Thanks to This Week in Mormons for making us aware of this story.
In June 2018, the Church announced an updated digital version of Preach My Gospel. These recent updates included, "reducing the number of key indicators, replacing references to home and visiting teaching with ministering brothers and sisters, and aligning with current family history policy and products," according to lds.org.
But there was also an important change in the wording.
The updated version of Preach My Gospel eliminates "less-active members" and replaces it with "returning members."
Image screenshot from the digital version of Preach My Gospel on lds.org
While the change wasn't specifically mentioned in the updates for the digital version of Preach My Gospel, it is a revolutionary way of referring to members who don't attend church services or activities on a regular basis.
Replacing "less active" with "returning" seems like a more inclusive approach, one that sees not just the member's temporary status as "less active" but the whole picture of fellowship—that the Church is a place for everyone, no matter their attendance record, and being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encompasses more than making sure we are at church on time each Sunday.
This wording also reflects recent general conference addresses about membership. Specifically, it can be applied to Elder Jeffery R. Holland's "Songs Sung and Unsung."
"Brothers and sisters, we live in a mortal world with many songs we cannot or do not yet sing. But I plead with each one of us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir, where we will be able to savor forever that most precious anthem of all—“the song of redeeming love.”11 Fortunately, the seats for this particular number are limitless. There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures, and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, for the married, for large families, and for the childless. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions. In short, there is a place for everyone who loves God and honors His commandments as the inviolable measuring rod for personal behavior, for if love of God is the melody of our shared song, surely our common quest to obey Him is the indispensable harmony in it" (Elder Holland, "Songs Sung and Unsung," April 2017 general conference).
This word change is a beautiful, simple way of letting all members know that they are always welcome in the Church.
Lead image from Getty Images