Every six months, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a semi-annual conference. At this conference, church leaders give inspired talks to members all over the world. This past general conference, held Oct. 6-7, church history was made.
President Russell M. Nelson, the 17th president of the Church, made several new changes involving members from around the world.
The biggest news change, as announced by Elder Quentin L. Cook, was the time change of church. Normally church is three hours long: one hour of sacrament, one hour of Sunday school, and one hour of priesthood or relief society. This General Conference, the time changed from three-hour church to two-hour church. According to lds.org, the purpose of this announcement was, “As part of ongoing efforts to help Latter-day Saints learn doctrine, fortify faith, and foster heartfelt worship.”
Nelson announced adjustments to help balance the unique and essential ways members worship, learn, and live the Savior’s gospel both at church and home. Cook also emphasized how members of the church are taught the importance of family and family relationships, and this time change is designed to spend more time with your family in the home and learning the doctrine together.
Another key change was the announcement of 12 new temples. The Church website defines temples as the most sacred places of worship on earth. Only two out of the 12 new temples announced are in the United States—the rest of the temples are in foreign countries. The new temples announced will be located in Mendoza, Argentina; Salvador, Brazil; Yuba City, California; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Praia, Cape Verde; Yigo, Guam; Puebla, Mexico; Auckland, New Zealand; Lagos, Nigeria; Davao, Philippines; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Washington County, Utah
Chesser Cowan, a freshman from New Zealand studying intercultural peacebuilding said, “When the new temple was announced in Auckland I honestly couldn’t believe it. I was feeling so over the moon, but then I laughed because I realized I’ll have to use a lot of gas money to get to the temple since I live over eight hours from Auckland.” Cowan explained he feels another temple being built in New Zealand will spark interest in locals about the gospel and give members there a lot of missionary opportunities.
Along with new temples being announced and a time change, President Nelson also re-emphasized the importance of referring to the Church’s full name ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,’ rather than going by the common nickname ‘Mormon’.
Jayce Holcomb, a junior from Hawaii studying biomedical science said, “I think all the changes and announcements that occurred during general conference are a great reminder to us that prophets are essential and have a purpose. God has servants on the earth that he communicates with to guide and direct us. That is exactly why we have prophets. These changes and progressions are occurring with this day and age and this generation—but these changes are still in line with God’s will.”