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Surprising Things We Don't Have to Do for Personal Progress Anymore + More Changes Over the Years

With the year 2016 coming to a close, Young Women programs around the world will focus on the new 2017 theme, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed" (James 1:5–6; emphasis added).

Although many Church programs and manuals have changed throughout the decades, the focus on key gospel principles, like developing a personal relationship with God, has always been important to the youth programs of the Church. 

Before New Beginnings programs start off the new year, take a look at some of the ways Personal Progress has changed—as well as stayed the same—through the decades.

1915—First Bee-Hive Girls Handbook Published

In 1869, the young women of the Church started gathering together in the early stages of what we know now as the Young Women program. The early Young Women program had many similar requirements to our modern program, including girls' camp, studying the scriptures, praying in public, continuing education, and summer sports.

Image titleHowever, it wasn't until 1915 that the young women of the Church used a handbook that resembled our Personal Progress booklet, called Bee-Hive Girls. 

Very similar to the current Young Women values, the Bee-Hive Girls earned seals in eight fields, represented by different colors: religion, home, health, domestic arts, outdoor, business, and public service.

However, the requirements expected of Bee-Hive Girls were very different from the projects we see the Young Women complete today. Here are just a few of our favorites:

• Take care of milk and make two pounds of butter a week for two months.
• Care successfully for a hive of bees for one season; know their habits.
• During two weeks keep the house free from flies, or destroy twenty-five flies daily.
• Be entirely free from a cold for two consecutive months.
• Without help or advice, care for and harness a team at least five times [and] drive 50 miles during one season.
• Clear sagebrush off of one-half acre of land.

While these examples reveal some of the differences 100 years can make, some of the Bee-Hive Girls' projects do sound similar to the modern day Personal Progress equivalents, like reading the Book of Mormon, earning money to pay tithing, and learning about ancestors.

Image retrieved from lds.org.