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99 Announcements and Changes in the Church Since President Nelson Became Prophet 5 Years Ago


This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Sydney Walker, Church News

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.

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.

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 five years.


January 14, 2018 — President Nelson is set apart as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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.

Elder Ulisses Soares and Elder Gerrit W. Gong 2018 interview

April 1, 2018 — Ministering replaces home and visiting teaching; President Nelson announces seven new temples.

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.

August 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.)


September 4, 2018 — The first volume of the four-volume “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

September 5, 2018 — Missionary candidates will receive assignments online instead of in the mail.

October 6, 2018 — Home-centered, Church-supported gospel study and adjustments to the Sunday meeting schedule are announced.

October 7, 2018 — President Nelson announces 12 new temples.

October 30, 2018 — Some Church-produced pageants are discontinued.

November 16, 2018 — All young missionary candidates, including prospective service missionaries‚ will use the missionary online recommendation process.

December 14, 2018 — Changes announced for Primary progression, young men priesthood ordination and youth temple recommends.

December 20, 2018 — Sister missionaries have the option to wear dress pants.


January 2, 2019 — The First Presidency releases statement on temples.

February 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.

April 7, 2019 — President Nelson announces eight new temples and plans to renovate the Salt Lake Temple (including Temple Square and the adjoining plaza near the Church Office Building), the Manti Utah Temple and Logan Utah Temple.

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 conferences modeled after BYU’s Especially for Youth program.


August 16, 2019 — The Church announces new training course to help adults know how to prevent and respond to child abuse.

September 5, 2019 — Book of Mormon Videos series release dates are announced.

October 2, 2019 — Women, youth and children may now serve as witnesses of sealing and baptismal ordinances.

October 5, 2019 — Ward Young Men presidencies are discontinued; new Young Women theme, class name and structure changes are announced; President Nelson announces eight new temples during the women’s session of general conference.

October 6, 2019 — President Nelson announces revised temple recommend questions; 2020 will be “bicentennial year” with April conference “different from any previous conference.”

November 15, 2019 — The Church releases new missionary handbook.

November 17, 2019 — New Aaronic Priesthood quorum theme announced.

December 17, 2019 — The First Presidency releases statement on Church finances.


January 17, 2020 — Adjustments are made to ceremonial temple clothing.

January 30, 2020 — The Church announces new general handbook for all Church leaders and members to replace Handbook 1 and Handbook 2.


February 12, 2020 — The second volume of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

April 2020 — Some Church history sites begin offering virtual tours.

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” and announces eight new temples.

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

May 11, 2020 — The First Presidency encourages reverent art of the Savior in meetinghouses.

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

June 15, 2020 — Minor adjustments to the names of Church historic sites are implemented.

August 14, 2020 — The First Presidency announces three global Church magazines will replace the current four; Ensign title is retired and New Era renamed.

August 25, 2020 — Church members can now submit names to temple prayer rolls online.

September 10, 2020 — The Church clarifies policy for service and other domestic animals in Church facilities.

October 4, 2020 — President Nelson announces six new temple locations.

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

December 15, 2020 — Seminary and Institutes of Religion announces changes for seminary in 2021, including a further alignment with “Come, Follow Me” and a new reading requirement for seminary course credit.


January 11, 2021 — An 18-month renovation project on the Church Office Building plaza is announced.

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February 25-27, 2021 — RootsTech holds its first ever all-virtual event, attracting more than 1 million individuals from over 235 countries and territories.

March 1, 2021 — In a letter to priesthood leaders, the Church announces an update to the Stake Seminary Graduation Guide.

March 11, 2021 — Six women are called as the first international area organization advisers for the Church, in the Europe Area. Others are called to serve in the Philippines and Caribbean areas.

March 12, 2021 —The First Presidency announces modifications to the ongoing Salt Lake Temple renovation, increasing capacity and impacting live sessions; Manti Utah Temple is next for renovation.

March 24, 2021 — The Church announces it will attempt to preserve Minerva Teichart murals in the Manti Utah Temple.

April 1, 2021 — For the first time, new Area Seventies are sustained in the general conference leadership session rather than a general session.

