls can set a goal to go to the temple, and being able to confidently answer the temple recommend questions I think is a fantastic way to progress towards a solid testimony and deep belief in the teachings of Christ and his church. Plus, there's a tangible reward at the end of that journey - a visit to the house of the Lord, service for one's family, and the joy of knowing that if you're worthy to be there, you're worthy to be in the presence of God someday, too. I think it's a fantastic goal, and I'm all for it.

    PS I love the focus on the atonement. We all need that. Let's all repent together!

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  26. So many good comments above, but I just wanted to say--please keep posting here. I've found this site to be such a great resource as I'm teaching my Laurels, and I love reading what other like-minded women have to say. And I'm looking forward to the new and updated manuals; I've been consistently impressed with how church leaders try to stay current with what's going on in the world and the struggles that the youth are facing. We can all continue to make individual and prayerful adjustments for our specific group of YW.

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  27. Thanks as always for the comments. NessaAnn, I had the same reaction as you - a lot of confident YW (and future adult members!) who know not only how to study the scriptures but know that those are where the truth really comes from. I couldn't have been more delighted to hear that news from Sis. Dalton! I'll let you know her exact words on it, to me: "I think we've been shackled by those manuals for 35 years now, to the point that the YW don't know the doctrine. And I'm not sure the leaders know it either." I couldn't believe she used that strong of language, but it's clear to me she is doing all she can to get away from those manuals and get to the scriptures. As I've said before, the current manuals have a great little introduction that excuses me from needing any of those outlines, but it's a greatly overlooked little introduction that hardly ever gets read or thought about. Drawing out the principles of the Spirit and the scriptures as our source for knowledge about truth - it might take a while to feel confident in this, for some, but I think long-term, this is going to be one of the best things that we could do for the youth - and for the future of the church as a whole.

    I'm working on a post idea on this "new" way of teaching. Hope to have it done within the next week.

    Thanks again for the comments. Keep those thoughts coming everyone!

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  28. As a 59-year old YW President, I feel my perspective is very different from some comments previously stated. I wonder if I treat my calling far more simplistic than I should. But I don't think so. The purposes of the Gospel of Jesus Christ remain the same. In teaching I don't have to "be relevant" all the time. While relevancy is important, the Spirit is far more important. New lesson manuals will be lovely when they come about, but let's pretend we never get them. Are we unable to teach the gospel from the manuals we already have?
    At the risk of sounding like I know better, (which I do not), my lessons must have several components.
    #1 A Subject Matter I see what the lesson is and I begin preparing, thinking about each girl in the program and what emphasis she needs. I decide on two or three points to make from the manual. I rarely EVER use the stories printed. I find "more relevant" ones from the NEW ERA or ask them for examples or use some from my own life experiences.

    #2 Include scriptures and conference talks to make my points from, and remind the girls that we are learning from the past and present prophets.

    #3 Make it relevant to them. Discussion time. This is where my teaching really begins. I listen. I ask very careful questions that do not cause embarrassment or seem intrusive. I get them to talk and communicate. Just me rambling on is pointless. I need to know what they are dealing with, where they are in their testimonies, and what their relationship is with Heavenly Father and their own parents. By having studied the subject matter, I can answer questions. I then bear my testimony as to why what we have learned is important to our lives. I always have some little handout for their mirror or locker. This is where I use many blog ideas. I use an eye-catching statement on one side and the doctrine to back it up on the backside.

    One thing we must always remember about our General Church leaders--they are dealing with a world-wide church. We here in the USA tend to "pretty" things up. But anytime I have traveled and attended meetings outside the USA, the lessons are really basic, well-understood, and pertinent. The Young Women seem truly focused and "live for" the Young Women meetings.
    I think it is dangerous to be critical of those who lead us, and I realize many of us think we could do it better, and perhaps we could. But it isn't our place. To criticize the Brethren is just plain wrong. It helps me understand the times we study in the Book of Mormon when the Church was strong and then in a few short years, pride and being stiff-necked replaced testimony.
    My point is to say, it's not THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to lead our girls to Christ. It is ours. We have been set apart to do this and to follow the Church guidelines and handbooks. Let's just go forward and do it.

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  29. Thanks anonymous! I think you are doing exactly what the manuals were meant to do. I know I'm a broken record on this, but the manual introductions point us to use the Spirit and the scriptures, and to pray about our individual girls. It sounds like you have got that down! :) Thanks for sharing! And I agree, perfect manuals are impossible; the Spirit has always been and will always be the only real teacher!

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  30. BTW, more thoughts are also at: http://beginningsnew.blogspot.com/2012/03/further-thoughts-on-temple-virtue.html

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