Adjustments will be made to Sunday meeting schedule in January 2019
Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened the faith’s 188th Semiannual General Conference by announcing a “new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church.” It is part of an effort “to strengthen families and individuals through a home-centered and Church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship,” he 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,” he continued. “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.”
Immediately following President Nelson’s Saturday morning remarks, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the global audience and provided details of the forthcoming adjustments.
“The Sunday meeting schedule will be adjusted in the following ways, beginning in January 2019,” Elder Cook said. “The Sunday Church meetings will consist of a 60-minute sacrament meeting each Sunday, focused on the Savior, the ordinance of the sacrament, and spiritual messages. After time for transition to classes, Church members will attend a 50-minute class that will alternate each Sunday. Sunday School will be held on the first and third Sundays. Priesthood quorums, Relief Society, and Young Women meetings will be held on the second and fourth Sundays. Meetings on the fifth Sunday will be under the direction of the bishop. Primary will be held each week during this same 50-minute period and will include singing time and classes.”
Four purposes and blessings associated with this and other recent changes were given:
- Deepening conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthening faith in Them.
- Strengthening individuals and families through home-centered, Church-supported curriculum that contributes to joyful gospel living.
- Honoring the Sabbath day, with a focus on the ordinance of the sacrament.
- Helping all of Heavenly Father’s children on both sides of the veil through missionary work and receiving ordinances and covenants and the blessings of the temple.
President Nelson Stresses Importance of Jesus Christ in Church Name: “It Is His Church”
Nearly two months after his brief statement about the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson spoke at length on the importance of the Church’s full name.
Speaking at the Sunday morning session of the October 2018 general conference, he quoted the 1838 scripture, given in the voice of Jesus Christ, that spells out the Church’s name: “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
“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!”
These nicknames include “LDS Church,” “Mormon Church” and “Church of the Latter-day Saints.” With each of these names, President Nelson said, “the most glaring omission is the absence of the Savior’s name. … When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us — even His Atonement.”
To those who consider it unwise or unrealistic to restore proper usage of the name of the Church, President Nelson responded that “if this were a discussion about branding a man-made organization, those arguments might prevail. But in this crucial matter, we look to Him whose Church this is and acknowledge that the Lord’s ways are not, and never will be, man’s ways.”
President Nelson said Latter-day Saints must take the long view and remember that God will help the Church succeed with this name correction.
“If we will be patient and do our part well, the Lord will lead us through this important task,” he said. “We will want to be courteous and patient in our efforts to correct these errors. Responsible media will be sympathetic in responding to our request.”
President Nelson said he recognizes that some people will continue to call the Church by other names. Even so, “it is disingenuous for us to be frustrated if most of the world calls the Church and its members by the wrong names if we do the same.”
This emphasis, President Nelson stressed, “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.”
He said the efforts of individual Latter-day Saints to use the correct Church name will yield significant fruit in days to come.
“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,” President Nelson said. “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.”