A note at the bottom of the First Presidency Message in the online April edition of the Ensign shared an important message with readers—monthly First Presidency messages in the magazine are changing.
According to the note at the end of President Russell M. Nelson's April First Presidency Message "As We Go Forward Together" in the online April Ensign:
This message will be the last First Presidency Message published in the "Ensign" on a monthly basis. In the future, the First Presidency will share important messages as needed through the Church’s various channels, including Church magazines and LDS.org.
The same message was also shared in the online April Liahona.
The announcement follows recent changes to the monthly visiting teaching message, which included replacing a specific message each month to a "Visiting Teaching Principle" to help sisters better minister each other's needs.
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“We want to help sisters understand how to really care for and strengthen each sister,” Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president told the Church News. “The [Church] handbook doesn’t talk about our responsibilities to teach a lesson. It talks about how ‘visiting teachers sincerely come to know and love each sister, help her strengthen her faith and give service. [Visiting teachers] seek personal inspiration to know how to respond to the spiritual and temporal needs of each sister they are assigned to visit.’”
The change also follows Elder Jeffery R. Holland's October 2016 general conference talk "Emissaries to the Church" in which he urged home teachers to be "emissaries of the Lord to His children" through "genuine, gospel-oriented concern for the members."
Brethren, the appeal I am making tonight is for you to lift your vision of home teaching. Please, in newer, better ways see yourselves as emissaries of the Lord to His children. That means leaving behind the tradition of a frantic, law of Moses–like, end-of-the-month calendar in which you rush to give a scripted message from the Church magazines that the family has already read. We would hope, rather, that you will establish an era of genuine, gospel-oriented concern for the members, watching over and caring for each other, addressing spiritual and temporal needs in any way that helps.