What is Mutual?
Mutual is the term members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use to describe a weeknight activity sponsored by the Church for teenagers. Mutual got its name because it is supposed to encourage “shared experiences in which there is mutual respect and support for one another” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders , 187 emphasis added).
Mutual is held in the evening on any day except Sunday or Monday. Typically mutuals will last about an hour and a half and will be on the same night each week at the same time. Its purpose is to provide a setting where young men and young women can learn and practice gospel principles, prepare themselves for the future, build friendships with their peers including those less active in the Church, provide service for others, and have fun in a wholesome environment. Leaders are asked to make sure that the activities are age appropriate and fulfill the purpose of Mutual.
What does Mutual consist of?
Mutual should be started each time with opening exercises. These last for about 10-15 minutes and the different presidencies in Young Men and Young Women take turns conducting. It should open with a hymn followed by a prayer. It can also include short talks, musical numbers, and other appropriate activities such as youth choir practice and short announcements.
Class activities are held for about 30-70 minutes and can include learning new skills, providing service, or working on requirements for Church programs such as Duty to God and Personal Progress. Social activities are optional but can follow class activities and can be up to thirty minutes long. Activities involving both the young women and the young men (often referred to as a combined activity) should be held once a month.
The Church provides annual themes that focus on different areas of developments such as service, music, sports, and others. These themes are supposed to help leaders plan events for the year.
Elder Robert D. Hales explained the importance of the Mutual program,
- Some of the great blessings of these programs that have been developed are that as the youth of the Church, you will have a clear understanding of who you are, you will be accountable for your actions, you will take responsibility for the conduct of your life, and you will be able to set goals so that you might achieve what you were sent to earth to achieve (“Fulfilling Our Duty to God,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 38).