PROVO, Utah — The change in direction of the Young Women's program under
Ardeth Green Kapp's administration in the early 1980s came from a
simple question posed by one of her counselors.
"What do we want to happen?" asked Maren Mourtison.
That got Kapp thinking. The result was a program based on the concepts
of "Who am I, what am I to do and how do I do it?" Kapp said.
She and some of her board were present at the Church History Symposium
at Brigham Young University on Friday when church history researchers
examined her role in bringing about the change.
Prior to Kapp's call as the ninth president of the Young Women
organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1984,
the emphasis was more on self-improvement and activities. Under her
administration the world-wide program became more gospel and priesthood
centered, said presenters Mary Jane Woodger and Jessica Christensen.
Among the important events was the first satellite Young Women's
broadcast, the new Personal Progress program, both in 1985, and the
first Young Women World-Wide Celebration in 1986, Woodger said.
1989 Kapp brought out a new theme and logo and began teaching the seven
values the young women, age 12-18 were to learn: faith, divine nature,
individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, and
was added in 2008 when the theme was changed to read, "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 as
we strive to live the Young Women values, which are: Faith, Divine
Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good
Works, Integrity and Virtue.
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
emphasized journal-keeping as an important part of personal progress,
along with encouraging the young women to write letters of
appreciation. That started what became known as her "ministry of mail,"
young woman herself, Kapp's parents taught her to take a spiritual
perspective and to "view the temple as the University of the Lord,"
in turn, taught Young Women around the world to "make and keep sacred
covenants, receive ordinances and enjoy the blessings of exaltation,"
the researcher said. The focus was on outcomes, she said.
to joining the BYU faculty where she served as Chairman of the Advisory
Committee on Women's Concerns, Kapp taught elementary school in
Bountiful, where she now lives, and later became a counselor to
then-Young Women's president Ruth Funk before receiving the call from church leaders to fill that role herself.
in Canada where her parents owned and operated a country store, Kapp
later represented the church at Attorney General Edwin Meese'
Commission on Pornography in 1986.
"It was a very intense time," Kapp said. ". . . but I felt a calm feeling."
message was how pornography harms women. When she began speaking about
values that should be protected the television cameras clicked off.
"They didn't want to hear what we had to say," she said.
Kapp continues her anti-pornography efforts through the Upward Reach Foundation, which offers self-help for people with social and emotional challenges.