Seven new temples to be built around the world and the end to home and visiting teaching were announced by President Russell M. Nelson during the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th Annual General Conference.
President Nelson announced temples will be built in Salta, Argentina; Bengaluru, India; Managua, Nicaragua; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; Layton, Utah; Richmond, Virginia; and a major city yet to be determined in Russia.
During the middle of the meeting, President Nelson announced the end to home and visiting teaching.
“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,” President Nelson said. “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.’ Effective ministering efforts are enabled by the innate gifts of the sisters, and by the incomparable power of the priesthood. We all need such protection from the cunning wiles of the adversary.”
After an already historic general conference with the calling of two new apostles, changes to the priesthood quorums and a new Young Women general presidency, the announcement described changes to the Church’s structured program to facilitate serving and ministering to one another. The changes are meant to be a better way for Church members to serve and care for each other.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the session and Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles expounded on the ministering changes.
Sister Bingham shared details of the changes during her talk, explaining that young women ages 14-18 will be included in ministering companionships.
“Youth can share their unique gifts and grow spiritually as they serve alongside adults in the work of salvation,” she said. Involving youth also increases the number of members caring for others, and helps the youth “better prepare to fulfill their roles as leaders in the Church and community and as contributing partners in their families.”
Elder Holland said, “We at Church headquarters don’t need to know how or where or when you make contact with your people. We just need to know — and care very much — that you do make it, and that you bless them in every way that you can,” said Elder Holland. “A new name, new flexibility, fewer reports will not make one ounce of difference in our service unless we see this as an invitation to care for one another in a bold, new holier way.”
Other speakers in the session were Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé. Elders Weatherford T. Clayton and Valeri V. Cordón, General Authority Seventies, offered the prayers.