Maria Young Dougall was present on November 28, 1869, when her father Brigham Young (second prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Morman Church” by some) asked the young Mormon women to strengthen their testimonies of Christ (Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, , 267). Maria was called as the first counselor of the LDS Young Women’s organization, which is an organization that leads female Mormon youth ages 12-18. 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 youth worldwide. When I was a Latter-day Saint youth, I attended the Young Women’s organization and strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ.
Mormon Women Leaders
The Young Women’s organization began with the prophet Brigham Young’s counsel to his daughters on 18 November 1869 concerning their dress, eating habits, communication and spirituality. He told them, “There is a need for the young daughters of Israel to get a living testimony of the truth”. Brigham Young said:
I wish our girls to obtain a knowledge of the Gospel for themselves. For this purpose I desire to establish … a Retrenchment Association, which I want you all to join, and I want you to vote to retrench in … everything that is bad and worthless, and improve in everything that is good and beautiful. Not to make yourselves unhappy, but to live so that you may be truly happy in this life and the life to come (“Presidents of the Young Women Organization through the Years,” Ensign, June 2008, pages 40–45).
His daughters chose to follow the prophet and created the Retrenchment Association, which was later called the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (YWMIA) and is now known as the LDS Young Women’s organization (Caroline H. Benzley, “134 Years Young!” New Era, November, 2003).
Maria volunteered with several Mormon women such as the LDS woman leader Elmina Shepard Taylor (the young women’s president from 1880-1904) and the second counselor Martha H. Tingey (who became the subsequent president of the young women’s organization). In 1887, Maria took Margaret Young Taylor’s position as first counselor when Margaret’s husband died and she resigned as counselor. She also volunteered as a counselor to Ella Y. Empey in the first Retrenchment Association, counselor in her local congregation’s Association, and also as a Member of the General Board of the YWMIA. In 1893, she served as a worker in the Salt Lake Temple. (Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedias, , page 258.)
Mormon Women: Biography of Maria Young Dougall
Maria was born on December 10, 1849, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Brigham Young and Clarissa Ross. Zina D. H. Young took care of her after Maria’s mother died when she was 8. She was tutored privately in her father’s home until she married William B. Dougall. She gave birth to 5 children, lived an unselfish life, and died on April 30, 1935. (Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, , 258).
Maria was an active citizen and involved in women’s rights. “After Utah gained statehood in 1896, Dougall was the chairperson of the Utah chapter of the National Council of Women, a suffrage organization led by Susan B. Anthony” (Wikipedia, “Maria Young Dougall”). She attended the National Council of Women and the Suffrage Convention in 1887 in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, , 258).
Shortly after the 50 year anniversary of the entrance of pioneers into Utah, she helped Annie Taylor Hyde host 46 women pioneer descendants on April 11, 1901, and subsequently formed the Daughters of Utah Pioneers organization, which has preserved knowledge of the sacrifice, legacies, and memories of the pioneers:
The objectives of the organization would be the cementing together in the bonds of friendship and love the descendants of those who so faithfully stood shoulder to shoulder in braving the difficulties; the forming of branch societies throughout Utah or wherever the descendants of the pioneers reside; the perpetuating of patriotism; the commemorating of those whose efforts were responsible for the founding of our commonwealth; and the compiling of genealogies of the Utah Pioneers.
Mrs. Hyde then asked to hear from others present on the subject and Maria Dougall responded: “I believe Sister Hyde is inspired in this work, and I feel that she is the one we should choose to preside over and guided its future actions, therefore I nominate her as president.” (“The First Twenty-five Years”)
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.