Young Women Organization Research Guide
The precursor to the Young Women organization was the Young Ladies’ Department of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association. Brigham Young founded this association in the context of concerns about the increasing outside influences in the community as the transcontinental railroad was completed in Utah in 1869. The organizations sought to encourage women to live frugally, dress simply, and gather often to encourage and uplift each other.
As the Young Women organization grew, its objectives grew, as reflected in the name Mutual Improvement Association, which was adopted in 1877 to parallel the young men’s association of the same name. The Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association became an organization for the personal development of the young women of the Church. In 1934 it became known as the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association and in 1974 as the Young Women. More changes to the organization were announced in the October 2019 general conference. Despite changes in the organization’s structure and programs over the years, the purpose of the Young Women program remains the same.