For almost 50 years, Martha H. Tingey led young Mormon women for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Morman Church” by the media). Martha served as the second counselor of the first presidency and as the second president of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (YLMIA) which is presently called the LDS Young Women’s organization (a global female youth organization) (Caroline H. Benzley, “134Years Young!”, New Era, November,2003). I myself have been blessed by this organization and know that it is led by a prophet of God who directs Mormon women to lead the female LDS youth worldwide. I can only imagine the work it took to help form this organization churchwide and ask teenage girls to develop into better Christians and future mothers. I am grateful to Martha’s life of service and commitment to follow her Savior Jesus Christ.
Mormon Women Leaders:
From a young age, Martha was called to serve with various Mormon women. In her early twenties, she began almost 50 years of service to Mormon youth including as a Sunday school teacher, officer for the Primary Association (divine organization for children), YLMIA officer and YLMIA counselor for her local congregation. She worked alongside the LDS woman leader Elmina Shepard Taylor (the young women’s president from 1880-1904) and first counselors Maria Young Dougall (1880-1887) and Margaret Young Taylor (1887-1904). In April 1905, Elmina Shepard Taylor died and Martha took over her position as president. Ruth M. Fox and May Taylor Nystrom and Lucy Grant Cannon were her counselors until 1929, when Martha requested an honorable release due to poor health.
[D]uring the many years she stood at the head of all the young ladies of the Church, she made a remarkable record for diligence and faithful discharge of duty (Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedias, , page 75).
During her presidency, she accomplished a lot and blessed the lives of many Mormon women. Martha created and organized the first young woman’s summer camp, the Beehive girls program (1913), the Beehive House (home for girls), a summer home (for young women), road shows, the first gold and green ball, and the Golden jubilee. In 1922 she chose the official colors of the YLMIA to be gold and green. She represented the YLMIA at the National Council of Women several times and traveled to Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, New York, California, and other states. She said:
My heart is with the Mutual Improvement work. I love the youth of Zion, and I am anxious that … they may become a mighty army for righteousness in the kingdom of God. (Quoted in Thomas C. Romney, “Martha Horne Tingey,” Instructor, July 1950, 199) (“Presidents of the Young Women Organization through the Years,” Ensign, June 2008, pages 40–45).
She authored a handbook for young Mormon women referred to as “the Bee-Hive Girls” and stated “THE PURPOSE is to perfect our womanhood,—to hold the faith of our fathers and to develop it in our individual womanhood, drawing from all good sources to do so” (Hand Book for the Bee-Hive Girls of the Y.L.M.I.A. 1916, page 3). A modern apostle, James E. Faust, said a young woman of 1916:
…was a Beehive girl until she entered Relief Society… A Beehive girl had a possible 374 requirements to earn her individual award… In 1916 the challenges of life involved an entirely different focus, such as killing flies, clearing sagebrush, and learning to harness horses. Today such physical needs are met much more easily… But the basic element which should never change in the lives of righteous young women is giving service to others. Their divine role as caregivers helps noble womanhood gain “the highest place of honor in human life.” Serving others can begin at almost any age. Often the greatest service to others is one-on-one. It need not be on a grand scale, and it is noblest within the family (Womanhood: The Highest Place of Honor, Ensign, May 2000).
Quotes from Martha H. Tingey include:
Each girl is special—one of a kind—a child of God, and each must be taught to live His commandments in order to inherit His eternal blessings.
Mind you, I’m going into the bedroom now to talk things over with Heavenly Father (Blog, Gaiam.com).
Mormon Women: The Life of Martha H. Tingey:
Maria was born on October 15, 1857, in Salt Lake City, Utah (Wikipedia, Martha H. Tingey). She chose to be baptized when she was 8 years old, and her father baptized her into the LDS Church. Martha married Joseph S. Tingey and had seven children. She attended private schools and the Deseret University (currently known as the University of Utah). She was:
…gifted in music and has natural elocutionary powers, and being possessed of a rare memory, while still quite young, she was in constant demand for public and private entertainments (Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, , page 75).
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.