No, not the young women’s program, but that’s part of it.
LDS have a well defined belief in the importance of both grace and work. As Paul taught and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf expounded on, we believe in grace, but does that mean we don’t believe in doing good works? No, being freed from sin, we become the servants of righteousness. We do good works out of our love for God and fellow mankind. We devote out lives to being disciples of Christ.
The pioneers that settled Utah had no choice but to roll up their sleeves and go to work to survive in that harsh environment. That work ethic is still strong in LDS teachings and culture. Missionaries were taught by Ezra Taft Benson.
Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute.
Prophets, especially recently by Gordon B. Hinckley, have frequently encouraged youth to obtain all the education they can possibly get. The Perpetual Education Fund was set up to help disadvantaged members get access to funds to help with higher education. General authorities are many times selected from a pool of Harvard and Yale graduates, university presidents, high powered attorneys and business leaders. Young LDS growing up wanting to emulate these high achievers. We don’t shy away from this culture of success. We are not ashamed of emphasizing the importance of obtaining resources to live comfortably in this life and have extra to provide for others and build up the kingdom of God. This is seen as a conflict in many religions but not ours.
This strong emphasis on work and personal progress might come from the doctrine that Joseph Smith and early church leaders taught on deification. This is the concept that man’s progress is not stopped when we die. We continue to progress with the aim to become more like God, even becoming a God in the future. The church has seemed to back off this doctrine a little in the last 30 years. In 1997, Pres. Hinckley said we don’t know a lot about that doctrine or emphasize it. Recent revisions in church lesson manuals have removed the quotes from early leaders that spoke about this doctrine with high specificity. And we don’t hear it mentioned in general conference much anymore. However, we still strongly believe that this life is for human development, and in a heaven where more learning and growth takes place.