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15 Major Changes in the Church in 2017

This year has been packed with big changes in the LDS Church, from updating temple policies to consolidating sessions of general conference. As we prepare for a new year, here's a quick overview of all the major changes in the Church from 2017.

Church Makes Major Changes to Temple PoliciesImage title

Image from youngandmormon.com

From who can officiate in baptisms for the dead to new policies about temple service for single members and divorcees, the Church has made a lot of changes regarding temple work.

In August, the Church announced that single men over 30 and recent divorcees can serve as temple ordinance workers. Previously, divorced men and women underwent a waiting period before being able to serve as temple ordinance workers and single men could serve as temple ordinance workers through age 30.

In December, the Church announced that all priests holding the Aaronic priesthood and a limited-use temple recommend may officiate in baptisms for the dead and young women with a limited-use temple recommend may also assist with baptistry assignments previously reserved for sister temple ordinance workers.

Church Makes Major Changes to 2018 Relief Society, Priesthood CurriculumImage title

Image from lds.org

In August, the Church announced some big changes for Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society Sunday meetings in 2018. As we wrap up the last year using the "Teaching of the Prophets" manuals, Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood meetings moving forward will focus on counseling together about local needs in addition to teaching gospel-centered lessons.

The first Sunday of each month the Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood will hold a council instead of a lesson to better know and respond to the needs of those in the ward, the second and third Sundays will be on recent general conference addresses, the fourth Sunday will be on a specific topic chosen by general Church leader, and the fifth Sunday will be on a topic chosen by local bishoprics.

For more details and answers to commonly asked questions about these changes, click here.

Church Announces Several Changes to Missionary Program

Image titleImage from Mormon Newsroom

From updating missionary schedules and reporting to reducing the number of missions, the Church made several announcements about the missionary program this year.

In January, the Church announced that significant changes will be made to daily missionary schedules, changes which allow missionaries—with counsel from their mission presidents—to have more flexibility as they customize their daily schedules to better fit their unique place and situation. In addition, missionary preparation days will be adjusted to allow more flexibility.

In October, the Church announced that it will be making changes to the missionary program by standardizing interview questions for prospective missionaries, decreasing missions while trying to utilize tech savviness to locate like-minded religious people, and providing more help for early returned missionaries. 

Elder Hales Passes AwayImage title

Image from Mormon Newsroom

Just 15 minutes after the first session of October general conference concluded, Elder Robert D. Hales passed away. President Nelson had felt inspired to rush to his good friend during conference and was by his side when the 85-year-old apostle of the Lord took his last breath.

Just a few hours later during the last session of general conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen shared a message from Elder Hales:

"The First Presidency had told Elder Hales that he could give a brief message in the Sunday morning session if his health permitted it," Elder Andersen said. "While his health did not permit it, he prepared a message, which he finished last week and shared with me. Given his passing approximately three hours ago, I share just three lines from this talk. Quoting Elder Hales:

"'When we choose to have faith, we are prepared to stand in the presence of God. After the Savior’s crucifixion, He appeared only to those who had been faithful in the testimony of Him while they lived in mortality. Those who rejected the testimonies of the prophets could not behold the Savior’s presence nor look upon His face. Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of God.'"

For more inspiring stories of Elder Hales shared at his funeral, click here.

Church Announces General Conference Sessions Will Now Be ConsolidatedImage title

Image from Mormon Newsroom

In a message sent to Church leadership in October, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced changes for future general conferences:

"Beginning in April 2018, the general women's session will no longer be held on the Saturday preceding the other sessions of general conference. Rather, the general priesthood and general women's sessions will each be held annually, with the general priesthood session being in April and the general women's session being in October. These meetings will originate from the Conference Center on Saturday evening following the morning and afternoon sessions of the conference."
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