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MIA Slogans and Themes

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 06, 2009

Beginning with the 1914-15 school year (the MIA year started in September then, rather than in January), the Mutual Improvement Association for the Church’s teens and young adults adopted a yearly theme (called a “slogan” until 1936). The young people stood and recited the theme during routine MIA meetings, there were articles in the Improvement Era centering on the theme, and sometimes special programs were organized to advance the year’s theme. I remember that at least one of those used during my years in MIA was set to music, and I can hardly recite that verse today without falling into the rhythm of that music.

Below are the themes from 1914 through 1975, with some gaps that I still need to fill (it’s time consuming to pull these out of the manuals and magazines).

Some of the early themes are so different in character that I can’t imagine them being used today, not that there’s anything wrong with them, but just that we tend to emphasize broader, more spiritual principles today than the narrow, practical nature of some of the slogans — or so it seems to me; I’m not in touch with what the YM/YW have been doing for the last 20 years. Others have an old-fashioned flavor obviously tied to the politics or LDS concerns of the day.

Thoughts? Patterns? Insights? Snickers?

1914-15: We stand for a sacred Sabbath and a weekly half holiday.

1915-16: We stand for a weekly home evening.

1916-17: We stand for state and nation-wide Prohibition.

1917-18: We stand for thrift and economy.

1918-19: We stand for service to God and Country.

1919-20: We stand for spiritual growth through attendance at Sacrament meetings.

1920-21: We stand for the non-use and non-sale of tobacco.

1921-22: We stand for loyal citizenship.

1922-23: We stand for a pure life through clean thought and action.

1923-24: We stand for divine guidance through individual and family prayer.

1924-25: We stand for the Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother.

1925-26: We stand for an individual testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

1926-27: We stand for a testimony of the divine mission of Joseph Smith.

1927-28: We stand for a fuller knowledge of the Book of Mormon and a testimony of its divine origin.

1928-29: We stand for law: For the people who live it; and the officers who enforce it.

1929-30: We stand for the preservation of our heritage through obedience to law.

1930-31: We stand for loyal adherence to Latter-day Saint ideals.

1931-32: We stand for physical, mental and spiritual health through observance of the Word of Wisdom.

1932-33: We stand for enrichment of life through constructive use of leisure and personal service to fellow man.

1933-34: Inspired by the refining influences of Mormonism, we will develop the gifts within us.

1934-35: By my actions, I will prove my allegiance to the Church.

1935-36: We stand for spirituality and happiness in the home.

1936-37: Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. (D&C 121:45)

1937-38: Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the god of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5)

1938-39: by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Galatians 5:13-14)

1939-40: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart; and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

1940-41: My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee: and when thou awakest; it shall talk with thee. (Proverbs 6:20-22)

1941-42: I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (D&C 82:10)

1942-43: Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)

1943-44: Let us all do the will of our Father in heaven today, and we will then be prepared for the duty of tomorrow and for the eternities to come. (Heber J. Grant)

1944-45: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

1945-46: Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. (Psalms 34:13-15)

1946-47: Let everyone get a knowledge for himself that this work is true … then let every person say: “I will live my religion … I will walk humbly before my God and deal honestly with my fellow beings.” (Brigham Young)

1947-48: If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life. (D&C 14:7)

1948-49: Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)

1949-50: How glorious and near to the angels is youth that is clean; this youth has joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter. (The First Presidency, April 6, 1942)

1950-51: Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. (alma 37:35)

1951-52: Choose you this day whom ye will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

1952-53: Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)

1953-54: Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free: entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes. (D&C 88:86)

1954-55: Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich. (D&C 6:7)

1955-56: I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth. (Romans 1:16)

1956-57: Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from His hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works. (Jacob 4:10)

1957-58: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

1958-59: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

1959-60: If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

1960-61: Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers. (D&C 112:10)

1961-62: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7)

1962-63: Thou shalt love the Lord thy god with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him. (D&C 59:5)

1963-64: And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10:4)

1964-65: For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. (Alma 34:32)

1965-66: He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:321)

1966-67: There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of the world, upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)

1967-68: Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. (D&C 130:18)




1971-72: Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly. (D&C 90:24)

1972-73: And if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God. (D&C 14:7)

1973-74: For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)

1974-75: And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)








  1. Count me in for the weekly half holiday!

    Comment by iguacufalls — January 6, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  2. We won’t stand for that!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 6, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  3. Oh, wait a minute …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 6, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  4. Puts a context on President Hinckley’s admonition to Stand for Something, doesn’t it?

    Comment by Coffinberry — January 6, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  5. And behoooooooold, I tell you these thiiiiiings, that ye may leeeeeaaaaarn, WISdom.

    Comment by Martin Willey — January 6, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  6. And what is with the law and order years (1928-30)?

    Comment by Martin Willey — January 6, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

  7. He *did* grow up during the “we stand for” years, didn’t he, Coffinberry? I hadn’t thought of that.

    Martin, in my case it’s “Behoooold, this iiiis my-WORK-and-my-GLOry to briiiiing to paaaaass the iiimorTALity aaaaand eTERrrrnal life of maaaaan.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 6, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  8. My guess is the law and order years go right into the Word of Wisdom years and all have to do with lawless behavior regarding alcohol during Prohibition.

