For the first time, families outside of English-speaking countries will be able to subscribe to magazines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints specifically for children and youth.
Some areas and languages will receive magazine content more frequently. And Church members worldwide will have access to the same magazines.
Beginning January 2021, the Church will replace its four current magazines with three global magazines, the First Presidency announced on Friday. Improved and expanded digital versions will also be available.
The three global magazines will be the Friend (for children), For the Strength of Youth (for youth) and the Liahona (for adults) — retiring the Ensign title and renaming the youth magazine, which was previously the New Era.
“Church magazines are a valuable resource for learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ and feeling a sense of belonging in His Church,” wrote the First Presidency in a letter dated Aug. 14. “Our desire is that members everywhere will subscribe and welcome this faith-sustaining influence into their hearts and homes.”
Primary General President Joy D. Jones said with all of the challenges and opportunities in the world today, “children have never had a greater need for the strength, comfort and guidance offered by the Savior and His teachings.
“We are thrilled that the new global Friend magazine will now reach children in 47 languages around the world, inviting them to follow Jesus together and to serve as He did.”
Frequently asked questions enclosed with the First Presidency announcement further explained the adjustments. New subscription options will be available Sept. 1.
For many years, the Church has published three print magazines in English — the Friend, New Era and Ensign — and the Liahona in other languages.
The length and format of the new printed magazines will undergo changes, including a reduction in print pages for adult English readers and more frequent publication in some languages. For example, families reading languages that currently receive only one magazine per year can now receive magazines every other month.
All three print and digital magazines will be available monthly in 23 languages and bimonthly in another 24 languages. An additional 40 languages will have access to selected digital-only magazine content. (To view the specific languages, visit the FAQ document).
“Several factors — such as the number of subscribers, availability of translators and distribution capability — affect the frequency of publication in different languages,” the FAQ document stated.
Local pages previously found in the Liahona will continue to be available for many areas and languages. Some readers will receive local pages for the first time.
The digital magazine experience will also be improved and expanded, including “YA Weekly,” located in the young adults section of the Gospel Library app. Digital magazine content will continue to be available for free.
Impact on members worldwide
Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham said with these adjustments, more members than ever before will have access to Church magazines at their fingertips — “from scripture activity pages for children, to stories from youth around the world, to articles about gospel principles for adults.
“And all of it with the intended outcome of increasing faith in God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”
While the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum provides weekly lessons for the family, the new global magazines will offer supporting materials to adults, youth and children on each month’s topic of study, Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace said.
“Like ‘Come, Follow Me,’ the new magazines can help strengthen members’ testimonies of Jesus Christ and solidify their resolve to stay on the covenant path.”
Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon said the new name of the youth magazine reflects the youth of the Church. “I love the name of the For the Strength of Youth magazine because the youth of the Church of Jesus Christ are strong.”
She continued, “The youth around the world are all getting the same magazine, in their own language, with content created under the direction of the First Presidency just for them. They will find answers to their questions. The truth of their divinity as sons and daughters of loving heavenly parents will be renewed.”
The For the Strength of Youth magazine will “focus on the value of diversity and offer a global perspective,” said Young Men General President Steven J. Lund. “President Nelson has invited a worldwide response to a worldwide call to gather Zion. For the Strength of Youth will be a magazine worthy of such a majestic global mandate.”
Subscriptions with the Ensign, New Era and Friend at the end of 2020 will automatically transfer to the new magazine for the same age group beginning 2021, according to the FAQ document. Liahona subscriptions will also transfer, though the new magazine will not contain material for children or youth.
New subscription options will be available beginning Sept. 1 at store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and distribution centers or through contacting the Global Services Department.