One of the interesting things about our faith is that we have special classes and programs designed for our youth to help them in their growth and development. These programs are designed to help them spiritually, physically, emotionally, temporally, and socially. Today, teenagers between the ages 12 and 18 work hard to pass off requirements in order to receive certificates and awards. The boys participate primarily in Boy Scouts and the church’s Duty to God program, while the girls work toward their Personal Progress awards.
Similar programs have been in place for many years. A while back, I happened to come across a list of interesting requirements for the Young Women from 1916. I read these to the teenage boys I teach, and they thought they were hilarioius. Please enjoy a blast from Mormon past!
1916 Beehive Requirements
In 1916, every female over fourteen was a called a Beehive girl until she entered the women’s organization of the church, known as the Relief Society. Today, the young women are divided into three groups by age: Beehives, Mia Maids, and Laurels. Don’t ask me where they got the names…I was never a young woman. The following are only 20 out of the 373 requirements possible for a Beehive girl to earn her awards in 1916:
1. Care successfully for a hive of bees for one season and know their habits.
2. Give the distinguishing characteristics of six varieties of hen and cattle and tell the good and weak points of each.
3. Exterminate the mosquitoes over an area of 1 mile square by pouring a little kerosene on the surface of all standing pools of water twice each month during April, May, and June.
4. Make two articles of underwear by hand.
5. Cover 25 miles on snowshoes in any six days.
6. Learn to float in Great Salt Lake and propel yourself 50 feet.
7. During three consecutive months, abstain from candy, ice cream, commercially manufactures beverages, and chewing gum
8. For one month, masticate your food so thoroughly that it slips down without any visible effort at swallowing it.
9. Successfully put a new washer on a faucet.
10. Care for at least two kerosene lamps daily.
11. For three months, take care of milk and cream from at least one cow and see that the pails, pans, strainer, and separator are thoroughly cleansed.
12. During two weeks, keep the house free from flies or destroy at least 25 flies daily.
13. Have your toilet moved to an isolated place in the garden. Have a frame of chicken wire built about three feet away and plant quick-growing vines such as cucumber or morning glories to screen it from observation.
14. Whitewash your toilet inside and out.
15. Know and describe three cries of a baby.
16. Without help or advice, care for and harness a team at least five times; drive them 50 miles during one season.
17. During two summer months, clean ice chest thoroughly twice a week.
18. Discover ten reasons why the Columbine should be the national flower.
19. Clear sagebrush off of an acre of land.
20. Know six blazes used by the Indians.
I thought these were great! I could imagine some poor teenage girl at almost midnight and only on fly number 23! What’s a girl to do?! Also, I’m not sure what is involved in whitewashing a toilet, but I’m sure glad we have Scrubbing Bubbles today. Also, what would a poor little Alabama girl do if she wanted to pass off the requirement of learning to float in the Great Salt Lake? Will she have to cross the plains in a covered wagon risking frostbite, typhoid fever, or maybe even dysentery just to complete the assignment? I think I would’ve enjoyed seeing my little sister try to cover 25 miles while wearing snow shoes over six days. I imagine that’s pretty hard to do in places where it rarely snows. I don’t care that people say this generation of youth is one of the strongest. When compared to this list, I’d say we’ve gotten a bit soft over the years!