I recently attended a Stake leadership meeting. The Stake President asked a conversation-generating question.
“How has the Church changed recently? What do those changes mean for you and why?”
I had two immediate thoughts when I heard these questions.
Before I share those two ideas, I’ll share the list our group rattled off in about five minutes of discussion.
Our list was not meant to be a comprehensive documentation of all the changes in the Church in the past several years. You’ll likely think of other items that could be added to this list.
- Focus on the name of the church as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
- Two-hour block of Church services on the Sabbath
- Youth Programs
- Relationship between the Church and the Boy Scouts of America
- Changes in Quorums and classes
- New curriculum
- New temples announced
- Changes to temple endowment
- Changes to temple sealings
- Changes to temple initiatory
- Changes of temple callings to be not simply a veil worker but an ordinance worker
- Changes so that if you forget your temple recommend you can talk to a designated temple worker (the Recorder) instead of having to reach your bishop
- Changes to mission age
- Changes to missionary dress for women
- Changes to missionaries being able to video conference with family weekly
- Changes to length of service for Church service missionaries
- Changes to temple youth participation age
- Changes to the age young women can enter the Young Women’s program
- Changes to the age when young men can receive the priesthood and enter the Young Men’s program
- Changes to family study time
- Family-centered, church-supported gospel learning
- Ministering program
- Youth involvement in the ministering program
- Elder’s Quorum restructuring
- Women praying in General Conference
- Changes to General Conference schedules,
- Women who have children at home serving in the temple
- Bishops and Stake Presidencies being able to hold temple callings
- Changes to Ward Mission Leaders
- New technologies to support family history
With that list in mind, here are the two thoughts that came to my mind upon hearing my Stake President’s question.
We Do Not Simply Believe in the Theory of Revelation
We believe in modern-day revelation. We should expect change. We should expect new ideas. We should expect updates. We should expect expansion. We should expect the norm to give way to the new.
We should expect revelation.
We do not simply believe in the theory of revelation. (see more here)
We believe in, act on, and accept the practice and reality of revelation—daily, ongoing, persistent, ever-flowing.
The Church Is Changing. So What?! Am I Changing?
During the entire conversation I could not dislodge these growing thoughts from my mind:
No matter how much the Church changes…
No matter how much revelation is received by Church leaders, or by me…
No matter if the 116 lost pages are found…
No matter if the remaining two-thirds of the Book of Mormon, which is currently sealed, is translated bringing forth more than 1000 pages of additional scripture…
No matter if angels return to the earth declaring glad tidings…
No matter if more temples are built to dot the earth…
No matter if Church programs come and go…
No matter if our missionary ranks swell into the hundreds of thousands or the millions…
No matter if the Church changes much or little in my lifetime…
No matter if BYU eventually beats the University of Utah, just one more time before I die…
Only one thing matters.
Am I changing? Is my heart changing?
Am I loving God with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, and my neighbor like myself?
The only change that truly matters for our personal salvation, for peace in our families, for peace in communities and nations, is the change of our own hearts.
In all of our excitement and enthusiasm for ongoing revelation and change in the Church, I’m hopeful that I am more excited and enthusiastic to pay the price to have my own heart changed.
Perhaps then I can join with the Lamanite king who humbly pleaded with God, “I will give away all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18).
That is a change worthy of rejoicing!
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Terry D Underwood
Your analysis of accepting change, the only constant in the universe, is spot on!
I’ve been blessed with a believing heart, to which I express my gratitude daily for!
So when changes occur Church wide, and when I struggle to understand one specific doctrine and how it effects me, I remember all of the revealtory changes of the past and how I came to incorporate them into my life and I work at it until it becomes a part of my very heart and soul!
These are always my “tender mercies” and I’ll be grateful for them!
Insightful that you use the phrase “tender mercies.” One of the main purposes of the Book of Mormon is to “show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Nephi 1:20).
This is an awesome”make me stop and think “ read. Thank you so much for sharing . I needed that reminder to look inside of me and just think of why revelation is what the church is about . Thank you. You made my morning .
I hope that I can remember to stop and think each day about this question “Am I changing in ways that draw me closer to God?”
So when does self promotion become. Priestcraft?
As soon as I start my own church! 🙂 ha ha Don’t hold your breath waiting, though.
Do you have a website that lists your tours for 2019-2020? I would like to see costs, accomodations, meals, etc. You’ve got my attention.
Thanks very much
I do tours through a variety of venues with companies such as Fun for Less and Bountiful Travel or privately on my own through my company Utah Adventure Travel or unlabeled. Many of my future tours are private and have not been officially announced, though you’ll find basic information here: https://taylorhalverson.com/tour-leader/. I’ll send you a follow up email with more specifics.