Recent Changes in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (updated 29 Dec 2019)

I was curious about all the recent and recent-ish changes in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so I started making a list. Here’s what I have:
Children & Youth
  1. Protection Training for Leaders of Children and Youth
  2. The end of EFY and the replacement program, FSY
  3. Children of parents identifying as LGBT may be baptized and receive baby blessing
  4. Adjusting when youth progress and receive more opportunities to serve (temple, classes, priesthood)
  5. Ending relationship with BSA
  6. New program to replace or change: BSA program, Duty to God, Personal Progress, Faith in God, Activity Days
  7. New guidelines for interviewing youth and one question simplified
  8. Priesthood Preview becomes Temple & Priesthood Preparation for 11-yr old boys and girls
  9. Young Women class names ended
  10. Young Women class divisions based on local needs
  11. Young Women theme changed
  12. Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood curriculum adjusted to align with Come, Follow Me
  13. Young Men Presidencies are discontinued at ward level, bishops are to focus on the youth
  14. Young Women presidents and other leaders in the ward will take a greater role in counseling
  15. Young Women presidents report directly to the bishop
  16. Bishopric youth committee meeting will be replaced by a ward youth council
  17. Ward budgets are to be divided equally among YM & YW
  18. Young Men receive a “theme” like the Young Women
Home-Centered, Church-Supported Gospel Living
  1. Renewed emphasis on gospel learning in the home
  2. New curriculum for individuals and families
  3. Two-hour block
  4. Moving alternate Sunday School classes outside the block
  5. Inviting members to informally organize and participate in other gospel-study activities, especially for single members, part-member families, elderly, etc.
  6. Ending “Sharing Time” in Primary
  7. Ending “Priesthood Opening Exercises”
  8. Ending opening prayer for second class
  9. Emphasis that FHE may occur on a night other than Monday
  10. Seminary curriculum aligns with Come Follow Me
  1. Moving away from “Mormon” and “LDS” nicknames
  2. Renaming “Mormon Tabernacle Choir”
  3. Renaming “LDS Church News, The Official News of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” to “Church News, A Living Record of the Restoration”
  4. The term “Auxiliaries” (referring to Sunday School, YW, RS, etc.) is replaced with “Organizations”
  5. The word “Mutual” will be retired and become “youth activities”
Temple Service
  1. Temple sealings can occur immediately after a civil marriage
  2. Expanding service opportunities to single men over 30 and divorcees
  3. Women & YW participating in administrative functions with baptisms for the dead
  4. Inviting Priests to perform baptisms for the dead
  5. Changes to the Endowment ceremony
  6. Expanding opportunities to serve in the temple+
  7. Adjustments to temple recommend questions
  8. Adustment to temple clothing
Holier Approach to Ministering
  1. Replacing “Home & Visiting Teaching” with “Ministering”
  2. Change to style and form
  3. Reporting change from families visited to companionship interviews
  4. Inviting Young Women to receive ministering assignments
New Publications or Publication Updates
  1. New hymnbook and children’s songbook announced with open call for submissions
  2. New curriculum for Individuals/Families/Sunday School/Primary/RS/Priesthood
  3. Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days
  4. End to monthly First Presidency messages in Ensign
  5. Change to VT messages in Ensign
  6. Preach My Gospel update
Social Affiliation Support
  1. Clarification on the support of legalized medicinal marijuana
  2. Official statement regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  3. Affirmation: LGBTQ support group for youth suicide prevention
  4. NAACP
  5. Increased participation in environmentalism conversation
  6. Increased discussion about assisting refugees
  7. Increased participation in religious freedom + LGBT protections (Fairness for All Act)
  8. FamilySearch now provides ability to document same-sex family relationships
Social Media
  1. All Apostles active on social media
  2. Youth challenged to hold social media fast
  3. Women challenged to hold social media fast
  4. New websites blocked on church wifi (social media, video and music streaming)
Missionary Work
  1. Missionaries can communicate weekly via phone, text, video calls, etc.
  2. Standardizing missionary interview questions
  3. Mission calls sent electronically
  4. Missionary schedules and reporting
  5. Ward Mission Leaders duties may be moved to EQP & RS
  6. More options to serve for those with disabilities
  7. Recommendation process for service missions aligned with teaching missions
  8. Ending of early return classifications
  9. Sister Missionaries can choose to wear a dress or slacks
  10. New Missionary Guide (emphasis on lifelong missionary service, mental health additions, safety additions, cultural sensitivity help, etc.)
  1. Sabbath Day observance emphasized & clarified
  2. Updated and improved direction for leaders on  how to prevent, identify and respond to abuse plus new website to help victims
  3. New approach to and materials for addressing pornography issues
  4. New approach and materials for addressing suicide
  5. The end and/or changes to church-sponsored pageants (UPDATE: here)
  6. General Conference consolidated, alternating Women’s Session and Priesthood Session
  7. Senior Church leaders attends and speaks at FairMormon Conference and encourages more independent voices needed to sustain faith
  8. Caffeinated drinks sold at BYU and alluded to by counselor in First Presidency
  9. Word of Wisdom clarification about vaping and products with coffee or tea
  10. Immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way
  11. Lethal weapons banned from church buildings
  12. Women and children may serve as witnesses for ordinances
  13. Call for donations to global charities through “Light the World” Giving Machines
  14. Change to Saturday Evening General Conference Session
  15. Increased visibility and explanation on church finances
  16. Significant increase in overseas ministering by Apostles and meeting of key leaders around the world (including the Pope)
That’s 89 changes, at least by my classification criteria. Obviously, some of the changes are really just part of one big change but it was meaningful for me to enumerate some of the smaller changes within the big change, in some cases.
As I look at this list and remember some of the verbiage in the announcements, I see the following patterns and principles at play:

Do you see other patterns and principles? Share in the comments.

29 Dec 2019 addition:

It’s interesting and instructive to notice what the Brethren are saying about the changes:

“The historic adjustments announced today have only one overarching purpose: to strengthen faith in Heavenly Father and His plan and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement…

“Much like the braided strands of a rope produce a powerful and durable tool, all of these interrelated actions are part of a unified effort to better align the focus, resources, and work of the Savior’s restored Church with its fundamental mission: to assist God in His work to bring to pass the salvation and exaltation of His children. Please do not focus primarily upon the logistical aspects of what has been announced. We must not allow procedural details to obscure the overarching spiritual reasons these changes now are being made.”

-Elder David A. Bednar, Oct 2018

“In the last 18 months, the Lord has inspired His prophet and the Apostles to implement a number of wonderful adjustments. However, I worry that the spiritual purposes of these adjustments might become lost in the excitement about the changes themselves.” 

-President M. Russell Ballard, Apr 2019

“Consider the swirl of bold initiatives and new announcements in the Church in these recent months. As we minister to one another, or refine our Sabbath experience, or embrace a new program for children and youth, we will miss the real reason for these revelatory adjustments if we see them as disparate, unrelated elements rather than as an interrelated effort to help us build more firmly on the Rock of our Salvation.

-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Oct 2019


[updated 17 Jan 2020]

11 thoughts on “Recent Changes in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (updated 29 Dec 2019)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.