The new, family-focused “Come, Follow Me” program looks a little different for Young Single Adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church announced on Oct. 6 the Sunday meeting schedule would change from three-hour to two-hour meetings.
“It is time for a home-centered Church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward and stake buildings,” President Russell M. Nelson said in his October 2018 General Conference opening address.
The new Sunday schedule was implemented throughout the Church worldwide starting January 2019 and includes a 60-minute sacrament meeting, a 10-minute transition and a 50-minute class period alternating between Sunday school and auxiliary classes, like Young Men, Young Women, Priesthood, Relief Society and Primary.
A letter written in October 2018 by the First Presidency said the “Come, Follow Me” program is meant to “strengthen individuals and families through home-centered, Church-supported curriculum that contributes to joyful gospel living.”
Although the Church already has a family home evening program, a weekly designated time for families to build unity and connections, the new program encourages families to spend more time together studying the scriptures.
The letter encourages Latter-day Saints to spend time reading the scriptures to determine what home study looks like for their families. The same goes for Young Single Adults.
Ally Ririe, a BYU senior majoring in elementary education, said she likes the opportunity to read and study.
“Going to church, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I feel like what I’m studying at home is way more beneficial than sometimes going to church,'” Ririe said. “Which I felt bad at the time thinking that, but now that these changes have been made, I’m like ‘Oh, God wants us to be more focused on our own studying and conversion.'”
Despite not being able to share the program with immediate family in the home, Young Single Adults are finding ways to individualize their Sunday worship.
“I love the idea of spending that hour doing family history or visiting my grandparents. And I know not everyone has family close by, but I feel like the definition of family is a little bit different when you’re a YSA,” Ririe said. “I know in my ward people will post on the ward Facebook page about doing a study group and I love that idea.”
Some students are using the schedule change to focus on their friendships and those around them.
“I’ve found that since I get out earlier, I’ll sit with friends and talk more, and I feel like I’ve actually developed deeper friendships because I’m not worrying about all the time I don’t have on Sundays anymore,” BYU sophomore Jade Romano said.
This program implemented by the Church places a heavy emphasis on individual conversion and worship. Latter-day Saints get to choose how to build their testimonies based on their own schedule.
BYU graduate student Chris Rytting said he is excited about the new program, but acknowledges some people’s hesitations.
“This extra hour to myself is an extra hour to journal and get out as much of my heart and thoughts as possible, which can be more valuable than just scripture study,” Rytting said. “For some, this could be taking an hour away from their community, but it depends on how they see church. It’s like going to fill your own cup versus going to fill someone else’s. They have to decide how they’re going to spend that hour.”
The extra hour is intended to allow Latter-day Saints to learn how to incorporate gospel-centered learning into their lives, including Young Single Adults.
“There’s so many good things to do. I want to experiment with what works and how it feels,” Rytting said. “I’m a fan of having more freedom on how to worship on Sundays.”
The last major schedule change happened in March 1980 when the Church moved from meetings throughout the week to the consolidated three-hour block on Sundays, according to history.lds.org.