April 4, 2021 — President Nelson announces 20 new temples, the most announced by the Church at one time.

May 1, 2021 — President Nelson announced plans to preserve pioneer craftsmanship of the Manti Utah Temple and also construct a new temple in nearby Ephraim.

May 6, 2021 — Based on area presidency direction and approval, eligible members of the Church anywhere in the world may now be considered for a senior service mission, according to a letter from the First Presidency; the First Presidency gives approval for areas to establish gathering places for young single adults based on local needs.

May 24, 2021 — The First Presidency announces discontinuation of time-only marriages in temples.

June 7, 2021 — The Church announces that the Saturday evening session of general conference will be discontinued.

June 14, 2021 — The First Presidency and leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced education and humanitarian initiatives as part of an ongoing collaboration between the two organizations.


June 30, 2021 — The First Presidency revises conditions in which Church officers may perform civil marriages.

July 27, 2021 — Following additional study and prayer, the First Presidency announces that the Saturday evening session of general conference will continue, albeit in a different format than in the past.

August 1, 2021 — Area Seventies are now publicly released August 1 rather than during October general conference.

September 15, 2021 — President Nelson launches an Instagram account in Spanish — the first Spanish-only social media account by a senior Church leader.

October 2, 2021 — President Nelson announces 13 new temples and the reconstruction of the Provo Utah Temple after the under-construction Orem Utah Temple is dedicated.

November 15, 2021 — FamilySearch announces a limit of 300 for personal temple ordinance reservations.

November 23, 2021 — Selected stakes, districts and missions move to a new online process for issuing temple recommends.

December 9, 2021 — The Church releases the new Mission Directory feature, which allows returned missionaries to share their contact information with their mission leaders.

December 10, 2021 — The Church announces the creation of the Rwanda Kigali Mission.


January 4, 2022 — Multistake temple and family history consultants are now referred to as area temple and family history advisers.

March 3, 2022 — The Church History Department’s Missionary Database and Pioneer Database merge into the Church History Biographical Database.

March 4, 2022 — FamilySearch launches the Get Involved experience for reviewing names on records indexed by handwriting-recognition artificial intelligence .

March 13, 2022 — Seminaries and Institutes of Religion continues to roll out the Innovate Institute initiative to better meet the needs of today’s young adults.


April 3, 2022 — President Nelson reaches 100 total temples he had announced since becoming Prophet, with the 17 locations he released at the conclusion of general conference.

April 7, 2022 — Two new missions in Spain and England are announced.

April 22, 2022 — The third volume of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” is released.

June 10, 2022 — Church donation categories are simplified.

July 7, 2022 — The first Church-endorsed female military chaplain is set apart.

August 11, 2022 — The First Presidency announces “tithing settlement” has been changed to “tithing declaration.”

August 29, 2022 — The Church announces that the Kona Hawaii Temple will close in October 2023 for renovation and expansions.

September 2022 — The first two women are called to serve with the Church’s Military Advisory Committee.

September 12, 2022 — The Church announces that the Stockholm Sweden Temple will close in 2023 for renovation and expansion.

September 14, 2022 — The Church gives $32 million to the World Food Programme in its largest one-time donation to date.

October 1, 2022 — A new “For the Strength of Youth” guide based on principles is released.


October 2, 2022 — President Nelson announces 18 new temple locations, including four for the metro Mexico City area.

November 4, 2022 — The first meeting of the Church’s newly formed American Sign Language Board of Education is held.

November 23, 2022 — The Church announces the creation of six new missions — five in Africa, including two in Nigeria, and one reinstated in Europe.

November 29, 2022 — The Church announces that the Beehive House, Lion House and Joseph Smith Memorial Building will close in 2023 for renovations.

November 30, 2022 — The notice “Strengthening Young Single Adults” was released, emphasizing young single adults serving in all YSA callings except stake president and bishop.

December 21, 2022 — The Church reinstates opening prayers in Sunday second-hour meetings.


January 10, 2023 — FamilySearch renames Family History Library to FamilySearch Library and family history centers to FamilySearch centers.


This article was originally published in Church News on December 30, 2020 and has been updated.

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