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99+ announcements and changes in the Church since President Nelson became Prophet

A chronological list of some of the many announcements and changes that have happened in the Church since January 2018

Paraphrasing Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during the closing session of April 2018 general conference, “The most memorable moments in life are those in which we feel the rush of revelation.”

“President Nelson, I don’t know how many more ‘rushes’ we can handle this weekend. Some of us have weak hearts,” Elder Holland continued with characteristic jest. “But as I think about it, you can take care of that too. What a prophet!”

Earlier that conference — President Russell M. Nelson’s first as 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — two new Apostles were sustained, priesthood quorums were restructured, and ministering replaced home and visiting teaching. During his closing remarks, President Nelson would announce seven new temples.

President Russell M. Nelson stands in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York and looks up while filming the video announcing the new bicentennial proclamation of the Church.
President Russell M. Nelson stands in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, and looks up while filming the video announcing the new bicentennial proclamation of the Church. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In reference to ministering, Elder Holland told the worldwide audience: “I bear my own witness that these adjustments are examples of the revelation that has guided this Church from its beginning. They are yet more evidence that the Lord is hastening His work in its time.”

President Nelson said in his first conference address that one of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon his mind since his calling as President of the Church “is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will.”

Numerous changes and announcements have been made in the Church under President Nelson’s direction since he became Prophet in January 2018 — evidence that the Lord is hastening His work and revealing His mind and will. 

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In addition to ministering, these announcements include the new Children and Youth program; home-centered, Church-supported gospel study with an adjusted Sunday meeting schedule; women serving as witnesses for baptisms and temple sealings; the discontinuation of ward Young Men general presidencies; and a proclamation to commemorate the bicentennial of Joseph Smith’s First Vision

Here is a chronological list of some of the many announcements and changes that have happened in the Church since January 2018. Many of changes and announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic are on a separate timeline.

2018

Jan. 14, 2018 — President Nelson is set apart as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

March 26, 2018 — The First Presidency updates guidelines on preventing and responding to abuse.

March 31, 2018 — Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares are sustained as Apostles; priesthood quorums are restructured as high priests and elders combined into one elders quorum. 

Elder Ulisses Soares and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles answer questions during an interview in the North Visitors Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 28, 2018. | Steve Griffin, Deseret News

April 1, 2018 — Ministering replaces home and visiting teaching; President Nelson announces seven new temples.

May 9, 2018 — The Church will end relationship with Boy Scouts of America, announces new activity program for children and youth.

June 18, 2018 — Hymnbook and Children’s Songbook will be revised to create new, unified editions for the worldwide Church. 

June 20, 2018 — A First Presidency letter announces new guidelines for youth interviews.

June 22, 2018 — A new and improved version of “Preach My Gospel” is released.

Aug. 16, 2018 — President Nelson issues a statement on using the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (He later addresses this topic in general conference, and changes are made to Church websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, etc.)  

Sept. 4, 2018 — The first volume of the four-volume “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

The first volume of the four-volume “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” titled “The Standard of Truth” was released Sept. 4, 2018. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sept. 5, 2018 — Missionary candidates will receive assignments online instead of in the mail

Oct. 6, 2018 — Home-centered, Church-supported gospel study and adjustments to the Sunday meeting schedule are announced. 

Oct. 7, 2018 — President Nelson announces 12 new temples.

Oct. 30, 2018 — Some Church-produced pageants are discontinued.

Nov. 16, 2018 — All young missionary candidates, including prospective service missionaries‚ will use the missionary online recommendation process.

Dec. 14, 2018 — Changes announced for Primary progression, young men priesthood ordination and youth temple recommends.

Dec. 20, 2018 — Sister missionaries have the option to wear dress pants.

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2019

Jan. 2, 2019 — The First Presidency releases statement on temples.

Feb. 15, 2019 — Missionaries are authorized to communicate with their families each week on preparation day by text, online messaging, phone calls or video chats.

March 22, 2019 — Seminary curriculum will align with “Come, Follow Me.”

April 4, 2019 — Children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may now be blessed as infants and baptized without First Presidency approval.

April 7, 2019 — President Nelson announces eight new temples and plans to renovate the Salt Lake Temple (including Temple Square and the adjoining plaza near the Church Office Building), the Manti Utah Temple and Logan Utah Temple.

May 6, 2019 — One-year waiting period for temple sealings after civil marriage is discontinued.

July 19, 2019 — The Church announces stakes in the U.S. and Canada will sponsor biennial For the Strength of Youth conferences modeled after BYU’s Especially for Youth program.

Youth form the letters FSY on a field during a For the Strength of Youth conference. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Aug. 16, 2019 — The Church announces new training course to help adults know how to prevent and respond to child abuse.

Sept. 5, 2019 — Book of Mormon Videos series release dates are announced.

Oct. 2, 2019 — Women, youth and children may now serve as witnesses of sealing and baptismal ordinances.

