Young men and young women should have a regularly scheduled activity night, called Mutual. "Most [youth] activities occur during a time called Mutual. The term Mutual suggests shared experiences in which there is mutual respect and support for one another and opportunities to learn together. ... Mutual is generally held weekly. If travel or other restrictions make this impractical, Mutual may be held less frequently, but it should be held at least monthly. Mutual should be 1 to 1½ hours long and should take place on a day or evening other than Sunday or Monday." (Church Handbook of Instructions, 10.8.1)
Who oversees mutual?The Young Women presidency, under the direction of the bishopric, oversees Mutual for young women. (CHI, 10.8.1) The Young Men presidency, under the direction of the bishopric, oversees Mutual for young men. (CHI, 8.13.1)
Why do we have Mutual?
"Mutual activities should provide youth with a variety of opportunities to serve others and to develop spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually. " (CHI 10.8.1, 8.13.1)
Young Men and Young Women presidencies may occasionally use Mutual activities to prepare for stake or multistake activities (see 13.3). (CHI 10.8.1, 8.13.1)
Mutual provides opportunities to do the following:
- Meet in a social setting
- Apply gospel principles
- Strengthen testimonies
- Provide service
- Develop wholesome relationships
- Reach out to less-active youth
- Prepare for missionary work and the temple.
- Develop home arts skills.
- Develop cultural awareness and nurture talents.
- Develop physical skills and participate in sports.
- Focus on the specific needs or interests of the young women in the ward or branch.
- Support and involve the family as appropriate.
- Work on Personal Progress.
Mutual should be held at the same day, time, and place weekly. The lessons and activities are planned by leaders and youth, and include opening exercises, class or quorum activities, and an optional practice or social activity. This means after opening exercises, which includes a song, prayer, spiritual thought, scripture theme practice, and announcements, the youth may stay together for an LDS combined youth activity (Young Men and Women leaders and youth together) or separately for joint YW activities (Beehives, Mia Maids, Laurels, and Young Women's leaders together), or a class activity (just the Beehives class and Beehive Leaders or just the Laurels class and leaders).
How do we operate mutual opening exercises?
Young Men, Young Women, and their leaders generally meet together as a combined group for opening exercises.
"Mutual usually begins with brief opening exercises presided over by a member of the bishopric. The bishop’s priests quorum assistants and members of the Laurel class presidency take turns conducting. Adult leaders prepare youth leaders for this responsibility.
"Opening exercises include a hymn and prayer and may also include musical selections and opportunities for the youth to share their talents and testimonies." (CHI 10.8.1, 8.13.1)
Youth Leaders also seek to help each individual acquire the skills and talents encouraged in the Personal Progress program and Duty to God through Mutual activities. Be sure to consider such factors as late hours, the subject of the discussion, the nature of the activity, and the maturity levels of participants.
How can we utilize the annual Theme?
Every year, priesthood leaders receive an annual theme for Mutual to be discussed with youth leaders. The theme may be used to provide focus for special Mutual activities such as dance, drama, speech, sports, music, or service. Preparations for such activities should be made during Mutual. The theme could be used as a basis for youth talks during Mutual opening exercises. It could also be repeated as part of opening exercises.
After Opening Exercises, what next?"Following opening exercises, Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women classes generally hold separate activities. In a ward or branch with few young men, all the young men may meet together for activities. Activities may also be planned for any combination of quorums and classes. "Combined activities for all young men and young women are normally held once a month. Members of the bishopric youth committee schedule, plan, and review these activities in their meetings. The activities are carried out under the direction of the bishopric." (CHI 10.8.1, 8.13.1) Standards events are special programs that emphasize moral values and eternal goals. They encourage [youth] to live the standards in For the Strength of Youth, which will bring them closer to the Savior. "These events are held annually, or more often as needed, usually during Mutual. They may be held on a class, ward, multiward, or stake level. Depending on how a subject is presented, these events may include any combination of Young Women age-groups. They may also include mothers, fathers, mothers and fathers together, and young men." (CHI 10.8.5, 8.13.3) "Where Scouting is authorized by the Church, quorums may participate in Scouting activities during Mutual. Scouting should help young men put into practice the gospel principles they learn on Sunday." (CHI 8.13.4)
What advice have leaders given regarding mutual?
"We encourage each Young Men presidency, under the direction of their bishopric, to make effective use of the Aaronic Priesthood committee and the bishopric youth committee in planning, calendaring, and carrying out Mutual activities that strengthen young men in the gospel. Careful planning and preparation will make Mutual a positive experience for all young men and keep it from being merely an unsupervised sports night." - YM General Presidency, Ensign, Aug. 2000, 71
"Mutual is fundamental to all that we are trying to do with and for the Young Women and the Young Men. Many parents recognize that when youth reach the adolescent years, they benefit from positive influences to reinforce and supplement the correct principles taught at home. No matter how clearly we understand the resources of the achievement programs for both Young Men and Young Women, if Mutual is not properly in place, our efforts are more likely to fail" (Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, Quorum of the Seventy).
"One way to make Mutual meaningful is to reinforce Sunday lessons on Mutual night. For example, you could reinforce a lesson on the art of homemaking by teaching a specific homemaking skill during Mutual." - YW General Presidency, "Planning Meaningful Mutual Activities," Ensign, Sept. 2000, 70.
Young men and women become more confident, kinder to each other, and more chaste in their conduct when they participate in well-planned activities (A Parents Guide, 41).
What instruction has the Church offered on planning large youth activities?
Gathering a significant number of youth together to work on a large event or project , like a youth conference, can have lasting impact in the lives of those who participate and those who attend the event. Such events can help youth feel a part of the larger Church community as they share the experience with many others who share their beliefs and standards. A well-planned and managed event can have the following benefits:
- Assemble a “critical mass” of youth together working for a common cause.
- Strengthen relationships within wards, schools, and communities.
- Bless families as they support and possibly participate.
- Provide missionary opportunities.
- Provide an opportunity to involve less-active youth.
- Provide gospel learning through music.
- Build relationships of trust and respect with leaders.
- Strengthen moral commitment.
- Provide a place for youth to display their talents.
- Allow adults to cheer for their youth.
These events could include music, dance, speech, drama, service, and sports.
What is the Youth Leader's Responsiblity?
Youth leaders are responsible for seeing that youth programs are effectiely implemented, and to help each young woman earn the Young Womanhood Recognition or Duty to God award. While youth are expected to plan activities, leaders should:
- Ensure that activities are appropriate for the participants' ages and maturity, involve minimal risk, and allow all youth to participate as fully as possible
- Ensure that the activities are planned with the purposes outlined above
- Ensure that activities comply with the policies and guidelines in the "Activities" section of the Leadership Manual (see pages 276-80). (These policies address unacceptable activities, standards at activities, overnight activities, dances, music, emergencies, and insurance.)
- Consider such factors as late hours, the subject of the discussion, the nature of the activity
- Attend Mutual activities
- Participate and preside over Mutual activities