Changes to visiting and home teaching, priesthood quorums and temple expansion are exciting changes, according to BYU-Hawaii students.
During General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson announced significant changes to priesthood quorums and introduced a new program, “ministering,” for church members to improve the way they care for one another.
During the Priesthood Session on Saturday, March 31, Nelson announced that effective immediately, Elders Quorums and High Priest groups at the ward level would now be combined into one quorum called the Elders quorum. Nelson said this change would be to “strengthen our priesthood quorums to give greater direction to the ministering of love and support the Lord intends for His Saints.”
Will Strong, a freshman from Wisconsin studying business management, shared his excitement for the changes. While Strong commented these changes will not directly change the way young single adult congregations operate, he explained how it will give an opportunity for growth and development in family wards that YSA members will be a part of in the future.
Strong said, “For the old guys, they will have the young pumped-up returned missionaries and young dads who are energetic. They’ll be able to get some of that excitement. The young guys will be able to see the experience of the older ones in their prime and be able to learn from them. Having those two age groups work together should really bring out the strengths of both and there should be a lot more work to be done.”
Nelson also announced changes to the home teaching program during the Sunday Afternoon Session, removing it entirely. Nelson stated, “We have made the decision to retire home teaching and visiting teaching as we have known them. Instead we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as ‘ministering.’ Effective ministering efforts are enabled by the innate gifts of the sisters and by the incomparable power of the priesthood.”
Strong shared what the word ministering means to him. “The word ministering makes me think of how Christ ministered unto the Nephites. He wasn’t there to just organize his church and leave. He held the children, he blessed the people and he loved everyone. He handed out priesthood keys and taught them how to baptize properly and everything, but that’s not the only reason he was there. He was there to love and minister unto them. That’s the difference I think of when I think of ministering and home teaching.”
In a surprise announcement at the end of Sunday’s Afternoon Session, President Nelson announced plans to construct seven new temples to be built in the following locations: Salta, Argentina, Bengaluru, India, Managua, Nicaragua, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, Layton, Utah, Richmond, Virginia and a major city yet to be determined in Russia.
According to lds.org, this announcement brings the total number of temples, operating, announced or under construction, to 189 worldwide. The Layton Utah Temple will be Utah’s 19th temple. A first for Russia, the temple will serve more than 23,000 Latter-day Saints in a country where the church was only officially recognized in May 1991, according to lds.org.
President Nelson said in his concluding remarks, “We want to bring temples closer to the expanding membership of the church. My dear brothers and sisters, construction of these temples may not change your life, but your time in the temple surely will.”
Encouraging members to “identify” things worth putting aside in order to attend the temple, President Nelson urged members to “spend more time in the temple.”
Camron Sharp, a junior from Laie studying biomedicine, said in regard to the changes announced at the conference, “I liked how they spread out all of the changes and announcements throughout all of the sessions as opposed to just having it all in the beginning. It kept it exciting.”
For more information on these changes, it can be found at ministering.lds.org under the frequently asked questions tab.