Oct. 5, 2019 — Ward Young Men presidencies are discontinued; new Young Women theme, class name and structure changes are announced; President Nelson announces eight new temples during the women’s session of general conference.

Oct. 6, 2019 — President Nelson announces revised temple recommend questions; 2020 will be “bicentennial year” with April conference “different from any previous conference.”

Nov. 15, 2019 — The Church releases new missionary handbook.

Nov. 17, 2019 — New Aaronic Priesthood quorum theme announced.

Dec. 17, 2019 — The First Presidency releases statement on Church finances.

2020

Jan. 17, 2020 — Adjustments are made to ceremonial temple clothing.

Jan. 30, 2020 — The Church announces new online general handbook for all Church leaders and members to replace Handbook 1 and Handbook 2.

Feb. 12, 2020 — The second volume of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

April 2020 — Some Church history sites begin offering virtual tours.

April 4, 2020 — A new Church symbol is introduced.

President Russell M. Nelson announced a new Church symbol and explained its significance during the April 2020 general conference. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

April 5, 2020 — President Nelson issues “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World” and announces eight new temples.

April 17, 2020 — The First Presidency releases administrative principles for the Church during challenging times.

May 11, 2020 — The First Presidency encourages reverent art of the Savior in meetinghouses.

June 12, 2020 — Blue dress shirts, no ties are approved as missionary attire exceptions.

June 15, 2020 — Minor adjustments to the names of Church historic sites are implemented.

Aug. 14, 2020 — The First Presidency announces three global Church magazines will replace the current four; Ensign title is retired and New Era renamed.

Aug. 25, 2020 — Church members can now submit names to temple prayer rolls online.

Sept. 10, 2020 — The Church clarifies policy for service and other domestic animals in Church facilities.

Oct. 4, 2020 — President Nelson announces six new temple locations.

Nov. 20, 2020 — President Nelson gives his worldwide message on healing power of gratitude.

Dec. 15, 2020 — Seminary and Institutes of Religion announces changes for seminary in 2021, including a further alignment with “Come, Follow Me” and a new reading requirement for seminary course credit.

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2021

Jan. 11, 2021 — An 18-month renovation project on the Church Office Building plaza is announced.

Feb. 25-27, 2021 — RootsTech holds its first all-virtual event, attracting more than 1 million individuals from over 235 countries and territories.

March 1, 2021 — In a letter to priesthood leaders, the Church announces an update to the Stake Seminary Graduation Guide.

March 11, 2021 — Six women are called as the first international area organization advisers for the Church, in the Europe Area. Others are called to serve in the Philippines and Caribbean areas.

March 12, 2021 —The First Presidency announces modifications to the ongoing Salt Lake Temple renovation, increasing capacity and impacting live sessions; Manti Utah Temple is next for renovation.

Rendering of the Salt Lake Temple’s south side following its planned renovation. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

March 24, 2021 — The Church announces it will attempt to preserve Minerva Teichart murals in the Manti Utah Temple.

April 1, 2021 — For the first time, new Area Seventies are sustained in the general conference leadership session rather than a general session.

April 4, 2021: President Nelson announces 20 new temples, the most announced by the Church at one time. 

May 1, 2021 — President Nelson announced plans to preserve pioneer craftsmanship of the Manti Utah Temple and also construct a new temple in nearby Ephraim.

May 6, 2021 — Based on area presidency direction and approval, eligible members of the Church anywhere in the world may now be considered for a senior service mission, according to a letter from the First Presidency; the First Presidency gives approval for areas to establish gathering places for young single adults based on local needs.

May 24, 2021 — The First Presidency announces discontinuation of time-only marriages in temples.

June 7, 2021 — The Church announces that the Saturday evening session of general conference will be discontinued.

June 14, 2021 — The First Presidency and leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced education and humanitarian initiatives as part of an ongoing collaboration between the two organizations.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Rev. Amos C. Brown, representing the NAACP, embrace at the announcement of a new partnership between the two organizations during a press conference at the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 14, 2021.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Rev. Amos C. Brown, representing the NAACP, embrace at the announcement of a new partnership between the two organizations during a press conference ain the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 14, 2021. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

June 30, 2021 — The First Presidency revises conditions in which Church officers may perform civil marriages.

July 27, 2021 — Following additional study and prayer, the First Presidency announces that the Saturday evening session of general conference will continue, albeit in a different format than in the past.

Aug. 1, 2021 — Area Seventies are now publicly released Aug. 1 rather than during October general conference.

Sept. 15, 2021 — President Nelson launches an Instagram account in Spanish — the first Spanish-only social media account by a senior Church leader.

Oct. 2, 2021 — President Nelson announces 13 new temples and the reconstruction of the Provo Utah Temple to begin after the under-construction Orem Utah Temple is dedicated.

Nov. 15, 2021 — FamilySearch announces personal temple ordinance reservation lists have a new maximum of 300 rows of reservations per user.

