The previous year has featured major announcements from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the structure and organization of priesthood quorums; the “retiring” of the home and visiting teaching programs with a focus on ministering; the proper use of the name of the church; a home-centered church with a shortened Sunday meeting schedule; how mission calls are issued and when missionaries can call or text home; and, most recently, updates to the November 2015 policy on the blessing and baptism of children of LGBT parents.
After a year described as “a rush of revelatory change,” the 189th Annual General Conference of the church focused on the principles of love, repentance and coming unto Christ. There was also emphasis placed on understanding the purpose of the “breathtaking” changes from the past year.
“In the last 18 months, the Lord has inspired his prophet and the apostles to implement a number of wonderful adjustments,” President M. Russell Ballard said. “However, I worry that the spiritual purposes of these adjustments might become lost in the excitement about the changes themselves.”
In addition to messages of doctrine and spiritual purpose, the church announced new temples, sustained a new Sunday School presidency and general authorities, and issued its latest statistical report.
Here’s a closer look at those storylines.
8 new temples were announced at general conference
President Russell M. Nelson announced eight new temples during the Sunday afternoon session of conference. The locations are: Pago Pago, American Samoa; Okinawa City, Okinawa; Neiafu, Tonga; Tooele Valley, Utah; Moses Lake, Washington; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Antofagasta, Chile; and Budapest, Hungary.
Once the Tooele Valley temple and other announced temples are completed, there will be 21 temples in Utah.
He also announced a “major restoration” of pioneer-era temples. Plans for the Salt Lake Temple, Temple Square and the adjoining plaza will be announced on April 19. It was previously announced that the St. George Temple will be closed in November through 2022.
In October’s general conference, President Nelson announced 12 new temples.
First African American general authority
Among the newest church leaders announced during the Saturday afternoon session was Elder Peter Johnson, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. An accounting professor at the University of Alabama, Elder Johnson had also taught at BYU and BYU-Hawaii and previously served as an Area Seventy. He also played college basketball at Southern Utah University.
Among the names read as new Area Seventies were Vai Sikahema and Henry J. Eyring. Sikahema was a member of the 1984 national championship football team at BYU and an All-Pro kick returner in the NFL. He’s also an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster for NBC 10 in Philadelphia.
Eyring is currently the president of BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho, and will continue to serve in that capacity.
There are now 16.3 million Latter-day Saints
Among the other notable statistics:
• The church had 30,536 congregations, up 30 from 2017.
• The church had 3,383 stakes, up 42 from 2017.
• The church added 102,102 new children of record, down from 106,771 in 2017.
• The church added 234,332 converts, up from 233,729 in 2017.
• The church had 65,137 young proselytizing missionaries, down from 67,049 in 2017.
• The church had 37,963 church service missionaries, up from 36,172 in 2017.
Review the 189th Annual General Conference through talk summaries and photo galleries.
Read the rest of the article on Faith News | Deseret News.