On Friday morning, December 14, 2018, The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced changes to when the youth progress into Young Women, Young Men, ordination to the Priesthood, and receive a limited-use temple recommend.
“We desire to strengthen our beloved children and youth through increased faith in Jesus Christ, deeper understanding of His gospel, and greater unity with His Church and its members. To that end, we are pleased to announce that in January 2019 children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and Young Women or Aaronic Priesthood quorums as age-groups at the beginning of January in the year they turn 12. Likewise, young women will progress between Young Women classes and young men between Aaronic Priesthood quorums as age-groups at the beginning of January in the year they turn 14 and 16.
In addition, young men will be eligible for ordination to the appropriate priesthood office in January of the year they turn 12, 14, and 16. Young women and ordained young men will be eligible for limited-use temple recommends beginning in January of the year they turn 12. Ordination to a priesthood office for young men and obtaining a limited-use temple recommend for young women and young men will continue to be individual matters, based on worthiness, readiness, and personal circumstances. Ordinations and obtaining limited-use recommends will typically take place throughout January.”
The full letter, along with a FAQ can be read here.
Some questions to highlight:
Must the transition date for age-group progression always be January?
“No. In areas of the world where January is not a natural transition date, areas may implement these changes based on the local transition date now followed.”
Can youth who are not yet 12 attend camps? Can youth who are not yet 14 attend dances and youth conferences?
“Yes. Generally, youth in a class or quorum may enjoy the privileges that are appropriate for that class or quorum. With their parents’ approval, Beehives and deacons may attend camps before their 12th birthdays. Likewise, Mia Maids and teachers may attend dances and youth conferences before their 14th birthdays. However, a young woman or young man should be at least age 16 before beginning to date (see For the Strength of Youth , 4).”
Can youth who are not yet 14 have ministering assignments?
“Yes. All Mia Maids and teachers may be invited to participate in ministering and may have ministering assignments. They need not wait for their 14th birthdays.”
As stated, these changes are to be implemented immediately, which is incredibly exciting for the youth of the Church! As someone with a birthday towards the end of the year, it was hard for me to wait so long to join my friends in Young Women. I can relate to and feel the anticipation many youths have for this coming January. This will surely help move the Lord’s work along in these last days as more youth get involved in temple work, priesthood service, and ministering.