In case you missed it: Changes to general conference, plans to rehabilitate Hill Cumorah, plus 7 more stories

During the week of June 6-12, the First Presidency announced changes to general conference. President M. Russell Ballard, Elder Quentin L. Cook and other Church leaders explained why parents and leaders are vital to the Children and Youth program. And Elder D. Todd Christofferson during a worldwide missionary devotional testified of the power of the Book of Mormon.

The Church historian and recorder, Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., detailed plans to rehabilitate the Hill Cumorah historic siteElder Kevin R. Duncan broke ground for the Syracuse Utah Temple, and the Young Women and Young Men general presidencies encouraged leaders to make summer youth activities a priority.

Sister Michelle D. Craig spoke at a BYU–Hawaii devotional in Laie. On the Church News podcast, Church historian Richard Turley and filmmaker Mauli Junior Bonner discussed the importance of early Black pioneers. And a new Houston Family Transfer Center is providing humanitarian aid to migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

Find links and read summaries of these nine article below.

1. First Presidency announces changes to general conference

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Conference Center in Salt Lake City sits empty on Friday, April 3, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church’s 190th Annual General Conference was broadcast from a small auditorium.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Conference Center in Salt Lake City sits empty on Friday, April 3, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church’s 190th Annual General Conference was broadcast from a small auditorium. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Saturday evening session of general conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be discontinued, the First Presidency announced Monday, June 7.

Church leaders also announced a return to the Conference Center auditorium for the October 2021 general conference. The Conference Center will be closed to the public for the Oct. 2 and 3 sessions, which will again be virtual events to be streamed worldwide.

Find out more about these changes

2. Why parents and leaders are vital to the Children and Youth program

During a one-hour presentation, titled “Supporting Children and Youth: A Broadcast for Parents and Leaders” and released on Sunday, June 6, President M Russell Ballard and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak to parents, leaders and quorum and class presidencies about the Children and Youth program.
During a one-hour presentation, titled “Supporting Children and Youth: A Broadcast for Parents and Leaders” and released on Sunday, June 6, President M Russell Ballard and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak to parents, leaders and quorum and class presidencies about the Children and Youth program. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As COVID-19 restrictions subside in many areas, general Church leaders are encouraging parents and leaders to reintegrate activities where appropriate and reinforce other aspects of the Children and Youth program. 

During the one-hour presentation on June 6, titled “Supporting Children and Youth: A Broadcast for Parents and Leaders,” President Ballard, Elder Cook and general organization leaders provided suggestions to parents, leaders and quorum and class presidencies for reengaging in the Children and Youth program following a pandemic year. They also emphasized the importance of seeking personal revelation to guide their service. 

Learn more about their recommendations

3. Elder Christofferson testifies during a worldwide missionary devotional

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the recording of a worldwide missionary devotional in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the recording of a worldwide missionary devotional in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Book of Mormon can help strengthen and refine one’s discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ in five specific ways, taught Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a Thursday, June 10, worldwide missionary devotional broadcast.

“It will help you to know and better understand His teachings, better understand His Atonement and what redemption entails, better understand and recognize your accountability before the Lord, better love the Savior and to feel and be lifted by His love for you, and confirm in you the testimony of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Christofferson said.

Read more about Elder Christofferson’s message to missionaries

4. How the Church plans to rehabilitate the Hill Cumorah historic site

Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., Church historian and recorder, speaks at the Mormon History Association conference at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City on Friday, June 11, 2021. Elder Curtis spoke of the history and usage of the Hill Cumorah, and gave information about plans for property now that the Hill Cumorah Pageant is no longer being presented.
Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., Church historian and recorder, speaks at the Mormon History Association conference at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City on Friday, June 11, 2021. Elder Curtis spoke of the history and usage of the Hill Cumorah, and gave information about plans for property now that the Hill Cumorah Pageant is no longer being presented. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

With the final curtain having fallen for the Hill Cumorah Pageant, the Church will engage in a long-term project to both rehabilitate and preserve the sacred historic site.

In his June 11 remarks during the 56th Annual Mormon History Association Conference, Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. highlighted the historical significance of the Hill Cumorah site for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and outlined plans to restore it to more closely resemble what Joseph Smith would have experienced there in the early 1800s.

Learn the 3 major components for the rehabilitation project

5. Elder Duncan breaks ground for the Syracuse Utah Temple, the Church’s 38th under construction

Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during groundbreaking for the Syracuse Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Syracuse on Saturday, June 12, 2021.
Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during groundbreaking for the Syracuse Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Syracuse on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Connections proved to be a common thread at the Saturday, June 12, groundbreaking ceremony for the Syracuse Utah Temple, the latest of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temples to begin construction.