Nov. 23, 2021 — Selected stakes, districts and missions move to a new online process for issuing temple recommends.

Dec. 9, 2021 — The Church releases the new Mission Directory feature, which allows returned missionaries to share their contact information with their mission leaders.

Dec. 10, 2021 — The Church announces the creation of the Rwanda Kigali Mission.

2022

Jan 4, 2022 — Multistake temple and family history consultants are now referred to as area temple and family history advisers.

March 3, 2022 — The Church History Department’s Missionary Database and Pioneer Database merge into the Church History Biographical Database.

March 4, 2022 — FamilySearch launches the Get Involved experience for reviewing names on records indexed by handwriting-recognition artificial intelligence .

March 13, 2022 — Seminaries and Institutes of Religion continues to roll out the Innovate Institute initiative to better meet the needs of today’s young adults.

April 3, 2022 — President Nelson reaches 100 total temples he had announced since becoming Prophet, with the 17 locations he released at the conclusion of general conference.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the church’s 192nd Annual General Conference in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 3, 2022. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

April 7, 2022 — Two new missions in Spain and England are announced.

April 22, 2022 — The third volume of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

June 10, 2022 — Church donation categories are simplified.

July 7, 2022 — The first Church-endorsed female military chaplain is set apart.

Aug. 11, 2022 — The First Presidency announces “tithing settlement” has been changed to “tithing declaration.”

Aug. 29, 2022 — The Church announces that the Kona Hawaii Temple will close in October 2023 for renovation and expansions.

September 2022 — The first two women are called to serve with the Church’s Military Advisory Committee.

Sept. 12, 2022 — The Church announces that the Stockholm Sweden Temple will close in 2023 for renovation and expansion.

Sept. 14, 2022 — The Church gives $32 million to the World Food Programme in its largest one-time donation to date.

Oct. 1, 2022 — A new “For the Strength of Youth” guide based on principles is released.

Youth of the Herriman Utah Pioneer Stake hold copies of the revised “For the Strength of Youth” guide. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced the release of the new guide during his October 2022 general conference talk. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Oct. 2, 2022 — President Nelson announces 18 new temple locations, including four for the metro Mexico City area.

Nov. 4, 2022 — The first meeting of the Church’s newly formed American Sign Language Board of Education is held.

Nov. 23, 2022 — The Church announces the creation of six new missions — five in Africa, including two in Nigeria, and one reinstated in Europe.

Nov. 29, 2022 — The Church announces that the Beehive House, Lion House and Joseph Smith Memorial Building will close in 2023 for renovations.

Nov. 30, 2022 — The notice “Strengthening Young Single Adults” was released, emphasizing young single adults serving in all YSA callings except stake president and bishop.

Dec. 21, 2022 — The Church reinstates opening prayers in Sunday second-hour meetings.

2023

Jan. 10, 2023 — FamilySearch renames Family History Library to FamilySearch Library and family history centers to FamilySearch centers. 

Two women walk toward the doors of the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023.
Two women walk toward the doors of the newly renamed FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Jan. 23, 2023 — The First Presidency announces the Anchorage Alaska Temple will be reconstructed and relocated

April 2, 2023 — President Nelson announces 15 new temples.

April 4, 2023 — International singers join The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square during general conference for the first time.

April 17, 2023 — The Church announces the San Diego California Temple will close in July for renovations.

April 30, 2023 — The First Presidency announces that the four “Come, Follow Me” manuals will be consolidated into one resource beginning in 2024. 

May 1, 2023 — The Church announces the Toronto Ontario Temple will close in October for renovations.

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June 8, 2023 — New Global Distribution Services Center is dedicated in Salt Lake City.

June 17, 2023 — The First Presidency announces that temple cornerstone ceremonies are discontinued.

June 20, 2023 — The First Presidency announces the Provo Utah Temple will close in February 2024 for a major redesign and extensive exterior overhaul.

June 22, 2023 — President Nelson announces a new edition of “Preach My Gospel” at the 2023 Seminar for New Mission Leaders.

June 30, 2023 — The Church creates a new landing page for youth and adults interested in serving missions.

July 30, 2023 — The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square airs a pilot broadcast of “Music & the Spoken Word” in Spanish.

Aug. 1, 2023 — Church magazine subscriptions now available at no cost

Aug. 21, 2023 — Updates to missionary handbook include using time wisely, communicating with friends and interacting with the opposite gender and children. 

Elders Dallin Nevers and Moses Yeung study Preach my Gospel in London on Saturday, July 8, 2023.
Elders Dallin Nevers and Moses Yeung study Preach my Gospel in London on Saturday, July 8, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Aug. 28, 2023 — The First Presidency announces renovation plans for the Manhattan New York Temple.

Sept. 1, 2023 — BYU–Idaho and Ensign College announce new 3-year online degrees available through BYU–Pathway.

This article was originally published on Dec. 30, 2020, and has been updated.

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