    Comment by Chad Too — January 6, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  9. OK, I’ll ask: What in the world is a “weekly half holiday”? And why in the world is it so important as to merit inclusion in a youth church slogan? Google is no real help.

    Comment by Hunter — January 6, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  10. I actually enjoy the sound of the “We stand” beginning to the old slogans. (Try it – say a couple of them aloud.) It’s very authoritative sounding, and must have created a unifying feel when recited in unison by a group. (Or maybe I’m just tired of hearing the mushmouth reading of the theme by the youth in my Ward each week.)

    Comment by Hunter — January 6, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  11. I remember the 72-73 theme like it was yesterday. The ones after that seem vaguely familiar as MIA themes, but I must have forgotten that we had recited those. I can tell you that one of the missing themes (probably for 1971-72) Was Doctrine and Covenants 90:24.

    Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly.

    Comment by Left Field — January 6, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

  12. One more question: Is the lower-case rendering of the word “god” intentional in the Brigham Young quote? (1946-47: “I will walk humbly before my god and deal honestly with my fellow beings.”)

    The Journal of Discourses has the phrase “I will walk humbly before God” (i.e, capitalized God and omitting “my” before God). Perhaps it’s just a typo? Or maybe the MIA rendered it this way intentionally? Not to threadjack, but I would assume the word should be capitalized (compare the phrase “mingling with gods,” Praise to the Man, No. 27, Hymnal).

    Oh, and Ardis, what a find! Thanks for these. They’re fascinating to read through.

    Comment by Hunter — January 6, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  13. You’re probably right, Chad. When I have time, I may go through the Era for that, um, era, and see if there are articles about lawlessness, or something else to explain that.

    Hunter, I’m not entirely sure of this, but I think a six-day work week was still pretty standard at that time — it almost certainly would have been standard for Utah’s farmers. Since one of the chief functions of the MIA was to organize wholesome recreation, I’m guessing that the campaign for a half-holiday may have been in the nature of civic improvement. Again, I’ll read through the publications of that time (sooner or later) with that question in mind. (The lowercase is a typo — I’ll fix. Thanks.)

    Thanks, Left Field. The themes must have done their job, at least to the extent of having us memorize a scripture, since that’s three of us now with clear memories of a particular theme.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 6, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  14. Well, I’m feeling gypped now. I never got to recite slogans in Mutual when I hit my teens in the early 80s. We just showed up and did our Scout stuff.

    Comment by iguacufalls — January 6, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  15. Boy, I remember those themes from 1964 through 1968. They represent probably the first scriptures I memorized. We took those recitations seriously, which is more than I can say for my experience in Boy Scouts. Suffice it to say that my scoutmaster didn’t pay particular attention to these themes, and was not the best example for us boys to emulate. That’s all I have to say about that.

    Comment by kevinf — January 6, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  16. What happened in ’36 to spark the sudden change in format?

    Comment by Ray — January 6, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

  17. I too remember the one from D&C 90:24–but I’m guessing it was 1970-71. The next year I was in college and that was the end of MIA.

    And I remember the song that someone wrote–we sang it to introduce the theme at the beginning of the year, but I don’t remember all the kids being expected to sing it.

    By the way, Ardis: did you know that they’re back? The 2009 theme is: “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Previous years’ themes, back to 2002, can be found on the Young Women page of (I don’t know if anybody stands and recites the themes in Mutual.)

    Comment by Mark B. — January 6, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  18. In our ward they do, during opening exercises for Mutual

    Comment by iguacufalls — January 6, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

  19. So interesting! It’s interesting to see the shift from more nation-wide, political subjects to more personal, spiritual ones. I just can’t imagine a bunch of YW girls saying, “We stand for the non-use and non-sale of tobacco” every Sunday. How old is the YW theme? And now it’s got a new virtue. I remember when a phrase was added while I was in YW that it threw us off for only a few weeks, but the leaders were still forgetting after a year. 🙂

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — January 7, 2009 @ 3:31 am

  20. And we just added a new value last month, too.

    The 2009 theme came with a flashy concert DVD and new youth-oriented website.

    Comment by jeans — January 7, 2009 @ 6:54 am

  21. I’m pretty sure that either 70 or 71 was the 13th Article of Faith.

    Comment by melwhett — January 7, 2009 @ 7:27 am

  22. 1967: that was the year I joined the Church (at age 14). I remember reciting the 66-67 and 67-68 MIA themes, though I doubt I could have identified them now if asked. I am pretty sure, though, that one of the subsequent themes (68-69, 69-70, 70-71) was “For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.” (Mormon 8:22) There’s another one tickling the back of my brain; if I can remember it, I’ll come back and post.

