The year since the spring 2018 general conference of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints has been marked by travel, changes and big temple dedications. Here are some of the biggest events church members have seen in the past year.
March 31, 2018 - Two new apostles were named and a Solemn Assembly was held.
At the first session of the church’s annual general conference, two new members of the Quorum of the Twelve were announced. The two new apostles — Elder Garrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares — replaced Nelson, who took over as the newest president of the church, and previous member Robert D. Hales, who died in October 2017.
At the same meeting was the Solemn Assembly, a sacred moment where Latter-day Saints throughout the world stand, by priesthood quorums and general membership, and raise their hand to sustain their new prophet and other general authorities of the church.
March 31, 2018 - Changes were made to the priesthood structure of the church.
In the priesthood session of the April General Conference, Nelson announced a historic change to the structure of priesthood quorums in wards and stakes. It was announced that the elders quorum and the high priests groups of each ward would be combined as one quorum, rather than meeting separately.
The historic announcement significantly changed the priesthood makeup of wards and branches, completely dissolving ward high priest groups and high priest group ward leadership.
April 1, 2018 - Nelson announced the retirement of the home and visiting teaching programs.
During the second day of the April general conference, Nelson announced that the church was retiring the home teaching and visiting teaching programs and replacing them with a new ministering program.
“For months, we have been seeking a better way to minister to the spiritual and temporal needs of our people in the Savior’s way,” Nelson said near the beginning of the Sunday afternoon session. “We have made the decision to retire ‘home teaching’ and ‘visiting teaching’ as we have known them. Instead, we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as ‘ministering.’”
April 1, 2018 - Seven new temples were announced, including one in Russia.
At the end of a momentous general conference weekend, which included several changes for members, Nelson announced plans to construct seven more temples. The new temples will be in the following locations: Salta, Argentina; Bengaluru, India; Managua, Nicaragua; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; Layton, Utah; Richmond, Virginia and a major city yet to be determined in Russia.
April 10-23, 2018 - Russell M. Nelson goes on an 11-day global ministry tour.
At the age of 93, Nelson and his wife Wendy Nelson, along with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia, met with Latter-day Saints in eight cities over 11 days during a tour on the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia, ending their trip with a stop in Hawaii.
May 8, 2018 - Announcement made that the Church will split from the Boy Scouts.
Church officials made the announcement that as of Dec. 31, 2019, the church would eliminate its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America for all scouting programs.
The church also announced it would be replacing all activity programs for children and youth of both sexes starting in 2020.
May 17, 2018 - Church leadership met with NAACP.
Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People officially met for the first time in May, calling for more civility and respect in society.
Nelson and NAACP President Derrick Johnson spoke briefly to the media after historic meetings between officials from the two organizations.
Both leaders asked for civility and respect around the nation and the world, and pledged to work together toward common goals — including addressing disparities in education, issues of poverty and hunger.
June 18, 2018 - The church announced plans for new hymn books and children’s songbooks.
In June, the church announced that it would be making significant changes to the church “Hymns” book and “Children’s Songbook” used in worship services.
Hymn selections will include core hymns and songs that teach the doctrines of the gospel and reflect the needs of members around the world.
For instance, patriotic songs and national anthems such as “God Save the King,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” will be removed from the new hymnal.
The Children’s Songbook will also reflect the global needs and nature of the children of the church.
The change will take several years to implement.
Aug. 16, 2018 - Church officials emphasized the use of the full name of the church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced changes concerning when and how the name of the church should be referenced.
The church encouraged members and the media to refer to the church by its full name or by the terms “the Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ.” They discouraged the use of the abbreviations abbreviation “LDS” or “Mormon” as substitutes.
The stylebook also indicates that when referring to church members, the terms “members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” or “Latter-day Saints” are preferred.
Aug. 17-19, 2018 - Nelson visited members in Canada.
Nelson, with his wife Wendy, visited church members in the Winnipeg, Manitoba; Montreal; and Hamilton, Ontario areas in Canada. His wife is originally from Raymond, Alberta.
They traveled with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Kathy.
Sept. 5, 2018 - All future missionary calls will come online.
The church announced in September that by the end of 2018, nearly all missionaries around the world with reliable internet access would receive their calls online to serve in one of the Church’s 407 missions in more than 150 countries. Previously, prospective missionaries waited longer periods of time for a packet to be delivered via mail.
Sept. 15-16, 2018 - Nelson visited members in Seattle and British Columbia.
Days after his 94th birthday, Nelson; his wife, Wendy; and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency; visited Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Nelson spoke to a crowd of 49,000 at Safeco Field in Seattle.
Oct. 6, 2018 - Time change announced for church services.
Rumors circulated for several months that the Church would reduce the time spent in Sunday meetings by going to a two-hour format rather than three hours.
An announcement by the church during the October General Conference made it official.
“For many years, church leaders have been working on an integrated curriculum to strengthen families and individuals through a home-centered and church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship,” said Nelson.
