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Kapp's influence on to Young Women noted at event

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.

In

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

integrity.

"Virtue"

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.

"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."

She

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,"

Woodger said.

As a

young woman herself, Kapp's parents taught her to take a spiritual

perspective and to "view the temple as the University of the Lord,"

Woodger said.

Kapp,

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.

Prior

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.

Raised

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."

Her

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.