December Young Women Lesson: What is Zion?

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation Translation generously provided by Cesar Carreon.


City of Zion Taken Up

For the teacher

(link to lesson outline

The word “Zion” has many meanings in our vernacular.  The original Zion was the city of Enoch, whose citizens were so righteous and pure that they were taken up to God’s bosom without tasting death (translated.) Since then, it is used throughout the scriptures to describe “the pure in heart” or to refer to the Lord’s people. It can mean the state of a person’s heart, and the unity of a community. Early Mormon pioneers used the term “Zion” to refer to the place where they could finally gather together and worship God in peace — eventually Utah. Oddly, there sprung up a retail shop, Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Inc. (ZCMI), a bank – Zions Bank, and a National Park – Zion National Park, all using Zion in the title. (Whether or not they are the pure in heart, I cannot say.) It is also used in the scriptures to refer to Ancient Jerusalem and “New Jerusalem” (in connection with the second coming of Jesus Christ.)

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December YW lesson: What can I do to help new members of the Church?

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation Translation generously provided by Denisse Gómez.


Before you start, be mindful of any new converts you might have in the class (as members or visitors). Make sure they feel included and not a problem to be solved.

Introduce the Lesson

Ask the girls to describe some of the feelings that accompany new experiences, such as the first day of a class, joining a club or a team, or starting a new job. Were you nervous? Excited? Eager to fit in? Relate this to being a new member. As you discuss these experiences, see if there were things or people that made the transition easier. Relate this to what it is like to join the Church. For many people it’s a challenge as it may mean leaving behind old friendships and adjusting to a new way of life. What helps us feel like we belong?

In this lesson we will focus on three specific ways to help grow new members: friendship, responsibility/service, and spiritual nurturing.  Below I have ideas and quotes to illustrate why these three areas of support are vital. Once discussed, you as a class should brainstorm ways to implement these ideas. Here is the lesson on


In a talk called “True Friends,” Henry B. Eyring stresses the importance of reaching out to new members and ensuring they feel loved. He quotes President Hinckley on this topic: “I hope, I pray, I plead with you, every one of you, to embrace every new member of the Church. Make a friend of him or her. Hold onto them.”  I think all of us have at some point experienced the dramatic difference a friend can make. It is crucial that new members have someone to greet them, sit next to them, help them feel wanted. Eyring realizes we cannot be friends with every new member, but you can be there for at least one. All it takes is to feel something of what they feel and something of what the Savior feels for them.”

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So You Have to Teach YW the Sunday After a Major Policy Change that Hurts Your Heart

I’m sorry, I got nothing.

No, I owe you more than that. I owe my YW more than that. I don’t know if it’d be ok to share everything I want to share with my YW this Sunday, so I’ll post it here and the tech-savvy ones can read it. I owe the girls a scavenger hunt on the temple grounds where we go to church. Maybe we’ll do that. I don’t know.

There was only one other girl my age at church when I was a teenager. There was a group of girls a couple of years older than me and a group a couple of years younger than me. The other girl was my best friend at church. The very first Sunday I met her, I was 9 years old; I learned we were born just days apart and my middle name was her first name. In the course of our growing up years, our ward boundaries changed and our ward was split and then brought together again a few years later. We were lucky to stay with each other the whole time. I went to her homecoming dance when were were sophomores. We hung out at mutual and in Sunday School and YW.

By the time we were seniors in high school, though, I knew she was doing things that didn’t align with the standards set by the Church and she eventually stopped coming. When I turned 18, I was still in high school (my birthday is in December), but I had no friends in YW, so I moved up to Relief Society. I didn’t know why my friend stopped coming; I never asked. I do remember judgmentally remarking to my mom that my friend was doing things she should see the bishop about. That was the first time a friend of mine went “inactive.”

There was a time in my senior year when my mom stopped coming to church. She had anxiety attacks at church around certain people. At the time, I was very judgmental of my mom for not coming to church like you’re “supposed to.” She comes to church now that they’ve moved far away from that ward, but that was the first time someone in my family had to take a break from church for their health.

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Married and Single Friendships

My title is straight and to the point.

I attended Brigham Young University in Provo from 2010 to 2014. I, like many of my peers, started off college single, care free, and ready to embrace all that college had to offer. Fast forward to my graduation in April 2014, a great deal of my friends were no longer single. Fast forward to present day, the vast majority of my friends are no longer single. In fact, out of some of my closer friends, including me, I think only three or four of us are flying solo.

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Comfort Food


Table for Ladies

“…..and please bless the refreshments that they will nourish and strengthen our bodies and do us the good that we need……”

I smirk silently, roll my eyes beneath piously closed lids and envision brownies, cookies and lemonade transfigured into fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic something-or-other, packed with protein and vitamins, all contingent on our scripted gratitude for the hands who prepared it.

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