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6 Big Changes in the Church Announced This Conference Weekend

This general conference has been historic in many ways. And with so many exciting, new changes, you might have missed a few. Here's a roundup of all the changes that were announced during this conference weekend.

1. A New Name for Our World-Renowned Choir

The Friday before general conference the Church announced that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would now be known as the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. This name change coincides with our prophet's call to focus on the true name of the Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and He who stands at its head.

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“A new name for the Tabernacle Choir will represent a change after so many years,” said Ron Jarrett, president of the choir. “The name may change, but everything that people know and love about the choir will not only be the same but will get better and better.”

2. Changes to Sunday Meeting Schedules

During the Saturday morning session, President Nelson said:

"As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of ‘church’ as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home. We need an adjustment to this pattern. It is time for home-centered church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings."

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He then turned the time over to Elder Cook, who announced changes to the Sunday meeting schedule to help support a more home-centered church. These changes included shortening sacrament meeting to 60-minutes followed by a 50-minute class that will alternate each week. Sunday school will be held on the first and third weeks of each month; Relief Society, elders quorum, Young Men, and Young Women on the second and fourth weeks; and fifth weeks will be under the direction of the bishop. Primary will be divided each week between singing time and classes. 

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"This new shift will help our members focus on deepening conversion to God and Jesus Christ, strengthening families and individuals through home study, staying focused on the sacrament, and helping those on both sides of the veil through missionary work and temple work," Elder Cook said. 

3. Changes to Elders Quorum and Relief Society Presidency Responsibilities 

In a letter released before the morning session of general conference, the First Presidency announced changes to the responsibilities of Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies. 

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Under these changes, the elders quorum president may be assigned by the bishop to oversee member missionary work and temple and family history work. The elders quorum president could then delegate these assignments to his counselors who would then act as the ward mission leader or the ward temple and family history leader or would supervise the ward mission leader or family history leader.

"Whether a bishop calls a ward mission leader and a ward temple and family history leader or the counselors in the elders quorum presidency fill those roles is up to the inspired direction of each bishop," the letter states.

Similarly, the Relief Society president will oversee member missionary work and temple and family history. As with the elders quorum president, the Relief Society president may delegate these assignments to her counselors and the bishop directs whether the counselors "facilitate priesthood-directed member missionary work and temple and family history work" or call others to do so, according to the letter. 

4. Remembering Christ and the True Name of the Church

In August, President Nelson announced, "The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will."

During the Sunday morning session of general conference, President Nelson shared the purpose behind this focus on the name of the Church. It is the Lord who has given The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints its name, not men. President Nelson noted this focus “is not a name change. It is not rebranding. It is not cosmetic. It is not a whim. And it is not inconsequential. Instead, it is a correction. It is the command of the Lord.”

“For much of the world, the Lord’s Church is presently disguised as the ‘Mormon Church.’ But we as members of the Lord’s Church know who stands at its head: Jesus Christ Himself,” President Nelson said. “I realize with profound regret that we have unwittingly acquiesced in the Lord’s restored Church being called by other names, each of which expunges the sacred name of Jesus Christ!”

He continued, “If we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen. We will have the knowledge and power of God to help us take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.”

5. President Nelson Announced 12 New Temples

At the end of the 188th Semiannual General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans to build 12 new temples. In addition to this being the largest number of temples ever announced on the same day, the news brings the total number of Latter-day Saint temples operating, announced or under construction to 201. This comes exactly 18 years to the week since the Church completed its 100th temple.

The new temples will be in the following locations:

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
Washington County, Utah

6. Leadership Changes

During the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, the following General Authority Seventies were released and given emeritus status:

Mervyn B. Arnold
Craig A. Cardon
Larry J. Echo Hawk
C. Scott Grow
Allan F. Packer
Gregory A. Schwitzer
Claudio D. Zivic

And the following General Authority Seventy was sustained:

Brook P. Hales

The following Area Seventies were released:

B. Sergio Antunes

Alan C. Batt

R. Randall Bluth

Hans T. Boom

Fernando E. Calderón

H. Marcelo Cardus

Paul R. Coward

Marion B. De Antuñano

Robert A. Dryden

Daniel F. Dunnigan

Jeffrey D. Erekson

Mervyn C. Giddey

João Roberto Grahl

Richard K. Hansen

Todd B. Hansen

Michael R. Jensen

Daniel W. Jones

Steven O. Laing

Axel H. Leimer

Tasara Makasi

Alvin F. Meredith III

Adonay S. Obando

Katsuyuki Otahara

Fred A. Parker

José C. Pineda

Gary S. Price

Miguel A. Reyes

Alfredo L. Salas

Netzahualcoyotl Salinas

Michael L. Southward

G. Lawrence Spackman

William H. Stoddard

Stephen E. Thompson

David J. Thomson

George J. Tobias

Jacques A. Van Reenen

Raul Edgardo A. Vicencio

Keith P. Walker

Daniel Yirenya-Tawiah

Lead image from lds.org

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