Beginning Sunday, Jan. 6, meeting schedules were adjusted and now consist of a 60-minute sacrament meeting and a 50-minute class alternating each Sunday between Sunday School, Priesthood quorums, Relief Society and youth meetings.
Oct. 7, 2018 - Nelson announced 12 new temples.
On the second day of the church’s semiannual general conference, Nelson announced 12 new temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be built around the world in Mendoza, Argentina; Salvador, Brazil; Yuba City, California; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Praia, Cape Verde; Yigo, Guam; Puebla, Mexico; Auckland, New Zealand; Lagos, Nigeria; Davao, Philippines; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington County, Utah.
Oct. 19-28, 2018 - Russell M. Nelson traveled on South American ministry tour.
Nelson, along with Elder Gary E. Stevenson visited Latter-day Saints in five countries as part of a nine-day tour in South America in October. They visited Latter-day Saints in Lima, Peru; El Alto, Bolivia; Asuncion, Paraguay; Montevideo, Uraguay and Concepcion, Chile.
Oct. 27, 2018 - Announcement made that pageants would be discontinued.
On Oct. 27, church officials announced that pageants produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be scaled back, and some would be discontinued all together. It was later announced that the Nauvoo Pageant would continue with support from church headquarters, the Mesa Pageant would continue in 2021 and the British Pageant would continue every four years. The Hill Comorah Pageant, on the other hand, will end in 2020, the Manti Pageant will end in 2019 and two pageants — the Castle Valley Pageant and Clarkston Pageant — were discontinued.
Oct. 28, 2018 - Nelson dedicated the Concepcion Chile Temple.
On Oct. 28, Nelson finished his South American ministry tour by dedicating the new temple in Concepcion, Chile. The temple is the second in Chile and was the first dedicated since Nelson became president of the church.
Nov. 16, 2018 - Church announced procedure changes for proselyting, service missions.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in November revisions to its procedures for young men and women seeking to be missionaries.
As of Jan. 2, all young men and women in the U.S. and Canada will use the same online recommendation process, regardless of whether they will serve a proselyting mission or are unable to due to medical reasons. They will then complete the same recommendation forms, complete interviews with local ecclesiastical leaders and receive medical evaluations before receiving a mission call from the president of the church to serve either a proselyting or service mission.
Dec. 9, 2018 - Temple dedicated in Colombia.
The second temple of Nelson's time as president was dedicated by President Dallin H. Oaks on Dec. 9. The Barranquilla Colombia Temple became the church's 161st active temple.
Dec. 20, 2018 - Dress standards changed for sister missionaries serving in the church.
On Dec. 20, the church announced that female missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are now allowed to wear dress slacks.
Dec. 20, 2018 - Changes made for youth progression, ordination.
The church announced in December that as of 2019, children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and Young Women groups or Aaronic Priesthood quorums at the beginning of January in the year they turn 12.
Young men will be eligible for ordination to the appropriate priesthood office in January of the year they turn 12, 14, and 16, meaning 11-year-old young men can be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. Ordained young men and young women will be eligible for limited-use temple recommends beginning in January of the year they turn 12.
Young women and young men will progress between classes at the beginning of January in the year they turn 14 and 16.
Jan. 2, 2018 - Church reportedly made adjustments to temple endowment ceremony.
After rumors circulated that changes had been made to the endowment ceremonies performed at temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church issued the following statement:
“Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples. Scriptures document patterns of temple worship from the times of Adam and Eve, Moses, Solomon, Nephi, and others. With the restoration of the gospel in these latter days, temple worship has also been restored to bless the lives of people across the world and on the other side of the veil as well. Over these many centuries, details associated with temple work have been adjusted periodically, including language, methods of construction, communication, and record-keeping. Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants. A dedicated temple is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Its ordinances are sacred and are not discussed outside a holy temple.”
Church officials did not make public details of what exact changes would be made.
Jan. 28-Feb. 15, 2019 - Rome Italy Temple open house held.
Leaders of the church held public tours of the new completed Rome Italy Temple that began construction in 2010.
Feb. 8, 2019 - Buenos Aires MTC to close.
Church officials announced that the Buenos Aires, Argentina Missionary Training Center will close in July 2019.
Feb. 15, 2019 - Changes made to missionary communications.
The church announces that missionaries are now allowed to communicate with family weekly via phone, video or text rather than twice a year, in addition to letters and emails.
March 9, 2019 - President Russell M. Nelson meets the Pope.
Pope Francis met with leadership of the church, including President Russell M. Nelson, for the first time on the eve of the Rome Italy Temple dedication.
March 10, 2019 - Rome Italy Temple is dedicated
The Rome Italy Temple was dedicated, with all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles present — the first time all 15 have been together outside the U.S.
March 20, 2019 - Russian volunteers return to the U.S.
Two missionaries, called volunteers in Russia, were returned to the U.S. after being detained in Russia for two weeks in an alleged visa violation case.