With a new year just around the corner, our thoughts turn to fresh starts and new beginnings. January is synonymous with goal-setting—dreams of finally losing those last few pounds or of learning to speak French. But before we join the gym or sign up for a language course, consider the words of our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, when he said, “I invite you to prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice—and preferably a sacrifice of time—you can make to do more family history and temple work this year.”
The October 2019 189th Semi-Annual General Conference was momentous, with lots of exciting changes to help the Church move forward. Below is a list of seven major changes that were announced. Included is a comparison of current vs. new Temple Recommend questions announced by President Nelson:
- Policy about witnesses to ordinances. (Russell M. Nelson, Oct. 2, General Conference Leadership Meeting, also see First Presidency letter)
- “Gender” in The Family: A Proclamation to the World refers to “biological sex at birth.” (Dallin H. Oaks, Oct. 2, General Conference Leadership Meeting)
- Adjustment of Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women curriculum topics to align with Come, Follow Me. (Saturday morning session, Stephen W. Owen)
- Adjustments in Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women Organizations (Saturday afternoon session, Elder Quentin L. Cook and General Women’s Session, Sister Bonnie H. Cordon):
The bishopric will be assisted by Aaronic Priesthood (AP) quorum advisers and Young Women (YW) leaders.
The Young Women president reports directly to the bishop.
Young Women president strives to lift the load of the bishop, where appropriate by helping young women regarding issues that do not require the bishop’s keys as a common judge and that do not involve abuse.
Youth quorum and class presidencies plan and conduct Sunday meetings, service projects, and other activities.
The bishopric youth committee is now the ward youth council. The only adults who attend this council is the bishopric and the Young Women president.
Activities for youth are no longer called “Mutual.” Now called “Young Women activities,” “Aaronic Priesthood quorum activities,” or “youth activities.”
The budget for youth activities divided between the young men and young women with equal proportions, according to the number of youth in each organization. The budget for Primary activities divided between the boys and girls with equal proportions, according to the number of children.
The Young Women Theme has been revised.
The Young Women class names Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel will no longer be used. Classes will be named “Young Women,” and then the ages of young women in the class, such as “Young Women 12–14,” “Young Women 15–18,” or “Young Women,” if all meet together.
Young women progress between classes as age-groups at the beginning of January in the year they turn the age of the next class. Each Young Women class should have one adviser.
YW/AP Specialists may be called to assist the presidency and advisers, in either long-term roles or to assist with a particular event such as a camp or youth conference.
The callings of Young Men president, counselors in the Young Men presidency, and Young Men secretary discontinued at the ward level. Each AP quorum should have one adviser.
A member of the high council serves as stake Young Men president. His counselors can be the high councilor assigned to Young Women and the high councilor assigned to Primary. A stake Young Men secretary is called from the stake.
The stake Young Men presidency serves on the stake Aaronic Priesthood – Young Women committee with the stake Young Women presidency, the high councilor assigned to YW, and the high councilor assigned to Primary.
- A member of the high council will now serve as the stake Sunday School President and may serve with or without counselors and a secretary. He may serve on the stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women committee.
- At the general, stake, and ward levels, Relief Society, Young Women, Young Men, Primary, and Sunday School will be referred to as “organizations” rather than “auxiliaries.” Leaders will be referred to as “General Officers,” “stake officers,” and “ward officers.”
- Updates to temple recommend interview questions. Temple standards stay the same, but some of the questions were reworded to be clearer.
Current vs New Interview Questions for Recommends to Enter a Temple
The first question is the current question. The revised question follows:
1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?
Do you have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost?
2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and of His role as your Savior and Redeemer?
3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
Do you have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
4. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?
Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators?
Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?
Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?
Do you sustain the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators?
Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local leaders of the Church?
5. Do you live the law of chastity?
The Lord has said that all things are to be “done in cleanliness” before Him (Doctrine and Covenants 42:41).
Do you strive for moral cleanliness in your thoughts and behavior?
Do you obey the law of chastity?
6. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
Do you follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in your private and public behavior with members of your family and others?
7. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
8. Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
Do you strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church; attend your meetings; prepare for and worthily partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
9. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?
Do you strive to be honest in all that you do?
10. Are you a full-tithe payer?
Are you a full-tithe payer?
11. Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?
Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?
12. Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children?
If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
Do you have any financial or other obligations to a former spouse or to children?
If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
13. If you have previously received your temple endowment:
Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple?
Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?
Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment?
14. Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?
Are there serious sins in your life that need to be resolved with priesthood authorities as part of your repentance?
15. Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?
Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?