Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are embracing continuing changes to practices and policies put into place earlier this year under the leadership of President Russell M. Nelson.
Some of the “exciting” news President Nelson is referring to includes changes made earlier this year.
The First Presidency of the Church issued a statement Jan. 2 indicating that over time, “Details associated with temple work have been adjusted periodically, including language, methods of construction, communication and record-keeping” and “prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants.”
The announcement accompanied language changes in temple ordinances and a shorter endowment session.
BYU student and temple worker Tarryn Aubuchon said although she was originally disappointed by the shortened session time, she believes the “prophet receives direct revelation from our Father in Heaven.” Aubuchon said after gaining her own witness through much thought and prayer, she believes the changes were “implemented for the better.”
Aubuchon said that the shorter endowment session length makes the ordinance more comparable to other temple ordinances in length, which makes it more accessible to some.
BYU junior Lily Tillet said she really likes the changes. Tillet said she feels like “the Lord knows His children and especially loves His daughters.”
“He really cherishes us and thinks the world of us,” Tillet said. “I personally really love the changes, not because of the way they are doing or saying things in the ordinances performed, but more because I know the Lord has a plan and this is part of it.”
BYU junior Makenzie Quada also said she is a fan of the changes. “The changes have helped me realize the temple doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming because it’s primarily about your most valuable relationship, which is your relationship with Jesus Christ,” Quada said.
Both Aubuchon and Tillet said they have seen temple attendance rise, but attribute some of the attendance jump to people setting new personal goals for the year and curiosity. Along with temple ordinance changes came changes for the youth of the Church.
A letter from the First Presidency stated in January 2019 that Latter-day Saint youth will now be able to receive a limited-use temple recommend in January of the year they turn 12. The Church said these changes come from a “desire to strengthen our beloved children and youth through increased faith in Jesus Christ, deeper understanding of His gospel, and greater unity with His Church and its members.”
The Church has also announced changes to its missionary program, including the change to allow full-time missionaries to call their families on a weekly basis rather than twice a year.
Moving forward, Quada said the prospect of more changes to come is inspiring.
“I’m not sure what changes could come, but I am excited to see where the Church goes,” Quada said. “They’ve really proved to me that President Nelson is the true and living prophet of today.”