    By the way, for those of you not of A Certain Age, note that back then the Church followed a September-August calendar year (matching US schools). I don’t remember when the switchover to a January-based year happened, though I suspect it closely coincided with the switch to the consolidated block schedule. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — January 7, 2009 @ 9:22 am

  23. Ray, today I scanned through the Improvement Era for that time, since the MIA is featured every month, but I saw nothing that explains the change in style. They changed “just cuz,” I guess.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 7, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  24. I did some checking, and an excerpt of Doctrine and Covenants 90:24 was the theme for the 1971-1972 year, which began in September ’71. It would have made sense that it was the first one I remember, since I turned twelve in August 1971.

    Comment by Left Field — January 7, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

  25. Great link, Left Field. I’ve updated the post.

    I still need to confirm exactly which years the themes recalled by melwhett and bfwebster were used, and I’ll try to fill in others as well, as I have time in the library to search for them.

    Michelle and jeans, I don’t know quite how the values are used in YW today — we don’t even have a Primary or YM/YW organization in our ward for me to see — but I’m guessing that even if the format is a little different, the general purpose is the same. Nope, Mark, I had no idea they were back. It’d be fun to see how these practices morphed into what is done today. Maybe I should update the list to the current year?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 7, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

  26. I was a MIA teacher during the 1966-67 season and vividly remember the problem the youth had trying to pronounce “irrevocably”

    Comment by Maurine — January 7, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

  27. Maurine’s comment stirs old memories (with an emphasis on “old”). I too remember being taught how to pronounce “irrevocably”, probably by my mother, when I turned 12 in 1966 and started going to Mutual. That followed the pronunciation lesson from the year before, when we were memorizing the 10th Article of Faith during my last year in Primary, and nobody down there seemed to get “paradisiacal.”

    Left Field’s comment and link leave me puzzled–how was it that I participated in the program to introduce the theme for a year when I quit going to Mutual?

    Comment by Mark B. — January 8, 2009 @ 5:46 am

  28. Mark, I think that the M-Men and Gleaners were still active at that point, and were under the auspices of the MIA. Perhaps you did the theme as an M-Man in college. Or perhaps the program introducing the new theme was held in the spring or summer of 1971 before you left for college.

    I’d be curious to see if the theme for 1970-71 rings a bell for me. I possibly could have attended MIA for a couple of weeks before the new theme was introduced in September.

    The youth programs went through a lot of changes in the early ’70s, changing names faster than anyone could keep up. For awhile the YWMIA (now Young Women) was called something like Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women. When looking for the 1971-72 theme, I encountered a directive that scouts were no longer to be called scouts. From henceforth they were to be called deacon-scouts (or teacher-venturers or priest-explorers) to emphasize the greater importance of the priesthood organization. I don’t remember ever being called a “deacon-scout.” I think it’s obvious why that one never caught on.

    Comment by Left Field — January 8, 2009 @ 6:52 am

  29. Left Field- when I was baptised in 1977, I attended ‘APYW’- standing presumably for Aaronic Priesthood/Young Women.Everyone except the youth still called it ‘MIA’- then it morphed somehow into ‘Mutual’.

    I remember the Church curriculum was still starting in Sept in 79-80, that was my first year in RS. We had lessons designated for the northern and southern hemispheres. Maybe the change was at the same time as the consolidated schedule in 1980…I seem to think it was slightly later, though.Am probably wrong on that.

    Comment by Anne — January 8, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

  30. I remember the switch to APYW–they did a whole Sacrament Meeting on it to introduce it around 1975. I was just getting ready to enter the youth program so I was very interested in figuring out anything having to do with teenagers. But then, the older people kept calling it MIA, which I had never figured out since I was confused by watching the news about “MIA’s” in Vietnam.

    Comment by Homer — January 14, 2009 @ 12:22 am

  31. Just wondered if there are updates the themes in the 70’s. Pretty nice my first click to a link in searching for “latter day saints mia theme” brought me here. Thank you for putting this on line and for the work to find them

    Comment by Chads — October 23, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  32. THANKS!!!! I’m close to 59 and have been challenged to do the Personal Progress that the YW do. When I was in MIA, they went through several different programs, and never finished any of them because they kept changing. Anyway, I’m working on the “Knowledge” value and I knew the scripture I memorized when I first went in to MIA…but wasn’t sure of the year! This helped me!!! Thanks again!!!

    Comment by Joleen — January 19, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

  33. I know what you mean, Joleen! I kind of feel like I was cheated of an MIA or YW experience, because the program changed every year or two and there was no chance to follow anything through to feel like you’d achieved anything! I’m glad this list helped out your memory.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 19, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

  34. Thanks so much for putting this list together. I’ve been trying to remember all of my mutual themes and you have them all except 1969-1970. Yes, we stood every week and recited these scriptures and I loved it. I believe in the law of repetition. When you quote something every week for a year, it stays with you. at 61 years old, I’ve been called as a MiaMaid Adviser and I haven’t been in Young Women’s for 20 years! I love sharing things from my youth that seems applicable and I’m excited to share these themes with the beautiful young women in my ward. Thanks again.

    Comment by Cheryl Hansen — February 8, 2014 @ 7:08 am

  35. In the late ’60s, I recall standing during Opening Exercises for MIA and reciting as our motto: “As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.” Does anyone else recall this?

    Comment by Rea — February 21, 2015 @ 6:17 pm

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