39+ announcements and changes in the Church since President Nelson became Prophet 3 years ago

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, including the first in both India and Russia. 

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. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

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. 

President Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, listen to a young woman talk about her experience so far in the Children and Youth program during a Face to Face event on Feb. 23, 2020.
President Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, listen to a young woman talk about her experience so far in the Children and Youth program during a Face to Face event on Feb. 23, 2020. Credit: Screenshot ChurchofJesusChrist.org

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 in the last three years. 

2018

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. 

April 1, 2018 — Ministering replaces home and visiting teaching.

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 “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

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. 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.

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 and 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.

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 (FSY) conferences modeled after BYU’s Especially for Youth program.

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.

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 administrative handbook for all Church leaders and members to replace Handbook 1 and Handbook 2.

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

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

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

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

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.

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