President Russell M. Nelson announced during the Priesthood Session of the April 2018 General Conference that high priests and elders quorums are being combined into one elders quorum.
The structural changes are intended to unify priesthood holders and provide more opportunities for mentoring, according to Elder D. Todd Christofferson.
Each stake presidency will continue to preside over the stake high priests quorum, “but the composition of that quorum will be based on current priesthood callings,” President Nelson said.
“These modifications have been under study for many months,” President Nelson said. “These adjustments are inspired of the Lord. As we implement them, we will be even more effective than we have been previously.”
Following President Nelson’s remarks, Elder Christofferson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband spoke in greater detail about the changes.
Elder Christofferson said each ward’s elders quorum will have one presidency and will be composed of the elders; prospective elders; and high priests who aren’t serving in the bishopric, in the stake presidency, on the high council, or as functioning patriarchs.
“Having one Melchizedek Priesthood quorum in a ward unifies priesthood holders to accomplish all aspects of the work of salvation, including the temple and family history
work previously coordinated by the high priests groups,” Elder Christofferson said. “It allows quorum members of all ages and backgrounds to benefit from the perspective and experience of one another and of those in different stages of life.
Elder Christofferson said each stake presidency will release the current high priests group leadership and elders quorum presidencies and call new elders quorum presidencies in each ward.
“The new elders quorum presidency may include elders and high priests, of varying ages and experience, serving together in one quorum presidency,” Elder Christofferson said. “This is not a ‘takeover’ of elders quorums by high priests. We expect elders and high priests to work together in any combination in the quorum presidency and in quorum service.”
Elder Christofferson also emphasized that no priesthood office is “higher” or “lower” than another.
“Rather than ‘higher’ or ‘lower,’ offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood represent different areas of service,” Elder Christofferson said. “I devoutly hope that we will no longer speak in terms of being ‘advanced’ to another office in the Melchizedek Priesthood.”
These changes will help elders quorums and Relief Societies coordinate together so bishoprics “can focus on their primary duties — particularly presiding over the young women, and the young men who bear the Aaronic priesthood,” according to Elder Rasband.
Wards may still have multiple elders quorums when they have “an unusually large number of active Melchizedek Priesthood bearers,” according to Elder Rasband.
“In such cases, each quorum should have a reasonable balance in terms of age, experience, and priesthood office and strength,” Elder Rasband said.
Stake high priests quorums
Stake high priests quorums will remain, with the stake presidency as its quorum presidency and will meet with, counsel with and provide training for members of the high priests quorum, Elder Rasband said.
Each stake’s high priests quorum will be composed of the high priests who are currently serving in the stake presidency, in bishoprics, on the high council, or as functioning patriarchs.
High priests groups have been discontinued, according to Elder Christofferson.
“Wards and stakes will no longer hold priesthood executive committee meetings,” Elder Rasband said. Instead, special ward issues will be discussed in expanded bishopric meetings or ward council, depending on the issue’s sensitivity.
Annual meetings for all ordained high priests are also being discontinued and replaced with annual meetings for the stake high priests quorum, Elder Rasband said.
“As previous presiding leaders return to share their experience with the quorum of elders, a stronger quorum membership will result,” Elder Rasband said. “There will be an increase in mentoring and unanimity as a new elder and an experienced high priest share experiences, side-by-side, in quorum meetings and assignments.”