I had memorized the theme back in April or May of 1997--I was so excited to go to YW that I memorized the theme before I even turned 12, which isn't very surprizing because I had actually wanted to go to YW for my whole life. I was always so jealous of my older sisters who got to go to weekly activities and make crafts and go camping and do fun things like that. My sister Abra and I shared a room for a while and the YW theme hung on our wall. I wanted so badly to turn 12 before she turned 18, but as luck would have it we didn't magically get closer in age and she "graduated" from YW before I "graduated" into YW.
So I had been reading the theme for several years, dreaming of what it would be like to get to stand in a circle and hold hands with my sisters in Zion and repeat the theme together (as was customary in our ward), before I actually sat down one day to memorize it. Because there was this one time in my life that I vaugely remember, before I entered the haze of motherhood, when I actually could sit down and memorize something in one day.
I had it memorized absolutely flawlessly for a good 5 years. Then, in 2002, they changed it on me, right before I was due to "graduate" from YW. I had it memorized so perfectly that I could almost say it backwards. And I can't even say the alphabet backwards without thinking too hard, so that tells you something right there.
They added the words "strengthen home and family," to the end of the theme so that it read,
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.I began to stammer when I recited the theme, being so worried the whole way through that I would forget to say "strengthen home and family." It was a wonderful reminder to me, as a young woman, that families are important. Every time I worried about whether or not I would say "strengthen home and family" I would worry a little about if I was strengthening my home and family.
After a few months I had fully ingrained this little phrase into my mind and was able to say the theme again without tripping over my words. And then I left Young Women and entered the beautiful world of Relief Society, leaving the YW theme behind me.
I liked it when the young women would join the Relief Society for opening exercises and we would all stand to repeat the YW them together. I kind of reveled in my youth, pleased that I was one of the few "old" sisters that could say the YW theme right because I had been in YW when they changed it. I was young and I could prove it because I could say "strengthen home and family" without stuttering.
Well, I just got old, I guess, because I really don't know what I'm going to do now that they've added the eighth value of "virtue" to the YW theme, so that it reads:
We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will 'stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places' (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:"Good Works and Integrity" rolls off my tongue like "peanut butter and jelly." Saying "Integrity and Virtue" will be like saying "peanut butter and peanut butter." It sticks to the roof of my mouth.
Choice and Accountability
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
However, what a wonderful reminder it is to me, as a less-young woman, that families are important, that virtue is important, and that integrity, good works, choice and accountablity, knowlege, individual worth, divine nature, and faith are important.
In 1995 I didn't think The Family: A Proclamation to the World would ever be such a prophetic, true document. But it is.
I am often surprised, when I get reacquainted with people I knew growing up, how many people I know who have no desire to get married or to have children and/or who blatantly misuse the God-given commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. I think it is an issue that we can't take casually. I am glad that the YW today will be learning more about virtue and that all the YW I know become virtuous women.
I'm thrilled for Rosie to be starting YW, even though that means that I'm old enough to be an aunt to a young woman, and I'm so happy that Josie is still in YW, because that means that I'm young enough to still have a sister in YW. I hope that you both know that, as virtuous young women, your price is far above rubies. I love you both. Have fun tripping over "virtue" for the next little while.