The messages from ceremony speakers underscored the connections with Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ through temple ordinances and covenants, which seal families today, link Latter-day Saints to their ancestors and help them prepare for the coming of future generations.

And the connections continued from there.

Read more about the groundbreaking

6. Summer youth activities are making a comeback

Participants run with a rope that is connected to a swing at Badger Mountain in Ephraim Canyon, Utah, for the Snow Fun! Youth Conference on Thursday, June 3, 2021. The rope helps get the swing rider to the right height, who is then launched.
Participants run with a rope that is connected to a swing at Badger Mountain in Ephraim Canyon, Utah, for the Snow Fun! Youth Conference on Thursday, June 3, 2021. The rope helps get the swing rider to the right height, who is then launched. Credit: Annie Barker, Deseret News

Youth conferences. Young Women camps. High-adventure retreats. Treks. All these memory-makers — and several other forms of Church-sponsored summer youth activities — are making comebacks in 2021.

With COVID-19 rates diminishing in many parts of the world, and in areas deemed safe, young women and young men are recreating, learning and worshipping together at traditional summer events. They are strengthening relationships and developing leadership skills as they step away from daily routines and distractions. 

Find out more about Young Men and Young Women general leaders’ advice for summer activities

7. Sister Craig’s 5 ways to protect against spiritual complacency

Sister Michelle D. Craig of the Young Women general presidency gives the devotional address on the BYU–Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, on June 8, 2021.
Sister Michelle D. Craig of the Young Women general presidency gives the devotional address on the BYU–Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, on June 8, 2021. Credit: Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii

As some parts of the world start to come out of the worldwide pandemic, Sister Michelle D. Craig said she has heard some Church members express that they are not sure they want to come back when restrictions are lifted. It’s easier to take a vacation from church.

With this in mind, Sister Craig issued a challenge: “Let’s do the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s be where we are supposed to be, when we are supposed to be there, and be all in. As we do this, I bear testimony that our faith in Jesus Christ and our joy in His gospel will increase.”

Sister Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, issued the challenge as part of her remarks during the weekly BYU–Hawaii campus devotional on Tuesday, June 8.

Learn the 5 ways individuals can protect themselves against ‘the lurking danger of spiritual complacency’

8. The importance of early Black pioneers

Church News podcast Episode 34 with Mauli Bonner speaking about the importance of early Black pioneers in the Church.
Church News podcast Episode 34 with Mauli Bonner speaking about the importance of early Black pioneers in the Church.

This June marks 43 years since President Spencer W. Kimball announced the 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy male members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Historian Richard E. Turley and creative Mauli Junior Bonner join this episode of the Church News podcast to talk about Black history as an important part of Church history. 

Mauli Junior Bonner is a Grammy award-winning musician, songwriter and now a first-time film writer, director and producer. His film, “His Name Is Green Flake,” explores the life and faith of an enslaved pioneer named Green Flake. Bonner’s deep respect and connection with early African American pioneers inspired him to learn and share their stories. Turley and Bonner talk about the inspirational early Black members of the Church and the lessons they can teach us.

Listen to their insights on what early Black members of the Church can teach

9. New Family Transfer Center providing humanitarian aid to migrant families in Houston

A baby cries by her mother at the Family Transfer Center in Houston on Monday, June 7, 2021. The center provides a temporary respite for families who have been cleared at the United States border and need short-term shelter and food. The creation of the Family Transfer Center is the result of a collaboration among The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Catholic Charities, The National Association of Christian Churches, YMCA International Services, Texas Adventist Community Services, Houston Responds and the Houston Foodbank.
A baby cries by her mother at the Family Transfer Center in Houston on Monday, June 7, 2021. The center provides a temporary respite for families who have been cleared at the United States border and need short-term shelter and food. The creation of the Family Transfer Center is the result of a collaboration among The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Catholic Charities, The National Association of Christian Churches, YMCA International Services, Texas Adventist Community Services, Houston Responds and the Houston Foodbank. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Church and multiple partners officially opened a new Family Transfer Center in Houston, Texas, to provide humanitarian aid to migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

“There was a crisis along the border where families and children who had already suffered a great deal traveling to the border needed help and assistance,” said Elder Carlos Villarreal, an Area Seventy and the director of the Family Transfer Center. “President (Russell M.) Nelson said, ‘We need to take care of the children.’ “

Learn more about how the center is blessing vulnerable individuals and families