It has been four years since Russell M. Nelson became prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In that time, more than 70 changes and announcements have been made within the Church.
Some of the biggest changes and announcements include two-hour church services, renaming Church websites and social media, baptisms of children with LGBT parents, a new Church handbook and policy changes for civil and temple marriages.
Matthew Bowman, the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University, said changes often correlate with the rapid growth of membership throughout the history of the Church.
“Many reforms have been made to better suit a global Church membership,” Bowman said.
Patrick Mason, the Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, said President Nelson’s presidency is one of the most dynamic in the history of the Church.
“There’s no doubt that President Nelson has had a very energetic presidency and showed a willingness to rethink and adjust a number of Church programs right from the outset,” Mason said.
Mary Jane Woodger, BYU professor of church history and doctrine, said she emphasizes the importance of each upcoming General Conference to her students. She asks them to consider what President Nelson has prepared them for.
“Our prophets are not only prophets and revelators, they are also seers,” Woodger said. “They see what is coming down the line. They prepare us for what’s to come. That pattern is always there.”