During the Saturday priesthood session, President Russell M. Nelson announced major organizational changes to the adult priesthood quorums.
The changes included restructuring Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums and High Priest Quorums into one Elders Quorum and all the stake High Priesthood Quorums will now be based on current priesthood callings.
“We have felt a pressing need to improve the way we care for our members,” President Nelson said about the changes. “To do that better, we need to strengthen our priesthood quorums to give greater direction to the ministering of love and support that the Lord intends for His Saints. These adjustments are inspired of the Lord. As we implement them, we will be even more effective than we have been previously.”
Here's what you need to know about the changes to the adult priesthood quorums.
1. New Elders Quorum Presidencies Will Be Called
Stake presidencies will release and appoint new Elders Quorum presidencies consisting of high priest and elders. The new combined Elders Quorum presidencies may include high priests and elders in varying ages and experience and may consist of both elders and high priests
"We expect elders and high priests to work together in any combination in the quorum presidency and in quorum service. These quorum adjustments should be implemented as soon as conveniently possible," Elder Christofferson said.
2. Elders Will Continued to Be Ordained High Priests
As in the past, elders will continue to be called as high priests when they are called to the stake presidency, high council, bishopric, or "at other times as determined by the stake president through prayerful consideration and inspiration," Elder Christofferson said.
When their terms in stake presidency, high council, or bishopric are over, high priests will return to their ward Elders Quorum.
3. Elders Quorum Presidents Will Report to the Stake President
In addition, bishops will also meet regularly with the Elders Quorum presidents and counsel with them. Bishops will also provide direction to the Elders Quorum presidents on how to best serve and bless ward members.
4. Stake High Priest Quorums Will Continue to Function
Stake presidencies will still serve the Stake High Priests Quorum. But, members of the Stake High Priests Quorum will now consist of those serving in the current stake presidencies, ward bishoprics, stake high councils, and functioning patriarchs. This does not include ward and stake clerks and executive secretaries.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband explained the new role of Stake High Priest Quorums as follows:
"The stake presidency meets with members of the High Priests Quorum to counsel together, to testify, and to provide training."
5. Wards and Stakes Will No Longer Hold Priesthood Executive Committee Meetings
Instead, if a special issue arises, "such as a delicate family matter or an unusual welfare challenge" it will be discussed in an expanded bishopric meeting, Elder Rasband said.
6. Annual Meetings of All Ordained High Priests in the Stake Will No Longer Be Held
While an annual meeting of all ordained high priests in a stake will no longer be held, the stake presidency will continue annual meetings of the current stake high priests quorum as announced today.
7. Wards Can Have More Than One Elders Quorum
In cases where wards have an unusually high number of Melchizedek Priesthood holders, leaders may organize more than one elders quorum for a ward.
"In such cases, each quorum should have a reasonable balance in terms of age, experience, and priesthood office and strength," Elder Rasband said.
Through these changes, "we will be even more effective than we have ever been previously,” President Nelson said.
"With much prayer, careful study of the scriptural foundations of priesthood quorums, and confirmation that this is the Lord’s will, we are moving forward with unanimity in what is in reality one more step in the unfolding of the Restoration," Elder Christofferson said.